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Yann
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  SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Thu, 13 February 2014 16:27
Dear Small World 2 players,

Thanks for your comments and questions regarding the first notes we published last week. It sounds like we are heading in the right direction, which is always encouraging Smile

Today we want to cover the creation of online game in the future "Online Arena". One word of caution: the screens that you are see below are mock-ups made in Photoshop, not actual working screenshots. They were produced by our User Interface designer early in the project and are used as models by our developers.

The end results always varies because of technical constraints, workflow issues that came up during development and testing, etc. So take these graphics as concepts shown here for illustration purposes only.

The "Lobby"

By default, you will enter the new Lobby in "Join" mode, to encourage joining existing open games that fit your criteria, rather than creating new ones - just like what we do in Ticket to Ride Online. However, for the sake of clarity, we're starting by showing you the other mode first here, the Create mode:

http://s3-assets.daysofwonder.com/www/SW25-onlineArena-create-tablet.jpg


From left to right, you can see:

- The list of users who are connected to the Lobby. Your buddies will appear first. Selecting a user will show his/her stats at the top. A search box at the bottom will allow you to filter users.
- The chat area: nothing unusual there, type and hit Enter to send your message. Chat history will be preserved, like in Ticket to Ride.
- The game settings: that's the subject of this memo.

Note: the screen above is the tablet / phablet design. The PC/Mac design will show all the options expanded, because we have more physical space to work with.

Selected Expansions

The top part of the game settings panels contains the list of expansions you'd like to play with (or not) in the game. Like in the current version, we keep the "bring your boardgame approach", i.e. if you select an expansion, other players will be able to join your game and play with these expansions even if they don't own these expansions in their account yet. Nothing new there.

Type of game

As explained in the previous memo, the first thing is to choose the type of game you want to play: "Single Session" (real-time, synchronous and unique) or "Turn based" (asynchronous, multiple games can run in parallel).

http://s3-assets.daysofwonder.com/www/SW25-game-types.jpg


You can see two buttons for preset Time values: the minimum and the maximum. Please note that these preset values NOT the final ones - we'll have to finalize them later on based on actual playtests. Your thoughts about "good values" are welcome, but nothing will beat real-world tests. Again, keep in mind that this is the total cumulated time available to each player for the entire game. Example: say you set up a 4-player game with a 20 minutes time, this means that the game will last for 4 x 20 = 80 minutes at most.

(thread is continued below)
      
Yann
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  Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Thu, 13 February 2014 16:28
(continuing previous message)

Clicking the "custom" button will bring a dialog that allows you to choose your own value between the minimum and maximum ones:

http://s3-assets.daysofwonder.com/www/SW25-custom-time.jpg


Other game settings

After that, you will be able to select additional settings for the game:

http://s3-assets.daysofwonder.com/www/SW25-other-settings.jpg


- Number of players: 2 to 5
- Starting player: select a specific player or let the server choose at random
- Minimum Karma
- Ranked or not ranked

Game Name

A text box will allow you to give a name to your game. This name will be visible in the list of open games.

Last Settings

The button on the bottom left will allow you to activate the automatic redeployment. Private games, protected by a password, can be created using the button and the password text box at the bottom right.

Next episode: Joining an Online Game

We look forward to your comments!

The Days of Wonder dev team
      
AngryMarine
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Thu, 13 February 2014 19:42
Wow! The Lobby looks absolutely amazing and provides all the necessary options too!
I have expressed my thoughts about the time settings already, so I am just going to summarize them.

Single Session games:
10 minutes - 20 minutes - Custom Time Setting from 5 minutes to 40 minutes.

Turn Based games:
Many players complained that sometimes they cannot play on weekends and their games disappear because the turn duration is limited by 48 hours. Now that the turn duration limit expands to all turns duration limit, the problem can be considered solved. I agree that the new time values should really be well tested, but I can make a supposition that the maximum time limit of 15 days will be quite enough.

[Mis à jour le: Thu, 13 February 2014 19:49]

      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Thu, 13 February 2014 22:21
AngryMarine wrote on Thu, 13 February 2014 22:42

Wow! The Lobby looks absolutely amazing and provides all the necessary options too!
I have expressed my thoughts about the time settings already, so I am just going to summarize them.

Single Session games:
10 minutes - 20 minutes - Custom Time Setting from 5 minutes to 40 minutes.


You realize that a 40 minute Single Session game would mean 80 minutes of playing (for a 2-player game)!! I don't know of anyone who will want to sign up for up to 80 minutes for a single game! I suspect 20 minutes per person is more realistic.

I know that it's because you want to be able to chat, but just do that in the lobby before starting the game...or use the full time of 20 minute times. That would be 40 minutes for one game! Smile

Quote:

Turn Based games:
Many players complained that sometimes they cannot play on weekends and their games disappear because the turn duration is limited by 48 hours. Now that the turn duration limit expands to all turns duration limit, the problem can be considered solved. I agree that the new time values should really be well tested, but I can make a supposition that the maximum time limit of 15 days will be quite enough.


I agree. 15 days per player will be plenty of time for anyone. Very Happy
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Thu, 13 February 2014 22:43
Loving the look of the new lobby so far, seems to do everything we've wanted it to do.

I think I agree with AngryMarine for single session times,
Quote:

Single Session games:
10 minutes - 20 minutes - Custom Time Setting from 5 minutes to 40 minutes.
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Thu, 13 February 2014 22:53
DAC cazaron wrote on Fri, 14 February 2014 01:43

Loving the look of the new lobby so far, seems to do everything we've wanted it to do.

I think I agree with AngryMarine for single session times,
Quote:

Single Session games:
10 minutes - 20 minutes - Custom Time Setting from 5 minutes to 40 minutes.



Really? You like the idea of an 80-minute Single Session game? I don't mean to sound negative (that's not my intention) but I'm trying to understand. If someone invites me to an 80-minute Single Session game I would decline the game. I don't have time to play one game for 80 minutes (or even an hour) at one sitting. If someone wants to take that long on turns, or chat that much, I would rather simply start an Asynch game.

Can you guys help me understand?
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Thu, 13 February 2014 23:43
rasmussen81 wrote on Thu, 13 February 2014 16:53


Really? You like the idea of an 80-minute Single Session game? I don't mean to sound negative (that's not my intention) but I'm trying to understand. If someone invites me to an 80-minute Single Session game I would decline the game. I don't have time to play one game for 80 minutes (or even an hour) at one sitting. If someone wants to take that long on turns, or chat that much, I would rather simply start an Asynch game.

Can you guys help me understand?


Yeah, I can understand this. I would certainly refuse to join an 80 minute game (and 40 minutes added for each player onto that), but each to their own I guess. If AngryMarine wants to play an 80 minute 2-player match, why stop him I figure.
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Thu, 13 February 2014 23:54
rasmussen81 wrote on Thu, 13 February 2014 16:53

DAC cazaron wrote on Fri, 14 February 2014 01:43

Loving the look of the new lobby so far, seems to do everything we've wanted it to do.

I think I agree with AngryMarine for single session times,
Quote:

Single Session games:
10 minutes - 20 minutes - Custom Time Setting from 5 minutes to 40 minutes.



Really? You like the idea of an 80-minute Single Session game? I don't mean to sound negative (that's not my intention) but I'm trying to understand. If someone invites me to an 80-minute Single Session game I would decline the game. I don't have time to play one game for 80 minutes (or even an hour) at one sitting. If someone wants to take that long on turns, or chat that much, I would rather simply start an Asynch game.

Can you guys help me understand?


I don't like the idea of having an 80-minute single session game, but just because it's set for 80 minutes doesn't mean it would go for 80 minutes, however, with 40 minutes being the absolute upper echelon, I see no reason why that's excessive.

If we want to play single session, but we want to do other things while playing, fetch drinks or something, dinner even, there's no reason why the game should time out if all involved are happy with the other things going on.

Of course, I wouldn't accept a random challenge with 40min single session time, but i think that 40min being the upper echelon is not too much.

Keep in mind, these times are at most...

EDIT: Also, on a sidenote, the boardgame itself can often take up 60-80 minutes. Not that I'm saying the experience is the same, therefore they should be compared, but 80 minutes isn't exorbitantly long if you're in good company. It's exorbitantly long if you're against random people though, no doubt.

[Mis à jour le: Thu, 13 February 2014 23:56]

      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Fri, 14 February 2014 00:36
DAC cazaron wrote on Fri, 14 February 2014 02:54


I don't like the idea of having an 80-minute single session game, but just because it's set for 80 minutes doesn't mean it would go for 80 minutes, however, with 40 minutes being the absolute upper echelon, I see no reason why that's excessive.

If we want to play single session, but we want to do other things while playing, fetch drinks or something, dinner even, there's no reason why the game should time out if all involved are happy with the other things going on.

Of course, I wouldn't accept a random challenge with 40min single session time, but i think that 40min being the upper echelon is not too much.

Keep in mind, these times are at most...

EDIT: Also, on a sidenote, the boardgame itself can often take up 60-80 minutes. Not that I'm saying the experience is the same, therefore they should be compared, but 80 minutes isn't exorbitantly long if you're in good company. It's exorbitantly long if you're against random people though, no doubt.


I realize that 80 minutes would be the max time a game could take, and most would not take that long. But I'm picturing brand new players (who aren't active on this forum) seeing the time limit of 40 minutes and inviting people to 40 minute games and being confused why nobody is accepting the games.

In the end it doesn't matter to me what times DoW offers for Single Session games. I don't see myself starting (or accepting) games with time limits longer than 20 minutes. The whole point (in my mind) for the Single Session game is to play a quick game in one sitting. For that reason I will want to know my opponent is taking his turns quickly...and if he has 40 minutes total, he might take time for dinner while I sit waiting to finish.

Of course everyone is different, so to each his own. Very Happy
      
DAC cazaron
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Fri, 14 February 2014 01:45
Yeah, understood.

I just think the option should be there to have a high amount of time to account for things like friends having dinner or getting something or answering the door.
I mean, if I was playing a quick game with strangers? I agree with you, way too much time.
But with friends? I think high time limit is reasonable.

Eh, each to their own, just make sure the 'default' time limit is low, not high. That'd solve a lot of problems with new players.
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Fri, 14 February 2014 01:59
DAC cazaron wrote on Fri, 14 February 2014 04:45

Yeah, understood.

I just think the option should be there to have a high amount of time to account for things like friends having dinner or getting something or answering the door.
I mean, if I was playing a quick game with strangers? I agree with you, way too much time.
But with friends? I think high time limit is reasonable.

Eh, each to their own, just make sure the 'default' time limit is low, not high. That'd solve a lot of problems with new players.


True, having the default with a good short amount of time will solve a bunch of problems. Smile

I guess the thing I'm not understanding why I wouldn't just use an Asynch game with a friend of mine. Then we have days to play a game, can chat all we want, can stop for dinner or a movie, and generally take our time...but that's just me. Cool
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Fri, 14 February 2014 06:32
rasmussen81 wrote on Thu, 13 February 2014 19:59


I guess the thing I'm not understanding why I wouldn't just use an Asynch game with a friend of mine. Then we have days to play a game, can chat all we want, can stop for dinner or a movie, and generally take our time...but that's just me. Cool

You raise a good point. For me, at least, it feels different when I'm playing Ticket to Ride than Small World (and I don't mean the game, because obviously that's different), with the need for 'closeness' of the game. You can obviously stand up and leave, come back to the game and still play your turn in TTR, but because one's asynch and the other's not, they feel really different, even though they're technically similar.
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Fri, 14 February 2014 06:39
Jesse, you are forgetting that now Quick Play games have a 10 minutes limit per turn. That is 200 minutes for a two player game. I thank god that the majority of players don't switch between the games and such games last 20-30 minutes in general.

I imagine that most of the times I will be setting the time limit of 30 minutes for each player. And it does not mean that all of the time will be used during the game. I just want everybody to be comfortable, not distracted by the clock. 30 minutes should be enough in most cases, but let's have a larger margin of 40 minutes just in case!

Very often when I start a Quick Play match I meet players who are new to the game, and they ask for tips. I don't think that I will be risking my game and remain a friendly fellow online if I am pressed for time.

I believe that small time limits are needed to indicate that you are in a hurry, and if someone does not mind playing in a hurry too, he will join such a game. In other cases 30 (or 40) minutes limit should be set. I love those moments when the argument about who is leading starts on 4 or 5 player maps. And those arguments also need time. And a little reserve just not to feel nervous about it.
I am glad that there are players who support my opinion Smile

[Mis à jour le: Fri, 14 February 2014 09:21]

      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Fri, 14 February 2014 14:10

The whole idea of the "Online Arena" looks really promising and indeed, they put the online experience of SW2 in the right direction.

A couple of ideas:

1. Selecting the minimum karma is a very interesting feature (which will hopefully discourage people from quitting). Will it be possible to do the same with ELO, i.e. define min(/max?) ELO rating for joining the game ?

2. Let's assume that I would like to create a long asynchronous game (i.e. turn based) of 4-5 random players but I do not have time to wait online for everyone to join. Will it be possible to create the async game, leave the SW2 application, other players join the game while I am offline and (after everyone commits) start the game ?


      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Fri, 14 February 2014 16:20
I think doubling the time and getting 80 minutes is the wrong way to look at it. If you are looking to play a quick game, taking your turn as soon as it's available, the time will be much closer to 40 minutes. It's more important to me that it's a limit on how much I'll have to wait for the OTHER person.
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Fri, 14 February 2014 17:15
jepmn wrote on Fri, 14 February 2014 19:20

I think doubling the time and getting 80 minutes is the wrong way to look at it. If you are looking to play a quick game, taking your turn as soon as it's available, the time will be much closer to 40 minutes. It's more important to me that it's a limit on how much I'll have to wait for the OTHER person.


That's my thought exactly. If I create a game that gives lots of time, I'll be in the same situation as right now...my opponent might go for a walk or watch a show (playing his turn at commercial breaks) and I'm stuck waiting for my turn.

Quick play should be just that; quick. Razz
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Fri, 14 February 2014 18:36
Quote:

That's my thought exactly. If I create a game that gives lots of time, I'll be in the same situation as right now...my opponent might go for a walk or watch a show (playing his turn at commercial breaks) and I'm stuck waiting for my turn.

That is an unreal situation that you are describing, the absolute majority of players are adequate people, who play the game to the end without quitting once they start it.

In Ticket to Ride a player is replaced by a bot as soon as the screen is blocked. That might not work with the Steam version though.

Anyhow, the new Lobby provides a lot of opportunities. If a player wants a quick match, he can join or create a game with a small time limit. But those who don't like to finish their last turn during the last few seconds should also be given adequate freedom of choice.

That is my opinion, and I know what I am talking about. In November and December I used to play at least 4 quick games every day. Now my schedule is much busier, but I am going to be back to this practice shortly.
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Fri, 14 February 2014 23:32
Well, I don't mind the risk that it will take 40 minutes on the outside. But I wouldn't also mind a "attentive" mode that both had a maximum time limit and a timeout before the bot would play your round. Or maybe something with a "rolling timeout". So you get X minutes for your last Y turns. That way if you need to stop and think about one a little longer (or let the dog out while the other player is moving and didn't see it's your turn yet), you don't automatically get booted.

It's fiddly and complicated, but it would work more like it does in the "real" world of boardgaming. Someone spending extra time every once in a while on a hard turn is ok. Someone doing it every turn gets meeples tossed at them.
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Sat, 15 February 2014 00:52
jepmn wrote on Sat, 15 February 2014 02:32

Well, I don't mind the risk that it will take 40 minutes on the outside. But I wouldn't also mind a "attentive" mode that both had a maximum time limit and a timeout before the bot would play your round. Or maybe something with a "rolling timeout". So you get X minutes for your last Y turns. That way if you need to stop and think about one a little longer (or let the dog out while the other player is moving and didn't see it's your turn yet), you don't automatically get booted.

It's fiddly and complicated, but it would work more like it does in the "real" world of boardgaming. Someone spending extra time every once in a while on a hard turn is ok. Someone doing it every turn gets meeples tossed at them.


I agree that 40 minutes on the outside is a fine length for a Quick match...but that would mean that you set the timer for 20 minutes per player (Player A 20 minutes + Player B 20 minutes). If you set the timer for 40 minutes, you're looking at 80 minutes on the outside, which is not longer a quick match IMHO.

I might not be understanding what you're suggesting in your post, but the system that DoW is talking about would allow you to take extra time on some turns and less time on others.

Basically each player would start with a set amount of time (let's say 20 minutes). Once the game starts and player A begins, he has 20 minutes of his time to play all of his turns. He takes 3 minutes for turn one, so now he has 17 minutes left. As soon as player A finishes his turn, time stops for him and time starts for player B. Player B uses 2 minutes and now has 18 minutes left.

Player A puts out the dog, so his next turn takes 7 minutes and he has 10 minutes left for all the rest of his turns. Player B takes a quick turn that only lasts 1 minute, so he still has 17 minutes left. Player A isn't paying attention and gets some coffee, so his turn takes 5 minutes. He now has 5 minutes left.

Player B was hoping for a quick game and takes his turn right away, using 3 minutes of his time. He now has 14 minutes left. Player A is watching a TV show and takes his next turn in 4 minutes. He's down to 1 minute left. As soon as Player B finishes his turn, that 1 minute will begin and since player A went to let the dog back in, his time runs out. He automatically loses and Player B wins by default.

So the current system will encourage people to actually be engaged in the game and play a quick match in real-time instead of as a side activity among a busy day. The idea is to play the whole game in one sitting, without the opponent having to wait too long.

[Mis à jour le: Sat, 15 February 2014 00:54]

      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Sat, 15 February 2014 06:27
Laughing Laughing Laughing
Is he a lunatic or a sleepwalker? I mean Player A.
Laughing Laughing Laughing
Jesse, I see your point. By the way, I have just looked through your game history and found out that all your games are ranked. The exception are a few games during the beta testing period. You have almost no experiece in Quick Play games, how can you be so sure that your point is correct and no time limit larger than 20 minutes should be offered???

[Mis à jour le: Sat, 15 February 2014 06:46]

      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Sat, 15 February 2014 07:41
@rassmussen

It's just two different ways of looking at it. I'm looking at how long a two player game will take at the outside if you are playing your side quickly. You are looking at how long a 2p game could take at the outside if both players take their time. Does that difference make sense to you? I'm not as much concerned about the extra 40 minutes on my side because I know I will not use that.

And yes, I the time limits DOW is proposing will allow you to take more time in some turns than others. I was just proposing a way you could more likely guarantee a REALLY quick game, like a game that took maybe 10 minutes per side. But like I said, it was complicated. And maybe it'd work out the same, anyway.
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Sat, 15 February 2014 17:26
AngryMarine wrote on Sat, 15 February 2014 09:27

Laughing Laughing Laughing
Is he a lunatic or a sleepwalker? I mean Player A.
Laughing Laughing Laughing


He's a caricature of someone who isn't paying attention to the new time limit system. A zombie, if you will! Very Happy Laughing


Quote:

Jesse, I see your point. By the way, I have just looked through your game history and found out that all your games are ranked. The exception are a few games during the beta testing period. You have almost no experiece in Quick Play games, how can you be so sure that your point is correct and no time limit larger than 20 minutes should be offered???


Yes, I have mainly played ranked games because they have been the type of game I can complete. When I've tried Quick Play the other player(s) have left the game or I don't feel like I would have time to sit through the whole game. It's simply easier for me to play Asynch games.

I'm not sure that 20 minutes should be the only time offered; I'm simply pointing out that Quick Play games are meant to be quick and I don't consider 80 minutes for a two-player game to be quick. Yes, I know that players don't have to use all 80 minutes...but if it's available there is the possibility that one person will take all 40 minutes of their turn.

In the end these are all academic conversations because like DoW said, they'll have to test the time limits to see what's realistic. It might turn out that 40 minutes is a perfect amount of time per player (or even that 40 minutes feels too short), but it also might turn out that 20 minutes per player is plenty of time. I'm happy to wait and see what DoW decides on. Smile
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Sat, 15 February 2014 18:43
Well, I understand that these are just academic conversations as you put it. I absolutely trust Days of Wonder with their decision, for they have proven many-many times to see much further than all the players together. I am glad that you are not taking our rather hot conversation close to heart Smile
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Sat, 15 February 2014 19:25
AngryMarine wrote on Sat, 15 February 2014 21:43

Well, I understand that these are just academic conversations as you put it. I absolutely trust Days of Wonder with their decision, for they have proven many-many times to see much further than all the players together. I am glad that you are not taking our rather hot conversation close to heart Smile


Indeed, DoW has always done a great job navigating their products and I too trust them to find a good balance.

Of course I would not take our conversation personally; we both love the game and want the best for it. We both want Small World to be successful, and we are both smart people; our conversations are all in good fun. Very Happy

Take care and have fun!
      
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #2: Online Game Creation Sat, 15 February 2014 19:38
Thank you very much! You too! Smile
      
    
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