SWON Postmortem

Action Vault's Secret Weapons Over Normandy Wrap Report talks with Totally Games' Larry Holland about the ups and downs in developing the recently released follow-up to the World War II aerial combat action in Secret Weapons over Normandy. He goes into the make-up of the development team, their goals for the project, what went right and wrong along the way, and the reception the finished product met with.
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32.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 18, 2004, 11:02
nin
32.
Re: No subject Feb 18, 2004, 11:02
Feb 18, 2004, 11:02
nin
 
Why did I think you typed Highway?

That's all right, I was thinking maybe R Lee was in that one, too! (I didn't remember him in it, but haven't seen HR in a few years.)

I love FMJ, just for the Boot Camp half...that stuff is classic...

http://www.depechemode.com/
31.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 18, 2004, 09:57
31.
Re: No subject Feb 18, 2004, 09:57
Feb 18, 2004, 09:57
 
Wha?

<nin looks up Heartbreak Ridge @ IMDB.com

Why did I think you typed Highway?

FMJ is the better movie but HBR is good too.

-TPFKAS2S
http://www.braglio.com
-TPFKAS2S
Avatar 10139
30.
 
No subject
Feb 18, 2004, 08:57
nin
30.
No subject Feb 18, 2004, 08:57
Feb 18, 2004, 08:57
nin
 
Heartbreak Ridge is one of my favorite Eastwood movies.

Wha?

<nin looks up Heartbreak Ridge @ IMDB.com>

ahhh...we have our Sgt's crossed...look up Full Metal Jacket...

http://www.depechemode.com/
29.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 21:27
29.
Re: No subject Feb 17, 2004, 21:27
Feb 17, 2004, 21:27
 
Last time I checked, Crimson Skies made the move to becoming Xbox only, hence proving his point. I admit it was a great game, but I don't think it sold very well, and not nearly as many units as the new xbox vesion has pushed.

True, but I think (or hope) that a lot of people who discovered Crimson Skies as a bargain title might have bought the sequel for PC. After I finished (and uninstalled) it I loaned it to friend who enjoy Mechwarrior, they both loved it and probably would have bought a sequel.
Oh well, another PC title gets consolized.


28.
 
Re: Larry Holland is a coward
Feb 17, 2004, 21:02
28.
Re: Larry Holland is a coward Feb 17, 2004, 21:02
Feb 17, 2004, 21:02
 
<Gny. Sgt. Hartman>

Heartbreak Ridge is one of my favorite Eastwood movies.

The best scene was his fight with 'The Swede".

Still have not gotten around to KOTOR myself,

-TPFKAS2S
http://www.braglio.com
-TPFKAS2S
Avatar 10139
27.
 
Re: PC Reviews vs. Console Reviews
Feb 17, 2004, 19:10
27.
Re: PC Reviews vs. Console Reviews Feb 17, 2004, 19:10
Feb 17, 2004, 19:10
 
SWON is a classic example of a company trying to tell the customers what they want (an action flight game on all platforms that's cheaper to develop than a PC-only title) instead of making what the customer wants (a sequel to a great, although definitely NOT realistic, WWII sim).
SWOTL had a lot of shortcomings even for its time. Chuck Yeager's Air Combat came out a few months earlier, had polygon (not SWOTL-style sprite) graphics, and better dogfighting and flight.
What SWOTL had was depth. You could fly careers, run a strategic campaign, etc. CYAC was a bunch of canned missions with a simplistic mission builder. Do it when you're in the mood for that type of fighting, then move on for awhile. SWOTL kept you coming back.

Mr Holland listened to Lucasarts marketing losers--he should have known better. They wanted to use the SWOTL name to best Crimson Skies at its own game.

Hey Mr Holland, what do you think of MS Flight Sim 2004 for Xbox? Oh? That's PC only? Well I'll be!


The Jedi Master

26.
 
Re: PC Reviews vs. Console Reviews
Feb 17, 2004, 18:15
26.
Re: PC Reviews vs. Console Reviews Feb 17, 2004, 18:15
Feb 17, 2004, 18:15
 
Another reason these arcade flight sims flop is because there are already sims like IL-2 around. While they're designed for the hardcore crowd, you can still turn down the difficulty adjusters in most of them so that you have a simple flight sim. With games like SWON, they start at the bottom with no way to ratchet the realism up.

Why would anyone choose SWON with its butt-ugly graphics, lack of MP, and wedged in console controls when you can get a better looking, better running, and more configurable flight sim that can be just as easy to play?

25.
 
No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 18:14
25.
No subject Feb 17, 2004, 18:14
Feb 17, 2004, 18:14
 
The reason the game didn't sell is lack of features compared to other PC games i.e. Battlefield 1942
You can fly around and sink aircraft carriers, then when you egt sick of that drive a tank, then a jeep , then shoot someone in the face etc... Why settle for less?

24.
 
No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 17:42
24.
No subject Feb 17, 2004, 17:42
Feb 17, 2004, 17:42
 
I prefer lack of realism in flight games. I'm no pilot nor do I have any passion to be one. I just want fun

------------
Love,
Mayor Danm{
ExcessDan
23.
 
Re: PC Reviews vs. Console Reviews
Feb 17, 2004, 17:16
23.
Re: PC Reviews vs. Console Reviews Feb 17, 2004, 17:16
Feb 17, 2004, 17:16
 
...console oriented reviews generally gave the game higher marks...because they looked at it outside the pc-hardcore-flight-sim model...

Consoles don't have a hardcore sim model, and I can't remember there ever being a flying game on consoles that I wouldn't classify as an arcade shooter.

The reason this game flopped is because when you fly on a computer you use a joystick and keyboard, and possibly a throttle. With those controls even a simple computer user can handle a lot more detail in the flight sim. With a console gamer you have to make the game playable with a limited amout of buttons and controls, which usually don't include a joystick. (those little analog things are a joke) So they released a game that was made to work off of a gamepad and ppl with joysticks and keyboard were bored. You don't have to make a hardcore flight sim, you have to make a game that's fun for your audience. PC gamers don't want to play on a gamepad. (well i don't anyway)

22.
 
PC Reviews vs. Console Reviews
Feb 17, 2004, 16:42
22.
PC Reviews vs. Console Reviews Feb 17, 2004, 16:42
Feb 17, 2004, 16:42
 
I think Larry was also making a statement on the Console oriented reviews generally gave the game higher marks. In part because the game was console centric <admittednly by him by design> but in part because they looked at it outside of the PC-hardcore-flight-sim model and maybe for what it was -- an action shooter with wings. If you were to research all his games they have always been more arcadey than hardcore. While the complaint-fest is fun to read it is interesting to note that not one review called the game too PC centric or the console versions buggy -- two major complaints from PC developers making the move onto console hardware. So the team must have done a few things right.

21.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 16:15
21.
Re: No subject Feb 17, 2004, 16:15
Feb 17, 2004, 16:15
 
I think this is a classic example of what happens when you try to make a game for both the pc and consoles. One or the other ends up suffering. Sure PC games are hard to please - because we've SEEN good games, and when something else comes along, you can tell if it's ca-ca...

agreed. though i think we're gonna have to get used to the fact that the pc gaming market is loosing its market to consoles and mass audience gaming. the gaming industry is very much looking like the hollywood studio market these days, with new ideas and new techniques only being used by "indie" developers like id.

dave snider
co-founder | guzzlefish.com
my dvd, cd, and game collections
http://www.guzzlefish.com/?user=dave
dave snider
comicvine.com
20.
 
Re: Yup
Feb 17, 2004, 15:44
20.
Re: Yup Feb 17, 2004, 15:44
Feb 17, 2004, 15:44
 
Hey Larry, how about you smack Lucasarts over the head so they'll let you update the XWing/TIE series again? I'm sure you're bored of it, but at least it'll sell (and I'll be happy). What da ya say?

Funny, I was just talking to a co-worker early this morning about the very same idea, redo Xwing and Tie Fighter with todays graphics with some innovations. What would actually be cool is merging both series into an 'Allegience' type game where players could dogfight over control of sectors etc. online. Just a thought...

Edit:
And with the Allegience source code released maybe some l33t Mod crew will make an Alligience style Star Wars game...

This comment was edited on Feb 17, 15:57.
19.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 15:43
nin
19.
Re: No subject Feb 17, 2004, 15:43
Feb 17, 2004, 15:43
nin
 
Rule #2 Nin: Star Wars games can't be used as a benchmark for genre sales within a market . They immediately sell better on name rec. alone. Also, that was so long ago, i don't think the same market exists honestly. The PC gamer audience continues to become the hardest to please group of gamers, and this has magnified over the years.

That's true. That SW on the box does help sales. And I'm sure the market has changed...but I don't think it's gone, or (the way Larry seems to paint it) that we won't buy anything unless it's a hardcore sim. I used to love sims like that, but I can't find the time anymore. Hell, I'm actually enjoying Freelancer right now...

I think this is a classic example of what happens when you try to make a game for both the pc and consoles. One or the other ends up suffering. Sure PC games are hard to please - because we've SEEN good games, and when something else comes along, you can tell if it's ca-ca...

But it's not our fault if we don't like his console-port...



http://www.depechemode.com/
This comment was edited on Feb 17, 15:44.
18.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 15:23
18.
Re: No subject Feb 17, 2004, 15:23
Feb 17, 2004, 15:23
 
#16 Here, Here. He made some of the greatest games ever and has been a fixture since the C-64 days. IMHO however Larry's lost sight of the audience that's fed him for the last 20 odd years. I think it's more a case of him being pissed off at the fact that his long time audience of PC gamers has rejected his new game pretty much out of hand. I'll be first to admit that SWON is a console ported turd, but for a veteren game designer to wonder why a console game isn't doing well on the PC is crazy if not a little stupid. We play PC games because they're better and more in depth that console games. Don't get me wrong, I love my Xbox, but playing console games is just good button mashing fun but not much substance. Kind of like screwing a super model.

17.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 15:09
17.
Re: No subject Feb 17, 2004, 15:09
Feb 17, 2004, 15:09
 
Rule #2 Nin: Star Wars games can't be used as a benchmark for genre sales within a market :). They immediately sell better on name rec. alone. Also, that was so long ago, i don't think the same market exists honestly. The PC gamer audience continues to become the hardest to please group of gamers, and this has magnified over the years.

I'd really like to know how freelancer sold, since that was a fairly large release of a arcadey flight sim that most people will agree was at least moderately good and easy as balls to play. It would disprove his point in some regards, but I still think that producing arcadey sims is somewhat risky in the PC market, though not impossible. I don't think any of us would disagree that it's definitely easier to sell that type of game on a PS2/Xbox.


dave snider
co-founder | guzzlefish.com
my dvd, cd, and game collections
http://www.guzzlefish.com/?user=dave
This comment was edited on Feb 17, 15:10.
dave snider
comicvine.com
16.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 14:53
nin
16.
Re: No subject Feb 17, 2004, 14:53
Feb 17, 2004, 14:53
nin
 
"And the project's most difficult lesson of all - there is no market for PC flight action games unless they are rigorously realistic. To PC gamers, if it's not is a flight simulation, it's not worth buying - end of story. No matter how hard we tried to champion a middle ground, PC gamers would have nothing of it. In the end, it wasn't worth the effort."

I'm gonna call BS on that one. His XWing series certainly wasn't a hardcore sim, and it sold just fine...

Rule #1 Larry: Never bite the hand that feeds you.

edit: Reread the above quote again. If he's going to be that much of an ass, he can keep his games on consoles. The prick...

http://www.depechemode.com/
This comment was edited on Feb 17, 15:04.
15.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 13:57
15.
Re: No subject Feb 17, 2004, 13:57
Feb 17, 2004, 13:57
 
Actually, now that i think of it Freelancer was a "decent" game released recently, so my above post is only half true.

dave snider
co-founder | guzzlefish.com
my dvd, cd, and game collections
http://www.guzzlefish.com/?user=dave
dave snider
comicvine.com
14.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 13:56
14.
Re: No subject Feb 17, 2004, 13:56
Feb 17, 2004, 13:56
 
Two words: Crimson Skies. What a great PC title

Last time I checked, Crimson Skies made the move to becoming Xbox only, hence proving his point. I admit it was a great game, but I don't think it sold very well, and not nearly as many units as the new xbox vesion has pushed. I think it's pretty safe generalization to say Arcadey flight sims don't do well on the PC. Hell, flight sims period have done poorly overall the past couple of years. Freespace and su-27, both old games, are the last real games we've seen in the market.

dave snider
co-founder | guzzlefish.com
my dvd, cd, and game collections
http://www.guzzlefish.com/?user=dave
dave snider
comicvine.com
13.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 17, 2004, 13:43
13.
Re: No subject Feb 17, 2004, 13:43
Feb 17, 2004, 13:43
 
The game was poor.

PC gamers don't need ultra-realism, but they need some. Pulling a tight dive and blacking out is fun. Worrying about ripping your wings off is fun. Worrying about stalling is fun.

Tony Hawk isn't a realistic sports game, but you have to worry about crashing. If you could land every trick it would be dull.

That was the problem with SWON - you could land every trick. Every loop, every turn - perfect. No worries about crashing. This was boring.


I don't need a 256 page leather-bound manual required to learn a game, but I need physics in some form. I'd kill for a straight remake of the original Red Baron, or Aces over Europe.

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