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FamousAspect

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I will use this thread to update the community with progress on Enhanced Wars.



Our goal is to create a multiplayer first, turn-based strategy game for modern sensibilities. Although we are inspired by a number of classic games, we want to solve some genre foibles that prevent these incredible single player experiences from being truly fulfilling in multiplayer.



Specifically, we've targeted three areas for improvement. We find that many turn based strategy games suffer from 3 common problems. The first is that the game is much more about resource hording than tactics. As soon as one player gets a defensible resource advantage, the game is essentially over.



Which leads us to our second problem - long mop up phase. There's nothing more annoying than when both players know the battle is won, but the game is 30 turns from finished. Even worse is the third problem - long stalemates. Nothing is more frustrating than spending weeks going back and forth over a few pieces of territory with the tide of battle never changing.



We will be sharing more details in the coming weeks about how we have designed Enhanced Wars to be a fast, fun multiplayer game that focuses on aggressive tactics and resolves quickly.

In the mean time, we need your help! If you are interested in Enhanced Wars, please take this tactics game fan survey. We are building this game with our players, not for them. Please share your thoughts and help shape Enhanced Wars, even at this early stage.

Taking the survey is the best way to get early access. But if you just want to get on our early tester list without taking the survey, you can sign up here.

Yourtime

Raider

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oho you were faster (well longer already, got it in my rss too xD), an awesome update

am i too perverted? lol

alex

Raider

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The little things:


This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 08/06/2013 02:27:33

spadequack

Heavy Tank

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It's looking good. I'm excited!

johnmd20

Raider

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Very excited to see how this looks when it goes live. Can't wait to play.

BXHD

Trooper

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What's with the colors? I would prefer to play Blue v. Red.
Looks awesome!!

Yourtime

Raider

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BXHD wrote:What's with the colors? I would prefer to play Blue v. Red.
Looks awesome!!

well I am 99% sure that colors will be available.

FamousAspect

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What players want
When we sat down to begin the design process on Enhanced Wars, we began by agreeing on 5 "first principles" that would guide the game's development. These first principles inform both our design goals and our working style. Perhaps the most important principle is "Community is a team member." As Enhanced Wars is a multiplayer first game and funding the game via Kickstarter is essential to bringing this game to market, we know that opening up our process to the community and involving them at every step of the way is the only possible path to victory.

Even though we are fairly early into the development of the game, we have already been soliciting feedback via a tactics game fan survey. So far the number of responses and positivity of the results has given a huge boost to the Quarter Spiral team. We wanted to share some of the early results both for our fans and for other developers who may be planning out a Kickstarter.

If you are interested in shaping the future of Enhanced Wars and getting early access to the game, you too should let us know your thoughts by taking the survey.

Barking up the right tree?
The key question to answer is "Will turn based strategy (TBS) fans back a game via Kickstarter?"



Of our survey respondents, over 50% have previously funded games via Kickstarter, so we have cleared one of the biggest hurdles for at least half our fans. Not that creating a Kickstarter account is a huge barrier, but even if all of those remaining 47.5% want to back us, it is safe to assume that not all of them will end up creating accounts.



We also asked fans if they will support us on Kickstarter. This is a bit of a cheeky question for sure, to ask fans for support largely based on 1 video on IGN and a few screenshots. But over half of the survey respondents said they will back us. The 35% who gave an open ended response largely took the form of "Depends on your quality. If it is good, I will back you." Only a very small number of fans who took the time to finish the survey flat out said they will not support us on Kickstarter.

Targeting the right platforms?
The next question to answer "Are making the game for the right platform?" We are currently developing Enhanced Wars for PC, Mac & Linux. As with most parts of the game's development, our ability to deliver a quality experience for other platforms is largely dependent on our ability to raise enough money to port to, QA and support that platform.



For this question, we allowed fans to pick as many platforms as they desired. In our ideal world, Enhanced Wars will be a cross platform game that allows you to pick up and play your turn on any device connected to the internet.

The most desired platform is Web browser - so if these results hold over time, it is likely we will want to add browser to our initial batch of platforms. Unsurprisingly, PC is up next followed by Steam. This encourages us and validates our desire to put the game up on Steam Greenlight as well as Kickstarter. This is our ideal distribution platform for Enhanced Wars - so hopefully enough players vote for us!

iOS and Android are clearly of interest, and we ought to evaluate adding them to the stretch goal list. For all their success with crowdfunding and hype in the media (which has convinced me to pre-order both) neither Ouya or Oculus Rift have generating enough interest to make them worth putting on our roadmap at this time.

Building the right game?
Enhanced Wars is a multiplayer first game. We will build this game with a realistic feature set for our Kickstarter ask, based on years of production experience and over 35 shipped games contributed to by members of the team. Anything we can do on top of the core, multiplayer experience is contingent upon not only hitting our initial goal, but beating them with stretch goals.



This brings us to data both encouraging and troublesome. The single most requested feature is a single player campaign. Based on our experience building linear, single player content, we know that this is also the most expensive feature to implement. Creating a single player game will significantly increase our needs in terms of budget and time to market. We will need to craft a story. We will need to build more tools. We will need to develop AI that is both intelligent and fun. We will need significantly more art, sfx and game features to create a quality campaign that is worth playing.

Normally, stretch goals are at reasonable increments after the initial goal is reached. But if we truly want to build a great single player game, we will need to ask for (at minimum) $100,000 more than our base ask. It is an interesting thought experiment to imagine how players will react to a campaign with a single stretch goal that is that much higher than a relatively low project goal.

The popularity of other stretch goals was in line with our expectations based on previous work on multiplayer, TBS games. Team battles, map making tools, tournaments and more playable factions are proven hits with the community.

Giving the right incentives?
A big factor of a campaign's success is the rewards it offers. Kickstarter is more or less a presale platform when it comes to games. In order to bring in high value contributions - or any contributions at all - we need to make sure we offering rewards that players desire.



This chart will probably be the most interesting to other game developers. Unsurprisingly, copy of the game, beta access and alpha access are the 3 most popular rewards. Next up is a custom skin for your army followed by the ability to work with the game team in designing a unit for the game.

A common lesson from successful Kickstarter campaigns is to limit the amount of physical goods you offer. It is not unheard of for campaigns to end up in the red because of unexpected costs of physical goods. Of the physical goods we asked about in the survey, 3D printed unit from the game is the most popular (and the one we think will be a limited, high value reward). After that is T-shirts, which so far are popular enough to want to include in the rewards. More complex physical goods like a printed and signed art book or printed and signed poster got a low enough response that they do not look like appealing offers.

More out of the box offerings, like access to the team's design documents, print and play version of the original prototype, digital poster, naming a map or getting your voice in the game, all look questionable based on these early results.

Just the start
These results are early and we intend to collect a lot more survey responses before we make any hard decisions about Enhanced Wars' future. If you are interested in shaping the future of Enhanced Wars, and getting early access to the game, there is no better way than taking the survey now. If you have already taken the survey, thank you for the support!

BXHD

Trooper

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Cool!

When most people ask for single player, they aren't necessarily asking for 4 complete games series of campaigns on 3 different platforms and multiple websites. (Like the Battalion series)

I would just enjoy a AI that you can test maps against, and maybe 4-5 single player maps to play or to get people interested in the game.

I would prefer a intense multiplayer game for free as to a singleplayer campaign with a small multiplayer option that costs as much as an Xbox.

Also, single player should be an intro, because building AIs and Campaigns is expensive and won't keep players long enough to be worth it.

Will this be like Weewar, with turns that last up to a day, and you log on and off, or more like Battalion Arena, where you stay on until the game is over?
Both?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 13/06/2013 15:25:28

Yourtime

Raider

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First: Awesome Update! Thank you for posting the information + background comments!
Second: (Maybe I already mentioned, ) if it's possible to use $ for the kickstarter then please do! It makes the difference between "barely made it" and "Wow so much". I'm quite active at kickstarter - video games and backed several big ones already. I experienced & read that international backers really hate the strong sterling. (e.g I think Wildman from Gaspowered Games had big problems. Also 22cans had over the whole campaign problems till the last days then they could get a good reserve bag. (Yes, I know they also had problems, because pmolyneux image.)
Third: I really recommend you this list. Click Alpha Colony (tribute of M.U.L.E.) failed 2 campaigns, because of some reasons. Don't get me wrong! I am sure, you know much already, what you do! I just thought, maybe there is something you haven't thought of yet. As more information and help you can get, as better for us all!

To the update:
  • 50% pledged already. The biggest problem could be that the others doesn't have credit or paypal accounts to be able to pledge, but I guess the main audience is 18+. So most of them will be able to.

  • It's very nice that we got so many fans, who finished the survey & said no to help lol. (most of them would be invisible)

  • I hope you will add mac/linux support as first or second scretch goal (many linux user likes to ask after it. It helps to reach the goal much, when you look at humble bundles, linux user often are the bigger backers)

  • I'm not sure, if people really want a campaign or rather just the possibility to fight against AI. The biggest problem with weewar is that you as novice had to look around much to get some AI for matches. So I advice you to ask extra, to be clear. If people would pay for that or it's enough to get simple, but charmful AI matches.

  • It's really weird that map-making is not so high wanted than commander units. I guess the most fans here are also big fans of advance wars (like me).

  • I like the figure, t-shirt and of course skin! I think with such many different digital rewards you can spare much. It's only important to give them in the right pledge-tier order AND spare a good one for later to catch some upping pledges. I really hope I can afford the 3D printed figure too . Also don't forget for add-ons


  • yours Yourtime

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 13/06/2013 06:33:35

    FamousAspect

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    First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for not only taking the survey but also taking the time to post comments in the forum and have a dialog with us about Enhanced Wars. It really embodies the spirit of how we want to develop the game to have this level of open discussion. I wanted to answer some of the questions & comments we've gotten:

    re: dollars vs pounds
    the campaign will definitely be in US dollars and not pounds, so no need to worry there.

    re: mac and linux
    Our current goal is PC/Mac/Linux as the baseline for the Kickstarter. Even though Mac and Linux do not have a huge amount of votes for it in the survey, we believe that supporting these two platforms is critical to the success of a modern PC game.

    re: single player campaign
    In the survey, we had two different feature requests we asked about: single player campaign and single player challenge levels. The clear winner of all the features was single player campaign. As we reach out to a larger audience, we need to broaden our appeal as much as possible so we can get as much support as possible for a turn based strategy, multiplayer first game . It seems clear that single player campaign is what many people enjoy playing when it comes to turn based strategy (based on current data).

    That being said, we know from experience producing many games with single player content just how expensive it is in terms of resources and time to do it right. We have made no decisions at this point regarding if we will or won't make a single player campaign stretch goal. But if we do, know that it will be priced at a level that guarantees we will be able to build a game we can be proud of.

    re: map making tool
    I am not surprised with the number of people who voted for the map making tool. As a rule of thumb, you can expect 10% of your audience to actually be makers who produce content when you make tools for them. Features like map makers and AI APIs are near and dear to our heart because we believe they are key to building a long lasting community (like this one). Again, we have not made any decisions about our stretch goals, we are just reporting our findings so far.

    re: why kickstarter (from the chat)
    Quarter Spiral is a small, self financed company of 3 individuals. Frankly speaking, we do not have the resources to bring Enhanced Wars to market without help. We feel like Kickstarter is the best possible format to raise enough money so that we can create a game we feel proud standing behind. This is why we are putting so much effort into reaching out, communicating with you, sharing our plans and asking for feedback. We literally will not be able to make this game without your help.

    BXHD

    Trooper

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    So you will have to buy the game or will there be bonus content for it?

    FamousAspect

    Heavy Trooper

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    The current plan is that Enhanced Wars will be a downloadable game that you will have to purchase in order to play.

    Yourtime

    Raider

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    Oh thanks for the respond and its overall great that we are allowed to affect the game too
    FamousAspect wrote:
    re: dollars vs pounds
    the campaign will definitely be in US dollars and not pounds, so no need to worry there.

    Good then I think there should be no big problems I hope! I will for sure spread the word and pledge

    FamousAspect wrote:
    re: mac and linux
    Our current goal is PC/Mac/Linux as the baseline for the Kickstarter. Even though Mac and Linux do not have a huge amount of votes for it in the survey, we believe that supporting these two platforms is critical to the success of a modern PC game.

    good! Do you already know, which engine you will use or build your own?

    FamousAspect wrote:
    re: single player campaign
    In the survey, we had two different feature requests we asked about: single player campaign and single player challenge levels. The clear winner of all the features was single player campaign. As we reach out to a larger audience, we need to broaden our appeal as much as possible so we can get as much support as possible for a turn based strategy, multiplayer first game . It seems clear that single player campaign is what many people enjoy playing when it comes to turn based strategy (based on current data)...

    I agree, I saw that too, but I thought that its maybe too unclear for the most people. In hero academy there are "challenges" but they are just puzzles and no single player matches. Also in Plant vs Zombies there are challenges as mini games. So I thought maybe its still unclear (for me it was actually lol)

    FamousAspect wrote:
    re: map making tool
    I am not surprised with the number of people who voted for the map making tool. As a rule of thumb, you can expect 10% of your audience to actually be makers who produce content when you make tools for them. Features like map makers and AI APIs are near and dear to our heart because we believe they are key to building a long lasting community (like this one). Again, we have not made any decisions about our stretch goals, we are just reporting our findings so far.

    Oho good to know @thumb rule, Awesome then I cant wait to make sami from Adv wars ;D Of course that is all still in progress.

    alex

    Raider

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    With the right tools making games is fast and fun. Tools empower everyone on the team to do a quality job and help alleviate bottlenecks in content creation. Good tools set a team up for success and are one of the biggest advantages an established studio has.

    Tools enable artists to put their art into the game quickly and easily. They enable designers to tweak, refine and test the game play quickly. They help developers get their code in front of people.

    The Enhanced Wars Map Editor is one of the first tools we created at Quarter Spiral.

    When I started creating and iterating on the art for Enhanced Wars I wanted a way to preview and test the assets in context. So I created a very basic map editor in html. It allowed me to assemble complex maps and go through several massive art iterations without having to create elaborate mock ups in photoshop.

    Since our first art test, we have refined the map creation tool a great deal. We have added support for units, buildings and various terrain variations. You can now load and save maps and export them as images or raw JSON. And recently we upgraded the system so you can quickly put together a map and instantly try it out in the latest game build.

    Here is one I made earlier: River Land

    Tools like this are essential–even when working on a very small team. Please keep in mind that this was never intended as a stand alone product and that we may not maintain it in the long run. So use it at your own risk!

    We will definitely want a better map for our next community play session!

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