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CJ Martin on why Janes Combat Simulations and Combat Sims


T-Bone
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The Jane's Combat Simulation label was something Paul Grace (CYAC/USNF/etc) cooked up between EA and Jane's Information group. Around that time Andy Hollis started up the Origin Skunkworks at OSI Austin. Paul's team in Redwood Shores worked on the so-called survey sims - lot's of flyable aircraft, medium level of fidelity when it came to aircraft systems. Andy's team created study sims - single subject, highly detailed flight models/systems.

 

Andy recruited a bunch of MPS folks to join him, but they didn't want to move to Austin, so the Baltimore studio was born. In Baltimore, we created the study sims F-15 and F/A-18. As an aside, F4 came out right around when F-15 came out - if F4 killed all sims, how do you explain F/A-18?

 

The dev pace was grueling, the Skunkworks team cranked out a whole lot of SKU's in a very short time frame. In Baltimore, we started F-15 2.0 right after F-15 shipped. Marketing had already determined expansion packs were not worth the dev time, and several months into F-15 2.0 it was decided we needed to change subjects. It was felt that not enough time would have passed between the ship of 1.0 and 2.0 - and the Longbow numbers backed that claim up.

 

So F/A-18 was born, a slightly troubled birth as Marketing pushed hard to based the campaign in the US (Jane's F/A-18, Defender of Freedom). Looking back at 9/11 maybe they weren't as crazy as we thought at the time (1998). Jane's Information group strongly veto'd that concept and we went with what we shipped with.

 

When F/A-18 went gold, our team was exhuasted / burnt out. I was very active in the old usenet group and various other combat flight sim forums, and years of dealing with the nay-sayers had worn me down. Worse, most of our team lurked in these same groups, saw the flamewars, and wondered why they botherered. It was time for us to move on to something else.

 

The market was changed as well, and again it had nothing to do with F4. RTS/FPS games took off as graphics improved. Those genres had much shorter learning curves. We did ourselves no favors with our study sims - Paul Grace tried to warn us in Baltimore we were going to far, raising the bar too high...creating games he personally was not that interested in playing. Even so, he kept the brand going. Flight sims didn't rack up the big sexy opening month numbers, but catalog sales over an entire year were actually pretty strong. When he left EA, we lost our champion at Redwood Shores.

 

So we were burned out, there was no one pushing the brand (and in fact the license was allowed to lapse, F/A-18 was the last EA Jane's title), and the console market was exploding.

 

At least that is how we saw things from Baltimore. If any of Paul's or Andy's Austin group are here, they can add their perspective.

 

Haha, not so short after all. Bottom line, F4 didn't kill the market, not directly. Raising the bar turned out not to be a good idea - it shrank the market and increased dev costs while other genres were exploding. We all were guilty of raising the bar too high - EA / MPS / SSI. No one product did it. And we did that right as the market was taking off in new directions.

 

That is why there are no AAA sims in development. Sure, there is money to be made...but for the same effort, you can make a lot more money doing something else.

 

-CJ

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Apparently he's working for some DoD projects now. Still sad to see how pessimistic he is nowadays :(

 

From the forum thread this came out of, Wags and ED had approached him for DCS related projects but he would never be able to work for a Russian company with his DoD projects.

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Janes was a great series. Too bad the western markets decided sims were not a viable investment. This however gives ED the entire market. I wonder how many people here grew up with Falcon 4.0. I remember playing Falcon 4 and Janes F-15 when I was a teenager. I grew up with these games, and it was a real pity to see the market die so fast.

 

With DCS and FC 2.0 we're getting reasonably realistic and linked sims of several combat aircraft. I think in that regard we've come along farther than we ever have.

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Isn't it funny how Janes A-10 was at some stage going to be MP compatible with LB2 and at the moment DCS A-10C is hopefully going to be MP compatible with the KA50(and DCS AH64).

 

 

 

Raising the bar turned out not to be a good idea

 

I disagree ED and LP have done quite a good job at raising the bar.:thumbup:

Janes mistake was not raising it high enough.

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I really liked the Janes collection. They started me in sims with ATF. Granted not that advanced, but a perfect gateway drug. Lead to the Longbow sims, F-15, and Fleet Command. Also had a few WW2 ones tossed in the mix as well as Jetfighter 2 and 3. But, the one that grabbed me the most was F4. Something about having the huge binder in my hands at the store just told me this was going to be the end all be all. In some regards it still is. DCS is great, and I think will be even better over time. But, F4 and it's dynamic campaign is still one of the best combat experiences I have ever had. I still fire it up from time to time just to relive being 16 again.

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It makes me nostalgic for the late 90s. Back then the flight sim community was bigger and there was much more buzz surrounding every release. Despite the fact that DCS is really achieving our dreams of a complex multiaircraft sim, I can't help but notice that a lot of people who used to play flight sims have moved onto other things in life.

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And some of us come back CJ ;o) ... been flying since 1989 and now I'm a grand-dad. How time flies.

BTW, back in the Combatsim.com & SimHQ days I never realised that you (T-Bone) were CJ Martin. It explains a lot from 10 years ago .. lol!

BTW, I loved F15 & F18. I finally have hardware that can do them justice so I might just crank them up again. Call it the Rip Van Winkle syndrome.

 

Salute!

Just another grumpy old fart, twopots short of a full joystick!

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It makes me nostalgic for the late 90s. Back then the flight sim community was bigger and there was much more buzz surrounding every release. Despite the fact that DCS is really achieving our dreams of a complex multiaircraft sim, I can't help but notice that a lot of people who used to play flight sims have moved onto other things in life.

 

 

I feel the community has exploded,, and also the world has gotten so small I am in any country in seconds..

 

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I'm not CJ Martin, I'm just quoting him.

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  • 3 years later...

I'll risk a guess and say ED made several learning curves available (from über simple to modelling all systems realistically), stepped up the graphics together with the realism to make it more appealing, introduced aircraft people knew little about before in good detail in the West (initially the Su-27, and then other Russian planes), the Lock On plane set catered most of everyone's needs at the time - fighter, attack and carrier-ops. The map was flexible, AI units made room for great scenarios, the mission editor was always fantastic... ED became so good that the Air Forces they simulated went after them to make military-grade simulators for them, which brings in a fair lot of money in contracts.

 

In short, good vision :)

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There was definitely something very special about the original Flanker considering it was released about the same time as EF2000; a game with some crazy magical graphics that put ED crappy gouraud shading to shame. :)

ED have been taking my money since 1995. :P

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So any guess or insight how ED still is alive and well then?

 

Defence contracts maybe???

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

"Me, the 13th Duke of Wybourne, here on the ED forums at 3 'o' clock in the morning, with my reputation. Are they mad.."

 

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Defence contracts maybe???

 

Based on what's going on over here, I hope they are not critical sources of income.

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I wouldnt mind Jane's working with ED for Jane's branded Modules :p

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Thanks for bringing this one back to life. I had never seen it before.

 

There is a lot of reality based wisdom in the op. Look at how ED has evolved.

 

Hardcore DCS in the same battle space with FC3/CA level, or the recently anounced F-15 + SU-27 with AFM (whatever they're going to call them)

 

It's a smart play to go after all markets and bring them together.

 

Wouldn't staged development make sense for this? Build an FC3 level aircraft and sell it for $25. Build the AFM and sell the aircraft for $35. Then take it to DCS level for $50.

 

To allow someone that wants DCS level aircraft the ability to support the development from the start you could have an upgrade path $25 + $10 + $15.

 

Wouldn't this bring in more aircraft faster?

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Thanks for bringing this one back to life. I had never seen it before.

 

There is a lot of reality based wisdom in the op. Look at how ED has evolved.

 

Hardcore DCS in the same battle space with FC3/CA level, or the recently anounced F-15 + SU-27 with AFM (whatever they're going to call them)

 

It's a smart play to go after all markets and bring them together.

 

Wouldn't staged development make sense for this? Build an FC3 level aircraft and sell it for $25. Build the AFM and sell the aircraft for $35. Then take it to DCS level for $50.

 

To allow someone that wants DCS level aircraft the ability to support the development from the start you could have an upgrade path $25 + $10 + $15.

 

Wouldn't this bring in more aircraft faster?

 

Actually it would slow down aircraft development (At least in regards to the types of different planes.) I personaly would not want that model because you would keep getting the same planes just with differing amounts of realism. If you didn't like the plane you would be stuck with it for YEARS waiting for them to develop it completely and this would cause folks to walk... (My opinion of course)

"Pride is a poor substitute for intelligence."

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Yes and no. You might get to see your favorite aircraft sooner, but you won't see it up to DCS level fidelity any sooner than if it had been a dedicated DCS development.

 

Wouldn't this bring in more aircraft faster?

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Old thread but BUMB!

 

Anyone knows where Andy Hollis is now ? Making games anymore ?

 

 

 

-haukka81

 

 

Bumb again, no one knows?

 

 

Google wont tell anything, least i cand find :helpsmilie:

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