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Author Topic: DiD: Beginning of the End
Victor
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Member # 249

posted 10-08-1999 07:28 PM     Profile for Victor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
arrow..it isn't going to happen. How many people are going to pay $100 for any sim. By charging that much for a sim; you basically shrink that market even more. Plus add to that a $100 maintenance fee?!

So let's see now.

Imagine Falcon 4 had cost you $100. Unless you were certain that the game was perfect out of the box; you'd have to pay that maintenance fee. Hey you want to get Falcon 4 at least up to version 1.08 right?

Take away the maintenance fee and I might consider paying $100 for a sim. But for that price it BETTER be great. Not just good; but extremely good. It better come with the manual from hell.

Maybe one day flight sims will have to become like a hand built exotic car. It will be annouced by the company and they'll show some cool screens shoots at E3 Finally they'll take pre-orders and that will determine if the thing is ever built.

Who knows


Posts: 236 | From: New York, NY | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Takeshi Shiroyama
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posted 10-09-1999 05:04 AM     Profile for Takeshi Shiroyama   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I still fly EF2k V2.0. It is the only flight sim from a long list (WWII fighters, F-15, Falcon 4.blow) that is still on my computer. I still occasionally load ADF because I love the ACM recorder but that is it. The ADF/TAW fiasco did piss me off a bit. I bought it for two reasons. 1) I loved EF2K and 2) I "knew" that the upgrade would soon follow. Well, I got over it.
Then the teasers about a future "Virtual Battlefield" product started making the rounds and I waited for its release. What did we get? Wargasm. To me an initial disappointment but I came to think that it was a "first step" to a better product.

It is a shame that that better product and EF2K V3.0 may now never come to pass.


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leafer
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posted 10-09-1999 11:33 AM     Profile for leafer   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Arrow,

You're right, that stinkin' "there's no market for serious flight sim" excuse doesn't cut it. If he meant there's no market for half arse attemp at serious flight sim then yeah I agree. And please don't use Falcon 4 as an argument to 'serious sim' failure. I can't believe no one ever told the fact that maybe, F4 failed because it broke out of the box!?! Anyone who had interest in F4 probably read forum after forum how buggy it's out the box. The internet helps kill F4? Maybe.

I was brand spanking new to flight sim when I bought EF2000 and I thought it was the greatest thing, but after I gave Flanker 1 a second try (yes, I returned it the 1st time because of the graphics and it was damn hard), EF was slowly fading from my HD. Remember, I was new to flight sim and did not know the difference between hardcore from USNF but for some reason Flanker was much more rewarding than EF2000.

Think about it, Flanker with such 'inferior' graphics released soon after EF2000, it should have been Eagle Dynamics's last attemp at flight sim, right? Well obviously not. And no, it didn't sell 700,000 copies but enough to get SSI attention and money for 2.0! So, please don't tell me there's no market for serious sim.

Back then, DID and Eagle Dynamics (maker of Flanker) were both first time PC sim maker, right? They both had done works for military also, correct? Each had a hit with their first release! So what happened? Did DID get so caught up in making more hits that they lost their focus on why we play EF2000 in the first place? Definitly though, SSI never try to make Eagle Dynamics into a household name and let them focus on what they do best, make great flight sim.

And yeah, after reading Mr. David Riley's post it became even more clear to me what their products was all about. Come to think of it, I heard DI may be making Tornado II and possibly a Harrier sim. And so what if there's no campaign in Super Hornet 1st release. I'm anxious to see Microprose F15. I'd support any serious sim. Nope, I don't miss DID at all.

That's how I feel about them and I'm not a fire bug so, no flame please. 8-)


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JohnUK
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posted 10-09-1999 03:26 PM     Profile for JohnUK   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Quoted from Barrysworld.com news pages:-

Rage have finalised the details of the purchase of D.I.D. from Infogames. D.I.D. have been around for years and pretty much concentrate on Flight Simulations. As a last act Infogames have agreed to publish Typhoon, D.I.D.`s Eurofighter sim. The total purchase price has been set at £5.5 million.


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Fred
unregistered

posted 10-10-1999 05:42 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Are you seriously saying that you think all current Flight Sim releases are half arsed? 700,000 units is a respectable sales figure for ANY PC FLIGHT SIMULATOR.

Flight Simulators are notoriously difficult to create, because of:

A. The technology requirements
B. The level of detail required
C. The research required
D. The renowned "nit picking" of the target audience.

As well as being long, hard and expensive to Develop and Produce they are now selling less in comparison to the mass market software that a Developer can now produce.

Perhaps they should start doing Playstation driving games or football games, where they can look forward to unit sales of 2,000,000 to 3,000,000?

Stop directing your ire at Developers. If you TRULY believe that that your $100+ pricepoint for Simulators is feasible. If you REALLY have a vision of where the industry should be going. TALK TO A PUBLISHER.

They all know where the good Developers are. It's them who decide which products come to term and which don't. Convince one of the money men that there's enough money in your idea that it's worth an experiment, and that your research is sound.


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bod
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posted 10-10-1999 01:27 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I think the market is over-saturated with people wanting to make money instead of flight sims. The corporate way of thinking completely overshadows the creative way.

There are way to many actors in the field, so some has to go.

Bottom line is that only a handfull of people is needed to create a sim. The rest is dead weight. I think Hitechcreations is a good example of a healthy way of running a flight-sim business, and they have been through it all with WarBirds and iMOL/iEN.

Bod


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Sean Tudor
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posted 10-11-1999 04:39 AM     Profile for Sean Tudor     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
What is becoming increasingly apparent in the game industry is that there is little tolerance for poorly planned and executed game projects.

This is especially highlighted in the hardcore combat simulation industry where one management misstep may cause a project to go over budget and miss shipping dates.

Any manager of a combat sim team needs to take into consideration the following factors :

1. Have a clear design goal for the sim
2. Decide on their target market
3. Have the entire development process - from start to finish - mapped out with achievable milestones
4. Show clear leadership - especially when dealing with young and enthusiastic programmers
5. Be able to adapt to changes or problems with sim code
6. Be able to deal politically with their superiors - especially in publicly listed organisations which must deal with shareholders
7. They MUST plan out a detailed budget of costs for the sim project
8. Be able to deal with the online gaming public by implementing suggestions and bugfixes
9. Design a game that can cater for both the hardcore gamer and the casual gamer
9. And lastly, plan out future products - often whilst still working on their current project

The simple fact is the game industry has become big business and it isn't enough anymore to just pump out a game without considering the above points.

Also, whether we like it or not gaming genres fall out of favour with the game buying public and all have their moment of glory. Eg. Who could have predicted the resurgence of CRPG's ? (Baldur's Gate etc.), or the death of adventure games ?

What happened at DID is particularly sad but given today's current computer gaming climate not unexpected. The allmighty dollar/pound well and truly rules computer game design. The trick is trying to work creatively within this sometimes stifling environment.

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Sean Tudor
Sydney, Australia
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This is my cannon, this is my gun
One is for bandits, and one is for fun
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studor at ozemail dot com dot au


Posts: 123 | From: Sydney, Australia | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Roger Godfrey
unregistered

posted 10-11-1999 07:47 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
A few points about developing serious flight simulation:

Arrow: 700,000 copies for EF2000 was for all versions of it (EF2000, V2, Tactcom, Evolution, Super and budget). EF2000 was an amazing success at the time. Even compared to conventional PC video games that did well. No flight simulator could ever hope to sell that many in the current market. You would be lucky if you even recouped you dev costs, never mind enough to make any royalties.

As for betting on the hard core flight simulation community. It would be financial suicide to depend on them. They are too few and often fickle (as several companies, including DID, have found to their cost).

Thatís not to say that it is all doom and gloom. I still believe that it is possible to develop a serious combat flight simulator product and make a profit, but VERY difficult. It is a neiche market that can be exploited if you can lower your dev costs and dev times. As a result future simulators are unlikely to be as heavily laden feature wise as TAW.

Regards,

Roger


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Fred
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posted 10-11-1999 08:36 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Good sense being spoken by Sean there... And that doesn't just go for Flight Sim development.

Gone are the days when Game development was entirely by hobbyists for hobbyists. These days, with Game development costs for any AAA title WELL over the £1,000,000 mark it just doesn't pay to be thoughtless or short sighted.

The consolidation of the "super publishers" also adds an extra frisson of politics to the already heady relationship between publisher and developer too.

Of course this is the end result of the same market forces that have driven the year on year improvement in quality of games, so it's not entirely unexpected.

Years ago it seemed that could make money from a flight simulator by either beating the currently existing best simulator for that aircraft type, or by doing a simulator on a currently unmodelled aircraft.

These days I wouldn't advise anyone to consider developing or publishing a flight simulator that didn't have a SERIOUS gameplay edge that's significantly different to existing competion, to help a wider audience get into it.

Flight sims WILL be with us for a while, but they are going to change. Either they have to reach a larger audience, or they have to adapt the way they're developed so that the costs match the current audience.


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Sean Tudor
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posted 10-11-1999 09:15 PM     Profile for Sean Tudor     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I can only agree with you there Fred. It makes me wonder what sort of tightrope CJ Martin's Janes F-18 team is walking on at the moment.

The Janes F-18 simulation is a *serious* hardcore combat sim and I can't see it selling more than 100,000 copies in today's volatile sim market.

All I can do is urge my hardcore sim friends to purchase these last remaining combat sim gems before they go the way of the dinosaur.

I am sure we will see future sims but they certainly won't contain the features seen in EF2000, F22TAW, Janes F-15, or Falcon 4.0.

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Sean Tudor
Sydney, Australia
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This is my cannon, this is my gun
One is for bandits, and one is for fun
------------------------
studor at ozemail dot com dot au


Posts: 123 | From: Sydney, Australia | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Mailman
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posted 10-12-1999 12:40 AM     Profile for Mailman   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Can I add my 5c worth on hard core sims.

If you have a look at those that have gone out of business in the hardcore market who are they?

Well it aint Microprose, and it aint SSI, it certainly aint Looking Glass Technologies and it aint those people that made Fly.

Ill tell you who have gone, people like Did, Siera, and a few others that released half hearted, poorly planned and supported sims.

If the hard core market was so "empty" then how can you explain the release or to be released Flanker2, Fly, Propilot2000, MSFS2000, Janes F18, Microporse F18, B17II, LBIII, FUIII et al?

Surely if there was no money in hard core sims these people wouldnt be wasting their time on our hobby would they?

Will I miss did, not in a hundred years. As far as I am concerned they shot them selves in the foot with their none-existant support, selling out to infogrames, ******** like asking wardogz to stop his F22 utilities etc!

Long live those that care about our hibby. God bless em all, SSI, LGT, MP and others.

Mailman


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Harry Bosch
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posted 10-12-1999 02:41 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
It's a shame that nobody has any hard sales data on the hard core sims. Only with this info and the sales data of other genres we can be sure of the succes rate and profits for our favourite genre.

Looking at all the signs I'm still a pessimist.

Microprose you say?
Will they start a new hardcore sim after the loss they made on Falcon 4. Yes they still support Falcon 4 but also owning M1 Tank Platoon II I'm less impressed by their support record (wait till we release Gunship III then wait until we make TP III and buy that sounds much better than an earlier promised patch doesn't it)

SSI?
Is Luftwaffe Commander selling after all those top reviews.

Sierra
New versions Propilot got canceled by Sierra together with Desert Figters.

DI & Janes
Who will release their F18 sim first. Will one of them jump the gun and release a buggy sim to be the first? Even if both sims are quality products they stil will suffer.

Many of the mentioned titles are developments of an existing engine / game design (lowering development cost). I expect more of the 'same old game with a new aircraft or some extra features' routine (remember TAW?). Well at least we know where this will take us.

Most of todays projects where started in a golden age of gaming when many publishers where looking to invest in games after seeing a new market oppertunity. Today its all different with the market overcrowded and games failing to make any profit.

Well maybe I'm wrong and you can always say that the glass is still half full but personaly I'm seeing the bottom of the glass approaching rapidly.

Harry


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leafer
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posted 10-12-1999 09:41 PM     Profile for leafer   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
"Is Luftwaffe Commander selling after all those top reviews."

Where did you read them because I haven't read anywhere that it was good.

As for how well F4 did for Microprose, check out October issue of CGW. It did pretty darn good if I remember correctly.


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Victor
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posted 10-12-1999 09:54 PM     Profile for Victor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
My guess is that that sim-only company will be a thing of the past. If Roger Godfrey is correct in saying that flight-sim makers are lucky to if they recoup their dev costs; then I can see how company that just makes sims can survive. They'll either have to branch into producing other types of games (the kind that bring in more money); or they'll have to join up with another company that does. One way or another they will have to have a seperate source of capital.

Hopefully in DID's case; it's being aquired by RAGE will benefit both parties; and benefit the sim fan in the process. Personally I'm looking forward to Typhoon. I recently starting playing TAW again and it has so many goodies I enjoy. Of course it also has it's annoynaces which hurt gameplay. Here's hoping Typhoon can build upon TAW and aviod it's problems in the process.



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Harry Bosch
unregistered

posted 10-13-1999 05:04 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Leafer I was being cynical. Of course there are no reviews that praise Luftwaffe Commander. So the title won't sell.

'As for how well F4 did for Microprose, check out October issue of CGW. It did pretty darn good if I remember correctly.'

How many copies sold? How many days at the top of the sales chart? Why are the bargain bins full of Falcon 4. Why is it sold in a three pack together with M1 TP II.

My info is that Falcon failed to make profit. Don't forget that it has cost a lot of money to make. This isn't Deer Hunter part III.

My other point is this. When looking at the state of the market people tend to look at sims which will be released in a few months.

We have to look at the number of sim project that are started this year to see if hardcore siming will go the way of the Dodo. With the cancelation of A-10, Desert fighters and ProPilot the future looks bad. These projects where running, some of them where already in the Alpha stage there was money invested in these projects but they where killed anyway to prevent the publishers to lose even more money.

Welcome to my depression!
Harry


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mdrobc
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posted 10-15-1999 12:03 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I have to agree with points made by BOTH sides here. Yes the developers are more interested in making money than anything else nowadays; and it is a business and makin money is what business are all about. However being a business...one of the cardinal rules I always heard or was taught about a business is that if you want to survive for the long run...then you listen to your customers for the customer is ALWAYS right even if he's wrong! Hey Game Developers you're NOT listening to the people who buy your products...the simmers...us. Yes you have not been selling as many units as you've wanted, yes you want to sell 1,000,000 copies like MS FSim or Quake or something but if you look closely and listen for a minute you'll see by examining what makes each of those Top sellers is a combination of excellent products, support, advertising, and responsiveness to what the customers want to put it simply. If you give the people what they want they WILL buy it! In it's present state for example Falcon 4.0 would probably sell twice what it has already done if released today for the 1st time because it IS a quality product (yeah bugs and all) and is more complete. Developers need to remember this....yes it takes resources to make a superb product but it also takes comittment on EVERYONES part not just one or two parties involved. Also my advice as someone who drops full price on sims at least once or twice a month (especially if something worthwhile is coming out) is to STOP copy-cating please!! When is the last time we've seen a GOOD harrier simulator? Or a Vietnam war helicopter sim or a Korean War sim? When have we seen a Cold War sim of a Russian Invasion of Europe or a sim featuring Easter bloc fighters or equipment predominately? Very rarely...and they ARE out there...take it from a current military officer...ME! As are there plenty of places to fight and model...hell we (the US military) are deployed everydayum where anyway today. Why has no-one tried to re-sim the past Koslovo conflict which occured earlier this year? Where is a decent Falklands war sim? Where is the latest sim featuring Operations Just Cause in Panama or the Grenada ops? All we simers see are 14 WWII sims, 45 F-22 Sims, and 50 M1 Tank Sim or Apache Sims. ALL AT THE SAME DAYUM TIME! Hey here's a clue no make that two clues....ONE you can dayum sure bet that if there's 4 WWII sims out there at the same dayum time or coming out within the same month or two or three you're NOT gonna sell your particular unit/product well unless it just beats da hell outta everything else out there...witness EF2000 when it came out...it had nothing else like it on the market..and it SOLD! Clue number two...when there are that many of the SAME sims on the shelf....you'll be dayum if most Joe Avg Simmer have the money to buy FOUR F-22 Sims!! Hell I still have Apache-Havoc which is dayum good in most areas but which I haven't had a chance to play cause I am still working on my Longbow 2.0 campaign...NOR can most of us afford to buy more than one or two of any one type of title due to the everylooming spectre of needing to upgrade our beautiful machines every 6mos to run the best of the best. Money doesn't grow on trees and we cannot give you what we have precious little of especially for products which we either don't want, are mediocre, or for which we already have! THink about it....

And for those of us who call ourselves simers....we need to support the developers, those that truly have our interest in mind. Support them in their endeavors and support good products...and patiently help along those that can be helped to see the light and give us what we want! We should contact our developers and let them know what we want and will spend money on. They can't read our minds all the time. If we want hardcore good quality sims then let them know and when you see one buy it and introduce others to it and our lil world. I know that many flight simers light are turned off by Falcon 4.0 and the likes by the time commitment it seems to require and how daunting it seems...but hell boot it up and let em fly the Instant action missions...show them the parts of the sim that THEY find fun! Make a new convert! Yes it will take a lil patience and NO they don't have to fly online with your or whatever but by helping educate, mentor, and bringin them along you've also helped yourself and helped your hobby by maybe guaranting another sale of the next F-4 Simulator which you know needs to be sold in order to reach the developers goal!

It's a two way street here and in order for it to be a fruitful marriage both parties need to LISTEN to each other and try to do what they can to make it (the marriage)work...it ain;t always easy and those of you who are married KNOW what I mean when you've spent an hour finally rolling out on a Mig's six only for you wife to say she feels neglected! LOL But just like you accommadate her (at least I hope you try to! LOL), we must accomadate each other if we ever expect to get anywhere!

Lt RCG
USAF
[email protected]


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Saxon
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posted 10-15-1999 05:18 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Christ! Are all USAF personnel as illiterate as the previous poster?
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B.Gen X
unregistered

posted 10-15-1999 09:12 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Saxon...if you can't contribute something useful to the discussion why not shut up! Put up or shut up I always say. The buck stops here son and as I see it you about 99 pennies short!
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Saxon
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posted 10-15-1999 12:40 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
'The buck stops here son'? '99 pennies short'? 'Put up or shut up'? So I presume you consider that a useful contribution? Thanks for your comments but this is a public forum and if I have a comment to make I will exercise my right to make that comment. If you don't like it that's tough. By the way, please drop the condescending macho tone to your reply. It was amusing but I've seen it to many times before.
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Viking1
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posted 10-15-1999 01:57 PM     Profile for Viking1     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Well, now you guys know why I wrote what I did in my September editorial. We need a new model for sim development, and the progress of F22 ADF to TAW represents one valid direction.

Now consider the coming Harpoon4. Suppose that Mindscape releases H4 first as a pure strategy game. Then suppose they release an add on that allows you to fly in first person perspective in a Hornet.

Then suppose they release another add on that allows you to first person command a destroyer.

Or look at the JANE's World War direction. The modular battlefield. Once the world is built you simply release add ons. THe limitation of course is that eventually the entire world needs an upgrade, but Novalogic seems to be making it work.

I think this will be the direction for companies that want to survive and keep producing games for the serious sim crowd.


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grundman
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posted 10-15-1999 04:18 PM     Profile for grundman   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I've been simming since its inception.

In my not so humble opinion, the dearth and end of hardcore flight sims is because of multiplayer, and what do the surveys say? 10% or less of software purchasers use the multiplayer portions of games?

I saw the 'release it while it needs to be patched' and 'delay it for years and years' start with all this ****ing mulitplayer stuff yars ago, and now it looks like all she wrote.

Multiplayer is cool in sims, don't get me wrong, but I don't think it should be required to release a game....

Oh well,

Grundman


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Jim Belcher
unregistered

posted 10-15-1999 04:21 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Harry,

As a former developement director for Infogrames on DID products in the U.S. and as a producer on other products, I always kept well-informed on the current state of sales of all products in the sim genre. While I won't name specific products, I can tell you that with very few exceptions, sim sales numbers across the board are relatively grim, considering the level of investment in development. Even products that you might *think* are successful wind up losing money. The numbers don't lie, unfortunately. I wish they did.

Regards,
Jim


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Fred
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posted 10-19-1999 03:55 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Listen to Jim, the man is speaking sense.

It is documented fact that the flight sim market has shrunk in real terms. In real terms I'm referring to the Return On Investment that the Publisher can expect.

In addition the REST of the industry has expanded, which is what has fuelled the higher production values we see in Software development today.

So we're approaching a situation where Flight Sims are expensive, technology heavy and intensive in terms of production effort.

Add that to a relative static market audience.


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Fred
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posted 10-19-1999 04:05 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I deliberately didn't make any conclusions but, in order to drive the point home, I'll put three very general ones down here.

a) Sims have to appeal to a wider audience, thus making more money and justifying their production costs.

b) Sims have to lower their production costs, thus costing less money and justifying their narrow focus audience.

c) Developers have to concentrate on more financially viable genres in order to pay the bills.

Note that you can hammer Developers for being profit orientated, but please remember that although it's our hobby, it's what they do for a living.

In addition the HUGE amount of money needed to develop a flight sim product ensures that a Publisher needs to be signing the checks and the first thing they do upon recieving a concept from a Developer is to run it through a Return on Investment check to make sure they won't lose money on it.


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JohnUK
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posted 10-19-1999 12:30 PM     Profile for JohnUK   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
There is at least one flight sim selling for over 100$US I have no idea how many hard core flight sim enthusiasts there are world wide, but i think the time is coming when only 1 or 2 small company sim makers will remain.
I know i would pay £100 to £200, maybe more for the perfect flight sim. I would certainly pay £100 to get Falcon 4 in its doubtless never to be achieved state of perfection. (100% bug free, all aspects working the way they should)
Maybe there are enough people worldwide prepared to pay for a serious sim as long as it is using the latest technology to give the best available immersion, 99% bug free when released, no absent features, second only to big budget military simulators.

Posts: 762 | From: Bournemouth United Kingdom | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
piuterk
unregistered

posted 10-19-1999 10:33 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
As a hrdcore sim fan , i'll add to David Reily only one line

How many copies of ADF has been distributed
with Intel motherboards and other OEM's

and didn't receive any support from DID.

(includin the fact that the game was not possible to run even on the perfect HW reference machine , and the patches posted just made the things worse.)

as some one mentioned - what goes around ....

P. Kogan - Former WSO.


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