Flash Point: Fire Rescue

edited in General
Exciting news, everyone! RetroEpic is announcing today that we've been working with Indie Board & Cards to bring the award-winning board game Flash Point: Fire Rescue to PCs and iPads near you! Expect to see it out next year.

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“All men are created equal, then a few become firemen.”

Become a real hero in the brand new digital version of the award-winning fire-rescue themed board game, Flash Point: Fire Rescue. Command your skilled squad of highly trained fire-fighters through the hazards of a building set ablaze and rescue the men, women and animals trapped inside.

Check out all the details and concept art here: http://www.retroepic.com/our-games/flash-point/

Pocket Gamer has already written about it here: http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPad/Flash+Point+Fire+Rescue/news.asp?c=71731

Comments

  • Looks cool :)
    I like the concept art.
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  • Flash Point is a super well known game, well done guys :)
    Thanked by 1dammit
  • Hi guys,
    Our fig campaign is up and running and from what we've been told is running well, we're so excited I don't even know what to say, take a look and please vote for us on Greenlight.
    https://www.fig.co/campaigns/flash-point-fire-rescue
  • Well done guys! The Fig team are really nice folks to work with and I wish you all the best!
  • Wow, this game looks like a lot of fun!

    The funding goal is very low though, right?
  • That trailer is really great. Love the artwork and animations @Pomb has been doing! Also this project got me to sign up on Fig.

    Really think it's a big missed opportunity to not implement online multiplayer though, for a game as inherently social as this that's also turn based, it seems to me like the business decision of not implementing online multiplayer is one of not investing another 20% of the budget in order to double your sales (and in my eyes with a reward of possibly more than doubling whatever you'd receive without online multiplayer).

    Also without multiplayer there's little reason for a person who owns (or has friends who own) the board game to buy this (if they need to travel to someone's house anyway to sit in front of their friend's computer to play the game). The single player sounds like it might be cool, but I'd certainly expect that those who really love this game love it because of the camaraderie they feel with their friends when they play it.

  • We are also nearing the 80% mark with more than 20 days to go, the excitement grows.

    @EvanGreenwood, There have been developments in this area which you can read about on our Campaign update
    @roguecode yes, this amount is not the only source of funding, but it is the amount the team requires to get the game to the finish line, without stretch-goals, we already have a playable family rules game, which imo is playing pretty well. It's going to be exciting to see other people play and how it will highlight areas that need more clarity.

    On behalf of the team I extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who has backed us, re-tweeted and liked Flash Point, it's awesome to see the community getting behind us, games can't get made without the help of many people so thank you very much.
  • @Pomb Yeah, I already read that backer update :)
  • @EvanGreenwood I'd love to have better insight of how online multiplayer effects prospective buyers.
    I'm both excited and nervous about the online multiplayer announcement. There is no guarantee of anything obviously, but one thing for certain is that features cost, some more than others. Local multiplayer being a much easier and faster than online. The problem with your double your sales comment is that it works well when talking about games that sold well AND had multiplayer, for every game like that, there are dozens of games that sunk the cost of online multiplayer but didn't make any money. One way to mitigate the risk of online multiplayer is to make sure you have a player base that's asking for it. What I mean here is that the risk is very difficult, near impossible to qualify.

    Imo Flash Points hook isn't it's co-op, it's a game that is well suited to single play. Games that excel in multiplayer have it as a core part of the experience or mechanics. I get that a potential buyer who wants to play the game can nudge a friend into buying a copy to play together, maybe there's something I'm missing about the sales curves of a game, do you only get one chance at selling to a player? I don't think so, I've bought games that have been on my wishlist for far more than a year.
    Also without multiplayer there's little reason... play it.
    I disagree, Digital forms make the game far quicker to get into playing and remove the clumsy parts of counting, keeping track of tokens and rolling dice. It brings a focus to strategy and removes the tedium of setup.
    With the campaign mode we're hoping to attract more than just the board game owners. It would be really interesting to see the percentage of board game players that play digital games.

    We got two Fire Chiefs, a Deputy and two Fire Marshalls, something I didn't think would happen at all when we were drafting the rewards. It's not hard to think then that there's other aspects of game development I just don't understand, may the journey continue.
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    @Pomb I do agree that there's significant extra cost to doing online multiplayer, and if Flash Point sells badly then it's less likely that the extra work is going to pay off (as you pointed out, the costs are fixed whereas I've said the benefits are closer to a multiplier). But if you're unlikely to cover your costs in the first place, while adding online support does add to your risk, it's not the first problem you should be solving.

    I'm a little concerned that you appear to be making decisions based on what you think is good about Flash Point and not necessarily what the audience for the game wants. I'm actually not certain at all about what the audience wants, the digital board games marketplace is not one I've consumed or developed for, but RetroEpic shouldn't be in the position of not knowing who is buying the existing version of Flash Point and for what reasons (as it is a game that is already on sale as a physical game and RetroEpic has a relationship with the developer), and RetroEpic also shouldn't be in a position of not knowing who is playing digital board games and what their preferences are and why.

    If you do have that data it might very well refute me. I could conduct market research into it, but that's not really my place. The point I'm trying to make is that what you're saying when you explain the virtues of the digital game is logically true, and these virtues should have a positive effect, but these virtues might not have any baring on other factors (like lack of online multiplayer) that may constrain parts of audience. There's games out there that are brilliant experiences for everyone who plays them but yet have disappointing sales (like this lovely game with 100% positive reviews and under 2000 sales).
    Pomb said:
    What I mean here is that the risk is very difficult, near impossible to qualify.
    I really don't think this is that difficult. It's time consuming, it involves a lot of research, but it involves well established processes (for instance Ryan Clark talks about this kind of thing a lot). The most obvious process is to look at the sales performance (on mobile and desktop) of all the games that have similarities with Flash Point (the more similar the better) and to look for patterns. You need enough games to be able to isolate factors. Do the games with strong single player experiences outperform similar games that are multiplayer only? Do the games with online multiplayer outperform comparable games with only local play? How much do the trailers and marketing materials matter? Do games that have popular digital versions result in more sales? Or is the quality of the digital game the primary factor? Are digital board games becoming more popular or less popular? How important for sales are production values in a game like the digital Flash Point? How popular are the games with family friendly themes? Or are abstract themes, or mature themes, or serious simulations more popular?

    On top of this you already have quite a bit of information as a result of doing a crowd-funding campaign. You should be able to look at comparable games that did crowdfunding campaigns and extrapolate estimates for eventual sales based on those games' sales and their similarities. And if there are enough of them you might be able to see a difference between those that implemented online multiplayer and those that didn't (or maybe see no difference at all).

    If it were me, I wouldn't be adding online multiplayer post launch either. Given the limited information I have, I think it's still better to add online multiplayer post-launch that to not add it, but adding online multiplayer after launch minimizes the benefit you'll receive. I think post-launch updates are more effective on mobile than on Steam, in fact my (admittedly dated) experience on the App Store suggests adding meaningful features post launch can be as good as another launch. But on Steam having a strong launch is very important - the game's sales have a strong effect on the game's visibility on the Steam platform and a weak launch guarantees weak visibility on the platform going forward.

    I'll post here what my previous reply to you was, as it's quite long and a couple of the points in it are in response to the same points you've raised now. It's a bit of repetition of what I just said, but it covers some other points about why I believe online multiplayer is beneficial in general.
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    EvanGreenwood said:
    Sorry if the stance I'm taking on this adds extra stress on you and your team. I can't really say anything for certain, I can just talk about how I've come to my conclusions.

    There's a lot I don't know about the game Flash Point, if I were seriously analyzing what the potential players of the digital game wanted I'd want to know how many players of the physical board game played it solitaire (and considered purchasing it primarily for solitaire mode) versus how many players played it with friends/family (and purchased it primarily for that purpose). I'd imagine this information is available to RetroEpic as the original board game creators should have been able to figure this out (and if not there should be enough information online to get a rough impression).

    Without that information I'm making guesses based on what I perceive to be general boardgame playing/purchasing patterns, and the effects are that surround online multiplayer games in general.

    The reason why all of Free Lives' games to date have had online multiplayer also applies to Flash Point. In that, with a game that has online multiplayer, players are incentivized to recommend the game to a friend in order to play with them. This means, all other factors being equal, one purchase of an online multiplayer game can much more often result in subsequent sales. Along with this players who know their friends play an online multiplayer game are going to perceive it to be a better purchase than the equivalent game that is single player only or one their friends do not play (as there is more value in a game if it's possible to play with a friend).

    I can't speak for whether Flash Point is better in single player or in multiplayer. Though I think having a good single player experience can only be good for the game.

    Though I do think players buy games that fit their lives. For people who don't play multiplayer boardgames the addition of online multiplayer adds zero value. For people who exclusively play multiplayer boardgames the addition of a single player campaign adds zero value. And obviously there are people in the middle who might just prefer one or the other or like both.

    Looking at the marketplace, it seems to me like most of the best selling digital boardgames both on Steam and on mobile have online multiplayer support. Of course the biggest games are most likely to spend the money adding online multiplayer, but it looks to me like the causal effect runs the other way as well

    There probably are more solitaire players of digital boardgames than of physical board games, but they don't seem to be giving single player digital boardgames the kind of sales that online multiplayer digital board games receive, so my reading is that solitaire board game players are in the minority on digital platforms.

    And it does seem to me that Flash Point: Fire Rescue is being sold as a digital board game (based on the marketing material so far). The digital game talks about being a digitized version of Flash Point the board game. So my assumption is that part of the audience Retro Epic is trying to get are players who have already played the board game. Again, I don't know the stats about the player-base and usage of the board game, but I'd expect that most people played it played it in multiplayer (as even if every person who bought the original game played it solitaire, a lot of them might have invited three other people round at some point to play it multiplayer). And as I stated in the post on the forums, those players will be more inclined to buy the digital version if it means they can play with friends online (as a local only version won't allow them to play it with friends any more conveniently than the version they already have access to).

    If the game is even better single player than multiplayer that will mean the people who want a single player digital boardgame will likely hear about it and buy it. But, without actual stats, I expect that's at least somewhat different audience to those that play online boardgames, who appear to be in the majority. Put another way: It doesn't matter whether the single player is the superior form to the portion of the audience for Flash Point who are primarily interested in a multiplayer experience, and that portion might be the majority of the possible audience for Flash Point.

    My perception is that boardgames, more than most other genres, benefit from online multiplayer AND that online multiplayer in boardgames is easier to implement than a lot of other genres (hence a lot of digital board games having online multiplayer hence the audience for these games expecting/demanding online multiplayer). We estimate with our games (like Broforce) that online multiplayer doubles our sales, this is born out I think by the number of people playing online. The advice we had going into developing Broforce was that online multiplayer should quadruple sales, which was advice given to us by one of the developers of Terraria.

    Again, I don't have much data on Flash Point itself. And I can't say I'm very familiar with the digital board game marketplace. But the evidence I have leads me to assume that online multiplayer is a must-have feature.

    You may have information that contradicts my assumptions. I'm not at all sure what you know about the audience for Flash Point and it's likely a clearer picture than the picture I have. Though I don't think the fact that the single player is superior to the multiplayer is very relevant to this business decision (I think working on the best aspect of the game is relevant from a job satisfaction stand-point, as developing and testing online multiplayer is a pain in the ass, particularly if the experience in online multiplayer is worse than in single-player. But it's just not especially relevant to the problem of building a product that capitalizes on the demands of the marketplace).

    All of that said, I think it's a fair thing to be dubious of. Online multiplayer adds extra development cost, and it adds the most value when the game is already making lots of sales (as dead online lobbies don't make for a better experience). I tend to take a go-big approach to these kinds of decisions, as making a game is so expensive in the first place that spending some extra money to maximize your chances makes a lot more sense than taking smaller risks, receiving smaller rewards and still spending most of the money.

    I don't think this conversation really has to be private. I think everyone wants what is best for the project, and game development is super super complicated. For full disclosure I had chatted this over with Ruan Rothmann (here at Free Lives) both when I made that post on the forums and again now (because I definitely don't want to be recommending extra development time for you guys if I'm not fairly confident in the gamble).
  • As part of the team doing music and sound for Flashpoint, I've been keeping daily tabs on the fig campaign, and although I haven't been keeping a meticulous record of the stats, I thought I noticed a surge in funding pledges directly after the online multiplayer announcement was made (which if true would indicate that might have been a backing-factor for some people). Would be interesting to see if the stats back that up :)
    Thanked by 2dammit EvanGreenwood
  • @Andrew_Sound_Foundry It could be, though it happened at the same time as sending out a positive message to all the backers, which might have gotten some bonus engagement even without news about online multiplayer. It would be interesting to see the stats and compare the effect (if any) with non-multiplayer announcements . Flash Point has sent out just two updates so far.

    (Though I can imagine that hearing that the game is multiplayer might convince some existing backers to tell their friends to back the project so that they can play together, but that's just me guessing).
    Thanked by 1dammit
  • I was personally glad to see the announcement for multiplayer - I pretty much don't want to be spending time playing games that are single player if I can avoid it. With limited free time, I want to get socialising done with my playing time - twice the value :)

    I think this is true for most board game fans - we're interested in social play more than single play - particularly those between 27 - 40 years of age (which I believe is largely the target market). Once multiplayer is implemented, I am more likely to encourage my friends to get the game so we can play it together online. I can't imagine a situation where if I have friends over that I'm likely to pull this out rather than one of my actual board games so I imagine this is a game I'd play with friends who are not visiting - and possibly live very far away.

    Those are my thoughts anyway. Looking forward to seeing this finally done :)
  • Congrats on getting funded! (Along with this very well animated gif that @Pomb presumably made)

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  • I pretty much assumed there was multiplayer in the game. And I didn't have any doubt that it was gonna succeed, great brand name + great treatment :) Congrats guys :)
  • +1 Congrats on reaching your funding goal! The real dark souls starts here.
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