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Questions to Ilya "Mindoug" Logunov and the whole team of Jetcat Games.

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  • Questions to Ilya "Mindoug" Logunov and the whole team of Jetcat Games.

    Questions to Ilya "Mindoug" Logunov and the whole team of Jetcat Games.

    1.) Creating the content for the update 0.61 a few weeks before the release you had help from multiple players. What kind of help was that? What can you tell us about that?

    Players Wishes

    2.) You always put great value on the feedback of your players. Have there been wishes so far that you didn't expect?

    3.) I wonder how strong the influence of players on the development of heliborne really was or still is. Has there been a time at which you changed your route of development caused by players wishes? Are there aspects in the game that you hadn't in mind before?

    4.) I heard once, that Diana was the one who had the idea to create a game like this. Is today's version of heliborne somehow similar to the vision she had? Or the vision the three founders of Jetcat Games had in mind?


    5.) At the time of the release Heliborne will have six maps and one is only for testing and tutorials. Why are there only five maps?

    6.) Your lead coder Ilja "Itold" Toldayev pointed out that the development won't be finished with the release version. Doesn't that mean Heliborne will be released unfinished?

    The future

    7.) What plans do you have for Heliborne's future? Do players have to fear the game will be something different in one year?

    8.) At the beginning of the early access phase you pointed out that Heliborne won't become a free-to-play game if you can avoid this. But if you want to keep developing this game - don't you need any kind of income besides the purchase price? Do you have plans for that? Will Heliborne have an ingame shop at a later time?

  • #2
    1) We've invited several players to test new module damage system and new flight model changes. Well they tested that, provided their opinions, I've changed several things as a result. Also they found some bugs I missed - those were fixed too.

    2) 3) These 2 questions can be answered shallow but also can be answered very in-depth. I'll think about in-depth answer and give it to you in Discord, if it will make sense i'll post it here.

    Shallow answer is that we dont work with community to just collect their wishes. Main thing we rely on the community is to provide a certain baseline of what they want to see in the game and what they consider interesting. I've made literally hundreds of changes to the game because of feedback on Steam Discussions or in Discord. And most of that important feedback was not some shining new wish i've never heard before, but rather way of thinking, another perspective which I did not consider before. I read what some player wrote and think "wow, that makes a lot of sense, i agree with that and should adjust that part of the game accordingly". This continues every day.

    4) I dont know what to tell you. We do not operate on that high level of "vision we try to follow". We just dont have resources for that. We try to do what we can and what we think is right here and now.

    5) We also planning to have one or two night versions of maps we have. Why only five? Maps take a lot of time. Each map is at least 2 month work for our artist (Diana). Sometimes more, depends on the map. And this work is very draining, mapmaking is not on-and-off thing. And there are a lot of work besides maps - helicopters, UI, various graphic updates/changes/etc. Right now she's working on another big graphic-related piece of game content I hope you'll like.

    6) Im only coder, not lead coder, Jasp. If by "finished" you mean "no work will be done anymore" then yes, it will be "unfinished". If you mean "how good will it be?", then i can say that we are trying to prepare best possible version for release. Both quality-wise and content-wise. We saved few things to include in "release" version. Also you need to consider other things that affects "release":
    - games, and especially multiplayer games, are far past that "alpha-beta-release-next game" cycle. You see all kinds of development scenarios and game release scenarios nowadays. I think people really care only about how interesting game is to play, not what version or label is stapled to it. We talking about "release" here only because Steam has Early Access program, if it werent for that "release" would be a moment when anyone is able to start playing the game.
    - we dont have a freedom to decide on conditions when we want to "release the game", we only try to make best possible game in time we have. We have agreements and obligations and we need money to live. Only possible way for us to continue making this game is to "release" it. This is actually most important and in some way most funny part about game development in general, but this is wider topic for another type of discussion.
    - with this year's changes to Steam recognition and promotion systems moving from Early Access to Release state does not really mean much advertisement-wise. Either your game is hidden or its on the store page, Early Access is not a middle ground anymore. So we dont need to rely on Steam in promotion department, we need to rely only on ourselves. Which is one less reason to delay the "release".

    7) Basically, we'll be going wider instead of going deeper. Before release we are trying to create all gameplay mechanisms we want for the game. PvP, PvE, progression, awards, cosmetics, etc, etc. After release we'll be adding as much "meat" to those "skeleton mechanics" as possible. If you want I can list our ideas for big post-release updates. About "fear that game will be something different" - well it wont be RPG in a year, thats for sure. Possible changes will just expand the game, not turn it into something completely different.

    8) We have plans to sell game cosmetics and see where it gets us. Also firefighting/rescue/coast guard expansion is possible, if all goes well. Income-wise, considering our size and way of doing things, best possible option for us at the moment will be not to try to get money from existing players again and again, but expand the playerbase.

    "Free-to-play game" is much broader question, I'll expand my thoughts a bit about the subject. Players often ask us - why your game is not free-to-play, you'll have more people playing, its better way to do this kind of game, etc, etc. I think people just dont really understand how F2P games work. F2P, especially successful F2P, is a very big operation.
    First - advertisement. You need constant flow of advertisement money, basically all your business model is based on converting, lets say, 1 EUR put into advertisement at the start of the month into 1+ EUR (the more + the better, but if its just 1.1 EUR, you wont get far) of average income per player at the end of the month. And hundreds of thousands euro per month could be considered a small sum here. Often repeated thought that "F2P means more players" is reality turned upside down - there are more players because actually working F2P model requires getting a lot of players in any way possible, not because making game free-to-play suddenly brings a lot of players.
    Then you need certain level of quality to the game and we are talking something near AAA-quality here. You are competing in free-to-play market, all other games are top notch. Your game should be at least on par with them so your advertisement money are not wasted. This means a lot of employees and these are IT specialists, they are paid a lot and are in high demand. Two years ago when we tried to find a publisher for our game before going to Early Access we talked with all publishers who agreed to talk with us. There was one publisher of popular F2P game in combat-vehicle genre and they straight told us - we only work with companies who employ at least 30 programmers. Just go to job offer website in your country and check what average salary for game programmer is. Add taxes on top of that. And thats not only matter of money, its also matter of team who can actually create something cool and interesting. You cant just buy that, you need to build that team. Find key people, find what works and what does not, establish proper structure and etc, etc.
    Then there is support and maintenance - you need a lot of servers, you need a lot of infrastructure, you need a lot of very qualified people to maintain all of that. Even if you have money its not like you can just go and buy stuff like that, a lot of work is involved. And its not only just technical server support. Its also community, global and local advertisement, issue-solving and etc. Also just consider how important it is to have your own payment methods (because you dont have to give a cut to, for example, Steam) and what it takes to maintain it.
    And we are not even talking about game itself at this point. It should be streamlined to meet certain criterias - otherwise you wont attract all types of players (which is you goal). It should have a lot of content, you want players to spend hundreds of hours in your game you need to show them something new from time to time. Also you need stream of updates to keep people interested. Also you need special game design, so people will actually stay and play and will be motivated to pay you money because they want to stay and play.
    And list continues.

    I have a lot of respect to the amount of work people do to make free-to-play games running and enjoyable by a lot of players around the world. It only looks easy from outside. But also I fully understand that making F2P games are not for everyone, you need to be already successful and rich company to do it. We are just 4 people trying to make a decent game and this is way out of our league in current conditions.


    • #3
      "If you want I can list our ideas for big post-release updates" I think
      this would be very interesting for everyone.


      • #4
        This is the list of most thought-of and partially implemented/closest to implementation ideas:
        - Workshop support for helmets, patches, camouflages and radio chatter first (probably with release or very soon after)
        - Dynamic campaign mode
        - Multicrew (second pilot, door gunners, ) with option to make secondary crew into additional demo-version game
        - Cockpits for select helicopter and special cockpit-only game mode
        - Sea helicopters, anti-ship weapons and equipments, sea game mode
        - European (french, british, german, italian, etc) helicopter tree
        - Persistent battlefield game mode
        - New maps (each map is pretty big update imo)

        There are others least thought of too.


        • #5
          Will the release version contain a new version of the task system?
          Will we see new task at release or after it?
          Last edited by Jasp; 09-12-2017, 07:29 AM.


          • #6
            There will be updates to objectives before release, with release and after release. We are planning new tasks (search, medevac, covert, other variations of tasks), new scenarios (right now you only have frontline, we are planning to have counter-insurgency scenario, defense and attack scenarios) and new ways to use task system (new game mode and pairing people to do certain tasks).