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Old 08-03-2013, 06:48 PM   #1
w24olfpack
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FOF 7 Conversion

Starting this for commishes / simmers to begin discussions conversion.

Some key questions for me:

1.) Conversion
Do you plan on converting immediately once your season is finished
or
Waiting a season or two while things get figured out.
or
Speeding up / slowing down seasons to accommodate it's release

2.) Utilities
Is Greg (or can we get Greg) on deck for updating the Utility Suite
or
Will the game incorporate it

3.) BELCO interface
I'm sure Ben's already thinking thru this. I emailed him separately.
Will BELCO stay in the front end game?
Will it be needed or will the game output be sufficient.

Anyway. Alot of questions. Let's use this as a parking lot.

This will probably be a major endeavor to do it right and we all want to make it flawless for our 'customers'.

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Old 08-03-2013, 07:50 PM   #2
Ben E Lou
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Waiting is foolish. We need as many humans as possible banging away at the game to find the weak spots in a timely fashion so that JG has a chance to fix them within a reasonable patch cycle.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:21 PM   #3
w24olfpack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben E Lou View Post
Waiting is foolish. We need as many humans as possible banging away at the game to find the weak spots in a timely fashion so that JG has a chance to fix them within a reasonable patch cycle.

I completely agree with we need a lot of folks testing it out banging on the production version. Would hope that there is an open beta (Guild Wars II was a great example of that) where we can test new functionality and old. I'm less worried about Jim's code than I am all the bells and whistles the the FOF community has built onto it.

What I'm looking for is a thoughtful dialogue about how best to do that to ensure that leagues don't suffer interruptions. Just like real businesses. How we get "as many humans as possible banging away" should be up for discussion without automatically assuming leagues will convert day 1.

Most of us have investments in ISP costs, domain names, BELCO dev work while representing 31 other individuals who count on it to just work. I can't think of anyone who has more invested in infrastructure than you, Ben.

One thought I would suggest.

With a core of testers we can set up some test leagues (both in FOF 6.4 and starting fresh in 7.0). Hammer out some test scripts on areas of functionality and have folks work thru it and report out any bugs.

As I said, I'm less worried about FOF itself - much of this should be taken care of in Alpha and Beta. It's the conscriptors, stelmacks suites, change trackers, etc that really have to be put through their paces.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:26 PM   #4
Ben E Lou
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It's just unrealistic to expect the best players to go all-out in a test league. I cracked the code for Jim's FOF2K7 nerf because I wanted to win at IHOF. I wouldn't invest that kind of time and energy into a test league, and I'm certain I'm not alone in that. There's no way the nerf and workaround gets discovered in beta testing or test leagues. If there are back doors this time, they won't come to light until people start getting competitive.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:30 PM   #5
Ben E Lou
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Well, and to be perfectly honest, I don't care *that* much about all leagues converting day 1. I want FOF MP's top system-gamers and angle-shooters working on it, and pretty much all of them are in the CCFL and/or IHOF. I want people who will approach FOF7 thinking "given what I know about how Jim thinks, how did this game element change (or how does this new game element work under the hood) and what's the best way to attack it?"
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:35 PM   #6
w24olfpack
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I'm not talking about nerfs or the game engine or playability.

It's platform stability of all the things what work AROUND FOF that Im worried about, not the FOF engine itself.
Does Conscriptor still work? If so, does it output files in the same format.
Can I or do I still need to do an extractor.
Does DBUpdater work? Did it change the structure of the DB so something crashes.
Do we need batches. Do they work.

Those are the things we need to work through as a community.

We had issues when Windows versions change. The Program Files to Appdata change for security.

The folks who play in our leagues are as worried about consistency and a seamless switch as they are about the new engines. They will be patient with some hiccups. We all will be because we know they will happen. But how do we limit them in the first place.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ben E Lou View Post
Well, and to be perfectly honest, I don't care *that* much about all leagues converting day 1. I want FOF MP's top system-gamers and angle-shooters working on it, and pretty much all of them are in the CCFL and/or IHOF. I want people who will approach FOF7 thinking "given what I know about how Jim thinks, how did this game element change (or how does this new game element work under the hood) and what's the best way to attack it?"

That is a very fair point Ben. WE definitely need the best, brightest and sneakiest working on that.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:41 PM   #8
Ben E Lou
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Double dola:

Unless Jim releases the file structure of the exports prior to the game, it's pointless to discuss web site stuff. To be clear, as of right now, I can't support any FOF7 web sites other than maybe one or two leagues that I'm in. I'm not going to deal with a system that relies on people to upload CSVs correctly. If after the format is out someone writes something to automate uploads that works seamlessly, then I'll consider doing something with it.

Last thing: an open beta??? I'm not trying to be mean, but honestly that sounds like the people who were thinking Jim was going to all of a sudden change his mind about custom league structures and substituting pretty pictures for numbers on the screen. With everything we know about how Jim has done things for 15 years, I don't see any reason to hope for anything remotely resembling an open beta.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:48 PM   #9
Ben E Lou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w24olfpack View Post
I'm not talking about nerfs or the game engine or playability.

It's platform stability of all the things what work AROUND FOF that Im worried about, not the FOF engine itself.
Does Conscriptor still work? If so, does it output files in the same format.
Can I or do I still need to do an extractor.
Does DBUpdater work? Did it change the structure of the DB so something crashes.
Do we need batches. Do they work.

Those are the things we need to work through as a community.

We had issues when Windows versions change. The Program Files to Appdata change for security.

The folks who play in our leagues are as worried about consistency and a seamless switch as they are about the new engines. They will be patient with some hiccups. We all will be because we know they will happen. But how do we limit them in the first place.
I just noticed your join date. Didn't realize that. That's the missing piece here. You haven't been around for previous versions. Here's the reality:

Unless there's a massive, massive, massive, massive, earth-shattering change in the way Jim changes his file formats from one game to the next, NONE of the existing stuff is going to work out of the box.

Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Extractor will crash. DBUpdater will crash. Conscriptor won't get the files in the format it needs. The cap utility won't work. The stadium tool won't work. Nothing that reads FOF from either the front end or the back end will work.

The very best we can hope for is that the exports Jim does will be very similar to what the existing stuff is expecting and therefore it will be relatively easy to change stuff AND that either the people who write those utilities will be willing to change them or someone else will step up and do it. But I would place my money on the thought that *everything* will have to change. Everything.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:48 PM   #10
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I'm not the biggest gamer but of the top game developers (Riot, NCSoft, etc) release their software to open betas (actively entice top gamers to beta). My college kid has participated in probably 20 and has done alot of work logging bugs and giving feedback on play thru elements.

That wasn't critical of Jim at all.

Its about helping him work thru any bugs and helping him deliver something that folks have been excited about since at least January and understanding how this is going to work for the commish community.

Without the commishes. There IS no MP.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:50 PM   #11
Ben E Lou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w24olfpack View Post
I'm not the biggest gamer but of the top game developers (Riot, NCSoft, etc) release their software to open betas (actively entice top gamers to beta). My college kid has participated in probably 20 and has done alot of work logging bugs and giving feedback on play thru elements.
Jim had one beta tester for FOF1 through 3, I believe. Then he added two more, I think for FOF4 and FOF2K4. I believe FOF2K7 had the most he's ever had: 5.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:51 PM   #12
w24olfpack
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Originally Posted by Ben E Lou View Post
Unless there's a massive, massive, massive, massive, earth-shattering change in the way Jim changes his file formats from one game to the next, NONE of the existing stuff is going to work out of the box.

Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

But I would place my money on the thought that *everything* will have to change. Everything.

What you said here is VERY VERY important.

I would say MOST (or at least HALF) of the MP community have joined since 2004 to 2007 conversion.

The expectation from the two MP's that I help manage is some consistency.

I'm glad you said it. Because I am already getting questions on what are we going to do. ARe things changing, etc.

Last edited by w24olfpack : 08-03-2013 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:09 AM   #13
aston217
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Originally Posted by Ben E Lou View Post
It's just unrealistic to expect the best players to go all-out in a test league. I cracked the code for Jim's FOF2K7 nerf because I wanted to win at IHOF. I wouldn't invest that kind of time and energy into a test league, and I'm certain I'm not alone in that. There's no way the nerf and workaround gets discovered in beta testing or test leagues. If there are back doors this time, they won't come to light until people start getting competitive.

hey just out of some curiosity, what nerf was that?

Also, this thread isn't really a resource, more of a discussion. Could get more eyes and voices in the main forum?
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Old 11-02-2013, 04:00 PM   #14
Yoda
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Just finding this thread.... and a couple of I am sure flame worthy comments

1-Given the MP leagues and their usage of data, I would hope that if Jim doesn't include a way to directly upload into a database, that he gets with Greg and Greg is gracious enough to update his DBU to handle the new game.

2- If Jim's beta testers aren't willing to go all out and test things, to be rather blunt- he needs new beta testers. The point of a beta tester is to push things. And if you aren't willing to do that, then you don't deserve to be an alpha/beta tester. (I've been the beta tester on a number of titles- Ultima Online, WoW, EQ, EQII, Magic The Gathering Online, Star Wars, and at least a half dozen more titles)

Ben- I am sure you are not alone in those feelings, but there are others that aren't that way. And I really disagree on your assertion that things don't get found out in beta/test leagues.

Again, Beta testing is about pushing the boundaries, taking things to extremes.

3- Not sure I agree with an open beta. I am not sure the logistics of a single person working on a game of this magnitude could handle it.

4- test leagues---- I like the concept, especially since this next version seems heavily geared towards MP play. The question is getting at least 12-16 players willing to really put serious effort into it. It's more about mind set and dedication. And less about the individual.
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Old 11-02-2013, 04:17 PM   #15
Ben E Lou
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FOF Betas != any other beta you are used to. Apples and oranges. Unless there are cataclysmic changes to Jim's philosophy and the beta process, forget the long-term things getting noticed. It is impossible. Not enough people. Not enough time. Period.
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