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Moon

Battlefront Mod and Scenario Depot - your opinion counts

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Be our guest!

The idea here is not how we maximize profit from a Depot (because most likely there won't be any) but how do we strike a balance between usefulness (for you) and cost (for us). At the moment the idea to "pay per MB" to me seems to tip that balance too far to one side (recouping cost while increasing inconvenience to the user). And that increases the danger that it simply won't be used at all.

From the tone of the opening post, I thought limiting the bandwidth and server size requirements were your priority. I didn't even consider profit, as I thought this was just to cover those costs.

Look, I'm just pointing out how I'm going to abuse the system. ;)

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Thanks for that! I'll be monitoring your account :-) But I am not sure if it's a good idea to punish everyone else for your abuse. Part of what I like about the system I have proposed in the opening post is that for paying members (let's call them "supporters") there are (almost) no restrictions. If we make people pay for each MB they download, then we're coming very close to a forced membership/subscription system, which simply isn't what we're after here.

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Let paying members vote on feature/unit priorities for upcoming titles. Maybe set a small percentage of the total development time aside to deal with the paying member suggested features.

Given the truly excellent experience I have had with BFC over several years I would happily sign up for a monthly subscription plan instead of purchasing by the game/module. Especially if it came with real multiplayer support.

I would certainly pay $25 per year for the service you are describing, it works out to about 5 cents an hour, based on my usage.

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Let paying members vote on feature/unit priorities for upcoming titles. Maybe set a small percentage of the total development time aside to deal with the paying member suggested features.

Given the truly excellent experience I have had with BFC over several years I would happily sign up for a monthly subscription plan instead of purchasing by the game/module. Especially if it came with real multiplayer support.

I would certainly pay $25 per year for the service you are describing, it works out to about 5 cents an hour, based on my usage.

dan, thanks for your post, but I'm not suggesting switching to a monthly subscription instead of paying games/modules. We're talking about offering a platform for user submitted mods, maps and scenarios, not a replacement for our existing business model.

That kind of monthly subscription for game content/moduls is something we'll probably never even consider, at least not as long as I'm around :) Similarily a strong no to "paying for beta testing" or any other similar models out there.

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Thanks for that! I'll be monitoring your account :-)

You mean you're not already? :D

But I am not sure if it's a good idea to punish everyone else for your abuse. Part of what I like about the system I have proposed in the opening post is that for paying members (let's call them "supporters") there are (almost) no restrictions. If we make people pay for each MB they download, then we're coming very close to a forced membership/subscription system, which simply isn't what we're after here.

I guess give it a shot, you can always convert it over later if what I pointed out happens.

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Thanks for that! I'll be monitoring your account :-) But I am not sure if it's a good idea to punish everyone else for your abuse. Part of what I like about the system I have proposed in the opening post is that for paying members (let's call them "supporters") there are (almost) no restrictions. If we make people pay for each MB they download, then we're coming very close to a forced membership/subscription system, which simply isn't what we're after here.

What about a limited download speed for free accounts and a faster one for paid-for accounts?

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"That kind of monthly subscription for game content/moduls is something we'll probably never even consider, at least not as long as I'm around Similarily a strong no to "paying for beta testing" or any other similar models out there." from Moon

You obviously have a better understanding of your business model than I do. I just want you guys to breakthrough to the next level where we can see what you do with a REAL development budget. :)

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With regard to the BFC proposal. Great a secure, high quality storage for all things CM.

But it cannot be all things to all men. The TPG and TSDII and all the other sites such as CMMODS all have their own structure to deal with their own little aspect of the game. A giant catch all database is never going to be this focussed. It is the structure, tables, lists, discussion pages, review pages, etc, that make sites such as the Proving Grounds what it is and so useful.

BY all means store your stuff on the BFC server but do the real action on the little functional sites that make this community so interesting.

My two'penth anyway.

cheers

Wink

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Good idea but isn't it a few years too late?

I applaud the effort but why now?

I suspect that the playing of CMBB and CMAK will go one for many years. If all the support for these games were placed into Battlefront, then if Battlefront were to shut down all this material would then be lost.

I think of PanzerBlitz, which is still being played, and what would have happened if all the new materials for that had been entrusted to Avalon Hill. However I don't think the fully developed and mature fan supported sites are going to fold up - why would they? So what exactly would this new site provide?

Now here is a problem, I have about 200 CMBB and CMAK scenarios - how would these be transferred to this new mega site? Electronically? ok. Slowly uploaded as I did from the old TSD to TSDII? I don't think so.

Again I think the idea has merit but the present environmnet may not support its success.

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We need to get cracking and put zipfiles of scenarios and mods into bittorrent.

Get everything, sort it out later. I always hated point-n-click websites and all have their own download click link.

You still get to have a website (not download site) with descriptions, discussions and the stats (you can get that from bittorrent with the proper central tracker).

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Hans brings up better the point that I was trying to make. CMx1 scenario designers and supporters paintstakingly re-did all the uploading when the Scenario Depot crashed and when TSDII was launched. They've since added meg's of discussions, tips and playtesting information about many of those scenarios. If yet another new scenario depot is launched here, I don't see the enthusiasm of CMx1 scenario designers to go through all that again (can't blame them) and knowing that BFC has moved past CMx1 games for the most part, I see it as finally closing the chapter on those games. IMHO of course.

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Moon, why are you so opposed to a subscription model. I wouldn't pay a monthly fee but a 6 monthly fee that gave me any new modules plus the scenario/mod downloads would be something that I would go for. I am not suggesting that I get the Titles with such a fee, just the modules and mods etc.

Is it not possible to pay for the service with advertising, or is the revenue generated insufficient to cover costs. I have always assumed that this was the way that the free sites manage it.

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Good idea but isn't it a few years too late?

I suspect that the playing of CMBB and CMAK will go one for many years. If all the support for these games were placed into Battlefront, then if Battlefront were to shut down all this material would then be lost.

I think the sudden death of the old scenario depot shows us that a community site is no more likely to stay around in the longer term and probably less so.

If you were going to charge money for fan's work, it would be nice to cut them in to the proceeds for stuff of a high enough quality. That way there can be no accusation of profiteering and people have a nice incentive to make new stuff.

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I'd wager that my sites would/could be around as long (7+ years thus far) as BFC - I'm not going anywhere unless my traffic drops off significantly due to an alternate resource area for CMx1 scenarios.

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At least with regard to all the CM games, isn't this idea just a bit more than a day late and a dollar short?

CMMODS and PG/SD2 do a great job and have years of archived material. They also have a very long and established track records--all very positive. If Battlefront wants to belatedly help these free marketers of its games and a great benefit to its gaming community, throw them some of the bucks you plan to put into this apparently redundant and unnecessarily duplicative plan.

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I'd pretty much stop playing CMSF entirely if the community became a pay-in thing. Limiting a user to 5-10 mb unless he "pays up" for scenario and mod downloads would count in that respect. It's an obvious cash grab. The module system is enough of a turn off to me, if the sharing people do with mods and scenarios becomes part of your business model I sincerely hope that those people move elsewhere and trade on their own.

Agree. No thanks.

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I don't see any problem with a free amount of bandwidth per month for people who've bought products from BFC and a "premium" service providing unlimited bandwidth at a nominal fee. Seems like a fair policy to me. Within days of the site going up, I'm sure all the bandwidth-limited players will have found workarounds anyway, such as asking forum members to email them a scenario or put it on MediaFire or something.

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Has BFC finally gone daft! This is the stupidest idea Ive heard from them to date. Pay for Mods?

How much are BF going to pay the guys that make the Mods and Scenarios?

Are you going to pay per download or a flat fee to upload?

What about hosting all the scenarios for unsupported games like CM-1?

Unless you make these things yourself there will always be somewhere else to download them anyway.

I reiterate, your plan is just plain dumb and however much you try and say to the contrary simply smacks of pure money making...

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Hans brings up better the point that I was trying to make. CMx1 scenario designers and supporters paintstakingly re-did all the uploading when the Scenario Depot crashed and when TSDII was launched. They've since added meg's of discussions, tips and playtesting information about many of those scenarios. If yet another new scenario depot is launched here, I don't see the enthusiasm of CMx1 scenario designers to go through all that again (can't blame them) and knowing that BFC has moved past CMx1 games for the most part, I see it as finally closing the chapter on those games. IMHO of course.

I don't see how a Battlefront mod depot diminishes the value of what you're offering on TSD in any way. Like you I don't see why anyone should go through the trouble of redoing it all.

Moon, why are you so opposed to a subscription model. I wouldn't pay a monthly fee but a 6 monthly fee that gave me any new modules plus the scenario/mod downloads would be something that I would go for. I am not suggesting that I get the Titles with such a fee, just the modules and mods etc.

Is it not possible to pay for the service with advertising, or is the revenue generated insufficient to cover costs. I have always assumed that this was the way that the free sites manage it.

Caesar, you're misunderstanding a whole bunch of things.

1) you can get a 6-month membership in the model I described. The difference between a true "subscription" and the one-off purchase is that you're not billed automatically again when your time is up.

2) Modules ARE NOT MODS. This file depot is for fan-made content only. Nobody will need to subscribe to get any official game content ever.

3) Advertising revenue is not going to cover the cost. The reason is that we are a games publisher and not a fan run site. We cannot and do not want to show every ad, including ads for competing products. Incidentally, those are the ads that are paying the most. Thus it's easy to see that advertising alone is never going to cover enough % of the cost of running the service.

What about a limited download speed for free accounts and a faster one for paid-for accounts?

Technical reasons mostly. But also, plain inconvenience for non-paying users.

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Good idea but isn't it a few years too late?

I applaud the effort but why now?

We're going to have a whole bunch of new games coming out in the next years. That's why. It would have been great to have this around for CMx1 games, but the infrastructure wasn't there. Now we have it, and even if it's too late for CMx1, there is a life after CMx1 :)

I suspect that the playing of CMBB and CMAK will go one for many years. If all the support for these games were placed into Battlefront, then if Battlefront were to shut down all this material would then be lost.

This is true of ANY site out there, so I don't see your point. Keep in mind that the file depot isn't for CMBB and CMAK only. In fact, it will probably have the least content for these games since there are much better sites out there.

I think of PanzerBlitz, which is still being played, and what would have happened if all the new materials for that had been entrusted to Avalon Hill. However I don't think the fully developed and mature fan supported sites are going to fold up - why would they? So what exactly would this new site provide?

Just an alternative means for people to share their stuff. Including new fans and community members playing our new games. Nothing will keep the existing fans sites from continuing to do what they're doing. In fact, we'll encourage it.

Now here is a problem, I have about 200 CMBB and CMAK scenarios - how would these be transferred to this new mega site? Electronically? ok. Slowly uploaded as I did from the old TSD to TSDII? I don't think so.

Yup, probably impractical, because the only way to do it is one file at a time. So don't transfer it.

I'd pretty much stop playing CMSF entirely if the community became a pay-in thing. Limiting a user to 5-10 mb unless he "pays up" for scenario and mod downloads would count in that respect. It's an obvious cash grab. The module system is enough of a turn off to me, if the sharing people do with mods and scenarios becomes part of your business model I sincerely hope that those people move elsewhere and trade on their own.

They're of course free to do that. It's not like you MUST post content to the Battlefront depot. It's entirely voluntary.

I have tried to explain in my opening post why we cannot offer it for free. But nobody will be *forced* to "pay-in".

Big no here.

Why not BF supporting and endorsing the guys who have been doing this on their own money like GJK, they guy in Columbus (cmmods), etc?

Many of these reasons have been discussed in the past, so I won't rehash it here.

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If you were going to charge money for fan's work, it would be nice to cut them in to the proceeds for stuff of a high enough quality. That way there can be no accusation of profiteering and people have a nice incentive to make new stuff.

But it opens a whole can of worms. You say it yourself: "for stuff of a high enough quality". Who would be the judge?

Also, the revenues from paying members are extremely unlikely to net a profit at all, and will most likely not even cover the base costs. So there isn't going to be anything to share, anyway.

In the unlikely event that we do net a profit from this we could collect the money to offer a scenario/mod/map making contest with a cash prize for example.

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At least with regard to all the CM games, isn't this idea just a bit more than a day late and a dollar short?

CMMODS and PG/SD2 do a great job and have years of archived material. They also have a very long and established track records--all very positive. If Battlefront wants to belatedly help these free marketers of its games and a great benefit to its gaming community, throw them some of the bucks you plan to put into this apparently redundant and unnecessarily duplicative plan.

It's only redundant if your view is 100% focussed on CMx1 games. For the couple dozen other games we offer and for the games we're going to offer in the future, it's very much needed.

I don't see any problem with a free amount of bandwidth per month for people who've bought products from BFC and a "premium" service providing unlimited bandwidth at a nominal fee. Seems like a fair policy to me. Within days of the site going up, I'm sure all the bandwidth-limited players will have found workarounds anyway, such as asking forum members to email them a scenario or put it on MediaFire or something.

Yup, that can happen. The idea of the "premium" service is that it's, well, premium. It's voluntary, too. Forcing people to pay will clearly not work for the reasons you have mentioned above, which is why we're not going to even try.

Has BFC finally gone daft! This is the stupidest idea Ive heard from them to date. Pay for Mods?

How much are BF going to pay the guys that make the Mods and Scenarios?

Are you going to pay per download or a flat fee to upload?

What about hosting all the scenarios for unsupported games like CM-1?

Unless you make these things yourself there will always be somewhere else to download them anyway.

I reiterate, your plan is just plain dumb and however much you try and say to the contrary simply smacks of pure money making...

No, what is dumb is the plan that you have made up yourself in your post above. It has nothing to do with the plan we made. The plan WE made is:

Pay for Mods? No. It's all free but there is a restriction on how much you can have for free.

Pay guys who make mods? No, nobody will get paid. It's all completely voluntary and the membership fees are meant to offset the cost for running such a depot, much like the Donate button or ads on other sites. Just like those it is totally voluntary.

Pay per download? No. Once you opt-in you get no bandwidth/download limitations at all.

Flat fee per upload? No, it's free to upload.

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