Announcement: Welcome and what's coming next

For general discussion of Frozen Cortex.

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Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:12 pm

Re: Announcement: Welcome and what's coming next

Post by julupu » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:42 pm

Hi Ian, hi Paul,

as you posted on your Frozen Synapse Facebook-Page what "we could do better at Mode 7" and I don't like Facebook as a discussion-platform I just dump my answer here.
Basically there is one huge point: To me it feels like you could do better (or in less positive words: start) in working with, listening to and updating the community. So, I guess community management is the right word.

Really, I think you guys are great developers, Frozen Synapse is a great game and Frozen Endzone is a good looking beta which has a lot of potential. I think a lot of people gave you their trust and bought the beta and want to test it, play it, and give input to you developers. But on the other hand those beta testers (yeah, I consider people during a beta/alpha stadium as testers) rarely get responses or information what is going to happen next, a schedule or regular updates. This leads to frustration and reduces motivation to play with the game. Everything that is currently implemented is tested and feedback is given so people just drop the game.

Just two examples of other indie developers with a current early access release and what they do to keep the community bound to the game and testing:

1. Introversion with Prison Architect
These guys are great. They release an update at the end of every month. Either with new features or, this month for the first time, only bugfixes. But they keep everyone up to date and informed. They say "Hey, this month we have these new features" or "These bugs should be fixed, please test and confirm" so everyone has fun testing new features and writing bug reports for them.

2. Team Jolly Roger with Interplanetary
They develop a turn based strategy game, too. TJR write a newsletter in regular intervals. They have whack-a-dev events where you can play against developers, talk to them and if you win they post a key on twitter. They have regular little updates, or if they have to skip a llittle update because they are working on a bigger one they write this in their newsletter so that everyone knows what is happening.

So, I hope you get my point. Currently hardly anyone is playing FE anymore due to lack of updates, information and probably a bit frustration, too. But isn't that exactly the opposite what you usually want to achieve with a early access version? Have people play it, get in touch with them and improve it with their help?

You current communication strategy leads to discussion like this ... 590544472/ or posts like this viewtopic.php?f=35&t=10127. The latter post is just here in your forum for three days now without an answer. I don't expect you to answer everything within three days, but this is exemplary.

So, the short answer to "What we can do better at Mode7" is: Do something like community management. Give information, give response. Give tiny updates for people to test.

Regards so far,

Posts: 450
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:14 am

Re: Announcement: Welcome and what's coming next

Post by Jythier » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:45 pm

Communities don't build themselves, you know, and in a game like this where having players online is pretty much the entire game... what do you expect to happen? This is the same thing that stopped my from playing FS - can't get a match. If I can't get a match, I might as well not be in the game.

If I could get a match with someone offline, that would help a lot. One way we do that (WE, NOT MODE7) is through tournaments, so that we have people to play against.

This is something Mode7 should fix. This is something they should have fixed for FS. That and the chat. I'm imagining a front page filled with open challenges. Or something. SOMETHING. And notification when someone picks up your challenge.
Posts: 450
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Re: Announcement: Welcome and what's coming next

Post by Jythier » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:43 pm

More importantly, somebody felt the need to PM me on your forums just in case I hadn't seen the message they sent me in game. Really guys? Make a chat interface that makes sense please. What you have isn't working. It's leftover from FS where we all told you it wasn't working. I know it's not as fun as the game but you could make the game itself more fun by adding that sort of functionality (I can't call what you have now functional).
Posts: 40
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:51 pm

Re: Announcement: Welcome and what's coming next

Post by Nihm » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:53 pm

julupu wrote: You current communication strategy leads to discussion like this ... 590544472/
Yeah I actually posted in that thread :? . Normally I'd consider a post on the steam forums as pointless, but I'd already expressed myself here (viewtopic.php?f=35&t=9599) and here (viewtopic.php?f=35&t=9490), and I felt like posting again after logging into FE and seeing the same old/same old. Anyways that steam thread devolved into bickering (shocking), so I'm gonna post what I wrote here. Also I'd like to reiterate Jythier's comments about the chat system. It isn't simply bad- it's inexplicable. I mean, it's just weird that a developer would neglect such a feature for so long. Persistent chat in a game like this is simply a requirement, not an option. I'll take persistent chat over any other conceivable feature. I'm simply not playing this game if I can't read/write the occasional comment to my absent opponent.

Edit: I'd like to add one more thing. In my humble opinion, twitter and facebook absolutely suck when it comes to building dedicated communities. That the devs post to facebook/twitter but not their own public forums is really discouraging.

Edit 2: I'd also like to add that if the devs simply aren't interested in engaging with the community- I could totally respect that. But their occasional posts suggest they do 'want our feedback' and they are interested in having a thriving multiplayer community around their games. So...

Anyways, my steam post-

I can't make heads or tails of Mode 7. Considering the style, genre, and execution of their games, they're like the consummate indie devs in my eyes. Such studios surely survive by the skin of their teeth. Word of mouth and dedicated communities sell their games, not ads (afaik). Why they wouldn't post weekly/daily updates on their forums is just beyond me.

Even the most superficial sort of daily posting (a simple 'thx' for feedback posts, or 'grats' for tourney posts) would take no more than 5 minutes a day. I mean, who knows? Maybe they've had some personal crises of late. Maybe they don't think feedback needs acknowledgement. Perhaps they know exactly what they're doing, and I'm just shortsighted.

Whatever the case it's a shame for such a unique developer to be so MIA with regards to their community. I posted my thoughts about a month ago on the official forums, and I would encourage others to do the same.

On a side note I'm also bewildered by their priorities. A stats system before functional chat? Really? Their may be a good reason for neglecting the chat, but if so, they'd be better off with their fans if they said as much.
Last edited by Nihm on Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Announcement: Welcome and what's coming next

Post by Nihm » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:06 pm

Weird double post. Could a mod delete please? Come to think of it- are there mods?
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:48 pm

Re: Announcement: Welcome and what's coming next

Post by Noonzilla » Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:34 pm

I lost motivation to play FE a while ago now but I still head by these forums now and then to see how it's progressing. Having just seen this post, articulating as it does a sentiment that I thought would inevitably boil up at some point, I'd like to add my 2 cents.

I played avidly for about 3 months but lost the desire for a number of reasons.

1) The lack of ability to to communicate with my opponent in-game really started to grate. Nihm is completely correct imo; this is a vital part of a turn-based online game.

2) Frustration with the exploits and 'cheats'. Sometimes, games between experienced players could descend into battles over who could better exploit some of the 'rougher' elements of the game mechanics, to the point of silliness. Of course, you can claim that this is part of any game. But when plays featured a series of dodgy exploits and/or outright cheating (e.g. running backwards) the overwhelming feeling, for both players, is just one of cheapness and dissatisfaction.

3) Being honest here - I didn't get to grips with the new update. I much preferred the 'vanilla' style of the game i.e. Duplicate with standard teams. If anything this is a failing on my part so I'm definitely not saying that Full Match and custom bots shouldn't be part of the game. The game just felt different to me after the update and I haven't got on board with it yet.

4) Most importantly - the initial fun and excitement at being 'part of something' that was in development quickly died out when I realised the almost total lack of dev interaction with the forums. I don't really understand it. These forums should be your primary source of input and interaction with your player base, but they don't even appear to be moderated. There should be pretty much constant dialogue between devs and players on here. For example, I personally have made at least half a dozen posts asking for clarifications on odd aspects of the game the I came across, reporting what I thought were bugs, or making considered suggestions for tweaks or new features, not one of which received a dev response. An acknowledgement or brief comment to at least some of those posts would have helped. Engaging me and the other posters in discussion would be even better.

Example 1- the biggest one that springs to mind was the entire discussion around "trap blocking" or "baiting linemen" which spanned probably three separate threads. Here's one viewtopic.php?f=35&t=8499&p=24213#p24213 This was a huge exploit which allowed a ball carrier to bypass a blocker if the attackers outnumbered defenders in an area of the pitch. Incredibly, no dev ever responded to this.

Example 2 - the other big discussion that the players had to have themselves without any dev input, was the whole issue of Chase AI "leading" the ball-carrier rather than going straight at him. One thread here: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=8458&p=24097#p24097
Again, this lead to all sorts of exploits which are perhaps now understood by most players weren't at the time, and could easily confound new players.

Just coming onto threads and confirming how mechanics work, or stating whether something is a design feature or bug that you will address, will go a long way.

All except point 3 are big contributing factors to the massive player churn that we've experienced on FE. You can't retain a new player for very long - especially a beta tester - once s/he realises they can't chat to their opponents during the game or, for the more involved tester, even get a response to a question on the forum.

FWIW I do plan to get back into FE but I will probably wait until the July update and the (hopeful) new influx of players.
Last edited by Noonzilla on Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Announcement: Welcome and what's coming next

Post by Jythier » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:46 pm

Noon, I'll take you on with standard bots and duplicate anytime man.

I also am trying out standard bots 2-play Full Match as a custom mode, which keeps the spirit of duplicate while allowing for a two-game match to not end early because either team can score on any play.
Posts: 127
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Re: Announcement: Welcome and what's coming next

Post by Noonzilla » Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:04 pm

Jythier wrote:Noon, I'll take you on with standard bots and duplicate anytime man.
Had a feeling you might respond to that! Well, maybe I'll venture back earlier than July.

Can you explain '2-play Full Match' is? Sounds like a really long game but I'm probably misunderstanding.
Posts: 450
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Re: Announcement: Welcome and what's coming next

Post by Jythier » Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:29 pm

Noonzilla wrote:
Jythier wrote:Noon, I'll take you on with standard bots and duplicate anytime man.
Had a feeling you might respond to that! Well, maybe I'll venture back earlier than July.

Can you explain '2-play Full Match' is? Sounds like a really long game but I'm probably misunderstanding.
Instead of an 18-turn limit, it's a 2-play limit - each player starts off on offense once, then the game ends after the second touchdown.
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