Arcen Games

Games => A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2 => Topic started by: realcoolguy on August 01, 2011, 11:40:50 PM

Title: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: realcoolguy on August 01, 2011, 11:40:50 PM
Even if it's just screenshots, and development videos  right now... I'm not too picky, it'll be more fun than some games I've played.   8)

I'm sure it's all coming together great, but if this money keeps burning holes in my pockets, I'm going to run out of things to wear.  Please hurry before I'm left naked.  :'(

When do you feel your next update is going to come out?  I've been blown away by the last few.  I feel I should be paying for those too... you sure you won't take my money? $$$$
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Deekay on August 02, 2011, 06:34:09 AM
lol ^_^
I think the next update is going to be in a couple of weeks or something? With beta towards the end of the month early next month? Something like that.
Also looking forward to hearing more about how the game is doing :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 02, 2011, 09:23:50 AM
Hahaha, thanks for the kind words on that. :)

The problem with our AVWW beta is that there's just so very little that we can take out of the game while retaining the "wow factor" that people want.  We can have less content than in 1.0, sure, but we have to have basically all the main structural features that we've been talking about fully implemented and polished.  You only get one chance to make a good first impression, etc, etc.

So while the project as a whole is still on schedule, more and more keeps getting crammed into pre-beta out of fear that we'll crash and burn with certain fans without X or Y features that are coming, but previously wouldn't have been in there day one.  It's a real mental tug of war there, because on the one hand I want to get this in the hands of folks as soon as possible, but on the other hand I want them to be ecstatic when they do get their hands on it, and those are a bit at odds with one another.

It looks like the middle ground will probably be releasing the beta and preorders in about 6 weeks, but that will become increasingly clear as the coming weeks progress.  Keith is coming on board fulltime on September 1, too, which will really help with our overall available manpower that we're able to devote to the game after that point.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Deekay on August 02, 2011, 02:02:24 PM
Take your time and release when it is ready, I'm sure it will be worth the wait :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Otagan on August 02, 2011, 02:35:06 PM
Take your time and release when it is ready, I'm sure it will be worth the wait :)
I see no problem with doing this and taking my money now.

Make it so.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 02, 2011, 02:42:36 PM
Heh -- well, as tempted as we've been to open preorders early (to more accurately gauge interest, to get people's buy-in while we have their attention, etc), that's not something we think we should do.

The reason is this: the mental picture people form of the game is undoubtedly not exactly what the game actually is.  This happens with every game, and I know that many people are used to putting down money on preorders and then getting whatever the studio comes out with when the game releases.  However, that model really makes me uncomfortable, as it seems to really revolve around hype.  There's never been an Arcen game where players couldn't try before buying, and I don't want to break that trend with this one.

There's a lot of hype and excitement about AVWW, more than around any other game we've ever done, and that can either be a huge asset for us or can really bite us.  It could bite us if people have this idea that we're making a game we're not actually making, and then get mad when they really play it, most specifically.  My feeling is that if you haven't put down any money yet and try the demo of the beta when that comes out, then you can make an informed choice as to whether we really seem to be making the game you want to play, or if it's not for you after all.

Not that I want to turn away customers, but I don't want to gain customers by -- accidentally or intentionally -- misleading them.  The proof is in the pudding, so we try not to sell pudding that people can't actually try. ;)

Of course AVWW will continue to evolve through beta and beyond, and so there's a certain amount of a leap of faith there as with anyone who bought AI War from 1.0 onward.  But it's not like older versions disappear from the world, so if someone just really hates what we did with 4.0+ of AI War then it's not like 3.189 went away for good, for instance.  It's still quite playable.  But buying something with no demo... bah, seems like something a AAA publisher would make you do.  ;D
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: ShinseiTom on August 02, 2011, 03:26:55 PM
But buying something with no demo... bah, seems like something a AAA publisher would make you do.  ;D
Thank you for not doing this, though I'd probably give you my money anyway.

I find I just feel better giving my money to smaller devs even if I end up not playing the game terribly much, and especially when I can honestly talk to the people making the game and not just a media/forum spokesperson who may or may not actually know anything about the inner workings of the game.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 02, 2011, 03:29:31 PM
We always appreciate any kind of support we can get, and I know a lot of other indies feel the same.  Though it's best when the customers are enthusiastic about the game on its own merits.  :D
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Cyborg on August 02, 2011, 10:40:30 PM
Being able to try it first is very important. I want to see how the villains exist.

I mean, we all like arcen, but I want to buy the game more than the 'indie experience,' assuming my mental picture of the game is correct.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: keith.lamothe on August 03, 2011, 11:45:20 AM
assuming my mental picture of the game is correct.
Based on my experience with this and other games and seeing people's reactions (and my own) before/after they have something in their hands... I can 99% guarantee you that your mental picture is way, way off.  This is particularly true of people with analytical and imaginative minds.  My (confident) hope is that you'll like what you actually do find, though :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 03, 2011, 11:47:54 AM
Same.  The reason that I'm a game developer is that my mental model has been off so many times that I'm building the games that I thought other developers were building, incidentally.  So it's a fairly good bet that we're not building the game that anyone else is imagining, and that's both for better and for worse, as with any game that is talked about before release.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: getter77 on August 03, 2011, 03:18:27 PM
My thinking is it will all work out so long as the time-honored traditional trap of a November release is avoided, as I'd imagine this November in particular is going to leave many a person pressed for gaming time and purchases otherwise.

My AVWW fund remains strong, strong as a pile of disheveled small'ish bills can be at any rate.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 03, 2011, 03:28:45 PM
Hmmm, what's coming up this November?  That's certainly looking like the earliest we'd be likely to hit 1.0.

Granted, since people can preorder, that means that in September folks who want to can go on and get it and then have the beta version and not worry about it from then on.  And if it's super popular in beta, well, then that's some incentive for us to delay 1.0 longer and really throw everything and the kitchen sink into there.  If it's only middling popularity during beta, then there's a lot more incentive to do 1.0 so that it's on Steam and other platforms in time for the holidays.  Either way it works out the same in the end because we plan to continue developing this post-1.0 anyhow; you know how we are with free DLC.

And another option if we're hurting financially in the fall is an AI War micro-expansion slotted in there.  With Keith coming on fulltime September 1, that gets a lot more feasible in terms of doing both at once.

My ideal scenario:
1) AVWW does quite well even in beta, letting us release "whenever" in the Minecraft sense where nobody particularly cares because the game is already awesome pre-1.0 and is growing all the time anyway.
2) Then do a full AI War expansion in Q1 of next year, probably after releasing 1.0 of AVWW and then continuing on with a ton of AVWW free DLC.
3) Then hit the first expansion for AVWW sometime next year, along with a heaping pile of free DLC alongside that, like we've done with each AI War expansion also.


So... we'll see what happens.  Once AVWW is out in the hands of the public, hopefully in about 6 weeks, then the question of when 1.0 hits is mostly about whether a lot of people are waiting for 1.0, Steam release, etc, before buying it.  If too many people hold out for that, then that forces us to release earlier, and probably hit that November period that you're seeming worried about.  In the past, our betas have tended to only sell in the three figures of numbers of units moved, but then we're into the six figures of units moved in total.  So it's really a small percentage that get into the beta that early.  Hopefully this game follows a different pattern, but only time will tell.

That's another reason we're really trying to cram the kitchen sink into even the first beta, though, because if people are really wowed from the start then that makes things easier on us all around.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: c4sc4 on August 03, 2011, 03:53:07 PM
Well in November, TESV: Skyrim is coming out, so is Minecraft and apparently CoD: Modern Warfare 3.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 03, 2011, 03:54:56 PM
I knew Minecraft was, not suprised about CoD, and didn't know about Skyrim.  I'm presuming that Minecraft's 1.0 won't be much of an event since it's already so popular and the price goes up at 1.0.  I expect it will still sell amazingly, but I'm not figuring that will be much different than any other month. ;)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: KingIsaacLinksr on August 03, 2011, 04:26:29 PM
Well in November, TESV: Skyrim is coming out, so is Minecraft and apparently CoD: Modern Warfare 3.

Meh, its another CoD game, don't we get 3 of those a year?  ;)
I'm probably one of the few that cares about the RPG genre who doesn't care about Skyrim.  After getting burned by the terribleness of Oblivion, I just don't have a lot of faith in that series of games. 
Minecraft has been out for so long....well, basically what x said ;)

King
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Kronic on August 03, 2011, 05:00:51 PM
I'm sure Skyrim will be worth it 12 months after release when the price has halved and there's enough mods out to sort any nagging issues. :P
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 03, 2011, 05:01:31 PM
I'm sure Skyrim will be worth it 12 months after release when the price has halved and there's enough mods out to sort any nagging issues. :P

Note to self: don't release AVWW in November 2012.  :P
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Kronic on August 03, 2011, 05:09:56 PM
Considering I've only got back to playing Oblivilol these last few days, I don't think it's a problem. :P

And frankly, I don't think it'd keep my attention over an AI War/AVWW release.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: KingIsaacLinksr on August 03, 2011, 05:12:44 PM
I'm sure Skyrim will be worth it 12 months after release when the price has halved and there's enough mods out to sort any nagging issues. :P

*one wonders why the modders aren't hired to work on the game ;)*

King
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Kronic on August 03, 2011, 05:14:44 PM
Because that would be silly.

/straight face
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: KingIsaacLinksr on August 03, 2011, 05:15:42 PM
Because that would be silly.

/straight face

*waits* 

King
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Kronic on August 03, 2011, 05:17:34 PM
 :-X

 :-\

 :D

As a textless reply, this made me feel unclean. So this line exists solely to let me pretend this post wasn't daft. :3
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 03, 2011, 06:25:46 PM
As far as textless replies go, that was a pretty good one though. :)

And it sometimes does happen -- rarely -- that the modders get hired to work on sequels or future games.  Just look at the main guy who was modding the AI of the original Supreme Commander, for instance.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Kronic on August 04, 2011, 02:52:53 AM
Aye, Sorian.

I know Bethesda hired Oscuro, maker of one of the better rebalance mods, and although there's no word on it, he's probably working on Skyrim: However, being an Elder Scrolls game, I'm sure I'll still need 8Gb of mods before I'm happy with it.

/unappeasable fanbase
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 04, 2011, 08:44:49 AM
Right, Sorian -- surprised I forgot the name that fast.  That was a great hire on their part, at any rate. :)

My read on the Elder Scrolls series is basically that it's the bastion of traditional western RPG development, but with prettier graphics and slightly faster action gameplay in parts.  Or something approximating that.  So I've not really gone near it, because I simply don't really like western RPGs most of the time.  I did enjoy Fallout 3 pretty well, though I didn't finish it, though.

I think that Bethesda finds themselves in a tough spot because they're doing something that is partly progressive and largely genre-traditional, and they're trying to pack in HD graphics and ridiculous amounts of content all at the same go, and then the end package is pretty expensive (like any next gen game).  That basically gives them the impossible task of trying to make games that would be the best example of a well-known genre.  Easier to do with FPS games, which are all about refined mechanics and a unique gameplay hook, but not so much with something so content-heavy.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: zebramatt on August 04, 2011, 09:20:13 AM
Or look at Portal, where Valve hired the entire independent Narbacular Drop development team to come work for them!
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 04, 2011, 09:23:58 AM
Definitely!  Or DotA.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: BobTheJanitor on August 05, 2011, 05:40:02 PM
Once AVWW is out in the hands of the public, hopefully in about 6 weeks, then the question of when 1.0 hits is mostly about whether a lot of people are waiting for 1.0, Steam release, etc, before buying it. 

The Steam release is what gets you here. A lot of people, I've noticed, will just not buy anything if it's not on Steam. The ideal would be the option to tell people that a pre-purchase will include a Steam license once the Steam release comes. But that doesn't seem to be something that most developers can be sure about ahead of time. I'll buy things outside of Steam rarely, but usually only if it's something that I really really want. The last non-Steam purchase I made was... I think Space Pirates and Zombies. That has a happy ending though, since it is coming on Steam soon and the license is transferable to Steam, so I won't have to worry about booting up Impulse to check for updates any more. But yeah, some people are just Steam or nothing.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 05, 2011, 06:36:22 PM
Yes, this is true -- but on the other hand, not being on Steam hasn't hurt some very high profile indie games.  Minecraft being the obvious example, but there are a handful of others that sell as well as AI War does on Steam, but without the help of Steam.  If we hit some solid numbers based on excitement from the folks who aren't "Steam or nothing," then that's enough.

One thing about Minecraft and some of the others, though, I should think: is that apparently there's no chance of Minecraft coming out on Steam, at least in the opinion of most folks, so that makes the "Steam or nothing" actually "Minecraft or not, regardless of Steam."  So that might somewhat negate my point above.

Assuming that AVWW comes out on Steam, which I see no reason why it wouldn't at this point, there's no way it wouldn't have registerable keys there.  We've got 5 products on Steam at this point, all with registerable keys, so I think it's pretty clear that's something that would continue.  I can't promise anything on Valve's behalf or anything, but I don't know why that would suddenly change, anyway.

So, yeah.  Who knows!  Only time will tell.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Cyborg on August 05, 2011, 06:37:01 PM
I agree with Bob. I would rather buy from steam than get my CD key stolen by some generator.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 05, 2011, 06:39:30 PM
Steam has fixed all of those as they come up, but it is a hassle, yeah.  On the other hand, if you register it as soon as it comes out on Steam, then it's unlikely any pirate would have time to do so, anyway.  The problem with AI War was that people have been keygenning these for over a year, and so it's impossible to know what has been fraudulently registered on Steam.  It took quite a while of both the game being out, and being out on Steam, before that happened, though.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: BobTheJanitor on August 08, 2011, 03:28:28 PM
I think one should always be careful when any comparison includes Minecraft. It is pretty much a category unto itself. Most indie games probably fail or make just enough cash to keep the company afloat, except for Minecraft. Most indie games don't get away with selling alpha/beta versions with the promise of a full release some nebulous date in the future, except for Minecraft. Most indie game devs can't get away with promising features and then not delivering on them for months/years of new patches, except Notch. Most indie devs would probably give in if Valve showed up at the door with a dumptruck full of money, and then there's Notch. Minecraft just managed to be the right game at the right time. Notch is either a genius, or incredibly lucky that he stumbled into the right formula to print money.

Anyone who wants to be the next Mojang should probably also consider that they're much more likely to be the next Indie Stone (and that's if they're lucky, although those guys might still make it to an actual release). More likely they'll be the next unknown company that fails before they ever release their unknown game. I completely went off topic from whatever I was talking about now... but anyway yeah. Minecraft is weird.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 08, 2011, 04:00:28 PM
I agree that Minecraft is a force unto itself, but there are more indies than you think that are making a decent living.  I keep in contact with a number of them, and I even know one other than Notch who turned down Steam.  Can't say who, but he's doing fine on his own without them.  Granted, I think he'd be doing better with them, but still.

Anyhow, I think your points are valid, but I don't think they particularly apply to us.  We aren't trying to be the next Mojang, and our development practices, etc, are just as long established as theirs (AI War 1.0 and Minecraft's first public alpha having hit around the same month -- May 2009).  Minecraft obviously sold incredible amounts and isn't even 1.0 yet, but there are a good handful of other games that have sold 5 figures numbers of units in preorders during beta periods.  In the case of, say, World of Goo that was more money during their beta preorders than AI War has taken in through two years and four expansions.  And AI War's north of half a million dollars in, now.

So I was really just saying that it varies, and some games get carried along during beta in a fashion that means there is less rush to 1.0.  If we found ourselves in that situation I think we'd keep developing the game at the same or higher rate compared to normal, but we'd push back the release date some to hit the ideal time and to really let the game get huge by even 1.0.  For players, I think this is only a good thing.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: BobTheJanitor on August 09, 2011, 12:07:16 PM
Yeah, all true. I don't think my points were aimed at Arcen specifically. Sometimes I see a point and I just charge at it, without caring whether or not it applies to anything relevant. Don't mind my rambling, carry on with your game making!
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 09, 2011, 12:12:39 PM
No worries. ;)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Echo35 on August 11, 2011, 08:51:29 PM
Steam has fixed all of those as they come up, but it is a hassle, yeah.  On the other hand, if you register it as soon as it comes out on Steam, then it's unlikely any pirate would have time to do so, anyway.  The problem with AI War was that people have been keygenning these for over a year, and so it's impossible to know what has been fraudulently registered on Steam.  It took quite a while of both the game being out, and being out on Steam, before that happened, though.

They seem to be pretty good at fixing instances where this happens anyway. I know of at least one or two people that couldn't register their AI War on Steam because of a keygen or something, and Steam fixed it for them.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 11, 2011, 09:52:38 PM
Yeah, there's a Valve guy on their forums that players can PM, and he straightens it out pretty fast.  Really good of them to do.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Hearteater on August 12, 2011, 09:18:49 AM
Once you've run AI Wars once using your keys on your account, no other Steam account can use those keys, right?  I ask because I recently reinstalled my OS and I had to re-enter my AI War keys which I thought was odd.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 12, 2011, 09:23:25 AM
Once you've run AI Wars once using your keys on your account, no other Steam account can use those keys, right?  I ask because I recently reinstalled my OS and I had to re-enter my AI War keys which I thought was odd.

Yes, that is correct.  However, AI War itself doesn't hook into Steam's DRM, so you have to enter your license key in-game.  But you don't have to enter your license key in Steam itself, and Steam remembers your key for you.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: keith.lamothe on August 12, 2011, 09:29:09 AM
Once you've run AI Wars once using your keys on your account, no other Steam account can use those keys, right?
Actually it's once Steam has associated those keys with your steam account, either because you bought the game directly from steam or registered your keys through the Add-Game interface.  You don't even have to install or execute the application to "claim" the keys.

But yea, the AI War executable has no idea what your steam keys are, so they have to be entered in-game.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Hearteater on August 12, 2011, 09:23:35 PM
Ok, so anyone buying the game through steam can't have a problem because unused keys are created and associated at the same time.  Just curious though, why not go through Steam DRM?
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: keith.lamothe on August 12, 2011, 10:05:50 PM
Ok, so anyone buying the game through steam can't have a problem because unused keys are created and associated at the same time.
Not created, we send them a big ol list of keys we've generated and they sell those.  But I imagine that if someone keygen'd one of those and tried to register it through Add-Game then Valve would do something between "laugh" and "shoot".

Quote
Just curious though, why not go through Steam DRM?
Because not having any significant DRM is a very good thing.  Also, since all you get is a license key, you can use that in any version of the game.  Some folks like having a non-steam copy too.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Wingsofdomain on August 17, 2011, 08:02:08 PM
So back to topic. Can we expect a beta in august?

and... if you don't want anyone to buy your game in hestitate (in a hestitate?.. whatever...) why don't you ONLY realese the demo first?
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: realcoolguy on August 17, 2011, 08:18:55 PM
The way AI War worked (and it worked great) was you get the full game with a time limit.  This let the developer just focus on making the game and not cutting up some sort of demo.  By developing everything at the same time, it's efficient and it's not wasting time on developing a demo.  As far as I can tell the moment everything is playable enough, they're going to open up the demo and allow people to buy the beta.  This is a great service to us as players, since we can keep trying it, and when we think it's looking good enough to keep playing we can put down the cash for the full game.  Then we own it, even if it's in beta.  I think this system is very flexible and generous to the consumer.

The 'feeling' I'm getting is that we may have to be a little patient (I suggest putting money in the freezer) but I'm sure we'll be able to buy it in 2011 - but trying it out, we'll have to wait for them to say they're ready.  I've mentally prepared for 2 weeks into September.  Anything beyond that may result in mental instability  :o.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Wingsofdomain on August 17, 2011, 08:49:18 PM
The way AI War worked (and it worked great) was you get the full game with a time limit.  This let the developer just focus on making the game and not cutting up some sort of demo.  By developing everything at the same time, it's efficient and it's not wasting time on developing a demo.  As far as I can tell the moment everything is playable enough, they're going to open up the demo and allow people to buy the beta.  This is a great service to us as players, since we can keep trying it, and when we think it's looking good enough to keep playing we can put down the cash for the full game.  Then we own it, even if it's in beta.  I think this system is very flexible and generous to the consumer.

The 'feeling' I'm getting is that we may have to be a little patient (I suggest putting money in the freezer) but I'm sure we'll be able to buy it in 2011 - but trying it out, we'll have to wait for them to say they're ready.  I've mentally prepared for 2 weeks into September.  Anything beyond that may result in mental instability  :o.
O.o o.O Is this a respond to me post?

No, in the demo/trial of AI war you could only use simple shiptypes and only easy AI types.... ?!...

ofc we will be able to buy the game in 2011 since it will be out around october (correct me if I am wrong at the month) and before that the beta will be realesed and you'll have to pre-oder the game to play the beta. :S
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: realcoolguy on August 17, 2011, 09:06:36 PM
The way AI War worked (and it worked great) was you get the full game with a time limit.  This let the developer just focus on making the game and not cutting up some sort of demo.  By developing everything at the same time, it's efficient and it's not wasting time on developing a demo.  As far as I can tell the moment everything is playable enough, they're going to open up the demo and allow people to buy the beta.  This is a great service to us as players, since we can keep trying it, and when we think it's looking good enough to keep playing we can put down the cash for the full game.  Then we own it, even if it's in beta.  I think this system is very flexible and generous to the consumer.

The 'feeling' I'm getting is that we may have to be a little patient (I suggest putting money in the freezer) but I'm sure we'll be able to buy it in 2011 - but trying it out, we'll have to wait for them to say they're ready.  I've mentally prepared for 2 weeks into September.  Anything beyond that may result in mental instability  :o.
O.o o.O Is this a respond to me post?

No, in the demo/trial of AI war you could only use simple shiptypes and only easy AI types.... ?!...

ofc we will be able to buy the game in 2011 since it will be out around october (correct me if I am wrong at the month) and before that the beta will be realesed and you'll have to pre-oder the game to play the beta. :S

Oh wow, my memory must be fuzzy.  I remember you got to play most of the full game, either way it was good enough to get me to buy based on reviews written by other people.  Seems I miss-spoke.  Spent all day taking apart my car and putting it back together.  I think I might have gotten some extra fumes.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 17, 2011, 09:26:07 PM
The way AI War worked (and it worked great) was you get the full game with a time limit.  This let the developer just focus on making the game and not cutting up some sort of demo.  By developing everything at the same time, it's efficient and it's not wasting time on developing a demo.  As far as I can tell the moment everything is playable enough, they're going to open up the demo and allow people to buy the beta.  This is a great service to us as players, since we can keep trying it, and when we think it's looking good enough to keep playing we can put down the cash for the full game.  Then we own it, even if it's in beta.  I think this system is very flexible and generous to the consumer.

The 'feeling' I'm getting is that we may have to be a little patient (I suggest putting money in the freezer) but I'm sure we'll be able to buy it in 2011 - but trying it out, we'll have to wait for them to say they're ready.  I've mentally prepared for 2 weeks into September.  Anything beyond that may result in mental instability  :o.

This is actually pretty much entirely correct (and thanks for the kind words).  It's true that on the AI War demo it also limits what AI types and ship types you can use, down to about a third of what you can use in the full game, but I don't think that's the sort of thing that particularly impacts anyone's ability to demo the game.  Beyond that, it's just the game with a time limit of 3 hours per campaign, with no other changes.  And the demo and the full game are identical files, it's just adding in those tiny limitations and then the more relevant time limit when you haven't entered a license key.

When it comes to AVWW, that's pretty well the same thing we'll be doing.  I'm not sure if we'll be putting in functionality limitations or not, but there will definitely be a time limit again.  Most likely less than 3 hours, as -- unlike AI War -- I don't really think that quite that long is needed in order to demo the game.  But, that said, we'll probably tweak and tune exactly how the demo functions based on feedback from players.  Originally AI War only gave 1 hour of trial time, but it was noted that players needed more and so we increased it to 3.  What we want is that sweet spot where players are able to fully grasp and understand the game, and try it and come back later if they're wanting to wait and see, but where they are also left really wanting more. 

If players can play the demo and be fully satisfied (as in not wanting more), then we've shot ourselves in the foot.  Obviously Bejeweled has sold a hojillion copies, but I also felt like -- for me, at least -- their free version did everything I wanted from the game and so I've never bought it.  That's really a side note, and I'm clearly not in their target audience for that specific game (though I love and own Peggle and PvZ), but it's that basic thing that we're trying to avoid with a demo.  As long as we can avoid that, I'm happy to share as much as possible with players so that they can really know what they are getting and feel confident in a purchase.  And like with AI War, "demo" worlds can be continued past the time limit once the game is bought.




In terms of the original question, as to when the beta (demo and full) can be expected, it should be about 2 weeks into September.  More likely than not the full 1.0 will be coming out in November at the earliest, though we might push it back to January depending on how it does in beta.  One way or the other we're going to be keeping on developing this post-1.0, same as with AI War, but the question is really when we have the big "it's now 1.0!" event, and that's more a question of when we have to for financial reasons, mixed with when makes marketing sense to do so, mixed with how feature-packed and polished the game is in each month.  Either way, come January this will be a bigger game than in November.  And two years from now I hope the game similarly dwarfs itself like AI War 5.0 does to AI War 1.0.

Either way, the goal for beta is to have that pretty well finished by the end of this month in terms of the core features minus fully functional multiplayer, and then to spend the first two weeks of September working on multiplayer, last polish, last pre-beta content, marketing materials and discussions with distribution partners, private playtesting and balance tweaks, and so on.  Then when we officially announce that it's beta in mid-September, we'll have the demo for free plus the full version for those that preorder, and then we expect to have daily-or-nearly-so updates to the game starting from then forward and running until whenever we announce 1.0 (and really, beyond that even).  Basically the same pattern that an AI War expansion release has had, past that point.

As an added note, Keith will be joining Arcen fulltime on September 1, so that's really going to be an enormous help to our productivity, too.  Our combined programmer manhours will grow by about 25% there, and the full effect will also be that Keith's attention won't be oscillating between his other job and Arcen.  I am super, super excited that we're finally hitting the point where we can do that.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: realcoolguy on August 17, 2011, 10:58:46 PM
The way AI War worked (and it worked great) was you get the full game with a time limit.  This let the developer just focus on making the game and not cutting up some sort of demo.  By developing everything at the same time, it's efficient and it's not wasting time on developing a demo.  As far as I can tell the moment everything is playable enough, they're going to open up the demo and allow people to buy the beta.  This is a great service to us as players, since we can keep trying it, and when we think it's looking good enough to keep playing we can put down the cash for the full game.  Then we own it, even if it's in beta.  I think this system is very flexible and generous to the consumer.

The 'feeling' I'm getting is that we may have to be a little patient (I suggest putting money in the freezer) but I'm sure we'll be able to buy it in 2011 - but trying it out, we'll have to wait for them to say they're ready.  I've mentally prepared for 2 weeks into September.  Anything beyond that may result in mental instability  :o.

This is actually pretty much entirely correct (and thanks for the kind words).  It's true that on the AI War demo it also limits what AI types and ship types you can use, down to about a third of what you can use in the full game, but I don't think that's the sort of thing that particularly impacts anyone's ability to demo the game.  Beyond that, it's just the game with a time limit of 3 hours per campaign, with no other changes.  And the demo and the full game are identical files, it's just adding in those tiny limitations and then the more relevant time limit when you haven't entered a license key.

When it comes to AVWW, that's pretty well the same thing we'll be doing.  I'm not sure if we'll be putting in functionality limitations or not, but there will definitely be a time limit again.  Most likely less than 3 hours, as -- unlike AI War -- I don't really think that quite that long is needed in order to demo the game.  But, that said, we'll probably tweak and tune exactly how the demo functions based on feedback from players.  Originally AI War only gave 1 hour of trial time, but it was noted that players needed more and so we increased it to 3.  What we want is that sweet spot where players are able to fully grasp and understand the game, and try it and come back later if they're wanting to wait and see, but where they are also left really wanting more. 

If players can play the demo and be fully satisfied (as in not wanting more), then we've shot ourselves in the foot.  Obviously Bejeweled has sold a hojillion copies, but I also felt like -- for me, at least -- their free version did everything I wanted from the game and so I've never bought it.  That's really a side note, and I'm clearly not in their target audience for that specific game (though I love and own Peggle and PvZ), but it's that basic thing that we're trying to avoid with a demo.  As long as we can avoid that, I'm happy to share as much as possible with players so that they can really know what they are getting and feel confident in a purchase.  And like with AI War, "demo" worlds can be continued past the time limit once the game is bought.




In terms of the original question, as to when the beta (demo and full) can be expected, it should be about 2 weeks into September.  More likely than not the full 1.0 will be coming out in November at the earliest, though we might push it back to January depending on how it does in beta.  One way or the other we're going to be keeping on developing this post-1.0, same as with AI War, but the question is really when we have the big "it's now 1.0!" event, and that's more a question of when we have to for financial reasons, mixed with when makes marketing sense to do so, mixed with how feature-packed and polished the game is in each month.  Either way, come January this will be a bigger game than in November.  And two years from now I hope the game similarly dwarfs itself like AI War 5.0 does to AI War 1.0.

Either way, the goal for beta is to have that pretty well finished by the end of this month in terms of the core features minus fully functional multiplayer, and then to spend the first two weeks of September working on multiplayer, last polish, last pre-beta content, marketing materials and discussions with distribution partners, private playtesting and balance tweaks, and so on.  Then when we officially announce that it's beta in mid-September, we'll have the demo for free plus the full version for those that preorder, and then we expect to have daily-or-nearly-so updates to the game starting from then forward and running until whenever we announce 1.0 (and really, beyond that even).  Basically the same pattern that an AI War expansion release has had, past that point.

As an added note, Keith will be joining Arcen fulltime on September 1, so that's really going to be an enormous help to our productivity, too.  Our combined programmer manhours will grow by about 25% there, and the full effect will also be that Keith's attention won't be oscillating between his other job and Arcen.  I am super, super excited that we're finally hitting the point where we can do that.

 :'(  Look at all that typing!  We're pushing back AVWW - by at least 5 minutes there alone!  That could have been some fancy new armor - or some new spell.  /hopefully kidding

[aiwar]
We look forward to Keith joining the team, and can't wait until he re-re-re-renames the Antimatter starship.  Now that he's on full-time - no more of this waiting 2 months between names.   8)
[/aiwar]
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: BobTheJanitor on August 18, 2011, 01:11:29 AM
A good demo can really make or break a sale. I've been hearing a fair bit of hype about Bastion lately. So when it finally showed up on Steam, I tried the demo. It was... OK? It has some neat graphical tweaks, and it has a great thing going for it with that narrator. But beyond that, it seems like a really basic run around, kill monsters game. I've had some people tell me that it gets much better later, but the demo didn't give me any indication of that. Maybe it had been over hyped for me, but that demo ultimately felt like a letdown. Also it seems like all they did was chop off the first level of the game and call it the demo. I don't know, maybe that was a mistake. All I know is I went into that demo fully expecting to eventually purchase the game at full price, but afterwards I felt like I could wait until it goes on sale 6 month or a year down the line.

Seems like developers don't always remember that a demo is their big chance to make their best sales pitch. (Admittedly, a lot of indie devs don't know sales, they know game coding, and more power to them) A person who went to the trouble of downloading and playing your demo is going to have at least some interest in giving you money for your work. It's terrible to waste that chance!

Shifting gears, glad to hear that Keith is coming on full time! I don't know what else he was doing, but I'll just imagine that it was some terrible dead-end job categorizing metal filings at the widget factory, and now he can instead live the dream of being an indie developer, where every day is sunshine and rainbows and you have a cadre of servants to tend to your every whim. (That's just what it's like, right?)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: zebramatt on August 18, 2011, 06:09:16 AM
A good demo can really make or break a sale. I've been hearing a fair bit of hype about Bastion lately. So when it finally showed up on Steam, I tried the demo. It was... OK? It has some neat graphical tweaks, and it has a great thing going for it with that narrator. But beyond that, it seems like a really basic run around, kill monsters game. I've had some people tell me that it gets much better later, but the demo didn't give me any indication of that. Maybe it had been over hyped for me, but that demo ultimately felt like a letdown. Also it seems like all they did was chop off the first level of the game and call it the demo. I don't know, maybe that was a mistake. All I know is I went into that demo fully expecting to eventually purchase the game at full price, but afterwards I felt like I could wait until it goes on sale 6 month or a year down the line.

Seems like developers don't always remember that a demo is their big chance to make their best sales pitch. (Admittedly, a lot of indie devs don't know sales, they know game coding, and more power to them) A person who went to the trouble of downloading and playing your demo is going to have at least some interest in giving you money for your work. It's terrible to waste that chance!

Actually, I think you hit the nail on the head. Bastion is pretty much a very finely polished run and gun with some lovely graphical touches and a unique plot conveyed through wonderfully off the wall narration. So the demo did a damn fine job of conveying the game to you - it just turns out the game isn't all you'd hoped for.

Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 18, 2011, 09:02:37 AM
Heh, I prefer not to have misinformation or misunderstandings floating around out there, so it's worth taking a bit of time now and then.  But I'm definitely posting less these days for a reason while we get beta ready. :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: superking on August 18, 2011, 02:48:52 PM
cool, my money is waiting
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: mrhanman on August 23, 2011, 09:35:50 PM
I'm eagerly awaiting the chance to purchase this game.  I recently bought Tidalis solely because I was so impressed with AI War.  Turns out, it's an excellent game in its own right.  The AI War purchase was on a whim - I had no prior expectations what so ever.  I was soundly rewarded for my impulsiveness.  My only regret is that I only discovered it fairly recently.  Very likely, any game I see in the future with your name on it will result in an instant buy (providing it's not about grooming ponies, or some such (I'd still give the demo a shot)).  Thank you for your vision, and for your desire and talent to share it with us.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 23, 2011, 09:52:33 PM
Thank you so much for the kind words!  It's always rewarding to see Tidalis in particular getting some love. :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Dan_Cilantro on August 27, 2011, 04:51:20 AM
Chris and co- just wanted to pitch in some words of encouragement because I know you're diligent about reading feedback- you're one of the most interesting and industrious indie devs I've encountered (your updates are novel-length, but I wouldn't' have it any other way). Sure, I'm reluctant to play it because I feel it's beyond my admittedly feeble RTS skill/patience level, but I recognize AI war for its genius concept and great space-grognard appeal-that's apparent at a glance. AVWOW looks a lot more approachable yet appears to contain considerable depth, for which I applaud you. Side-scrolling POV was a surprise but I'm coming around. Here's wishing you Notch-level success. I particularly like how you leverage procedural gen towards content in a way that doesn't seem (obviously) transparent. Because that's the trick, isn't it?
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 27, 2011, 10:07:03 AM
Welcome to the forums, and thanks for the kind words! We're definitely excited about the blend of depth and approachability with AVWW, that's for sure. It's been an interesting project to work on, because it blends so many things that you don't normally see blended. Some of that is still secret, but as soon as it's presentable we can't wait to show in the next 2-3 weeks.

I think with the procedural content stuff, we really learned a lot about that with ai war. The problem with things seeming too obviously procedural is when you don't have enough levels of procedural elements. If it's just building floorplans, or weapons, for instance, that only goes so far. But what we've got is instead procedural elements at half a dozen or more levels of granularity, and I think that's what really helps. With ai war I kept feeling limited by that fact that most of space is just... empty space. So we got used to having to be really tricky to make things feel varied and interesting under those conditions; by comparison, working on a terrestrial game has been a cornucopia of possibilities for us to explore.

Anyhow, thanks very much for the kind words, and we look forward to sharing more -- and beta in just a few weeks! :)

P.S. Writing from my phone, so apologies for any typos.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: realcoolguy on August 27, 2011, 09:22:58 PM
Quote
It's been an interesting project to work on, because it blends so many things that you don't normally see blended.

I'm excited to see the 'list' of things that inspired both the game & the story.  I have my suspicions as to what some of the elements were, plus the fact that the developers ARE enormous nerds (I mean this in the best possible way  :D) means that there are probably a huge list of items that ended up falling into the enormous melting pot that is AVWW.  I'm curious in terms of both game play and story.  The story I'm probably just going to have wait for, but if it's half of what I'm hoping for it's going to be great!
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 28, 2011, 11:11:00 PM
We're definitely huge geeks, and in good company in these parts. :) And proud of it! For the story, this is one of those big things that is larger than just one story. This is about a whole world, so it's not intended to just be one linear tale about some specific hero. This is a tale of a whole civilization (actually, multiple civilizations and time periods) and what happens to them after their world breaks and reforms.

Anyway, I came up with probably the larger part of the premise, but Keith came up with most of the intricacies of the history and lore (a lot of which is still thought of as "present day" for many of the characters in the game, so it's not just useless backstory). And then many other elements we came up with together as we've been working on it. Some things come out of necessity for some game mechanics that we wanted (as with ai war), others were because we like th idea of this or that thing, or just had these bits of story floating around in us. Keith, Erik, and myself are all fiction writers, and we're all having a hand in the story, setting, and/or dialogue. Keith is definitely the king on the story/history, though.

In terms of the other elements... well, it's all a matter of what fits in the world. Keith and I really wanted to focus on making an interesting, infinite, procedural world where you could feel like you were really there doing... whatever interesting thing you wanted to do. Not a sandbox game, not really, but a game where you could play a variety of different kinds of games in one world -- even a variety of different roles in one world -- and see it all contribute into the progression of that single world.

So far we're just scratching the surface of what our real ambitions are for the game, but what's already there is really fun and cool. It's exciting times for us, as all the core subsystems are finally coming together and now I'm getting to focus more on things like new enemies and bosses, and Keith is getting to focus more on the macro-game elements.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: realcoolguy on August 30, 2011, 08:10:17 PM
For the story, this is one of those big things that is larger than just one story. This is about a whole world, so it's not intended to just be one linear tale about some specific hero. This is a tale of a whole civilization (actually, multiple civilizations and time periods) and what happens to them after their world breaks and reforms.

I should probably mention that by story I merely mean the reason/purpose behind the multiple time periods existing.  I know you guys are trying to really make every experience unique, so I'm not looking for a 'linear story' - I think I'm going to find mostly what I want based on the tidbits I have heard.  Keep up all the great work!  Your first gameplay video completely sold me, I would buy the game with a blindfold at this point.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on August 30, 2011, 08:12:53 PM
Gotcha -- and thanks! :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: KDR_11k on September 04, 2011, 04:35:59 PM
Time flies. It's already September. Got everything on schedule?
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on September 04, 2011, 05:32:39 PM
We're looking pretty good! It's tight as always on the schedule, but we're quiet right now because we're in our final pre-beta push. :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: tigersfan on September 04, 2011, 10:16:05 PM
Does that mean than an announcement is only days (or dare I say, even hours?) away? Or are we still talking like more than a week or so?
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on September 04, 2011, 10:18:49 PM
Most likely we'll give about a week's notice. The timing of beta depends on about how the next 6-7 working days go. If we get all our work done in that time, then we're looking at a beta about a week after that, roughly speaking.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: tigersfan on September 04, 2011, 10:26:58 PM
Yeah, you said before you'd give about a week's notice, I was wondering when that week might start (sorry for the confusion). But, if I'm reading your answer right, if things go right on your end (and we all just stop posting and leave you alone :-) ), we'll get the week's notice around or just after 9-11. Is that about right?
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Jerebaldo1 on September 05, 2011, 02:46:42 AM
This game looks like a great companion piece to a confusing and disarrayed time in one's life, and the entire world. All the fragments from different eras and the backstory to piece together are very intriguing, like one of my favorite elements of the Fallout games. I imagine that with this approach it'll be possible to slowly, steadily add in new texts with most of the patches that tell us more. I'm looking for a meaningful post apocalyptic experience, and this looks to be it.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on September 05, 2011, 09:21:16 AM
Yeah, you said before you'd give about a week's notice, I was wondering when that week might start (sorry for the confusion). But, if I'm reading your answer right, if things go right on your end (and we all just stop posting and leave you alone :-) ), we'll get the week's notice around or just after 9-11. Is that about right?

IF things all go to plan, then ideally we'll give the week's notice on or around the 13th through the 14h, and then the beta would be around a week from that date.  I think at this point if the schedule slips, we'll be looking at a beta releasing on the 19th at the worst.  Knock on wood. ;)

Things are really speeding along lately for the game, and I am super excited to share it with you guys, but I'm definitely keeping quiet overall because it's too much of a time sink at the moment to talk about it when you'll be able to see it in such short order.  We'll have a lot of new info coming out during the week before beta, though, while Keith is polishing up multiplayer and I'm talking to vendors and prepping builds and all that good stuff.

This game looks like a great companion piece to a confusing and disarrayed time in one's life, and the entire world. All the fragments from different eras and the backstory to piece together are very intriguing, like one of my favorite elements of the Fallout games. I imagine that with this approach it'll be possible to slowly, steadily add in new texts with most of the patches that tell us more. I'm looking for a meaningful post apocalyptic experience, and this looks to be it.

Thanks for the kind words -- and welcome to the forums!  Our goal with AVWW isn't so much to tell a specific story, but to plunk you down in a broken world and let you carve a path of your own.  And as a part of that, to create an interesting and compelling world around you.  I think that we're getting there, as far as all that goes -- there's still a lot more we'll be building up over time in beta and after, as you say, but I'm pleased with the feeling that the whole package is giving me at this point.  It's definitely the core of what I was looking for. :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: KDR_11k on September 05, 2011, 11:15:59 AM
IF things all go to plan, then ideally we'll give the week's notice on or around the 23th through the 14h, and then the beta would be around a week from that date.  I think at this point if the schedule slips, we'll be looking at a beta releasing on the 19th at the worst.  Knock on wood. ;)

Given the other numbers in the post I assume you meant to type 13th, not 23th?
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on September 05, 2011, 11:17:43 AM
Yep, thanks, fixed that. :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: zespri on September 05, 2011, 05:16:45 PM
Oh new ava, nice!  :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: realcoolguy on September 05, 2011, 05:46:39 PM
Oh new ava, nice!  :)

I can't even tell which one is the developer/brainz of the operation!
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on September 05, 2011, 06:03:49 PM
Hahaha, thanks. :)
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Merryl on September 06, 2011, 03:08:57 PM
Just found out about this yesterday from the News link on the AI War page in my Steam library, and I'm already so excited I can barely wait for the beta--looks like a cross between Dwarf Fortress' Adventure Mode and Terraria, with the added bonus of an endless world that actually CARES about your accomplishments. I'm with the original poster--I look forward to being separated from my money, if it means I'll get such a delicious-looking treat to devour.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on September 06, 2011, 03:10:04 PM
Thanks so much!  We can't wait to share it with folks, too! :)

Getting close now.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: KDR_11k on September 16, 2011, 02:48:42 PM
Due to a lack of AVWW money taking I just grabbed a boxed copy of AI War. Well, mostly because I wanted a boxed copy of that.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on September 16, 2011, 02:50:58 PM
Cool stuff!  In what country?  I guess Germany, most likely.  The sad thing with boxed copies in that country is that we actually got paid $0 for all of that because the publisher went bankrupt before paying us a cent.  Go figure!  But I'm always glad for people to get a boxed copy of that game, because it's just cool having it be in stores, etc.

Tidalis in Germany, on the other hand -- that directly supports us as that publisher is still doing well!

Not that I'm really suggesting anything at all -- really, I'm not.  But since you mentioned it I thought I'd mention that as sort of a point of interest.
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: Itchykobu on September 16, 2011, 05:28:01 PM
If only we had an AVWW beta to play this weekend. Waiting (almost) patiently!
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: BobTheJanitor on September 16, 2011, 05:51:57 PM
The sad thing with boxed copies in that country is that we actually got paid $0 for all of that because the publisher went bankrupt before paying us a cent.  Go figure!  But I'm always glad for people to get a boxed copy of that game, because it's just cool having it be in stores, etc.

Wow, that's lame. Who ends up with the money from those sales then? The publisher's bankruptcy lawyer?
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: keith.lamothe on September 16, 2011, 05:55:31 PM
Wow, that's lame. Who ends up with the money from those sales then? The publisher's bankruptcy lawyer?
Or whatever final bills they did wind up paying before giving up trying to pay, or the stockholders or whatever.  Hard to say, really.  Suffice it to say that there's some argument for defining economic turmoil as "when people can/will no longer honor their previous agreements".
Title: Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
Post by: x4000 on September 16, 2011, 06:31:17 PM
Wow, that's lame. Who ends up with the money from those sales then? The publisher's bankruptcy lawyer?
Or whatever final bills they did wind up paying before giving up trying to pay, or the stockholders or whatever.  Hard to say, really.  Suffice it to say that there's some argument for defining economic turmoil as "when people can/will no longer honor their previous agreements".

Other people they owe money to wind up collecting, I think.  Bigger ones tend to win out first.  The investors are likely just as hosed as us.