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Federation Admiral
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Paul B
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Joined: 27 Dec 2006
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:
We already have two campaign systems (F&E and CDH) and this will be the third, if not the fourth (since SFB is chock full of campaigns).


Yes I've heard but none of those systems are purpose made for Federation Commander. As a player I don't mind larger rulebooks if they're tailor made for the game I'm playing, and if that extra material is all options or scenarios that I can incorporate into the game. A book that is long (ie FA) isn't necessarily complicated, it just has a lot of material.

But if the system is a game in itself (F&E), or is designed for another system (GC) and has a bunch of rules that will need to be ignored and will require a decent amount of work by the player I'm not really interested. The latter in particular is troublesome because it leads to disagreements among players as to what is the correct and balanced course of action.

I know in one of your posts you mentioned that you thought the full game might be a good fit for SFB. I don't know if Fed Admiral is going to include material for SFB or some of the other lines, but if it does personally any information which suits SFB but not FC would be a waste of space from my perspective. And probably an annoyance in the long run. Especially if I have to continually skim over a bunch of rules I'll never use to find the one I'm looking for.
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Savedfromwhat
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Cole with all due respect, these are your games you created them, and they are fun. But Federation and Empire is not a Campaign System for Federation commander and I would argue it isnt one for Star Fleet Battles either. Obviously you made it so you can say what is is so to speak, but calling a Tiger a housecat doesn't make it one. At best Federation and Empire is a Scenario Generator where each time you fight you have 12 ships a side plus a free scout and a free frigate and free fighters. But then again there are no Fighters in Federation Commander, Scouts are very limited in Federation Commander, and 75-80% of the Ships used in Federation and Empire don't exist in Federation Commander.

I guess all I am driving at is that a portion of your player base is craving a campaign system for the game they play and don't like being told that they should just use this other one thats already there even though it is far from workable for them.

Respectfully
Nick
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering that my housecat actually IS a leopard, I'll take it as a compliment.

Being one of the few who have read Fed Admiral, i can say that it's more suited to SFB than FC, and so says the other guy who has read it cold.
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Paul B
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:

Being one of the few who have read Fed Admiral, i can say that it's more suited to SFB than FC, and so says the other guy who has read it cold.


That's one thing I don't understand. In what way is it more appropriate for SFB than FC? Is it a complexity issue?

I think I mentioned this in another thread, but so far as I know the core mechanics of the VBAM system do not change from system to system. And from my experience with other products the logistics, resources and so forth are all very straightforward. A planet for example had maybe 4 numbers associated with it. Production potential, production levels, census and morale. There are optional rules and situational stuff, but the core is quite simple.

But the system as far as I know has been adapted to Starmada, and in that system and in that audience it has done quite well. Keeping in mind that Starmada is a far simpler game than either FC or SFB. So if the crowd that plays a simple game receives the vbam system well, why is it not well suited for a much more complex game (Federation Commander).

Not only that, but most of the people who have actually played Fed Admiral and post on the forums have given positive remarks about the system. So I'm not sure who the "other guy" is, but was the system not well received by the people who ACTIVELY play-tested it? Maybe I've missed some of posts by the naysayers who aren't fans of the system?

I've heard the book is large, but I've also heard that much of that bulk is taken up by purely optional rules and scenarios which suggests that the core or basic rules themselves are not appreciably long.


Or maybe a better question might be, what would you envision as a campaign system for Fed Commander and in what way does Fed Admiral not fit that mold?
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Savedfromwhat
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:
Considering that my housecat actually IS a leopard, I'll take it as a compliment.

Being one of the few who have read Fed Admiral, i can say that it's more suited to SFB than FC, and so says the other guy who has read it cold.


As far as the housecat comment goes I stand corrected Very Happy and if FA is more appropriate for SFB then I understand the reason for the delay. Sounds like it is your desire to get a product out that will fit a niche it is meant to fit. In other words it will be ready when its ready and I should atop worrying. I just wanted to post so that you would see there is still a desire for the product and I was just afraid it would get scrapped. Thank you for your respond and Happy Thanksgiving.


Nick
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mwaschak
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Joined: 22 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savedfromwhat wrote:
if FA is more appropriate for SFB then I understand the reason for the delay.
Nick


We have run this thing through the washer with many FC players. FA is a customized VBAM system (a hybrid of 1e and the upcoming 2e), which you can see on the market today. There aren't many secrets there about what the contents of FA could be.

While it would likely support KA out of the box, which VBAM does now with its constantly updated ship construction sheet and the original book. SFB is another animal entirely with maulers, cruise drones, and scouts so there are more things for us to take in to account there.

-Jay
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been a long time since I read the previous FA draft so the specifics are a little murkey, but I do recall reading (and mentioning in the forum at the time, and discussing with Jay) that FA was full of stuff that FC doesn't have, and that I was going to have to add dozens and dozens of SFB ships to FC to fully utlize FA.

Remember that ADB isn't designing FA, we're more or less just publishing what Jay wrote. The delay is simply that the book is GIGANTIC and that just pounding through the formatting without trying to add, delete, or edit a single word just took about 100 time as much work as it was supposed to take, which is why it didn't come out way back when. (At the time, we expected a "place and print" document like the Starmada books, which isn't what we got, as was discussed in painful detail at the time. Jay did a ton of additonal work on this thing to get it to a point I don't have to dedicate three years of my working life to just getting it into a page layout format.)

We certainly plan to print FA, probably in the first six months of next year. As for what it does and doens't work with, that's my interpretation of what I have read. I do think it works better with SFB than FC (until we finish Briefing #3, which it won't work without), but I'm sure it will work with whatever it works with.

The process is like this. I take a chapter, do my page layout thing, and send Jay a list of "things he needs to fix in future chapters" and ask him to send me ONE and only one more chapter. Jay then send me the rest of the book. So I extract one chapter, do that, and send Jay a further list of things he needs to fix in all of the subsequent chapters...

At some point, perhaps a month from now, perhaps six months from now, I'll have a really good grip on when we'll be able to finish it, and schedule a release date. [It's a "do the math" thing. If the book is 250 pages and it takes me a week to do chapter 1 which is ten pages, then it's going to take 24 more weeks to finish. If I do chapter 2 which is 20 pages in only 1.3 weeks, then you divide 220 by 1.3 and we'll be done in ... you get the point. It's far more complicated than that, since I have other projects to do. When we get "the visitation of the great dragon" (some project that consumes ALL available time and bumps ALL other projects and functions to future weeks) then those weeks don't count. (e.g., I have spent the last four weeks doing nothing but CL42 and Alien Armada and have at least one week to go, so nothing has happened on FA during that time.)
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Paul B
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmmn, well standard ADB format appears to just be paragraphs arranged in two columns per page, so I'm not sure why the formatting would be quite so time consuming. Also not sure why another 3rd party product would take precedence when this one's been delayed so long already (though CL delaying anything and everything I can understand). But I do know that some things which seem simple can actual be quite time consuming.

In any event. Just thought I'd throw out some comments to remind people that there is a demand. So hopefully we can all get our hands on it next year.

Thanks for your time.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a LOT more to it than putting it in two columns.

As for why AA gets priority over FA...

AA is closer to being finished. A lot closer. I doubt that I'll actually spend all of 3 days on AA. I spent three days on half a chapter of FA. Quality in, speedy out.

KA and RA have proven sales performance, FA sales are "anybody's guess".
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Paul B
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:
There is a LOT more to it than putting it in two columns.

As for why AA gets priority over FA...

AA is closer to being finished. A lot closer. I doubt that I'll actually spend all of 3 days on AA. I spent three days on half a chapter of FA. Quality in, speedy out.


"Quality in". So you're suggesting that FA is not quality? Despite the fact you've said that Jay has revised the entire book MULTIPLE TIMES to better facilitate formating?? And yet it still takes an inordinate amount of time? I don't get this at all. It's just text. Text is text. Copy+Paste. What's so hard about that?

Briefing#1 alone is 50 pages of text long. Even if FA is twice that, there's no reason for it take 6 months. Becaused SSDs aside I'm pretty sure you didn't take 3 months to format Briefing1's text.

And your remarks saying it took 3 days to do half a chapter are erroneous, this according to your own blog:

Sept 23 - I started working on Fed Admiral but ran into so many things I have to manually fix that I sent Jay a list of format and style sheet changes to make to the document so I don’t have to (The goofy way the translation works, I cannot do them on my end the easy way he can do them on his end. This way is 90% less total work, even if he has to do the 10%. Poor guy!)

Sept 24 - I tried to work on the revised Fed Admiral file, but it’s a bigger mess than before (tabs not fixed, blank lines disappeared, line spacing is still wrong). Sent back to Jay for another try at fixing it.

Sept 25 - I got the first chapter of Fed Admiral done, and sent it out so I could be told if I’m doing something wrong that I will have to fix before I do anything else wrong that I am going to have to fix.
in addition to I folded covers for Y3, and checked the Y3 rulebook. I created a master checklist so I can tell if I have done the GSRs for a given post-doomsday product.

So what does this say, it says you tried to work on chapter 1 on two consecutative days and stopped before you really got much work done. Then you got through an entire chapter in one day (in addition to working on Y3 and some checklist). So I don't know where this "3 days to do half a chapter" comes from. Also during the first two days Jay apparently revised and fixed the formatting for the entire document on each of those days.


September 25th is incidentally the last time you touched the book. If it takes one day to do a chapter and if the book has say 12 chapters it should take about 12 days. And if it takes 6 months to do the book it's probably because it's not being worked on during those 6 months just like it hasn't been at all worked on for the last 2 months.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dude,

Chill out.

It is not the case that "text is text". Formatting involves a lot of things, not just arranging text into columns. It involves figuring out how the information is organized. It involves editing the words to be as clear as possible. It involves readability. It involves making sure nothing is missing, and that extraneous information is removed. It is not a simple process and claiming that it is does not help one's credibility.

It also helps to fully read what has been written. That Jay completely rewrote the whole thing was a hindrance, not a help. Steve wanted it one chapter at a time. Following a demonstration of a lack of understanding of what has been written about the issues with throwing Steve's words back at him is not wise and is not helpful.

You have expressed your displeasure on the lack of progress on FA. That's fine and fair game. But escalating things from there is not productive and is completely unnecessary. You had said your piece. Adding more will not make things move any faster. Sorry, but that is just reality.

This is an official warning. Please don't do this again.
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Paul B
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:
Steve wanted it one chapter at a time. Following a demonstration of a lack of understanding of what has been written about the issues with throwing Steve's words back at him is not wise and is not helpful.


I'm simply pointing out what seems like an exaggeration by point of a view of a consumer by saying "formatting" will take a long time when his own blog suggests that this is not the case and seems to directly contradict what he said in his more recent posts. Two months is a long time ago, I can understand if the facts don't quite match up. That's normal.

It just seems like Federation Admiral isn't a priority and so if it's not a priority then just state that. Or at least apparently not a priority, despite the fact the campaign forum has a 1000 posts when there are no products to directly support an FC campaign.

If ADB wants to concentrate on non-Federation Commander products like Alien Armada then that's fine. If it makes ya money then it's good business sense. But those products do nothing for me as an FC player.

But yes I've said my piece.
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gambler1650
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bit of perspective here...

I'm someone who's greatly anticipating Federation Admiral. I liked the original VBAM, and am enjoying the "Ajax Expanse" read.

I'm also a Star Fleet Battles player (and dabbler in the Armada games, and owner of FC:Romulan Border), started back in the late 80's - early 90's, and then jumped back in a few years ago.

First and foremost, I'd like to say that in no way am I criticizing ADB's operation here. They do what they see as right for their company given their product lines and limited manpower. I buy historical wargames from another company which has a similar issue.. one extremely well regarded tactical wargame, and two other 'lines' of wargames. If they put out supplements for the first, the other lines' players complain, if they put out supplements for either of the other lines, the tactical wargame's player's complain. And they have more resources than ADB does.

So, that said.. Paul, welcome to 'our' (SFB players) world.

Other than Federation and Empire (and Federation Space before it) there was no real set of Campaign Rules for SFB for quite some time, at least not that you could go out and buy and play with your local group. And F&E is hardly an easy campaign system to use, at least if your goal is to create SFB battles in a more meaningful context. There was the Campaign Designer's Handbook but that was more a potpourri of ideas you could use to create a campaign, not really an actual campaign system. There was also something called 'Warlords' (I think). Now there's Galactic Conquest which is a whole 'nother beast.

SFB also has tons of Campaign posts (check out the other forum - the BBS). SFB also saw the 'new kid on the block' come in and expand the focus of the SFU gamewise and production wise.. This game... was... hmmm, oh yeah, Federation Commander!

Given that Federation Admiral should be a decent Campaign System for all three of the SFU tactical space games, and given that from the SFB player's point of view we haven't had a similar campaign system for 30+ years, well, I'm willing to wait for it to be done right. And, well, I have no choice other than to shoehorn some other strategic space games into being a campaign system in the meantime. Smile

An analogy would be in my work, where I have multiple projects, some of which are based on people outside my organization. I prioritize based on a combination of perceived need and ease to do. Sometimes what I get from other people requires a LOT more work to do than I thought it would due... often.. to formatting issues. So I work on it, discover errors, send them back.. have to wait... get the new version, and rework it. Then those people ask why it's taking so long, while not realizing that I have other commitments on my plate that can't wait. It sounds like Federation Admiral has gone through a similar process, one which I can empathize with...

I think it'll be a big seller myself, since all three sets of players (SFB, FC and Armada) should find a lot of utility.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If "text is text" then two things would have happened.

1. The book would have been out months ago.

2. You'd have instantly condemned it as not being up to standards and demanded that I do it over, do it right, and send you a free copy, return your original purchase price for wasting your time, and include a personal letter of apology written in my own blood.

Yes, Jay has revised it (once, I think) and even at that it had problems found when I did one chapter and sent him lists of things to fix in all subsequent chapters. He did so (at least to some unknown extent) but it got here when I went into lockdown on another project and I have literally not had time to look at it since. If I had looked at it, other products would be late and FA would not be done any sooner. It takes the time it takes.

And guys, I am STILL busy with CL42. As anyone who knows what a FLAP list is, there are five or six entire days of work that have to be done AFTER it's published, and which must be done before ANY other project is touched. (I have to have the supplement and LPE done by Saturday.) Looking at FA now would not get it done any sooner and would delay and complicated mail order shipments of AA and CL42. So I don't have time to discuss this now.

I will discuss some of the issues with you at some future time, but the book is NOT READY and will take at least an entire month (more likely two) of ALL of my time to get ready.

And BTW

1. There is no contradiction between anything I've said or posted. You're pulling bits and pieces out of context, bits and pieces of extracts, summaries, and abstracts of a complex situation.

2. Calling me a liar is the best, fastest, and easiest way to get your posts deleted and your registration cancelled. Do it again and you can find another BBS where you can complain all day that I don't drop every other product and do the one you want, do it instantly and perfectly, whenever you want it.

Yes, you have officially pissed me off and if you do it again, you're gone.
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Jean
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, All I can do is tell you that SVC does have to prioritize and that FA is taking far longer than anyone expected. No, we are not going to air internal documents in public so everyone knows all the issues. But I can tell you that I worked on it once last Christmas and again at Origins and the pages in the first chapter turned purple with corrections that I made -- both times. Some of it stems from dealing with the restrictions of our license. The most amazing things are not permitted in art, for example.

Now, let me ask you -- if we didn't produce a Captain's Log, an SFB module, any FC products, or any PD products (SVC does the layout and has ultimate fact approval) in order to produce FA, would the majority of our customers be happy? If SVC only produced a Communique every three or four months and a Hailing Frequencies at the same rate, would the majority of our customers be happy?

You also apparently forget that SVC is the CEO of the corporation. That means he has to hire. evaluate, and supervise our student employee as well as mentor him along the way. SVC is the voice and hands in our YouTube videos. He writes many of our blog posts and he writes all of the advertising. His time is not just spent twiddling his thumbs in his office waiting for a product to be sent to him. His time is a precious commodity to the company.

Lest you think he has more time to spare, let me fill you in. He works longer hours and more days than anyone other than Petrick. Tell me if most people work seven days a week, 8-10 hours each day except on Sunday where he might put in only three or four? Tell me who else (well, besides Petrick) would be working on Thanksgiving day from just after lunch until after midnight?

In other words, FA is as much a priority as SVC can realistically make it, considering that the business has other product lines (F&E, SFB, SFBF, PD, Starline 2400, CL, and FC), that SVC has the duties of a CEO as well as a game designer, and that SVC does 99% of the marketing.

I hope this explanation is sufficient to make it clear why SVC cannot drop everything to work exclusively on FA. The complete Alien Armada rulebook took less time for me to proofread than that one chapter of FA.

All that said, I think that FA has great promise and I want to see it published. However, I don't want it published at the expense of negatively impacting the company's bottom line which is what would happen if SVC worked on it exclusively -- what would be needed at this point to complete it in a month or so.
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