Explain all this? (holding this in for too long)

In this forum, no one can hear you rant...

Explain all this? (holding this in for too long)

Postby MarkShot » Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:23 pm

What issues are so important that they warrant turning away new customers? I don't claim to understand all the divisions which exist in the Harpoon community, but I personally think that Harpoon has one of the most fragmented poisonous environments of both players, developers, and publishers which I have ever seen. I happen to own a stake in a game company and have held up Harpoon as an example of game gone nightmare to my business partners.

Oh, I said I would have some questions:

(1) Why are attachments to the two familes of Harpoon (HC and H3) so contentious that it is not possible to for a potential customer to ask for an accounting of the differences on the Web site which publishes/develops both (Matrix/AGSI)?

(2) Why was it necessary to eradicate availability of an older version of H3 v3.6.3 in order to market ANW? Clearly, many in the community still continue to believe the v3.6.3 has less significant defects than ANW and greater compatibility with the existing base of H3 DBs, battlesets, and scenarios? Of course, there are some very attractive features available in ANW from improved systems performances to saveable Window configurations to the VCR, but the core game seems to have issues. If ANW could stand on its own merit, then the market for H3 v3.6.3 would simply dry up. I mean what gamers in their right mind would buy an older and subset version of a game? Dissappearing H3 v3.6.3 was not the answer, but rather a clear indication and admission of a problem?

(3) Why has HCCE been left to whither on the vine to be developed by unpaid volunteers when it clearly has much greater noob appeal than the H3 family? The H3 family has much merit, but it lacks the ability to attract new customers due to its archaic (1970 non-Windows, non-PC, vector terminal interface). At least, HCCE could have been used as a means to grow the Harpoon community and as a stepping stone for those who might appreciate the greater depth of the H3 family?

(4) What is this vicious campaign regard databases and piracy? In other mod communities (take Silent Hunter III as an example), many of the Total Mods (like GWX) draw upon a vast wealth of work by individuals incorporated into one conglomeration that is both coherent and much friendlier for the average player to take advantage of. Why do members of the Harpoon community feel that their modding work is exclusively theirs and reject their work being used as a point of departure by others? If you felt that you had such strong propiertary rights to the work you produced, then why didn't you just keep to for own personal use? Instead you make it freely available on the Internet (no purchase, no copy protection, ...) and then you complain that someone else may have made use of it?

Isn't the whole point of modding and posting your work so that it will be used, disseminated, and shared? Really the only issue that modders may at times have is when their free work is used by others to generate revenue. However, with the exception of AGSI that does not seem to be the case. And if AGSI should adopt community work and then sell it is that so terrible? After all, they have made Harpoon available and their success means Harpoon for everyone.

(5) Why is it necessary to ban and ostracize an individual who has attempted to document and maintain a detailed list of defects in various products? These efforts are clearly not done with the intent of defeating sales of the product, but rather to permit a chance for the various products to be improved. As I said, I own a piece of game company, we would be only too happy to find someone who would be so diligent in testing our product. Granted this individual remains outside of beta programs and NDA, but I suspect that is more the result of his fear that an NDA would be used to gag him as opposed to a means to further the ultimate quality of the product.

---

Lastly, I know that Herman Humm will be a key contributor to this site on which I am posting. I see that much animosity is directed at him. As far as I can tell, he has done all that he can to be an ambassador of the game Harpoon and to promote its adoption by anyone who might enjoy a naval strategy game. Myself, I have only had the fortune of being a recipient of his time and genarosity. Perhaps others may have some valid grudge against him, but after months I have yet to run across any reasons myself. So, I will end this by saying that I am happy to count him as my friend.

I hope that Harpoon community can grow up and start thinking about growing the customer base (by welcoming new customers as opposed to snubbing them) and improving the quality of the both product families (by allowing all who love the game to contribute to it in whatever manner best suits them).

PS: I don't expect to post here again or regularly, but after 3-4 months or nonsense, it was finally time to say what I honestly think and stop pussyfooting around.
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Re: Explain all this? (holding this in for too long)

Postby FreekS » Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:33 am

Mark,

Yours is the only post to this Forum worth reading - in fact I've joint it to reply or more accurately agree.
I've played harpoon forever and have bought all versions of the game.
Years ago I focused on Harpoon 3 rather than HC just because I could not find the time to fully understand both. Similarly I focused on using one DB (PlayersDB) mostly because I got excellent (read: fanatical) support in creating units, discussing design tricks and testing.

I remain surprised by the bad feelings and unprofessional behaviour even after years of being in the community. It is clear to me that not only does this put off getting new customers for the game - it also means many who buy the game stop playing it quickly - as evidenced by the low number of forum posts/authors around AARs and Game issues - generally you only see new people asking for support and the ultra-experienced core of the community.

All comments below are my own only and are hypothesis only!

To some of your Q:

What issues are so important that they warrant turning away new customers? I don't claim to understand all the divisions which exist in the Harpoon community, but I personally think that Harpoon has one of the most fragmented poisonous environments of both players, developers, and publishers which I have ever seen. I happen to own a stake in a game company and have held up Harpoon as an example of game gone nightmare to my business partners.


Maybe what we are seeing is a 'normal' lifecycle for internet based games; as the number of buyers decrease the more professional companies offload the software to entrepreneurs and the continued success becomes critically dependent on the quality of these people and their relationship with the customers (which includes players and designers of scens and DBs). Harpoon having been so successfull and realistic - its logical some of the people remaining in the community are fanatical (-ly good); and therefore hard to manage - so harnassing these people to work together has to be one of the most important jobs (and most difficult) for the now greatly reduced company staff. This job is being done badly.

(2) Why was it necessary to eradicate availability of an older version of H3 v3.6.3 in order to market ANW? Clearly, many in the community still continue to believe the v3.6.3 has less significant defects than ANW and greater compatibility with the existing base of H3 DBs, battlesets, and scenarios? Of course, there are some very attractive features available in ANW from improved systems performances to saveable Window configurations to the VCR, but the core game seems to have issues. If ANW could stand on its own merit, then the market for H3 v3.6.3 would simply dry up. I mean what gamers in their right mind would buy an older and subset version of a game? Dissappearing H3 v3.6.3 was not the answer, but rather a clear indication and admission of a problem?


This in my view is a key issue; I agree wholeheartedly that H3.6 should disappear naturally as ANW becomes better.

3.6 to me was the end of a long period of debugging. I still have 3.5.11 (2003) to 3.5.13 (2005) on my PC. 3.6 had/has issues; and as a scen designer I would work around them.
ANW started adding new features; great ones like Multiplayer, and fixing key bugs like the extremely long visual sighting ranges of 3.6. I remember having a wishlist of a few features to be added and a few key bugs to be squashed - and mostly they were. The problem came as new bugs were introduced through the code adjustment. Thats when things really went wrong IMO; there was no philosophy in AGSI to ensure 3.6 scens would work in ANW (and they never talked to us about that), there was no effective prioritisation of bugs (now they have a committee of 'selected' players) and frankly I think the impact of a lot of the bug reports were not understood. While some steps have been taken to remedy the situation - 3.7 and 3.8.0 have been out for more than a year with deadly issues which may be solved in 3.9 but who knows when and if.

I continued to design in 3.6 Scenario Editor so my new scens work in 3.6 and ANW - though it meant double testing and some scens I designed still only work in 3.6. I was not confident to design in the ANW SE as any scen made in it cannot be played in 3.6 and bugs in the SE of ANW (I thought) were not getting much attention.

AGSI is right to focus on ANW but they are actively saying their previous product (after 10+ years of development!) is shit and most recently they have forbidden Herman and me to post scens for 3.6 on their forum.
Sounds like Lee Iacocca saying in public: "We've made some shitty cars in the past but now...."

(4) What is this vicious campaign regard databases and piracy? In other mod communities (take Silent Hunter III as an example), many of the Total Mods (like GWX) draw upon a vast wealth of work by individuals incorporated into one conglomeration that is both coherent and much friendlier for the average player to take advantage of. Why do members of the Harpoon community feel that their modding work is exclusively theirs and reject their work being used as a point of departure by others? If you felt that you had such strong propiertary rights to the work you produced, then why didn't you just keep to for own personal use? Instead you make it freely available on the Internet (no purchase, no copy protection, ...) and then you complain that someone else may have made use of it?
Isn't the whole point of modding and posting your work so that it will be used, disseminated, and shared? Really the only issue that modders may at times have is when their free work is used by others to generate revenue. However, with the exception of AGSI that does not seem to be the case. And if AGSI should adopt community work and then sell it is that so terrible? After all, they have made Harpoon available and their success means Harpoon for everyone.


Fully agree! What I am now seeing is that the two comprehensive Databases (DB2K and PlayersDB) both with communities that maintain the DBs and the hundreds of accompanying scens may become pushed out of the game because of this fight. I have designed scens for both but moved to PlayersDB where I got excellent support and friendship. But both databases have added significant features and realism to the game. I can understand they want those features to be exclusive - but the result I fear can be the demise of both.

(5) Why is it necessary to ban and ostracize an individual who has attempted to document and maintain a detailed list of defects in various products? These efforts are clearly not done with the intent of defeating sales of the product, but rather to permit a chance for the various products to be improved. As I said, I own a piece of game company, we would be only too happy to find someone who would be so diligent in testing our product. Granted this individual remains outside of beta programs and NDA, but I suspect that is more the result of his fear that an NDA would be used to gag him as opposed to a means to further the ultimate quality of the product.


Again I totally agree - Herman has asked me to verify basically every bug he's found (and he's verified ones I've found) before publishing them. Sure its a long list; many bugs of which are old or minor - but its accurate and some are deadly. More than NDA's I think its the personal relationships which have been damaged by all sides so badly that make Herman operate outside Beta testing.

Lastly, I know that Herman Humm will be a key contributor to this site on which I am posting. I see that much animosity is directed at him. As far as I can tell, he has done all that he can to be an ambassador of the game Harpoon and to promote its adoption by anyone who might enjoy a naval strategy game. Myself, I have only had the fortune of being a recipient of his time and genarosity. Perhaps others may have some valid grudge against him, but after months I have yet to run across any reasons myself. So, I will end this by saying that I am happy to count him as my friend.


After many years working with Herman I feel exactly the same way - I've received incredible amounts of support, testing and fun.

I hope that Harpoon community can grow up and start thinking about growing the customer base (by welcoming new customers as opposed to snubbing them) and improving the quality of the both product families (by allowing all who love the game to contribute to it in whatever manner best suits them).


And next to growing the customer base - ensuring that the buyers actually become regular players and contributors to the community. I fear many buy and are put off quickly - so customer satisfaction might be a major issue.

PS: I don't expect to post here again or regularly, but after 3-4 months or nonsense, it was finally time to say what I honestly think and stop pussyfooting around.


Likewise. I am not a fan of this site at all.
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Postby Herman Hum » Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:10 am

MarkShot wrote:What issues are so important that they warrant turning away new customers? I don't claim to understand all the divisions which exist in the Harpoon community, but I personally think that Harpoon has one of the most fragmented poisonous environments of both players, developers, and publishers which I have ever seen. I happen to own a stake in a game company and have held up Harpoon as an example of game gone nightmare to my business partners.

As with all things related to the Harpoon community, I believe that it all boils down to a matter of control -- those who have it and those who want it. Without a doubt, Advanced Gaming Systems Incorporated [AGSI], the game's developer, is in control of the game as it pertains to the source code, their private fora, and the limitations of their license agreement. They own the code and are the sole determinants on what course the game will take.

However, what AGSI refuses to acknowledge is that they are not the masters of the Harpoon universe. Customers will purchase the game and use it as they see fit and discuss it as they like on any forum that invites Harpoon discussion. This means that bugs will be reported and game behaviours analyzed/criticized. The fact that threads which do not present AGSI in a favourable light tend to disappear (along with their attendant authors) from AGSI-controlled fora/chatrooms does not mean that the discussion has been suppressed -- it simply re-surfaces on another forum.[Link] AGSI has gone so far as to claim that such discussion has had a negative financial impact upon them and thus is, in their opinion, subject to litigation.[Link]

Such is the mania for control.

MarkShot wrote:Oh, I said I would have some questions:

(1) Why are attachments to the two familes of Harpoon (HC and H3) so contentious that it is not possible to for a potential customer to ask for an accounting of the differences on the Web site which publishes/develops both (Matrix/AGSI)?

I believe that you are incorrect to colour the entire Harpoon community uniformly by the actions of a few. There are Harpoon3 [H3] fans, there are Harpoon Classic [HC] fans, and there are fans who enjoy both games. They are not alike. In all my years of reading mailing lists and fora from all the various sites, I can only remember *one* instance whereby an HC aficionado went out of his way to throw disparagement upon another game. That other game was not even H3 -- it was Dangerous Waters.[Link] Unfortunately, there are multiple instances whereby some H3 fans routinely go out of their way to denigrate HC.[Link] It is almost as if there is an irrational belief that the potential pool of Harpoon players is finite and that a player who enjoys HC is one less player who might enjoy H3. It is hard to believe that some folks might feel this way, but their actions certainly seem to indicate this mindset. Or, it could be the simple petty belief that in order to promote their favourite version of the game, they need to drag down other versions or games.

MarkShot wrote:(2) Why was it necessary to eradicate availability of an older version of H3 v3.6.3 in order to market ANW? Clearly, many in the community still continue to believe the v3.6.3 has less significant defects than ANW and greater compatibility with the existing base of H3 DBs, battlesets, and scenarios? Of course, there are some very attractive features available in ANW from improved systems performances to saveable Window configurations to the VCR, but the core game seems to have issues. If ANW could stand on its own merit, then the market for H3 v3.6.3 would simply dry up. I mean what gamers in their right mind would buy an older and subset version of a game? Dissappearing H3 v3.6.3 was not the answer, but rather a clear indication and admission of a problem?

I agree that the disappearance of all H3 support was wholly unnecessary. There have been numerous messages posted by previous AGSI customers who purchased H3 years ago and, through some unfortunate happenstance, now need to re-install a game for which they they already paid. Unfortunately, this isn't possible since all H3.6.3 executible files, utilities, and support have since been removed. The market for H3.6.3 dried up the moment it was no longer available for sale and should, IMO, have been quite sufficient. Without a way to acquire a valid serial number for H3.6.3, ANW would have been the only choice for anyone interested in the game. The removal of old versions seems a heavy-handed effort to compel purchase of the new version.

I also agree that there are some attractive features that have been introduced by ANW, but the loss of so much previous function from H3.6.3 is dramatic. Anyone willing to compile a comprehensive list of new features added vs. old functions lost will find that the number of new features will be much fewer than those lost. Also, many of the new features were already possible under H3 (in slightly more cumbersome and awkward ways, perhaps) or are primarily cosmetic and superficial in nature, IMO.

MarkShot wrote:(3) Why has HCCE been left to whither on the vine to be developed by unpaid volunteers when it clearly has much greater noob appeal than the H3 family? The H3 family has much merit, but it lacks the ability to attract new customers due to its archaic (1970 non-Windows, non-PC, vector terminal interface). At least, HCCE could have been used as a means to grow the Harpoon community and as a stepping stone for those who might appreciate the greater depth of the H3 family?

I think that Harpoon Commander's Edition has been abandoned in favour of ANW due to the focus of AGSI on government contracts. The AGSI President, Don Gilman's, own blog statements seem to indicate this as the future direction for AGSI.[Link] If this is correct, then the additional detail possible in H3 databases as opposed to HC databases might be preferential to institutional users. I wholeheartedly agree that HCE has much more appeal for noobs as indicated by the number of forum testimonials from players who were able to dive right in from the demo. Personally, I only started playing H3 after playing every known HC scenario in existence.

MarkShot wrote:(4) What is this vicious campaign regard databases and piracy? In other mod communities (take Silent Hunter III as an example), many of the Total Mods (like GWX) draw upon a vast wealth of work by individuals incorporated into one conglomeration that is both coherent and much friendlier for the average player to take advantage of. Why do members of the Harpoon community feel that their modding work is exclusively theirs and reject their work being used as a point of departure by others? If you felt that you had such strong propiertary rights to the work you produced, then why didn't you just keep to for own personal use? Instead you make it freely available on the Internet (no purchase, no copy protection, ...) and then you complain that someone else may have made use of it?

Without an ounce of truth or a single fact, the campaign waged by harpoon headquarters (harpoonhq.com) stems from the aforementioned issues regarding control. This is the age of the internet and the volume of messages count more than accuracy or truth. But, in the end, there is no more truth to these accusations than there is a "king in Africa who needs help getting his money out of the country." Those conducting it want the entire community to play the game their way with only their database and their scenarios. All other styles of play are considered 'cheating.'[Link]

This means that the one who controls the database controls the style in which scenarios are created and distributed. If the bulk of the Harpoon playing community needs to suffer and be annoyed to the point of leaving the game in disgust and frustration, that is deemed acceptable so long as the remnants only play the game with material approved and supplied by hhq. This scorched earth policy is proving to be somewhat successful as anyone remotely curious about the game quickly retreats from the outright toxic atmosphere of hhq and Matrix forum. Anyone who dares to create something otherwise is immediately deemed a threat and 'competition'.

There might actually be some basis for this perception of competition. Previously, hhq was a leading fan site for harpoon discussion and support. It shared a financial relationship with AGSI and received a commission for games sold via their site. Therefore, it was in both their interests to quell dissent and stymie bug discussion by deleting any such threads and banning 'malcontents'. With the proliferation of sites supporting Harpoon, the monetary returns to hhq diminished. Any action that promoted discussion on a different site/forum would, theoretically, dilute activity and remuneration.

Many designers started out designing scenarios for the Y2kDB (a.k.a. Db2000) as it was in common usage within the community. However, the Y2kDB editor, Ragnar Emsoy, believed that his role allowed him control over the design standards of any scenarios whether or not they were hosted on his personal site. In order to prevent the creation and dissemination of scenarios utilizing the Y2kDB, he deliberately and maliciously manipulated DB entries in a futile attempt to cause scenarios not hosted on his own site (but based upon the Y2kDB) to crash.[Link] Once this act of sabotage was discovered and revealed for all to see, the decision was made to start work on the creation of an independent database so that this heinous deed could never be repeated.

In the past, these reprehensible tactics have borne fruit for hhq as various players decided that a game/hobby was simply not a worthwhile matter to fight over and walked away from the game. However, now they have run into the age-old paradox -- "What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?" and found someone who can be neither initimidated nor bullied and is absolutely without fear.

MarkShot wrote:Isn't the whole point of modding and posting your work so that it will be used, disseminated, and shared? Really the only issue that modders may at times have is when their free work is used by others to generate revenue. However, with the exception of AGSI that does not seem to be the case. And if AGSI should adopt community work and then sell it is that so terrible? After all, they have made Harpoon available and their success means Harpoon for everyone.

Well, once again, the entire community should not be judged by the standard of one specific site. Every other mod creator from every other game community in the world just wants his work to be shared and enjoyed by others. If you look past one individual site, you will see a multitude of players, designers, and database editors who help one another. The fact that the PlayersDB exists is a testament to the openness and willingness of HC/H3 editors and scenario designers to allow others to build upon their work.

The scenarios created for the PlayersDB have already been freely offered to AGSI for re-distribution and to generate revenue for the company. In light of the fact that *none* of the 120 scenarios currently made with the Original Database and packaged with the game has been functional since patch 3.8.0 was released June 2007, it is incomprehensible that AGSI should refuse this offer.[Link] Sadly, this means that no one is able to play any of the scenarios when they purchase the game unless they download the PlayersDB versions, first.

MarkShot wrote:(5) Why is it necessary to ban and ostracize an individual who has attempted to document and maintain a detailed list of defects in various products? These efforts are clearly not done with the intent of defeating sales of the product, but rather to permit a chance for the various products to be improved. As I said, I own a piece of game company, we would be only too happy to find someone who would be so diligent in testing our product. Granted this individual remains outside of beta programs and NDA, but I suspect that is more the result of his fear that an NDA would be used to gag him as opposed to a means to further the ultimate quality of the product.

As previously stated, I think that these acts stem from a perceived loss of control. AGSI has invited me to participate within their closed testing environment. Unfortunately, from a prior experience of AGSI, this offer was declined due to the non-public nature of the reporting system. As well, bug reports and members were deleted according to the whims of AGSI staff. It was apparent that participation within the testing group was only a means to muzzle public dissent and not a channel for game improvement.

Instead, bug reports were posted publicly for the entire community to discuss. This probably led to AGSI's belief that it could not be seen fixing anything on the list or else it would appear weak and not in control of the process. Thus, AGSI has been purposely ignoring one of the tools which can help them fix the game just to assuage their ego.

The NDA provisions were fair and reasonable, but the lack of enforcement on NDA transgressions was quite clear. For example, eighteen months ago, AGSI staff suspected a breach of NDA; supposedly resulting in me receiving confidential material. This never occurred, but the reaction from the AGSI representative, Dale Hillier, could only be described as 'ballistic'; with promises of a witch hunt to find the ficticious perpetrator. This month, I reported an easily proven transgression of NDA to Dale Hillier on the AGSI chat channel and only received a response of, "Gee, I guess someone breached their NDA. Nothing we can do about it." This typical double-standard just re-affirmed my decision to avoid any AGSI process.

MarkShot wrote:Lastly, I know that Herman Humm will be a key contributor to this site on which I am posting. I see that much animosity is directed at him. As far as I can tell, he has done all that he can to be an ambassador of the game Harpoon and to promote its adoption by anyone who might enjoy a naval strategy game. Myself, I have only had the fortune of being a recipient of his time and genarosity. Perhaps others may have some valid grudge against him, but after months I have yet to run across any reasons myself. So, I will end this by saying that I am happy to count him as my friend.

I hope that Harpoon community can grow up and start thinking about growing the customer base (by welcoming new customers as opposed to snubbing them) and improving the quality of the both product families (by allowing all who love the game to contribute to it in whatever manner best suits them).

PS: I don't expect to post here again or regularly, but after 3-4 months or nonsense, it was finally time to say what I honestly think and stop pussyfooting around.

That is an optimism I can share. The Harpoon community has been blessed to have such folks as Freek, Tony, and Darren to name just a few, who continue to create work that is enjoyed by so many others. I count my blessings every day for their selflessness and generosity.

Unfortunately, AGSI, among others, seems perfectly willing to play the role of Major Kong (Slim Pickens' character in Dr. Strangelove) as he rides the atomic bomb all the way down so long as they maintain their "semblance of control" throughout the process.[Link] IMO, all the tools needed to fix the current situation already reside squarely in the hands of AGSI and no one else. Only the will and foresight to apply them is required.

It is significant to note that comments such as these are not permitted on any official site, forum, or chat room censored by hhq, Matrix, or AGSI and that only on a site such as HarPlonkHQ can they be expressed freely and without fear of retaliation.

Such, is the state of the Harpoon community.
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Postby MarkShot » Sun Jan 13, 2008 4:34 pm

(deleted by author: too volatile)
Last edited by MarkShot on Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Herman Hum » Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:01 am

MarkShot wrote:You have both pointed out that my perception regarding the number of people participating in aggressive faction oriented infighting behavior is skewed. In your opinion, it is only a very small number of individuals relative to the community as a whole. Well, I have no way to tell, but I can say this. If it is but a handful of people, then their impact is huge and disproportionate to their numbers.

Only total noobs woken from a coma these days dare to ask "What's the difference between ANW and HCCE? Which is right for me?". Or "Which DB should I use with my game and where can I get more scenarios to play?".

Stealth has not only become an important skill in playing Harpoon, but it is also important to being a Harpoon customer. You need to know how and where to look for answers without having to post and admit that you do, in fact, own a copy. Because once you start asking questions, you never know when the other version might be mentioned, known defects might come up, which databases to use, where you got the scenario ...

So, it may just be a few individuals, but it is enough to make a difference.

Once again, I believe that this picture only pertains to hhq and AGSI-managed sites/fora. A question posted to any open forum such as UseNet, SimHQ, SubSim, FilesOfScenShare, HarpGamer, HarPlonkHQ, and GameSquad is going to receive a detailed and honest reply. It would be unfair to expect the same behaviour from all fora just because a few actively practice censorship. In fact, the question of, "The differences between HC and H3" has arisen a number of times on GameSquad, alone. Each time, it has been answered without the usual acrimonious storm so commonly found on Matrix and hhq. In fact, hhq is the only site where the mere mention of this question is grounds for banishment and is stated as such in the registration requirements. Can you imagine a more ludicrous regime?

I think that, yet again, I am being imbued with "powers" that I simply do not possess. At one time, I was accused of actually *creating* bugs, if you can believe that. I wish that I had the talent and skill to accomplish such grand feats, but I'm just a lowly player. I have no more access to the source code than I do the vaults of Fort Knox. To give me such lofty credit is unjustified.

There are certainly individuals in the Harpoon universe who believe that they have influence over the game and community. I'm not one of them. I am able to edit one database, write some scenarios, and play the game. That's it. I do not deceive myself with delusions of grandeur.

IMO, the only person to have any influence on the game is Don Gilman, President of AGSI. He owns the code and the company. Only he can fix the code, the company, and the situation. As of yet, it does not appear as though he has any interest in fixing anything.

The only things that I have been doing (and will continue to do) are:
  1. NOT ban anyone from a forum/site/chat room
  2. NOT sabotage a database to hinder others using it
  3. NOT post libellous remarks
  4. Write new scenarios
  5. Add new database platforms
  6. Answer questions to the best of my ability
  7. Report and document new bugs

If I have overlooked something that I can actually do or control, let me know, by all means.
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Postby MarkShot » Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:34 am

deleted by author: too volatile
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Postby Herman Hum » Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:04 pm

FreekS wrote:I remain surprised by the bad feelings and unprofessional behaviour even after years of being in the community. It is clear to me that not only does this put off getting new customers for the game - it also means many who buy the game stop playing it quickly - as evidenced by the low number of forum posts/authors around AARs and Game issues - generally you only see new people asking for support and the ultra-experienced core of the community.

There may or may not be a direct relationship between the low number of forum messages posted about AARs and game issues and people who stop playing the game. Activity on all Harpoon-related fora is definitely low, but there are other possible explanations for this inactivity, too. Certainly, some players may be turned off by the non-stop flames and trash being tossed about, but some may just withdraw to only play the game and simply refuse to take part in the childishness.

I believe that there are more of the latter than of the former because the download logs do not lie. Every month, over ten thousand PlayersDB scenarios are loaded. Someone is grabbing them even if they are not participating in the public displays of silliness.

FreekS wrote:The problem came as new bugs were introduced through the code adjustment. Thats when things really went wrong IMO; there was no philosophy in AGSI to ensure 3.6 scens would work in ANW (and they never talked to us about that), there was no effective prioritisation of bugs (now they have a committee of 'selected' players) and frankly I think the impact of a lot of the bug reports were not understood.

I do not think that AGSI is under any obligation to ensure that H3 scenarios function for ANW. If they decide to change the entire game so that *NO* H2/3 scenario runs under ANW, that is well within their rights. However, they are not honest about this.

Instead, they try to maintain the illusion that H2/3 scenarios run under ANW, when this is not the case. In fact, they advertise the fact that there are "Over 300 scenarios..." on Matrix [LINK] and [LINK] even though this cannot be true if H2/3 scenarios do not run under ANW. In short, they want their cake and they want to eat it, too.
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Postby Herman Hum » Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:16 pm

MarkShot wrote:Are the rights to computer Harpoon and paper Harpoon both owned by AGSI?

Where is Larry Bond in these days? His name is still in use.

The rights to computer Harpoon are licensed to AGSI. AGSI does not own the rights to the paper rules.[LINK] I think that Bond is still writing books and working on the guts of his paper rules game. The best place to find answers is from the official sources at the link.

MarkShot wrote:If AGSI makes so much money off of naval contracts, then why even bother with the game market?

Is Harpoon Pro essential ANW? How and why does USN tolerate the klunky interface and the bugs? Does the USN use it like gamers use it (SP/AI) or does the USN basically run Harpoon with the AI disabled and real commanders are behind the the role and actions of each unit? Various Army simulations are done as such that simulations are used as sandboxes for large scale participation; the ability of an AI to handle many units is totally irrelevant.

What is the relationship between the part of AGSI that deals with institutional contracts and that the part does games? Is there a relationship? What is the relationship between the Harpoon gaming community and the Harpoon institutional community?

These are all very interesting questions. However, I have no personal knowledge how the USN might use the game (but would also be interested in the answers). It is pure speculation on my part, but having the simulation run as a 'large sandbox' to simply manage units/locations sounds like a reasonable use of the game in order to get around the bugginess and other problematic behaviour. You aren't the only one to question how any military organization can use such troubled software. If you want, you can try to contact Don Gilman, directly at AGSI. dgilman@advancedgaming.biz

MarkShot wrote:So, Herman, if you don't mind, what exactly is it alleged that you have stolen? Whom and when did you steal it? How did you gain access to the stolen items and what have you done with it? Are you the only thief or are others so accused? So, how does this relate to DB2000 and PDB?

The allegations seem to metamorphasize as time progresses. It is almost as though they are being painstakingly hand-crafted and customized in order to accommodate every new and inconvenient conflicting fact as it is revealed. You can find some of the original ones on Matrix [LINK] as well as their associated de-bunkment [LINK]. If some items remain unclear, go ahead and ask for clarification.

MarkShot wrote:What it the history of the PDB?

[LINK]

MarkShot wrote:When did you start the defect lists? Was it just you or are there others involved? Did you offer these lists to AGSI?


The lists were started in July 12, 2004 with the creation of the FilesOfScenShare Yahoo site. They are an amalgam of the institutional knowledge from the entire community. I just took the time to document them and post them. They were 'offered' to AGSI in the sense that they were made publicly known. If AGSI wanted to use them as a template for repairs, that was freely open to them. I discussed them with Don Gilman over the phone, personally, and we concluded that any and all bugs were to be included with the lists, but AGSI would have the final say on if / when they were to be fixed. Of course, such control by AGSI has never been in dispute.

MarkShot wrote:How is it that you seem to have both good and horrible relationships with AGSI at the same time?

This requires clarification and appears to be more a matter of personal perception. What makes you believe that there are good and bad relations at the same time?

MarkShot wrote:Well, go ahead and say as much or as little as you want. Some will say that I am being a "sock puppet", but I have not heard the answers to these questions before. I've been trying to keep my distance from it all, but now let the story be told.

Lastly, don't tell me anything that may be under covered under an NDA/NCA arrangement. Don't want to spring any leads here. Also, there were some rumors of lawsuit being waved around. If you think that you are going to be sued for answering any my question, then don't bother.

Who pays any attention to rumours? Regardless, truth is an absolute defence in all legal matters and since no illegal acts have been committed, there is nothing to fear.
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