Reviving Ground Control

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby XFunc_CaRteR » 03 Oct 2014 18:30

Here's what I wrote... This is a direct email to the Rebellion heads, which I wrote after getting an introduction through a good friend of mine. None of it is set in stone...

Hello,

I think we can hand you a new esports league on a silver platter.
And that's the direction I would recommend you take a reboot of Ground Control.

Ground Control is a masterpiece of a game. We've kept it going for 14 years now. GC's gameplay is deep and continues to deliver for us.

It has a powerful 3D camera which is ideally suited to esports coverage. Matches are short and fast-paced. The 3D special effects and visuals are still beautiful, even now, years later. (I might add that recent studies have shown that about half of esports viewers are not necessarily players of the given game they watch.)

Any sports league also needs history, in terms of things like players, clans, gaming legends and so on. We have the roots of that in Ground Control now, having kept the game alive 14 years.

You can see some of my coverage of the game on my channel Youtube.com/TheSandTable. Here is a playlist for Season One: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 0HoPNx8Cdr). It's taken me about a year to refine the format of my show "The Sand Table present GC Vets League" and get the existing community comfortable with it. Don't have the viewership numbers yet, but this initiative could change that.

Ground Control wasn't marketed well when first released. It was marketed toward the real-time strategy demographic when in truth it was a unique-genre game, closer to a hybrid 3D-shooter-with-trategy. That's a mistake we would like to revisit. We would target more the third-person shooter crowd, and the World of Tanks demo.

We have community depth and professionalism right now. The game exists and is stable. Our players are tightnit, expert-level, and the many are mature adults who have professional experience. We could form the governance board for an esports league. We have years of experience in the game which can deliver a boost to begin an esports league.

But GC needs work in terms of simplifying the onboarding process. Just recently we've been approached by one of the coders of the original Ground Control, which would be important in sorting out the source code. With some funding we'd like to work on improving the on-boarding issues working with the existing netcode. (Right now we use the service GameRanger, which connects to old games' LAN ports.) Since we already have a good, solid game now, we can conservatively implement changes.

Revenue could be through advertising and other esports streams. (GameRanger is ad-supported -- we could follow suit.)

I've pitched an idea to the community to raise funds. We can do a Kickstarter campaign in which we are seeking to buy a partnership stake with Rebellion, the IP holder, using those funds to implement changes. I believe this is a compelling story even to people who know little about GC itself, but are interested in gaming culture or in Massive Entertainment (now Ubisoft Massive) or just the cool idea that there's this little-known game kept alive by its community and they now wish to reboot it, working with the current IP owner.

The initial goal could be to fund a simple marketing spend - which we can easily deliver on now, with the game as-is. Our ultimate Kickstarter goal would be to fund the blow-through tiers: higher levels would allow us to remake the netcode (priority one), then improve the user experience (see below) and other wish-list goals. I wouldn't be surprised to see even older Massive developers contributing (they no longer own the game but still remember it), but either way we could prepare for Day One release on Kickstarter by priming our friends-and-families. Once a KS campaign reaches its initial goal, it takes on a momentum of its own in blow-through goals.

GC probably also needs to a user experience pass to improve the gameplay onboarding. I would like to change the game to migrate new players into multiplayer more gradually. We've noticed that dropping in new players with a full load-out is sometimees overwhelming to them, due the depth of GC's 3D interface and strategy. As it is now, they drop with a "full load" and "zerg-rush" (like two-dimensional strategy gamers) only to get quickly defeated. If we simply restrict the number and type of units new players can deploy with, adding more as they develop more experience, we think we'll have higher new player retention.

We'd also like to make a new single-player campaign, a persistent match-making process, and so on...but those are all wish-list goals we can fulfill over time.

Anyway, this is a long-form pitch for rebooting Ground Control. I hope you find it compelling. Please visit our community's blog GCVets.wordpress.com or our forums at GCVets.net. You can also see a lot of matches of GC in game on my channel (again: Youtube.com/TheSandTable).

Best regards,

Tim

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby shpooky » 03 Oct 2014 21:20

i like it let us know if you get an answer
i only work in cyan and sometimes really really bright blue :D so bright it burns your eyes!!!!!

(if you have any questions don't be afraid to PM me or you can contact me via email ddavidshpak@aol.com)

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby _nOx_ » 03 Oct 2014 22:19

Johno: It's nice to see someone considering to work on the game. Really nice and refreshing. I'm although shocked about some of the considerations you make about building it. Seriously. GC is a nice pretty rare thing and very easy to unbalance and crash but its basis are quite clear. At least for us. Maybe I'm too ignorant about the inside work it would need but I don't think building something quite close would be that difficult. I'm mostly sure Stat would be able to balance a set of unit types to be as it is now. Then he would probably make units harder or faster and specials stronger and deadlier but that's just his taste.

I never understood why GCII and WIC got so away from the GC recipe.

We all agree that the network was probably the biggest GC illness from the very beginning and it still is. The rest works. Graphics? I'm one of those who would substitute every unit for balls and cubes. 32 vs 32? That's a horrible idea. Instant turret turning? That would flatten the game. People being able to make their units and configs? Really?...

Damn I hate being the reactionary guy but I guess in this game that's my role. So... Hi! I'm the pain in the ass.

^,..,^

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby XFunc_CaRteR » 03 Oct 2014 22:39

If this thing gets greenlit, our first goal will be to set up an effective decision-making structure.

I would see sub-groups for specific areas of the game, with some kind of voting process.

I would also be cautious about things in general. Every "new idea" that is taken on needs to be paid for somehow. Either with money, or match time, or network bandwidth, or a polybudget (unlikely given today's technology), or whatever.

Wild blue-skying is great at the beginning of initiatives. Then eventually we need to get to the brass tacks of how to implement.

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby XFunc_CaRteR » 04 Oct 2014 18:40

But hey... no matter what, if we aren't having fun doing this then we aren't doing it right.

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