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Poll results: Shoud/can the wee-community buy and develop Weewar?

Yes, and I'll pay to play 34% [ 41 ]
Yes, and I'll help 21% [ 26 ]
Yes, but it sounds impossible 14% [ 17 ]
Maybe - depends on the price and the skills required/on hand 21% [ 25 ]
No, bad idea - we'd just make a mess of it 5% [ 6 ]
No, let it die 5% [ 6 ]
Total Votes : 121

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McMonster

Tank

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Dear Weewarriors,

Please bookmark this webpage so that weewarriors can communicate about (buying) Weewar if the site crashes long-term or is shut down: http://saveweewar.wordpress.com/

UPDATED on AUG 25:

As most will have noticed, Weewar is technically struggling these days. Spadequack agrees that it might be a good time for the community to offer to buy and develop the game. He has asked Alex at Electronic Arts if they would be interested in selling and for how much (Alex co-created Weewar as an indy game and went to work for EA two years ago when they bought it). Alex is working on it and asks us to be patient. Spade suggests that we develop a proposal for him that is our ideal scenario. I am starting a new thread about that:

There is a technically qualified programmer interested in helping maintain and develop the game if the community can get it - we have an update from Rosenstern_and_Guildencrantz on that. Here is part of his update, seen in full on page 2:

"My good friend is a full-time programmer who has played weewar a solid amount and understands the problems and issues involved. He expressed to me, as well as spade, that this IS in fact a project he is capable of and might be willing to pursue. That being said, he is a full-time programmer, which means he has a full-time job. So this would obviously be a part-time project for him and that could mean the development process goes slower and takes longer than people might be hoping for."


Note that a group of us talked about buying Weewar in the early spring but Mark at EA said they were not interested in selling outright. Due to Weewar's deterioration in membership (despite free pro) and buggyness, they might be now. We had a separate webspace set up to talk about all this in the spring, but it seems appropriate to throw the discussion out to the whole community now and see what happens (we can reactivate that webpage if need be).

PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENTS IN THIS THREAD AS BRIEF AND SUCCINCT AS POSSIBLE SO THAT OTHERS WILL NOT BE INSPIRED TO BREAK YOUR FINGERS.

There are three BIG QUESTIONS (not to mention a million little ones):

1) How much would EA ask for it and can we raise the money? Some of you may have $ to put in. You can post here or send emails (mine is on my profile page). Might end up being an investment in the long-run, but think of it more as saving a game you love.

2) What would the business model look like? (thanks Garry) How much would membership cost, how many members needed to cover expenses, what would operating expenses be (server space, bandwith, advertising, etc), would we set it up as an open source nonprofit?

3) Who would do what? We'd need various kinds of expertise, including a co-ordinator or two with the capacity to bring together technical, marketing, finances, book keeping/accounting, legal, feature planning, etc. This person or persons would need to be dedicated and couldn't expect to make money (or much money anyway) in the short-term. If the game grows, who knows...

Alternatively, we could all run it together as an open source community game. But we would still need dedicated members and a decision-making structure.

Perhaps the best way to address the question of who would do what is to ask it:

Who is seriously interested in being involved, what role would you like to play, how much time per week could you commit to being involved? I will keep an updated list here in this first post,

Co-ordination and Business Planning
1) Rosenstern_and_Guildencrantz - "I would be very eager to lead/participate in a group of people that would assess and prioritize these improvements." 10hrs/wk - I think we have our co-ordinator
2) McMonster - catalyst for getting the ball (i.e. purchase of weewar) rolling - i lack the time and expertise to be a co-ordinator in the long-term. 2-3hrs/week, more in the initial phase
3) Brianiac - organization/PR/marketing etc. "regarding the community ownership angle, I work with a community-run radio station here locally. Its chaotic at times, but seems to flow alright once people understand their roles."
4) kersplat - "I'm more than willing to help coordinate. I'm an IT/Development Project Manager by trade and have years of experience managing this type of effort."

Game Development
5) Casaubon aka Weesletown - game development
6) Garry - business planning, game development
7) Plasmablaster - game development
8 ) thuldai - "I'd see myself as a paying pro-member as well as tutorial and/or campaign developer. Wouldn't mind helping in forums, with newbies and such. 3-4 hours per week?"
9) janroman - "I'm interested in the project. I'm no programmer, but I'm very creative person and I used to do graphics design (and I think I'm not bad at it) so I'd like to participate as a game designer (game mechanics, artwork, pixelart, webdesign). I'm a student so I should be able to invest about 3-5 hours/week (but it depends on circumstances)."

Programmers
10) Spadequack - technical adviser, knows the code
11) R&G's friend = lead programmer
12) Daithi - Mobile Developer/programmer - "I'm willing to talk about it if this gets serious. you already know my rap sheet. I've always been willing to help in the right circumstances and make a positive contribution, as I try to do now but I'm not a fool, I see many problems."
13) Rahl aka Mercury - Quality Assurance, plus "I have some programming (C++, java) background, as well, but not enough to head a mobile project (which I think is a FANTASTIC idea)."
14) Yourtime - programming, iPhone ap, "I'm currently a full time java developer and did already on my school exam an iPhone application with network and xml. I want help to keep weewar alive."
15) trafaliti - "i am a computer science student and did and know my ways in webdevelopment. if you are able to get the game out of ea's hands im willing to help were ever i can " Please note that trafiliti has written a couple of the weewar greasemonkey scripts, including stats for google crome and the resize script.

Marketing
16) Xana - PR/marketing/forum moderating
+ Brianiac, and Cas and Daithi have ideas

Accounting & Legal
17) thousandjulys - "I am a CPA (Certified Public Accountant, in the USA), so if you need contracts, buy-outs or numbers crunched, I can help there."
1 dbthaw I'm a licensed attorney (in the U.S.); I don't practice in the gaming space (that's a relatively small community of attorneys) but would be willing to help to the extent I can.

....

PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENTS IN THIS THREAD AS BRIEF AND SUCCINCT AS POSSIBLE SO THAT OTHERS WILL NOT BE INSPIRED TO BREAK YOUR FINGERS. And try to avoid poo pooy naysaying in this thread - thoughtful critiques welcome however!

Please VOTE in the poll at the top of this thread - note that I just edited option 1, so it's not that no one is willing to "pay to play"

This message was edited 29 times. Last update was at 25/08/2011 14:36:13

Garry

Raider

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We have to ask the business model questions:

Purchase price is important, but what are the continuing costs? Server space, bandwith, etc...?

What is the time requirement for just basic maintenance of the site? IE: who gets the call when the game goes down for some reason; How often does anything need to be done and how much time does someone need to commit to this?

Given the current member base, what is the expected cash flow?

What kind of expenses would we incur to market the game and build the base? Is there enough market to make that a viable option?

Bottom line I am interested but not just to hold legacy ownership in a game that is dying. The investment should be made in order to develop the game and at least break even financially.

Xana

Raider

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I'll help out how I can. I'm not a coder but I could perhaps do some of the PR/marketing/forum moderating in the future after Weewar gets on its feet again. I'm not familiar with all the business stuff related to buying a company either, but I'll support the effort (however impossible it may seem). It's really time Weewar is run by people that want to see it succeed.

ShadowBot

Trooper

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***** my personal oppinion *****
I personally don't think its a good idea. i think it's better if only 2 poeple buy the site.

firstly because you would need a team with good skills and clear desision structure. (asking poeple here will not get you the skills you need)
secondly because its gona cost to much money and the risks are to high.
and last but not least this game is not addictive enough. (i would not pay to play this game because it takes to long to finish a game)

However if the price (purchase price + 5 year running price) is low enough you should give it a chance but do not expect financial returns (or even your iinitial investment back)

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 19/08/2011 18:40:05

Daithi

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We've been over this before and no one was willing to commit the time.

johnmd20

Raider

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Daithi wrote:We've been over this before and no one was willing to commit the time.


I was once VERY interested in trying to do this but I have to admit, I'm not interested anymore. I love this game, it's so much fun, but I can't imagine EA wants to do anything. This game is withering away and I'm not sure it can be saved. And that is very depressing.

McMonster

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a) Not addictive enough, eh? Are you a 30-40-something male? This game is nostalgia and new friends all wrapped up in one for folks like me.

b) Spade indicated that the conditions may have changed and that EA might indeed be interested now - he is going to update us.

c) R&G has a programmer friend with the technical expertise to lead the programming - s/he is interested - I have asked R&G to update us.

d) Yes, the classic business model is a small private company with a couple of leader/owners. Doesn't mean that's the only way things get done in the world. Think, um, Wikipedia? Every small and large Co-operative I know, every democratic nation on earth, etc.

Why can't businesses/organizations be democratic/community-driven as well? Doesn't mean you don't need leaders and a clear decision-making structure. You need a balance.

Time will tell...

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 19/08/2011 19:00:16

Sandawg

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I agree with Garry and ShadowBot. There has to be a small, tight group that owns and operates the game, and you must have the business plan all put together or it will fail. I believe you can get support from the community for development - bug fixes, enhancements, etc. But the core operations - site is up, revenues collected, bills paid, decisions made - must have a dedicated team.

I am willing to pay assuming value for money. $2/month was a steal of a deal back when it was growing and you could tell the folks in charge really cared. There were other games around charging way more for a lot less. But lately it seems like I'd get more value putting my $2 into a tripple-latte.

luckymustard

Raider

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what if another game company bought it? i have connections.

Daithi

Raider

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It's true there were some interested serious parties, I was trying to be brief. We spoke to Ea they weren't willing to consider it. A few people were only willing to commit 2 hours a week to it and when the leader disappeared despite attempts by others to keep it going it failed. I'm not really interested in getting into another debate about it, this is all recorded on wwcf site.

Majesty

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Garry wrote:We have to ask the business model questions:

Purchase price is important, but what are the continuing costs? Server space, bandwith, etc...?

What is the time requirement for just basic maintenance of the site? IE: who gets the call when the game goes down for some reason; How often does anything need to be done and how much time does someone need to commit to this?

Given the current member base, what is the expected cash flow?

What kind of expenses would we incur to market the game and build the base? Is there enough market to make that a viable option?

Bottom line I am interested but not just to hold legacy ownership in a game that is dying. The investment should be made in order to develop the game and at least break even financially.



I agree with Gary. Is the idea to create a legacy membership for weewar lovers or to start a weewar company owned by weewar players? While I asume it's the company aspect, Gary raises some interesting questions.

While the game is great. There are reasons for declining membership in addition to what has already been mentioned, and correcting those cost time and money. I think it's a worthwhile concept to grow and devote some time into. Is the monthly subscription really the best model? The competition includes iphone games that cost $.99 to play forever with better graphics and dependability.

I think we all have ideas of ways to improve the game/site/model but everything costs money. Before we can even look to that, what does it cost EA now? If it's getting to the point that it's losing money then it shouldn't be worth much to them.

McMonster

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luckymustard wrote:what if another game company bought it? i have connections.


that's another option LM - ask em.

Daithi wrote:It's true there were some interested serious parties, I was trying to be brief. We spoke to Ea they weren't willing to consider it. A few people were only willing to commit 2 hours a week to it and when the leader disappeared despite attempts by others to keep it going it failed. I'm not really interested in getting into another debate about it, this is all recorded on wwcf site.


i hear you Big D, but conditions may have changed - we'll see.

I think we all have ideas of ways to improve the game/site/model but everything costs money. Before we can even look to that, what does it cost EA now? If it's getting to the point that it's losing money then it shouldn't be worth much to them.


All true, except costing money perhaps - depends on the structure we set up. If members buy and own it and we do our part, and the membership fees can cover the basic expenses, maybe it will break even. As it grows it can pay back the investors.

Obviously it is losing money now for EA - they aren't charging anything

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 19/08/2011 19:10:01

Majesty

Trooper

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Bottom Line:

Fixed cost of purchasing + Operating Costs + time and $ of building up < or > weewar potential

Who's willing to invest: cash and full time efforts?
The business development talk is the fun part, but there has to be a small group of leaders/owners if anything is to get done who are devoted to the risk of helping weewar take off.

Vagus

Raider

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Sorry, I vote let it die...

I am glad others still care enough but I no longer can bring myself to care if the game lives or dies. I log in everyday to complete turns in a game effectively ruined by EA so that the other players don't get screwed by the games I foolishly entered.

Because of the way EA has run this game and others, I no longer have any interest in any EA game.

Thanks but no thanks.

good luck to all of you, many of you I enjoyed my time with.

Plasmablaster

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I like turn-based games a lot and I have been creative in the tabletop wargames hobby for some years now, having my own line of miniatures (see here -> http://www.plasmablastgames.com.) I have also developed or helped development of several wargame rulesets. I have hoped for some time now that I would find the opportunity to jump on turn-based tactical computer games development as well but I totally lack programming knowledge so this has eluded me so far.

So:

I would definitely throw money in if this would entitle me in being part of the decision structure and/or ownership of the game. I'd like to know some financial facts about it, before I do it like how many active players there are and what the income rate was before pro accounts got the silent indefinite extension. If that isn't possible I would be happy to just pay regularly for my pro account.

I'd also like to help -I've sent extensive and detailed e-mail to whomever was that asked for help some time ago. As a quick summary, my skills lie at game development, I have developed a successful ruleset for a board (table) wargame, have conducted research & playtesting for several others and have a grasp for probabilities -although that doesn't help much when playing the game I'd be very pleased to work along with Casaubon and anyone else involved with game development.

Apart from the units and the game mechanics themselves I have some ideas for weewar in general as well: Scenario based encounters between players, story-driven usage of an evolved AI, and some other, more radical which I will keep to myself for the time being.


Time I'd be willing to invest weekly would be around 4-6 hours as brainstorming and communicating, apart from the time invested in playtesting which would be about 1 hour daily.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 19/08/2011 22:49:59

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