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777 Studios - Jason

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About 777 Studios - Jason

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  1. Ok post your thoughts of RoF here

    Argon, Every user already has the software to run an ROF server with our little Dserver app that ships with the game. What I'm talking about is an extra code/account that you can use to run a server on one machine and fly in it on another. We do this for folks who take the time to host a permanent server for ROF. We've always done this. You also don't need a super beefy machine to host a nice gathering of ROF flyers. Not 60+ folks, but a dozen or more on an average machine is always possible. Of course the usual bit about hardware and connection speed affecting performance still applies so your mileage may vary. Jason
  2. Ok post your thoughts of RoF here

    In response to Tamper again. Well, I won't tell you to buzz off...quite the contrary, actually. I'm genuinely impressed and appreciative that you took the time to respond. Your response was probably the most detailed, specific, and objective that I think I've ever heard from you. I am sure we don't agree on all points; this is the nature of opinions (which were solicited in this thread and claimed as my own throughout my post). Much of what I said remains my opinion as stated. I’m sorry you have not seen many of my direct responses to folks who ask questions about ROF or the status of updates on our website or SimHQ. There are some people who go out of their way to try and push our buttons and embarrass us as their own special hobby. Some of my responses to these known professional complainers are short and curt because they are a broken record and regardless of what I say they don’t believe me. Unfortunately some other person may come along and see the one comment where I call a professional complainer annoying and they decide I am the jerk. That’s the chance I take by engaging the public and why a lot of developers don’t, but I feel it’s important to interact with the community. 99.9% of my posts are polite and informative and serve to help our customers understand what we are up to. You also don’t see the angry and vulgar emails I receive from so called sim fans who call us thieves and crooks because of design decisions we make or because we don’t change something to their liking. It gets very old very quickly. It really is just a game in the end and I wish some people would take a chill pill or if you don’t like our product move along and don’t try to spoil it for others who may like it. But I have to say you just ratcheted up my opinion - for whatever it's worth - by a mile. Don't know why it took my writing my honest opinion here to get such a response, but I'll certainly take it for what it's worth. The "other" forum locks and deletes threads like it's going out of style - and while it may be their 'right' to do so, it just plain makes them look guilty of censorship and obvious bias. I can assure you, if I had written there what I have here - word for word, it would've been deleted within hours (if that). From what I know of how the other forum runs, personal attacks are not allowed and many threads have crossed their line when either I or someone else was attacked ad hominem. I would assume this forum is the same way as is the official ROF forum. Your thread would not have been deleted or locked for simply critiquing ROF’s features. However, as most threads go they often veer off course and it is additional comments that get the thread locked. Each forum has their own rules and members and I don’t typically come here because I did not feel ROF got a fair shake at this website whenever I read comments from members and whenever I did try to participate I felt very unwelcome so I stopped. Incidentally, so we're clear, none of what I wrote is (intended to be) a personal attack on you. I feel it is expressed simply as a customer's frustration with an enterprise. Much as you likely feel you "are 777" (and rightfully so), my complaints are directed at the entity, not the individual. Saying "You're ugly" is a personal insult - saying that you (as the enterprise) have not treated customers well in my opinion is an expression of my experience with your company's handling of it's clients. If I've personally insulted you, then I apologize. But you might consider this constructive criticism, in it's own right. Again, I must point you to the thousands of posts on all the forums that critique ROF in every single way possible. We take criticism every single day. To us, constructive criticism is making a post about something and letting it be. Posting 50 times on the same topic even after we have acknowledged your opinion, but may disagree or can’t get to it right away is badgering and not being constructive. To respond to one question of yours, regarding the Damage Model: What have we said that is not what we claimed it to be? On the 777 website, there appears the claim "The detailed damage model leaves no room for error." To be accurate, there have been numerous demonstrated errors in the damage model, from planes flying with damage which would make flight impossible, to certain parts of the aircraft that are not affected by damage as other parts are, to planes that have an intact fuselage after 'augering in'. To me, advanced DM or otherwise, it's the same sort of stuff other sims have suffered from forever. WIthout getting to an argument about it - maybe you could just consider being a little more accurate in the marketing language? If your wing takes damage and you don’t nurse it back to base easy enough you most likely die. To us, that means no room for error. And it’s a computer simulation, not real life, if people expect every single factor to be calculated by the CPU as nature does it they’re in for a big disappointment. Believe me when I say our marketing is modest and just highlights the sims coolest features. I’m glad you realize that every sim has a tradeoff and limitations when it comes to the damage model, but please hold other sims to the exact standard you hold ours to if our description is not accurate in your opinion. Also, the word “error” is used incorrectly when analyzing sims. There are limits to the engine or algorithms that can be used due to CPU or Memory limitations which sometimes can lead to a difference in how something performs in the game and not in real-life. You will find this is every single sim ever made or will be made. A true error would be that we say something is supposed to work this way and it does not. Fuselages not disintegrating into a million pieces upon impact with the ground is a limitation and not an error. We get emails every day from users who enjoy our DM and claim it is the very best they have ever seen. So for some, ROF is leaps beyond their wildest dreams. These are the customers that give us the strength to not give up and keep going. I wasn't aware you would allow email accounts to be 'reset' for logins - it has come up, and I believe I have a record of a public posting to the effect that it would not be done "without good reason"[sic]. I am fairly certain it was stated that it wouldn't be done just because someone wanted to sell a copy. (I'll have to look back over the saved texts I kept) Regardless; now, if you're clarifiyng this policy to include "I want to sell my copy" as a "good reason" for needing the email changed, I will forever cease from claiming otherwise. And move a mark from the minus to the plus column in favor of RoF. Is that, in fact, what you're saying? This is what I have just said and we have already done so for customers. So, again, yes we will as long as the new owner contacts our customer service. However, there are thieves out there who have tried to obtain User Account info for ROF players so we have to have some process of vetting legitimate requests. I also wasn't aware that you would give 'server-only' code to anyone who asked. Can you direct me to where this is stated? Again, I am certain it's been asked before, but did not get the answer you gave above. We’ve made it clear on our comments that if you want to run a server you can request a code to run your Dserver with and we will provide you with one. Just send your request to our customer service email. I don’t have the link off hand. This has been done many times already and is nothing new for ROF. And you don’t need a server code to run a MP mission. All you need to do is fire up ROF with your existing code. However, some people want to run a server and fly the mission not using the server machine and with an extra code we allow you to do that. All we ask is that you contact us and ask for one, we don’t want it being abused. If it winds up that the things you touched on above are as you say, it would certainly raise opinion(s) a lot - not just mine, trust me. I believe there are many out there "on the fence" who might be similarly convinced, if these things are true. I am the President of the company that owns ROF. I don’t purposely make false statements about ROF. 777 has owned ROF for 6 months so I cannot speak for everything that was said or decided before then by others on the team, but what I say now is gospel. For anyone who visits and reads the official forum or reads our News updates they know all this already. Some have chosen to keep a closed mind and write-off ROF because we do some things differently or because they don’t like my participation in the forums or they simple don’t read our forum to get the straight scoop. It’s really a bummer because their impression of us and ROF is wrong. RoF has indeed come along - it is good, and it is getting better. I never said I wouldn't recommend it (I would), and a 7 from me is pretty damned good - you could count on one hand the games from all time that I thought honestly rated an 8; even fewer get a 9. 10 is reserved for maybe 1 or 2 games I've ever played (and they're actually really like 9.5's). And, shouldn't that be the way, incidentally? How many games could actually be said to be 'above any improvement'? At least with me you know that if you're in the 7+ range, you're in some fairly decent company.<BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"> I’m glad you like ROF and we feel ROF is better than what we feel some give us credit for. All we ask for are accurate comments and not hate filled or irrational. I hope my comments have straightened out a few things for you and others. And even then, some will continue their campaign against ROF because we simply do some things differently. And sometimes this is needed to push a genre forward. Such is the PC game universe I guess. The more it happens though, the less participation you will have by folks like me. But there's always been this list of annoyances. A "recommendation" to a friend or colleague to buy this game is just another opinion - and I can't very well recommend something to another person without giving what I believe to be 'the whole truth', including the unpopular bits. Once again, thank you for the response. It does actually go a long way toward changing my opinion, and probably will for others - which I'm sure is important to you (as the enterprise). I am always around and responding to questions is nothing new for me, but I usually do it on the official ROF forum nowadays. Too much scattered information only causes problems as we see here. Anyways, nice talking to you Tamper. Jason
  3. Ok post your thoughts of RoF here

    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. Regards, Jason
  4. Recent RoF postings

    Hello everyone, Jason here from 777 Studios, Publisher of ROF in North America. I just wanted to stop by and make just a couple quick comments and then I will not post here again unless invited back. I just became aware of this thread otherwise I would have posted sooner. First off, I own OFF, paid my $59 and it's fantastic. The hard work put in by OBD and the dedication needed to create OFF is off the charts. I certainly congratulate OBD on a job very well done. Second, I've always offered to help OBD sell OFF into other retail channels if they wished through my job at GoGamer and my relationship with Compuexpert. That offer is still valid if they wish to pursue it. My goal is to see all flight-sim developers succeed. I purposely purchased several dozen copies of CFS3 for GoGamer just so there was a place people interested in OFF could find CFS3 at a low price. The only way this genre is going to grow again is through support and friendly and I really do mean friendly competition. Third, all this silliness between the forums is ridiculous. The wackiness and harsh comments has at times, turned what should be a joyous moment into a lingering headache for me. I'm not sure why this is even happening, it wasn't like this in the old days. I urge everyone to just be nice to one another and keep things civil and respectful. I welcome any OFF flyers to check out ROF and I welcome all ROF flyers to check out OFF. Both are good products in there own unique way. Fourth, I don't condone anyone interested in ROF posting over here mucking up the official OFF forum and I urge anyone tempted to do so to not do it. I would feel the same way if it was reversed. I have a professional arrangement with SimHQ (much like OBD has with Combatace) and it's where I hang out and have my official 777 forum. However, the ROF forum at SimHQ is not moderated by me personally and they moderate it how they see fit. Neoqb has their own forum and they moderate theirs as they see fit. The OFF crew has the same right to do so here and I urge everyone to show respect to OBD and vice versa. Finally, myself and neoqb wish OBD the best of luck and continued success with OFF. There's plenty of room in the virtual sky for two great WWI sims. Just go have fun and fly! Best Regards, Jason Williams President 777 Studios General Manager GoGamer.com
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