Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mantic Open Day, November 2014 Part 2

The full title of the final seminar at Mantic’s Open Day, November 2014, was ‘The Future of Mantic Games with Ronnie Renton’, leading Ronnie to make a joke about what the future of Mantic would be without himself.
One thing he did want to be clear on though was that he sees digital products as a big part of that future. Geiger, the company that makes Mantic’s digital products, were represented alongside Ronnie and Stewart Gibbs to emphasise the point.
Here then are some of the key points and answers to questions from the room.

This post is about Mantic's pipeline.
  • There are no plans to do any kind of space battle game. The reason for this is mostly that there is already a very successful game out there with a very strong ip behind it. Ronnie did say that if he were going to do something featuring Plague and Enforcer fleets he would probably just ask FFG for a licence as they have a solid rule set that people know and like.

  • The Dungeon Saga Pledge Manager is on the way. Geiger said they planned a short beta test next week, then the proper release, and the KoW PM should come out straight after that. Ronnie was keen to stress all future Mantic PM’s would go through this one system so backers would only have to log in once. They would also remain fairly flexible so people could add stuff as they could afford it and pay instantly by credit card. He also joked there would be a paypal option for those that want to hide their spend from the other half.
  • Geiger said the Dreadball Playbook app is also still on the way. The delay, we were told, is due to waiting for DBX and seasons 5 and 6 to come out so they could be integrated. 
  • The idea of fantasy terrain came up and Ronnie indicated there was some tension between himself and Stewart over this. Ronnie thinks the 3” square model used in Deadzone can be transferred, Stewart is unconvinced. Really they need to be sure they can come up with something that will scale up from small villages to castles and the like. They also need to decide on a timescale to develop some kind of KoW skirmish game and there is definitely no room for it in the current KoW KS. 
  • Geiger talked a fair bit about Dreadball league software that will be open to testers soon. The idea is for people to be able to set up leagues, record games, and possibly transfer results to a central server. There would be various ways for people to log in, but the issue of people possibly inventing matches and results to inflate their standings needs to be dealt with.

  • Season 4 of Dreadball will be seen in January, then more Deadzone in February, then season 5 of Dreadball in March. I’m guessing the Deadzone in March will either be release to retail of stuff KS backers already have, or possibly even the first sign of the next KS.
  • Ronnie has plans for a world tournament of Dreadball. He would like to fly the highest ranked European player to the States to play the highest ranked American in a ‘Ryker Cup’. Perhaps they play seven games but have to have seven different teams to counter the ‘Nameless are the best’ problem.

  • On the topic of videogames, Ronnie said again they had been approached several times by serious parties. Games companies like that Mantic has good games with solid ip. But the potential cost and associated risk puts Mantic off committing to anything. This is similar to the answer Ronnie gave to the same question at the last Open Day. He would rather they held off doing videogames than risk the company on a poor one.

  • The topic of using Restic on big models in the current KoW KS came up. Ronnie said they would be waiting to see what numbers of certain models were ordered before deciding what materials to use for some things. Getting base troops into hard plastic is something that came up again and again during the day.
  • An app for Deadzone AI cards is done. Lots of work has gone into the algorithm to make it shuffle like a person. So you will see some cards get ‘stuck’ as it deals, becoming more random as time goes on.
  • Confirmation that Deadzone 1.5 features Vermyn and is next on the slate. Will also revisit and hopefully fill holes in current lineup like Asterians basic troops. Ideally this will get all armies ready for a vehicles-focused Warpath KS. Mantic believes the tech is now where it needs to be to do vehicles right.

  • There is also a growing possibility of non-KS funded projects. Azure Forest was held up as the example here. The only DB product that was not KS-funded.
  • Device compatibility of apps came up briefly. There was some support for more Windows device app support but the issue really is complexity. Even with Android. Geiger said the variety of devices to cater for was huge. Apple is simpler, but the hurdle there can be their approvals process. Ronnie joked the only certainty was that if you had the same phone as him, you could be sure Mantic apps would work on it. Good news for me as we both use Galaxy Notes ;)

  • There was a short discussion of the lack of hobby resources being produced by Mantic. Ronnie said this was really due to a lack of time. They have tried to do things like Dave’s Hobby Tips and Army Painter do the occasional painting guide. But there is also a fairly good amount of content being put out by the community. Personally, I like this. It feels more like Mantic to have the community produce things like painting guides and show what can be done with their terrain and models and the like.

That was more or less it for the Open Day seminars. Lots to look forward to including the next Deadzone kickstarter and maybe even a rollout of Warpath late in 2015 as well as more Dreadball, Dungeon Saga, and Kings of War. If you have any questions about what was said or seen at Mantic please leave them below. Let's close with a couple of pictures of what Mantic keeps on their bookshelves. Some suprising and some not so surprising sources of inspiration there...

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