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Thread: The Wester Front #7 - Communication Nation

  1. #1
    High Priestess of Paradox Susana's Avatar
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    The Wester Front #7 - Communication Nation

    Communication Nation

    I used to say I have a great job; working at Paradox with a dedicated team and a growing business would be a great job for anyone remotely interested in games. But, like most jobs, there is a downside to all the glitz and glamour (?) of the gaming business. That may come as a shock to all of you who’ve always equated Paradox with glitz and glamour.

    Let's say that you release a game that is considered buggy on release; say, some fictional game we’ll make up now for the sake of illustration… let’s call it Hearts of Iron 3...

    Read the full article http://www.paradoxplaza.com/theweste...ication-nation

    Follow Fred on twitter @TheWesterFront
    Read previous articles http://www.paradoxplaza.com/thewesterfront

  2. #2
    Thoughtful article.

    Communicating cross-culturally has been a vehicle for my personal growth. As an example, the other day I found out that Finnish people use the word "racist" in many different ways that other cultures do not.

    Because this term has such a strong connotation in my culture, the misunderstandings that can occur when communicating with a Finn can lead to trouble.

    Communication is ever-evolving, and as our world we live in becomes more diverse, it becomes that much more important.

  3. #3
    "Apart from the occasional death threats (very rare, but they do exist) you get to learn a lot of new (strong!) words that will improve your language skills."

    Johan has also mentioned somewhere receiving death threats time to time. People like this make me helplessly angry. I guess those weirdos don't realize how severely perverse and morally wrong is the act they commit. This is utterly-utterly shameful.
    There is a theory which states that if anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
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  4. #4
    I know of many other game developers who have received death threats for the same reason- from Brad Wardell to David Sirlin.

    I can say, from the other side, as a customer, that I've tried to become more concrete with my criticisms when I offer them now, and try to offer solutions/goalposts, so that it's not something vague, so it's easier for you guys to understand what exactly I think would make your games better.

    In terms of "investing" for games- I think Stardock has the best idea here, and it's one you could copy fairly easily.

    Offer pre-orders in the planning stage (like really early) , in return- the pre-orderers get

    -full open beta access regularly- even if said builds are "ugly"
    -early forum access to shape the game
    -pre-order amounts determine budget spent on game. More pre-orders= more budget

    The problem here is a reputation for uneven quality would cause projects to be underfunded.

  5. #5
    Was there a concious decision made by Paradox to be a lot more open than most developers? Was this part of a business plan?

  6. #6
    I find the whole "we know HOI3 wasn't very good at release" mantra is exhibiting self-chastising qualities.

    In any case, an interesting read.

  7. #7
    Usermod Coordinator Paradox Dev Team Captain Gars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arstal View Post
    I know of many other game developers who have received death threats for the same reason- from Brad Wardell to David Sirlin.

    I can say, from the other side, as a customer, that I've tried to become more concrete with my criticisms when I offer them now, and try to offer solutions/goalposts, so that it's not something vague, so it's easier for you guys to understand what exactly I think would make your games better.

    In terms of "investing" for games- I think Stardock has the best idea here, and it's one you could copy fairly easily.

    Offer pre-orders in the planning stage (like really early) , in return- the pre-orderers get

    -full open beta access regularly- even if said builds are "ugly"
    -early forum access to shape the game
    -pre-order amounts determine budget spent on game. More pre-orders= more budget

    The problem here is a reputation for uneven quality would cause projects to be underfunded.
    Solution: Give each proposed game an investment time-frame, and if it doesn't make the minimum total investment set to be greenlighted just cancel project and repay the money (which should be easy if all investments are made by credit card).
    "I don't want to know or hear anything about neutrality. This is a fight between God and the devil. If he wants to side with God, then he has to join me. If he prefers to side with the devil, then indeed he must fight me. There is no third way."

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Gars View Post
    Solution: Give each proposed game an investment time-frame, and if it doesn't make the minimum total investment set to be greenlighted just cancel project and repay the money (which should be easy if all investments are made by credit card).
    I fear that some more daring projects of paradox might not see the light of day in such a case.
    Now I think about it, the most daring projects seem to be F2P. Like Salem and HOI:Cardgame.
    I have no doubt CK2 would quickly turn a profit in this business model. Though I'm not sure if it'll be as polished as it seems it'll be.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Count of Reval View Post
    "Apart from the occasional death threats (very rare, but they do exist) you get to learn a lot of new (strong!) words that will improve your language skills."

    Johan has also mentioned somewhere receiving death threats time to time. People like this make me helplessly angry. I guess those weirdos don't realize how severely perverse and morally wrong is the act they commit. This is utterly-utterly shameful.
    I don't mind people being upset about a product, it's just a matter of how to communicate it. Sometimes I've even replied to people "if you take your time to re-phrase your email you will get a reply" since you can feel that they have something they will tell you but it gets lost in cursing and abuse.

    Feedback is always positive, good or bad. Should help us improve, just as long as there is actually a message

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Gars View Post
    Solution: Give each proposed game an investment time-frame, and if it doesn't make the minimum total investment set to be greenlighted just cancel project and repay the money (which should be easy if all investments are made by credit card).
    A lot of Paradox's fans are young students, this would disproportionately exclude them as they don't tend to have money lying around to invest. Probably not a big issue to the company if it's still profitable, but something to bear in mind nonetheless. What else do you expect from someone with my avatar!

    Personally, I'd like it the forum could have more input on features or focuses of expansions, but not on which games actually get made. The fact is, if games are made on the basis of how the public will pay in advance for the most popular ideas, it takes the devs a step back from the process. Before I was a beta, I would have thought that a good thing, but I now know they really do know best almost all of the time. I don't see what would be gained by having Johan, King, Doomdark et al making games they aren't really into.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRalphWiggum View Post
    Personally, I'd like it the forum could have more input on features or focuses of expansions, but not on which games actually get made. The fact is, if games are made on the basis of how the public will pay in advance for the most popular ideas, it takes the devs a step back from the process. Before I was a beta, I would have thought that a good thing, but I now know they really do know best almost all of the time. I don't see what would be gained by having Johan, King, Doomdark et al making games they aren't really into.
    I want to second this sentiment, although the invitation to accept such suggestions has to be tempered with a caution that the overall architecture of a game can only accept certain features. In other words, even extremely popular features sometimes can't be accommodated.

    Kudos to Fred for being open about the problems that HOI3 has had. But as a beta who has been involved with the project from the alpha stage, I also want to say that it IS beginning to get into pretty good shape. It's never been a bad game, just one that needed time to realize its ambitious design!
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  12. #12
    I may be missing something out but the revenue/economic figures circulating from the Convent seems to indicate that Paradox may be on the right track already?

    Of course there is always room for improvement but keeping an open discussion here at the forum and inviting fans to beta and so on, is really all thats needed in my opinion. Keep doing great games and we'll keep buying

    The "investment-model" has some tempting aspects but also a few possible problems looming over it. Should a few projects be cancelled due to low investments I think that people will loose interest in making further investment attempts and the system will fall on its one premise.

    A sales tip that will get me flamed now:

    When a lot of the people buying paradox-titles seem to stem from rather specific group of gamers, releasing 15+ interesting titles in a year might stretch a few budgets

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimjaur View Post
    A sales tip that will get me flamed now:

    When a lot of the people buying paradox-titles seem to stem from rather specific group of gamers, releasing 15+ interesting titles in a year might stretch a few budgets
    I think you have a point here, we might have been over-ambitious trying to please everyone
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrik II View Post
    I think you have a point here, we might have been over-ambitious trying to please everyone
    I wouldn't put it that way. The games range over broad genres. I doubt I'll buy even half of them. (Though I guess the F2P can't be bought in any case ) Still, that leaves like 5-7 games I'm interested in.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Romtos View Post
    I wouldn't put it that way. The games range over broad genres. I doubt I'll buy even half of them. (Though I guess the F2P can't be bought in any case ) Still, that leaves like 5-7 games I'm interested in.
    My interests range over broad genres

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Grimjaur View Post
    My interests range over broad genres
    Maybe you can work for paradox in return for food, shelter and games?

  17. #17
    A great company with great staff and great costumers/users (mostly i hope) . The costumer service and communication at paradox is unic and splendid i would say. Looking forward to a great and interesting year.

  18. #18
    Usermod Coordinator Paradox Dev Team Captain Gars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRalphWiggum View Post
    Before I was a beta, I would have thought that a good thing, but I now know they really do know best almost all of the time. I don't see what would be gained by having Johan, King, Doomdark et al making games they aren't really into.
    Well, obviously you wouldn't use this model to determine all of the games being made. But if we have a couple of new ideas for smaller games that one of the expansion teams could do, but we're not sure it would sell enough to pay for its development, a model like this could be used to "test the water".
    "I don't want to know or hear anything about neutrality. This is a fight between God and the devil. If he wants to side with God, then he has to join me. If he prefers to side with the devil, then indeed he must fight me. There is no third way."

    Senior Scripter & Usermod Coordinator

    (DON'T PM ME ABOUT MODDING ISSUES - THERE ARE SUBFORUMS FOR THAT)


    ~ Ivan Turina ~

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Gars View Post
    Well, obviously you wouldn't use this model to determine all of the games being made. But if we have a couple of new ideas for smaller games that one of the expansion teams could do, but we're not sure it would sell enough to pay for its development, a model like this could be used to "test the water".
    I hear what you are saying.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrik II View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Grimjaur View Post
    A sales tip that will get me flamed now:

    When a lot of the people buying paradox-titles seem to stem from rather specific group of gamers, releasing 15+ interesting titles in a year might stretch a few budgets
    I think you have a point here, we might have been over-ambitious trying to please everyone
    Releasing too many titles in too short a time was one of the things that brought MicroProse down. I would hate to see anything like that happen to Paradox.
    Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not: The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. --Calvin Coolidge

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