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February 18th, 2012, 03:51
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post



Whenever I hear about TW mods, it sounds like only Rome gets mentioned. Were not the other games modded to the same extent? I'll try to dig up my R:TW cds to that I can give EB a try.
.
You are right, the other games were also modded as well. Unfortunately, the best "mod teams" that were responsible for the best of the R:TW mods didn't move on to the newer games; they either kept updating the excellent Rome mods or called it a day after finally completing their ambitious projects. The EB team is apparently working on an EB2 for Medieval 2, but I wouldn't expect that to come out anytime in the near future; EB1 took quite some time to get completed (finished in 2009 I believe).

M2:TW has a few decent mods, but the few that I've tried squander their potential by trying too hard to be "hardcore" to an extreme extent without proper balancing. Basically, in mods like Stainless Steel, there is a wonderful amount of new gameplay tweaks and little details that add depth to the campaign, but it's so focused on being an "epic challenge" that it is really poorly balanced, leading to a very grind-like, unrealistic experience where the opposing forces just keep on coming regardless of how many of their armies you destroy. Just not my cup of tea, i guess.

Empire never had as much of a vibrant mod community - I believe CA and Sega had something to do with that - so there isn't a lot to choose from there, and Shogun 2 is probably too new to have any great overhaul mods.
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February 18th, 2012, 18:23
Ah, then I'll stay away from the stainless steel mod. Challenge is a good thing, but it needs to be well balanced and thought out.

What did Sega & CA do to prevent major modding of Empire?

Still trying to find my Rome: TW discs, I wonder where I might have put them.



*edit*
I think I've had my fill of trading games for now. I've spent a few hours playing Port Royale, and while the game is nice, it does get a tad bit repetitive after a while.
Last edited by Fnord; February 19th, 2012 at 00:20.
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February 19th, 2012, 08:26
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post

What did Sega & CA do to prevent major modding of Empire?
My memory is a little foggy on this issue - and I never tried to mod Empire myself - but I guess the best way to put it is that Empire simply wasn't as "modder-friendly" as previous Total War games.

Also - and this a few years ago so I can't be sure if this was Sega or not, but I know it was an executive somewhere who caused a minor outcry with his comments - I seem to recall a Sega executive saying that he was against modding because of a misguided belief that mods were discouraging people from buying newer games in the series. Clearly whoever said this was right, as evidenced by the commercial failure of Skyrim due to all the Elder Scrolls fans continuing to play mods for Oblivion and Morrowind instead of playing the newest entry .

Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
*edit*
I think I've had my fill of trading games for now. I've spent a few hours playing Port Royale, and while the game is nice, it does get a tad bit repetitive after a while.
This has always been the problem with trading games - they're always a bit heavy on the micro-management side, and this can get old pretty quick. the Anno series is the only experience I've enjoyed with trading games, in large part due to the really well-designed system for creating and automating trade routes that would have otherwise been really tedious to manage yourself. Because you don't have to waste time micro-managing everything to death, you can instead focus on the more engaging elements like city-building and expansion.
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February 20th, 2012, 19:13
Such a comment about modding seems very ignorant, like he has no idea about how certain games have sold well because of their moddability. It is frightening to hear how some of the higher ups are so out of touch with the market that that they believe that modding=bad for your game.


Commander: Conquest of the Americas is quite good in that regard as well. You are meant to set up trade routs and work on a macro level, more than on a micro level, setting up effective routs, building centers of trade and use the right tools for the right job, rather than micro manage multiple trade convoys. It gets a tad bit repetitive after a while, but it remains fun for a longer time than Patrician or Port Royale.
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February 21st, 2012, 01:22
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
like he has no idea about how certain games have sold well because of their moddability.
Question is : Who actually uses Mods ? Only "hardcore gamers", or others, too ?
Do casual players know about Mods ? Do they undergo the hassle of "installing" them ? Do they really benefit of Mods ?

And : Which group of buyers is bigger : The one which knows about the moddability and buys the game because of that (like in your quote] - or the group which doesn't care much about it (read : casual players) ?

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 21st, 2012, 02:56
While the casual & semi-casual market is a lot bigger, the "hardcore" market is far from insignificant, and alienating the hardcore market entirely will probably cost you tends of thousands of sold units. Also, games like the total war series is more targeted towards the hardcore market to begin with (while still being accessible enough as to not totally alienate the casual market). And the total war series is not the only games of its type. If Neocore is able to get a good foothold, then CA will have a serious competitor (Neocore are the folks who made The Kings' Crusade and King Arthur: the roleplaying wargame)
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February 21st, 2012, 14:31
Yes, but I think that there must be some sort of balance, too ? A game which is *too much* geared towards so-called "hardcore gaming" wouldn't be as accessible to casual buyers than games with a balance between both imho.

I mean that so-called "hardcore players" often demand mechanisms that are not very … newbie-friendly, for example. It might lead to some sort of eliticism like "if you can't understand it, don't play it !" with leaving only a very narrowed-down group of specialists with a game - and how is a game supposed to retrieve any profits for the developers when this game is tailored ONLY towards a frantic, loud, but tiny group of gamers ?

Take WiSims games for example : They have not much of any significance outside of Germany, or of Europe, I guess. Or, in other words, bigger U.S. based publishers don't fund them. So, in a way WiSims games represent a kind of niche. They are tailored towards those who like this kind of gaming, and the protests of hardcore fans of this kind of games/gaming will most likely result in bad reviews on Amazon etc. . Like what happened with some parts of the "The Guild" series . Fans considered some of these games as "too easy" and protested against this … what word could I use? I try it with "easiness". Thus resulting in bad Amazon reviews, which resulted in the game bought not as much as it was indended to be (by tailoring it a bit more to the "casual buyers"). The result is a game that is "abgestraft" ( = "punished", but with the tendency to punish as a means to express disdain rather than to target the quality) by its hardcore fans, who don't want an "easy" game at all, giving the signal to the publishers (world-wide, in theory) that making "easy" and "accessible" games won't have any economic and profitable success. Instead, companies should keep on producing for a small to tiny niche of gamers.

The signal of this, as it arrives within the companies, contins of several parts :

- no matter how hard ou try, you cannot please everyone
- but hardcore gamers are the less to be pleased, the more "hardcore" they are
- if you bring out an easy game that will be crippled in its sales by abstrafend hardcore gamers, the financial result is exactly the same as if this game was entirely tailored towards them - and in both cases it is a very small sum of profits going to the developers anyway - which means it doesn't make sense to put so much money and workdforce into a game that produces so few investment returns
- hardcore fans are the loudest buyers
- satisfied customers are probably those the developers (or publishers) never hear of - because people generally tend to speak up ONLY when there is something to criticise

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 22nd, 2012, 01:23
But making a game easy to mod should not be a deterrence for any non-hardcore (softcore? What do we call the middle ground players, those probably make up a relatively large chunk of the market as well) gamer, but by restricting moddability or alienating the modding crowd, all they are doing is making the hardcore gamers unhappy, while not attracting any new customers. While there might be financial reasons to not make a game easy to mod (it might be harder or more time consuming to make), vocally speak up against modders does not help anyone, it just hurts the company the company that makes the comment.

And when creating sequels, alienating the core fans is dangerous. The people who are not familiar with the series are not as likely to pick up a later part (say Gothic 4), as people who are familiar with it. By totally altering a series from one game to another you run the risk of alienating a lot of older fans, who will be very vocal about it, and it is questionable if you will be able to attract too many new fans, unless reviewers love the game.
Of course, there is one other issue with fans, and that is the fact that they tend to lash out at any changes, even those that should have been considered objectively good. A complex game that gets a sequel with a better and easier to learn interface will often be called "dumbed down" by people.
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February 22nd, 2012, 13:40
I didn't say that moddability should be restricted.

I was only aginst the argument that a game would sell much, much more *because* of modability.

My personal opinion is that moddability is *one* of many arguments towards buying a game - but not "the" argument towards it.

My opinion is, that moddability doesn't play the huge role for "casuals" than it does for "hardcore gamers".

Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
And when creating sequels, alienating the core fans is dangerous. The people who are not familiar with the series are not as likely to pick up a later part (say Gothic 4), as people who are familiar with it.
Yes, but fans must come to that game first.

A fanbase must grow into being a fan base in the first place.

Risen is imho a good example : It isn't Gothic, because it uses a different setting. especially Risen 2.

But under the "mask", the "engine" still is a form of Gothic.

Which means that Risen might both attrackt oth fans PLUS new players - those who indeed like the Pirate setting.

And these new players who come into the franchise *because of* the Pirate setting will become *new* fans - of this Pirate setting.

And I think it is possible that Risen 2 might create 2 factions of fans because of tht (need not be so, but it is thinkable, imho).

The other example is Arcania. But that had possibly different reasons, like the engine not being "Gothic" anymore.

I'm digging this out every now and then : http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph…eringToTheBase

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 23rd, 2012, 18:52
But that was how this discussion started, I commented on the fact that one of the people at SEGA or CA made a comment on how they dislike modders. And while I believe that what you are saying is true, that most games won't sell a whole lot move due to their moddability (with a few notable exceptions, like the elder scrolls series, which has continued to sell long after their launch due to the ease of modding those games), it is still a factor to consider. If a game is hard to mod, then it will probably not have as long of a shelf life, and sell a few tens of thousands of copies less over the years, but if a company openly takes an open anti-modding stance, then that will alienate many fans from the very start.
And it is also a matter of what audience the game tries to target to begin with. A game which is meant to target a more hardcore audience, in particular if it is from a genre where modding is common (like say complex grand strategy), then that will probably have a far larger impact on sales than if the latest Call of Duty lacks modding support.

PB never had to make Risen into the true successor, they created a new IP, and had they gone another rout, then that would probably not have attracted a lot of ire from their fans, after all, with a new IP comes new expectations. Had they created a pure action RPG, then there would probably have been a bit of grumbling online, but nothing too serious. Now with Risen 2 the core expectations are already set, and if they make a totally different game, then people will be upset. The game does of course have to attract new people, but many of those will probably at least know of the first game, and have an idea of what to expect.

I suspect that one of the reasons why Arcania failed to sell as well as expected was because they alienated a lot of fans, while not realizing that new potential buyers would already be at least a bit familiar with the game's core ideas.


In regards to how to handle big changes to a series, the best way is probably to make it into side games. Look at how they handled the Halo RTS. People were not upset by the fact that they made an RTS game, because it was marketed as a side game (which could spawn into a series of its own). Had they made Halo 3 into an RTS though, that would have angered a lot of fans.
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