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Idea: Scenario packs for sale


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Hi guys

 

I'm sure you have already thought about this, but if there was a webstore for scenario packs/operations I would buy from it.

 

It would offer users a valuable add-on to the SB experience, like we see for Combat Mission, where freeware and payware scenarios co-exist happily.

 

For me the value would be in higher quality of maps and of course higher quality of scenarios.

 

While there are tons of good scenarios out there for free, its a bit hit and miss. Sometimes maps are missing and some of the scenarios are literally 20 years old and don't seem to take advantage of the latest tech :D

 

PS I should add that although I spent considerable time figuring out the the map download system, it still feels over-engineered and very un-intuituive. Having a scanrio store where maps and scenarios were neatly packaged together would alleviate this particular problem.

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The scenario thing isn't so much a question of demand, we simply have no capacity to develop them. Where and when we come across good scenarios for which we have the permission to distribute them, we either integrate them into the installer or, most likely, they get uploaded to this site anyway.

I wouldn't mind paying people for scenario development. I'm just relatively certain that we couldn't afford to pay scenario developers by the hour even at minimum wage.

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Eagle Dynamics have a very interesting and appealing system for publishing user-made paid campaigns in their store. 

 

They use a set of business rules and criteria for publishing user-made campaigns. 

 

I have definitely looked into it / reached out to the developer and am waiting for some more developments in their Combined Arms module to submit a custom campaign that I'm working on. 

 

Does SB have the same 'demand' from its community? I don't think its at the point where the community would pay for DLC or additional content. 

 

From another post I made:

Quote

 

This is a small community, and we have very little content for a game that is 15+ years old. 

 

One of the ways that I gauge this metric is by looking at the # of downloads for user-made content. How can something be epic, when most of the recent user uploads have less than 100 downloads? The top 5 most downloaded files are not even user-produced content, but rather equipment and game manuals that were uploaded 10+ years ago. The most downloaded user scenario has a little over 4k downloads, but was uploaded in 2003. 

 

A comparison: The most popular user-made ARMA mission (not even mod) has 797,661 downloads, and was uploaded in 2015. 

 

Since 2007, I have uploaded 18 unique user files with a total of 3,956 downloads. <crickets>

 

With that being said...would anyone pay $9 for a 10-mission campaign?

 

I released a free 8-mission campaign and its hardly been downloaded - probably not the greatest quality, but the numbers don't lie for other free downloadable content. 

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Like I wrote, I wouldn't mind to negotiate a price if you wanted to make money from your scenario creations, provided that they are good (I'm not going to buy just anything). It may not be exactly the same as selling scenarios through our web shop in the sense that you'd get a fixed price rather than potentially millions as suddenly millions of new Steel Beasts players emerge from a parallel universe's dimensional portal where it is the hottest shit ever made in the games industry. But I'm sure that we'll come to a fair and balanced agreement.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Apocalypse 31 said:

From another post I made:

With that being said...would anyone pay $9 for a 10-mission campaign?

 

I released a free 8-mission campaign and its hardly been downloaded - probably not the greatest quality, but the numbers don't lie for other free downloadable content. 

Yes I would have paid for that particular campaign. You're a really good scenario designer.

 

I would rather pay €10 for 10 hours of quality entertainment (quality maps, well thought out scenarios), than spend 5 hours sifting through a bunch of 20 year old freeware scenarios :) I support the DCS payware model for the same reason.

 

For SB it feels like a you put in a lot of time in learning the ins and out of the software. After that rather heavy investment, you want up-to-date scenarios that take full advantage of the engine and you're willing to pay for them. If you're like me anyway.

 

DCS was in the exact same position maybe 5-6 years ago: almost no payware campaigns. And it hurt them at the time. They had all these super advanced airplanes and very little to do with them after you had spend a trillion hours learning to fly them.

 

Il-2 is in the same situation now, but they're trying to work through it.

Edited by Count Sessine
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21 hours ago, Ssnake said:

The scenario thing isn't so much a question of demand, we simply have no capacity to develop them. Where and when we come across good scenarios for which we have the permission to distribute them, we either integrate them into the installer or, most likely, they get uploaded to this site anyway.

I wouldn't mind paying people for scenario development. I'm just relatively certain that we couldn't afford to pay scenario developers by the hour even at minimum wage.

I don't think it works that way. I have made scenarios for various games over the years, and if had been paid, even a symbolic amount, it would have changed everything. Its about money, sure, but more about recognition. The easy way for Esim would be to offer a store on the website for operations and scenarios. You playtest them before they go up. If they're good enough, you take a 30% cut of the proceeds and send the rest to the developer :)

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What we want is guys like him using SB for tactical analysis on his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9egpHJiRis89uHkeyJiEug

 

I love his videos, but I'm starting to think that SB would be a better tool for his particular brand of content. The SB engine is more advanced than CM in some respects and it looks better in videos.

 

But this to happen, the community need a bunch of well crafted single player/multiplayer scenarios that take FULL advantage of the engine.

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13 minutes ago, Count Sessine said:

I don't think it works that way. I have made scenarios for various games over the years, and if had been paid, even a symbolic amount, it would have changed everything. Its about money, sure, but more about recognition. The easy way for Esim would be to offer a store on the website for operations and scenarios. You playtest them before they go up. If they're good enough, you take a 30% cut of the proceeds and send the rest to the developer :)

I would say the other way round eSim takes a 30% cut (Other amounts are avalible) for hosting and distribution (& maybe playtesting by the already overworked Beta testers)

With the amount eSim charges its military customers, scenario generation revenue is chicken feed.

 

You want scenario makers to be motivated :)

 

my 2 pennies worth

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I'm trying to come up with a solution that invokes the least amount of extra work on our end because anything else has no chance of materializing unless I hire someone to do nothing but playtesting submissions. At which point this isn't going to be just a minor expense, but a money sinkhole.

 

If someone here says that he'll be able to produce so much better scenarios if only he could make a little bit of money from it, I won't be the obstacle. I have paid in the past for map development (and it has produced some of the finest), so I'm not going to refuse paying for other content on the basis of principle. I just reserve the right to say "No" if someone offers me scenarios that simply aren't very good.

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Posted (edited)

Uh... I just remembered problem i thought regarding making missions for money. Once one who has paid for such decides to share or play with others that hard work goes to basically free circulation. 

 

Thought honestly i prefer it that way. 

 

And yes, i would be willing to pay donations for missions i find to my liking. 

 

Problem is though... I find very small portion of missions to my liking. Usually those that i don't like... Are too overhelming in one or more ways. 

Edited by Lumituisku
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Count Sessine said:

Yes I would have paid for that particular campaign. You're a really good scenario designer

Thanks! I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale too! 😉

 

I do plan on going 'wild' with an upcoming 10-mission DCS Combined Arms paid campaign that I'm planning.

 

Full voice acting with video briefings, at a minimum.

Edited by Apocalypse 31
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3 hours ago, Ssnake said:

I'm trying to come up with a solution that invokes the least amount of extra work on our end because anything else has no chance of materializing unless I hire someone to do nothing but playtesting submissions. At which point this isn't going to be just a minor expense, but a money sinkhole.

 

If someone here says that he'll be able to produce so much better scenarios if only he could make a little bit of money from it, I won't be the obstacle. I have paid in the past for map development (and it has produced some of the finest), so I'm not going to refuse paying for other content on the basis of principle. I just reserve the right to say "No" if someone offers me scenarios that simply aren't very good.

I don't think Esim should pay for it. Esim should get a 30% cut of the revenue. As for it not becoming a timesink for the company, how about setting up a Quality Assurance Group formed by a bunch of the grognards on this forum? They could easily sort out which scenarios should go up on the Store. I'm not sure what to do about DRM... I think the idea here is to avoid adding to coding new stuff and work with what is there.

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3 hours ago, Apocalypse 31 said:

Thanks! I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale too! 😉

 

I do plan on going 'wild' with an upcoming 10-mission DCS Combined Arms paid campaign that I'm planning.

 

Full voice acting with video briefings, at a minimum.

Hehe, sounds good. DCS CA has never had single scenario done for it, afaik. That being said, I think it still have a way to go before its a good ground combat simulator.

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3 hours ago, Count Sessine said:

I don't think Esim should pay for it. Esim should get a 30% cut of the revenue. As for it not becoming a timesink for the company, how about setting up a Quality Assurance Group formed by a bunch of the grognards on this forum? They could easily sort out which scenarios should go up on the Store. I'm not sure what to do about DRM... I think the idea here is to avoid adding to coding new stuff and work with what is there.

Why should eSim Games get a 30% cut at all if we do just superficial quality assurance and put it into a web store (that still needs to be developed) to deliver digital content? The development of that web shop extension would be the time sink.

As far as the idea of offloading the QA to forum members, we kinda do this already. Every forum member can download and rate scenarios and provide feedback about what they like and what they don't. And you get the scenarios for free. The problem is that people don't properly rate the scenarios, they don't bother providing feedback. I just don't see how this would change just because we started asking for money for the scenarios. And then the question arises, how do you control the spread of monetized scenarios.

 

In short, I see a lot of costly implications on our end, inconvenience and higher cost on your end.

The only reason to make this worth the effort would be if money created an incentive for more and better mission designers to increase their output. But we can achive all that by offering money to those creators and then making the scenarios available for free, without all the drawbacks that a serious monetization effort would otherwise entail.

 

 

 

In short, please make your case why SELLING scenarios improves the quality and quantity of scenarios in ways that eSim Games paying the mission designers an adequate sum would not. I think you overestimate the business case, underestimate the complexity of getting the whole scheme to work, and I still don't see the causal relationship between specifically Steel Beasts players paying for scenarios and the quality and quantity of scenario production rather than eSim Games.

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On 6/9/2021 at 3:27 PM, Ssnake said:

If someone here says that he'll be able to produce so much better scenarios if only he could make a little bit of money from it, I won't be the obstacle. I have paid in the past for map development (and it has produced some of the finest), so I'm not going to refuse paying for other content on the basis of principle. I just reserve the right to say "No" if someone offers me scenarios that simply aren't very good.

 

What kind of scenario do you want?

Should we take this to email correspondance?

 

I have an example ready :)

 

Edited by Hedgehog
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At some point email seems to be necessary, yes. As far as the question is concerned "what kind of scenario", I'm not sure if I should be prescriptive. I think that single player scenarios work best if the player has no more than three disctinct maneuver elements under his control at any given phase of a battle. That's not to say that there can't be exceptions, or that there have to be exactly three, or that it must be no more than three in total. Like, if you have to cross a river you could be in control of a bridge layer, a platoon providing overwatch and security, and one platoon establishing a bridgehead. Once that the other platoon is across the river, the bridgelayer probably plays no major role for the rest of a scenario and therefore another platoon can be introduced that may previously have been scripted/under computer control.

At the end of the day, this is "community service". You're making the scenario not for me, but those who play Steel Beasts in single player or cooperative multiplayer mode. My ideas what makes a good scenario are not necessarily representative of majority opinion.

 

Another point is that maybe more "basic" scenarios are warranted because most scenario designers shoot for the "grand design" that leaves novice players overwhelmed. The amount of shooting errors that I see in a good number of YouTube videos suggest that many players need more guidance even with simple fire control systems. Not sure how much of that can be addressed by scenario design. But I do know that battalion level mega scenarios won't help to improve the general competence level.

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A couple points to consider about paying for user made scenarios.  Over a decade ago I posted a series of scenarios that had a good run here thanks to the generous recommendations of some of the community members.  The scenario pack had a lot of downloads.  But I wouldn't ever be able to claim total 'ownership' of it because I used a map made by someone else -- the CMTC map.  The map of the Hohenfels (Camp Hornfelt) training area was the basis for the idea of the whole pack.  So if there is any intellectual property right to the scenario pack, who can claim it?  I spent about over 500 hours drawing the Haune Valley terrain map by hand from some topos I photocopied in a library.  Dark Angel prepared the height map.  There are some beautiful maps of that region available now that are much more detailed and faithful than my primitive attempt, some of which may be based in part on that work.  Who owns that?  Could I spend 5 hours cooking up a company level single player scenario on a map that someone took hundreds of hours to draw and claim primary credit for the scenario?  IDK.  But even though I haven't been active here for years, I still stop in to look around regularly.  And this still seems to be a place where people co-operate.  Throwing monetary reward into the mix might change that.

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...at the same time, the quantity of fresh scenarios has gone down significantly, so I'm willing to explore options if there's something that eSim Games can do to reverse the trend. I can't afford hiring full-time scenario developers. But I can at least show appreciation for scenarios made based on maps that are part of the standard Steel Beasts distribution, possibly with the scenario author's map modifications.

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Umm... I haven't uploaded any of mine because I am frankly scared of negative feedback. My missions seem to be those kind that... Well... I'm not sure how to put this right. 

 

I'll just quote some feedback's over the years. 

 

- "are not realistic as in don't use realistic tactics or unit set ups."

- "are often located in restricted terrain (Finland) and hence it is often though that tanks shouldn't even be there on first place."

- "are often described as missions you'd expect to see in Arma."

- "user has very small amount of units and freedom because friendly AI units are scripted "

- "where Enemy likely doesn't use proper (expected) tactics. Quality or amount of units. "

 

And so on. Much feedback over the years has put me down and very hesitant to even try make missions. And if i end up doing something.. it turns to be too large (unit vise) to my liking And overhelming to manage. 

 

: / 

 

something has led me to think and assume that only proper, missions with authentic units, tactics, terrain and missions that would be used on real life would be  ok. 

 

I wonder if there's more like me who think their designs would be frowned at.

 

Edited by Lumituisku
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I like your missions, Lumi.  Small units and restricted terrain don't bother me.  And if anyone complains about unit composition just tell them that in war nobody's going to stay at TOE levels once the shooting starts and thrown together task forces will have to be used.

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3 hours ago, Lumituisku said:

Umm... I haven't uploaded any of mine because I am frankly scared of negative feedback. My missions seem to be those kind that... Well... I'm not sure how to put this right. 

 

 

 my own suggestion is to create the kinds of scenario you want to play, if you think it's upload worthy to withstand playtests from the public, go ahead and do it, but it is basically a brute fact that feedback is going to be spare. feedback of the kind that explain why there are bugs in the scenario- broken triggers, missing or errant behaviors and this sort of thing are the most important; the other kind that are generally philosophically at odds with the scope or the composition of the scenario, well, i rate that much lower. i personally am bored with the massive armor mashups in europe scenarios, even if someone set one up with the correct TOE, and behaves like a doctinally correct script, still might be the most boring scenario on earth for precisely that reason once you see it over and over. people's interests in a certain theatre or conflict may wane and come back again- my own interest changes back and forth between conventional, unconventional or modern or cold war era, you just will not appease everyone for kudos, i wouldn't necessarily try to do that anyway. do you want to do, and the audience which agrees with you will naturally find its way to what you are doing- just like steel beasts itself versus the world of tank audience or arma 3 or combat mission or what have you

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On 6/10/2021 at 12:20 AM, Ssnake said:

Why should eSim Games get a 30% cut at all if we do just superficial quality assurance and put it into a web store (that still needs to be developed) to deliver digital content? The development of that web shop extension would be the time sink.

 

In short, please make your case why SELLING scenarios improves the quality and quantity of scenarios in ways that eSim Games paying the mission designers an adequate sum would not. I think you overestimate the business case, underestimate the complexity of getting the whole scheme to work, and I still don't see the causal relationship between specifically Steel Beasts players paying for scenarios and the quality and quantity of scenario production rather than eSim Games.

Well with all due respect I think you answered your own question. It is a timesink and shuold be monetized somehow.

 

As for the second part of your post: because capitalism works. Paying ad hoc for scenarios once in a while is not very efficient and an admission of defeat, so to speak. I have thought about this, and I'm certain that creating a marketplace around scenario creation would help heighten interest and productivity among the community.

 

Put it this way: you have to do *something* at this point. As you mentioned yourself elsewhere this week, scenario output has decreased steadily over the years.

 

At this point a small 'quarteron' of generals on the forum (get the reference? :) ) have the say-so over what constitutes a good scenario around here and that scares some people off. I saw fx the reception Matsimus received here because he had the audacity to make videos that weren't true to some tactical doctrine of the 1990's or whatever. Him not making SB videos anymore is a great loss.

 

I personally would prefer the way of Combat Mission: smaller, tactical vignettes with interesting head scratchers or smaller immersive scenarios with storyline.

 

Very few people can handle the battalion+ mega scenarios.

 

On the other hand, one thing SB can do, that CM cannot: big battles over many kilometres. I really like what guys like @ssidiver and @Apocalypse 31 are doing: Bigger or smaller battles where the player only control part of them. Very dramatic and immersive. And very important: beautiful maps with a sense of detail (atmosphere, the feeling people might live there).

 

But there is room for everything. Let the marketplace speak :)

 

Hope this makes sense. Everything I say come from a place of affection for the game :)

Edited by Count Sessine
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