Jump to content
Rolling Thunder Forums

Lynch mob forms...


Recommended Posts

Well, it didn't take long for me to get reports of another lynch mob forming...


Information on naval officers and their effect on fire control is posted giving players a resource that, although mentioned, was not previously available to them in detail. The information goes a long way towards countering the screen issue which, as a matter of fact, was another issue that had some folks looking to tar and feather us. The game, in our opinion, is better today than it was yesterday. The value of naval officers is clear and substantial making any naval officer in your possession more valuable. The information is presented in a public forum so that is available to all players (or at least the vast majority) at pretty much the same time.


The first major email I get is not a 'Thanks for the info...gives me another factor to consider and really helps with the 'screen' issue...' one - it is a scathing one that warns of many angry players blasting us on other forums, dropped empires, reduced order counts and other dire predictions for RTG. It is nice, of course, to get a head's up on issues and we do appreciate that aspect of it greatly but it is also a kick in the teeth for Pete and I. Richly deserved - maybe - but to what point?


The general situation that we at RTG deal with is something that I've posted on before. Pete and I are not magicians, we are not going to be magicians anytime soon and we do the best we can with the resources and time we have. That has been the situation for us for nearly 20 years now although the last several years, for reasons I've already commented on, have been particularly difficult for us due for personal reasons. We've tried to make folks aware of our situation - it isn't like we enjoy our present reality or that we are unaware of the problems it causes. If it were possible for us to clarify every rule by tomorrow, make every addition to the game that is either necessary or simply a good idea by tomorrow and/or come out with great games on the drop of a hat then we would do so. Heck...we'd probably be rich if we could do that and we certaintly have no reservations on that score. The fact is that we can NOT do those things so, again, we do the best we can.


A hard fact of PBM gaming is that folks play PBM games for fun (they may like us personally but they probably aren't going to spend a lot of money at RTG simply because of that). If they are not getting any enjoyment out of a game - they are going to drop. If they do not feel they are getting adequate value for their entertainment dollar - they are doing to drop. If they like the game but can't afford it - they are going to drop. If they are not happy with the capabilities that Pete and I have (quality of game, turnaround time, customer service and the price we charge for them) - they are going to drop. If Pete and I have issues that affect that service then folks are either going to cut us some slack or they are going to drop. They may be long term issues (like the personal ones we've had) or they may be short term issues (like Pete getting a turn out later than usual because he was sick and had some technical troubles on top of it). When everything is factored in - players who are not enjoying the game are going to be lost. If we are incapable of keeping enough folks happy to keep us in business - we are going to go out of business at some point, nice guys or not.


SuperNova, in particular, has suffered and continues to suffer from some long-term personal issues that have plagued Pete and I the last few years. Those issues are clearing up and our situation is improving but it doesn't undo the past. The rules are not as complete as we would like, the game does not have as many features as we would like, we've had to spend more time clarifying as opposed to adding, the speed at which accomplish things is slower than we would like, etc..


On any complaint based on those factors we are clearly guilty as charged. We've already paid a high business and personal price for them and I have no doubt that we'll continue to pay a price. What choice do we have other than to press on and continue giving it our best effort? We can't go back in time to undo personal events that took such a toll on us, we can't go back in time to undo design decisions or to make different ones, we can't go back in time to implement codework or rules clarifications that have been implemented recently. We can't guarantee that every clarified rule or new addition will make everyone happy. We aren't magicians - we can't wave a magic wand to make SuperNova a perfect game and RTG a perfect company.


Today we brought out some new information on naval officers and their effect on fire control. Since the naval officers already had this benefit this was a rules clarification/expansion and not a new rule/feature. This information was not available to only a select group of folks previously - nobody had these details and everybody had pretty much the same information to go on when it came to planning for battles and fighting them. They knew the officers were beneficial and the early Naval Combat primer noted that they improved fire control but nobody knew to what extent. The playing field was fairly level. Now the detailed information is available to all (the vast majority anyway the rest as soon as we can) and folks can plan accordingly.


Sure, if players had had detailed information 3 months ago they could have made different decisions but that information would have been available to all and everyone would have made different decisions (different research, different ship design, different strategic decisions, etc.). Going back in time, even if possible, is a tricky business. New details on existing rules, new rules, learning about critical tech, new tech added to the game, etc. all have their effects on the course of game history. Change one thing and you change the course of the game (sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot). The sum of player knowledge will change from turn to turn, the completeness of the game will change from turn to turn and the depth of the game will change from turn to turn.


Change is not uncommon in open-ended games. Generally we are talking about the discovery of new tech (Trans Warp Drives for example that profoundly affected game mechanics as perceived) or the addition of a new rule/feature that, in our opinion, makes the game better. Generally these things are positive and well-received. There is always a certain amount of unhappiness though - every clarification of a rule, every addition to the game, every discovery usually has some downside. Strategies are ruined, some players benefit more than others, etc. If we've done our job right, most will be happy and only a few will be unhappy and the game will be better for it in the long run.


The unhappiness that exists over the naval officer fire control bonus doesn't appear to be over the rule itself but rather that it wasn't something known about in detail months ago. The positive effects of the rule seem to be completely disregarded and overwhelmed by a feeling that RTG is somehow screwing me over, deliberately withholding information that I need, is responsible for that battle that I lost last month, etc. That aspect is one that we face whenever we put out new information on existing rules and I agree with it to an extent - it is frustrating for naval officers to be affecting fire control and not know the details. Granted, everybody else had the same amount of information on the fire control bonus but it can still be frustrating and that frustration can turn to anger and angry, frustrated people are not having fun.


It is clearly better to have rules that are 100% complete and if it had been possible to provide that then we would have done so. If it were possible to provide every bit of detail that is currently lacking before next turn cycle - we would do so. We'd much rather concentrate on adding new features/tech to the game and taking the heat for that instead.


Changes are going to occur in SuperNova - plans are going to be upset, strategies will have to change, new features and tech will change the way the game is played from time to time. We will bring out needed details on existing features as soon we can, improve the code as we can, complete work on documention as soon as we can and, in general, do everything we can to make the game better while still getting turns out the door on schedule. When we do bring out new information we'll do our best to see that everybody has access to it at the same time. When we make additions, we'll do our best to make them good ones so that the game is always a little better today than it was yesterday. It won't happen by magic, it won't happen overnight and I can't say that we won't make a mistake from time to time.


That's the best we can do I'm afraid.


Take care and good gaming,





P.S. And yes, most new features have their detractors and every discovery and/or new tech has the potential for making folks unhappy. We used to run a long running open-ended game that suffered from that problem to a great extent. Every proposal to make the game better, every bit of new technology, every new rule or rule change had the potential for creating a significant faction of angry players. Players wanted improvements and change but fought us tooth and nail more often than not. Either it was not happening fast enough or it was happening too fast. Either it benefited somebody else more or hurt them more. Finally we just gave up and let the game go to a competitor (this was just as our personal problems were really starting to steamroll and we just didn't have the ability to deal with it any longer). Don't read anything extra into this - we aren't going anywhere and neither is SuperNova. The conditions are vastly different today and our situation is improving not going down hill as it was then. It was just an example of life from the PBM moderator viewpoint.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

they are going to drop


Actually Russ you can take this quote and replace "drop" with "whine" and your observations are still quite accurate. I concur your observations are both accurate and sad.


To those whiners: Suck it up and play gents, or drop. You can even play by using your own inside information to get an edge on other players. Just save the whining for the government or your boss at work or your significant other. Whine about the environment or your lousy life as a contractor or how bad life is in general, you know, important stuff. It is a shame to waste a good whine over a game and to waste others' time because you believe others are out to get you, or make your game worse, or whatever.


This game is clearly too complicated for some to enjoy. Frankly, we're having a great time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heck it was clearly stated that ALL leaders had a major influence ie explorers, martial artists,

religious leaders, administrators etc etc. The only leaders that I havent had a real use for

and Im sure that day will also come are Diplomats(havent found many nuetrals) or Special

Agents( That part of the game isnt quite ready yet but will be Im sure). Imagine what those Army officers can do with some 20 foot tall 3 ton Imperial marines!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honored One...they whine because they thought they had an edge. Take the Eternus debate with me about screen ships (not that I am saying he is in the whine catagory but some of his allies are)...He stated and fought over how good screens are. Now this info comes out and shows that you can get fire control of 20+ with 4th gen stuff. Makes the screens worthless...


Well not 100% worthless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Thanks for the info ... it gives me another factor to consider and really helps to add new depth to a game that already has more depth than any other game I have ever played!


I have noticed that whenever there is any perceived change to anything, most of those who gain from it are happy and quietly get on with exploiting their new benefit (as I tend to do); but many of those who lose from it will complain -- sometimes very vociferously. It happens in all aspects of life, not just SNROTE.


Where I work, at a Station in New Zealand, we always have to react to whatever is thrown our way (bad weather, lower international meat prices, new legislation, new strains of scrapie, etc, etc, etc). Some of our workers just shrug their shoulders and get on with adpating to or dealing with the changes, while others whine and complain. The latter are less likely to have their contract renewed. Darwinian rules apply.


I know that when you're running a business, you don't want Darwinian rules to apply to your customers, however, so I appreciate the fine line you have to tread -- whinos' dollars are as good as anyone else's, so you don't want to upset them enough to cause them to drop, while at the same time you don't want to spend all your time at work pandering to their ever-increasing demands (and whatever you give them, they will demand more).


Personally, I have no sympathy for whinos. I do have sympathy for small businessmen, especially those who have a policy of continuous improvement in the products and services they provide to their customers -- as you obviously do.


Just my two cents worth. (Boy, you can get a lot for two cents on a message board these days!)


-- Gervais

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In this I agree with you MMB. Nearly worthless. :drunk: The trick though is to make certain you can kill

things if your firepower is all spread out. thats all a guessing game which will become less so once the inital enagements happen. may not be so much of a 'guessing game' once special agents enter the fray but for now we have to make do. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I completely agree with the comments of gervais. I used to own a home called LLAMEDOS (read it backwards) and I always thought that gave a fair reflection on some of the idiots you meet in life. In today's culture people just aren't happy unless they are complaining. Well Pete/Russ llamedos :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking as one of the whiners, I want to say thanks for releasing this information!


I still maintain the same position as before. I want to know the rules of the game I am playing. So I’m certainly not going to complain when information is released! I am satisfied to know that progress is being made. I know enough about business to know how very difficult it is to maintain a reasonable cash flow with a two-man operation. So I’m being patient.


This is actually a little more detail than I was hoping for. In some cases I do want to know the exact formulas for things (such as resource production and fleet bridge rating). But in some other areas I would be satisfied with the rough algorithm. Exactly what level of detail to release is debatable and I’m sure we will continue to argue about that. But ultimately it is RTG’s decision; all we can do is blow a lot of hot air (or flaming email as the case may be).


So while I have the hot air vent open, I’ll keep going. :)


We have known for a long time that Naval Officers add to a fleet’s bridge rating. Actually, this is almost enough information to go on all by itself. I would have been completely satisfied with a statement like “Only the highest-ranking officer in a fleet adds full value, which is equal to his numerical rank. All other officers add a reduced yet still significant value. This total is added to a fleet’s bridge rating in addition to the rating derived from onboard bridge systems.”


There are many ways they could have chosen to program the affect that Naval Officers have on fleet Bridge Rating. They could have chosen to have only the highest-ranking officer affect the rating, all other officers in the fleet having no affect. They could have chosen a regressive formula where the highest ranking officer added full value, the next highest ranking officer adding half value, then the next adding a third, etc.


I need to know enough information to make a decision on how to deploy my naval officers. Knowing whether or not multiple officers can benefit a single fleet - knowing if that benefit is steady or regressive - that is the minimum information I need. Knowing the exact formula is definitely nicer! But I can also agree with a philosophy of wanting to stay away from number crunching as much as possible. :laugh:


On the other hand, some things do require knowing the exact formula. I think we do need to be able to calculate a fleet’s bridge rating due to the bridge components. When designing a ship, if 9 computers don’t quite give 2 simultaneous targets, it takes 10, then that is an important decision that requires exact information.


Anyway, thanks again for the information! I’m not complaining! :)


P.S. I would still like to know if multiple Warp Survey Sensors use a steady or regressive formula.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...