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Made in ca
Ancient Venerable Black Templar Dreadnought





Canada

 Duskland wrote:
If they're smart they'll make sure it's someplace that doesn't have comments. I think that the open nature of the kickstarter comments came as a big surprise to PB. PB seems to prefer the near police state of their own forums.
Comes from living in a vacuum or their preferred "echo-chamber".

That was rather obvious when they tried to keep most released information at their site or email updates.

Too bad that the KS page will be the first people go to when they try to start another KS and people see what other ones they had done.
Never mind the $1 donation to be able to discuss the pending rewards and purchases from the prior funded KS.


A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.
Napoleon Bonaparte 
   
Made in us
[DCM]
[***]







How is the latest update being received over in the KS Comments section?
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






 Smilodon_UP wrote:
Getting really not funny how all of these small companies trying to put out miniature games can't see that touting their years of experience, while consistently having repeating boneheaded mistakes during that history, comes off as the exact opposite of what point they were trying to reinforce.

Because they make a point to say how they've been in business for decades, yet:
- Expected to have another company handle all of the heavy lifting?
- Expected not to have to educate themselves on international production, shipping, transloading, reshipping, etc etc etc?
- Expected there would be no shortfalls after estimating total costs "for the game we wanted to make" approaching a million USD?
- Expected considerably less response while possessing the attitude of having been the "sole purveyor" of Robotech to the masses for decades?
- Expected there would be no delays whatsoever, that everything would go off as planned despite having done almost none of the detail planning themselves?

_


I guess that is what you should expect when a company chooses to surround itself by fan friends unwilling to criticize any decision by them and makes the conscious decision to only hire from that pool of fan friends.
   
Made in ca
Ancient Venerable Black Templar Dreadnought





Canada

 Alpharius wrote:
How is the latest update being received over in the KS Comments section?
Making me seem like an apologist in comparison.
Your MOD sensibilities would be itching for the "ban" button?
They are being pretty logical about it otherwise and largely claiming BS on PB being blameless rather than clueless as they claim.
Also many pointed out the Gencon "fiasco" so, yes PB really needs people to start over because it looks like they are pulling old tricks.
Large novels being written in comments, refusing to drink the koolaid.

A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.
Napoleon Bonaparte 
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




There are a surprising number of names that have never been seen to comment before who are saying "this is bs".

But then again, that seems to happen every time Kevin seems to think that his magic pen is all it takes to make Everything Better(TM).
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Street Judge






RVA

Clueless, not blameless. That pretty much sums it up.

   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






 Alpharius wrote:
How is the latest update being received over in the KS Comments section?


Toxic... like Chernobyl meets Exon Valdez meets Gamer Armpit Funk on day 5 of a Con with no running water. So basically as expected when Palladium addresses none of the current concerns in the mega/only real update in 100 days on a project on track to be 2 years late if everything goes perfectly from now on.

   
Made in ca
Ancient Venerable Black Templar Dreadnought





Canada

Seeing them rolling in on the KS, you could all go look.
It is not pretty however.
I am unsure what kindness and understanding Kevin was expecting.
Many wallets will be closed to them until some "real" information on wave2 is shown.

I honestly figure this big document is a smoke screen.
The other shoe will drop when the funds expected do not happen.

A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.
Napoleon Bonaparte 
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Drag it out until people forget about it, or just plain give up in disgust?
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






For gaks and giggles, I decided to take the Bill Coffin RPG Palladium rant of 2003 and update it for RRPGT in 2015. I've tried to keep the meaning the same and only replace the parts and names that don't apply (like "book" for minis game and RRPGT for "rifts greenland"). This is a satirical work that had (other than the original inspiration/source linked below) no input from either Ninja Division or Bill Coffin. I was simply curious after this mega update just how much of the spirit of the infamous rant of an ex-Palladium employee rings true over a decade later in a new genre.

Original work: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?74137-What-s-up-with-Palladium-and-BTS&p=1445566#post1445566

My parody:

Spoiler:
One of Kevin's biggest problems is that he is a micro-manager in the truest sense of the word. He runs an operation where ultimately, every single decision must go through him, and frankly, that's too much for one person to do and still keep up a company whose primary asset is a steady stream of new intellectual property. He's still living this fantasy where he thinks he can oversee everything himself and still go home and bang out a great minis game complete with mouthwatering plastic miniatures in seven months. Do you see the folly in this? You do? Well, bully for you, because Kevin sure doesn't.

This is where another big problem of his comes forth and compounds his first problem: Kevin simply cannot accept the fact that sometimes he is wrong or might have fallen short in something. Work with the guy long enough, and you'll see this is the case. He never, ever accepts responsibility for something bad that has hapened to the company. Or if he does, he couches it in terms of how he's too much of a nice guy and gave Idiot Ninja #23 a break when he should not have, or he was too open a boss and Treacherous Scumbag #44 stole his artwork, and so on. His fault, but not really his fault.

As a result, he surrounds himself with people that he can shunt blame to, ignoring all the while that you can't really shunt anything away from yourself in a company where you are the one guy who ultimately approves every single thing that happens. But, he does it anyway, which is why when an order gets boggled, it's one of his worker's fault. When he can't get writing at home done, it's the fault of somebody in his family. When he assigns miniature designs to be created, has fully crystallized views on what that sprue layout ought to be but does not share them with the modeller, and gets a sprue layout he didn't expect, why, that's the modeller's fault. When the distributors don't order 8,000 copies of his latest miniatures which are two years overdue, it's the tough marketplace's fault.

(IMO, this explains why Kevin holds some measure of disdain for pretty much everybody in his life -- the way he sees it, everybody he comes into contact with lets him down at some point or another. For a guy who feels like he's propping up the efforts of a bunch of halfwits and marginal talents, he still can't see that without all those people, he wouldn't have a company.)

These things have a nasty tendency to pile on top of each other and create vicious circles of which Palladium's goofy production schedule is a great example.

It starts with Kevin receiving a proposal for the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter. Kevin likes the pitch and greenlights the project. Whatever the partner's ideas for the game and their own share of the responsibilities are, Kevin gets jazzed over the concept of the project and develops all on his own what the project ought to be and who will be responsible for what. Only, this is going on while poor Ninja Division is writing the rules and designing the miniatures, so surprise, surprise, when the project gets turned in, it's not what Kevin wanted and they don't want to do more than agreed upon. This is a classic case of somebody hating Black Hawk Down because when they went ot see it, they were in the mood for M*A*S*H and Inglorious Basterds double feature. So, Kevin does what he does best, he writes his corporate partner a patronizing letter on how excited he was when the project was first pitched and how disapointed he was that all that promise never materialized and they didn't pull their weight. Sometimes, the partner doesn't take this well, and they go off on Kevin, which is never a good thing because then it prompts Kevin to call his other freelancers, read to them the letters he and Angry Ninja traded back in forth and lament about how sad it is that there are so few professionals in this business.

But back to work. We now have a Robotech RPG Tactics that is not to Kevin's liking, but he wants to put the game out, both because he wants his vision of it realized and because he needs new product. Objectively speaking, it might, in this case, be smart to write off Robotech RPG Tactics and instead put out the minis game with model designs and rules he's been working on himself. Only he can't, because he hasn't been working on a minis game or model designs himself. He's been busy running a company by chewing out the guys in the warehouse, shutting down a helpful fan over preserving his right to sell colored fist dice he'll never produce once the kickstarter is fulfilled, and calling his other freelancers and writing murmurs for his fan friends to bitch about how difficult his life is.

Thus, as the revised earlier shipping day looms, Kevin has no Robotech RPG Tactics, and no UEDF Marines in Space, exclusive backer objective markers or whatever he really ought to have been working on all this time. But he's got bills to pay, so he must produce something. And, since he got all fired up about the very idea of Robotech RPG Tactics way back when the project was first introduced, he started pimping the game thirty-two seconds after he received a signed copy of the contract from the partner company. So now the pledgers expect Robotech RPG Tactics whether its ready or not. And what's more, he put the game and minis on a release schedule that would only be met if every stage of the project's production goes entirely according to plan.

There are (surprise!) a few problems with this. One, by now Kevin ought to know full well that unless he's got a dependable full-time project manager working for him he hits his schedules a fraction of the time. So, until he goes a year or two hitting every single release date on the nose, he ought to budget 50% more time for his projects than he does. Or at the very least, he should have the decency to not get bent out of shape when his unrealistically planned project goes overdue by several years, further cementing his company's reputation for having one of the most unreliable production schedules in the business.

The second problem at this stage of the game is that Kevin never actually looks at the finished game rules or prototype minis until it's a few weeks away from its schedule production date with the factory in China. This, my friends, is akin to a flight crew performing a pre-flight check on a plane that is taxiing down the runway. If Kevin were smart, he'd give all incoming manuscripts and 3D files his full attention the moment they hit his desk a) to see if they are any good and b) to speed the production process along. Kevin's partners and employees would certainly do a better job of making sure the project is what Kevin wants if Kevin molded it a bit himself to begin with.

But no, what happens is Kevin gets the rules and digital model files, often holds on to it for a period of time, then drops it on Jeff or Wayne, who he routinely criticizes for not really being able to edit. Then, 12 days before the estimated Kickstarter delivery date, he expects to be able to do a quick brush-up edit himself on a the rules and 3D models that by his reckoning, shouldn't need it anyway. This particular recipe for disaster, in comparison, makes mixing buckshot, nitroglycerine and pistachio ice cream together in a Slurpee machine seem like the next big thing in frozen desserts.

Thus we come to the best part of the process, where Kevin -- already disgruntled because he feels obligated to rewrite the Robotech RPG Tactics rules and redesign the 3D model files into what it should have been compatible with the factory in the first place, and even further disgruntled because he feels this is pulling him away from the projects he really wants to be working on (even though he really wasn't working on them anyway) -- undergoes a commando revamp of the project. He's got about two weeks to do it in, a vision of the finished project and about three half-decent ideas ot get him there. Obviously, Kevin can't get blood from a stone, so he writes up some half-strength filler Kickstarter updates, knocks about some copy paste material for the weekly update , and takes what he likes from the original Robotech RPG Tactics contract with pledgers, giving himself co-credit for having the wisdom to give it a second chance. If he's really hard put, he'll take a look at the promises he made and modifty them unilaterally till they're convienent again. ("Hmm...this promise about backers getting minis first costs me money but it sounds cool, so I hereby declare that it'll be "first" in their area. Nobody will mind if I ship to distributors who then ship themselves to those regions, especially once I copy paste the new promise and scribble a few more details about respecting backers myself..."). If he's got a white knight who he trusts, he'll call them up and ask for an aggressive series of posts on the forums defending the decision by the end of the weekend.

What's that, you say? When does he play test any of this stuff? That's a good question. Too bad it's got a bad answer. For starters, he's only got a few days between when he finishes the project and when he gets it out to the Chinese factory, so there's no time for a proper shakedown. Not that any of this needs one, don't you know, because the Palladium project management style works, it's rock solid, the fans like it judging by the number of pledges that came in two years ago, and all those jerkoffs over at Dakka Dakka who keep telling him to revamp the parts count of the minis can kindly take a flying feth at a rolling doughnut. Third, when I was still working for the man, Kevin didn't ever play a minis game in his life. He was too busy running a role-playing game company. (Some poor saffron-clad Tibetan is up in the mountains right now trying like hell to wrap his brain around that one.)

Once Kevin's ready for layout, he throws the mess of 3D printed pieces out on the table and pops open his super glue because he still puts these damned things together from sheer memory. What's that? Accurate assembly instructions? Naw, he's faster without it! To his credit, he assembles the minis in fairly decent time, but he also illustrates why all prototype minis have awkward poses and a hodgepodge of mismatched bases. Kevin isn't going to buy matching bases for GAMA or line up all those large seams on the front of the minis because he might have to spend more than 45 minutes or more assembling each individual miniature, and when he does, all those minis look like they posed while running with their legs asleep. Where this really makes you want to bang your head against the tip of an artillery shell is when he approves 80% of the parts layouts, discovers that he'd like to rework the design of the sprue to get more mouthwatering detail and decides that it would be too much work to do so while keeping the poses dynamic. You know how every time in a Robotech RPG Tactics booster box you'll have a series of sprues or something and all of them have small parts that are split into way too many parts? That's why. I used to think it was because Kevin wouldn't assemble a 30mm tall model himself. Now I know it's because he's truly, madly, deeply in love with breaking down each model into so many split pieces that even Monty Burns would decry as old-fashioned and overly complicated.

Voila! He's finally got Robotech RPG Tactics in the bag and off to the factory. And all it took was him not sleeping for a year (after he already skipped two years' sleep handling the Northern Gun Crowdfunding sourcebooks fiasco), telling a fresh fan friend turned employee who allegedly stole from him to go take a hike, calling up his other workers to say that somehow this might be his best work yet, executing a slapdash sprue layout job, recycling old rpg rules into a minis game and telling himself over and over again that nobody does it like than he does. In that regard, he's dead on, because 1985 ended way back in NINETEEN EIGHTY fething FIVE.

This is the crazy way in which Kevin Siembieda produces a minis game. I don't really know exactly how he handles the precise details of managing the rest of his operation, but I always felt that his minis game production methods set an ominous precedent.

If any good comes out of it, it is all thanks to him. If any bad comes out of it, well, then it's your fault and my fault and that guy's fault and her fault and the industry's fault and the fault of that fether who sold him a soggy pierogie yesterday and...you get the picture.

What really keeps this vicious cycle going, however, is that for a long time, Kevin was extremely successful working this way. So successful, in fact, that it reinforced all those nasty elements I've outlined so far, proving not only that Kevin was right all along, but that the way he does things is practically the Gospel According to Kevin, patron saint of keeping it real in the miniatures industry, and that he just got inducted into the Origins Hall of Fame. Only the GAtK doesn't really work that well anymore. Sales are slipping because the company's only minis game has come out two years late and counting, its other planned minis games haven't materialized yet and -- get this -- the new stuff coming out before the kickstarter is fulfilled is largely recycled designs from a 6mm metal minis company and are supposed to work with the stuff he hasn't actually made yet. (There's a Tibetan monk working on that one, too.) And of course, taking the fans' input into consideration for what they'd like to see, such as a simplified parts count or a consistent scale for all three eras, is simply out of the question. Maybe he's too busy writing up 19 page kickstarter updates about how he gives his fans what they want or something.

But the bottom line is that all is not well, and that some major changes ought to be made to keep the business dynamic and thriving. But those changes keep getting ignored while it gets harder and harder to sell product that is already coming over in smaller containers and half filled tournament attendance. Times are tough, no doubt about that. And you know what? Maybe, just maybe, it's not the industry's fault or some custom broker's fault or the weather's fault, or his pet goose's fault. Maybe it's Kevin's fault.

Naaaaah.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2015/06/08 05:01:14


   
Made in us
Innocent SDF-1 Bridge Bunny






How does this company make money? I am baffled at this update. Total incompetence.

I can't believe how pretentious Kevin is. I knew there was some hubris there, but this raises the bar.

Are we really expected to not see how blatant of a cash grab this is? A-10s in robotech now? Wth is going on over there.
   
Made in gb
Using Inks and Washes





Duxford, Cambs, UK

Maybe I'm weaker than most. I had seriously given thought to ponying up some more money for the exclusives. It may have helped them out, and gotten us our W2 that bit quicker as they could have used the new orders to re-set the clock meaning we'd have had some [all] of the same excuses whilst waiting for the new stuff, but they'd have used the money to pay for the shortfall in W2. The delays in the new stuff covering the fact that they are actually using income from RRT and other stuff to pay for the new stuff.

But after that 'updaaate!" You can kiss my hairy, brown [Expletive Deleted]!

Is KS actually going for a world record? How many times can you throw someone else under a bus? How many different people can you throw under the same bus? How many 'updates' can he post that have absolutely zero factual, new, content?

Where were the pictures of whatever progress they have actually made? Why did they make no mention at all of the resin stuff, and why weren't the 'exclusives' resin?

I don't know about anyone else, but I'd have a hard time choosing which bank to use if my only two choices were one run by a convicted fraudster and the other was run by an incompetent moron. Personally I believe that in that situation, "Money in a bedsock under the mattress" would be increasing faster than any bank account.

All Kev's pleas of "We didn't know it was this HARD, honestly" are just proving that they didn't do their 'due dilligence' properly. I am amazed that they didn't end up getting fleeced by everyone else - has anyone checked the Chinese factory car park?

"Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics, and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-Tzu, and Einstein, and Morobuto, and Buddy Holly, and Aristophanes…then all of this…all of this…was for nothing. Unless we go to the stars." Commander sinclair, Babylon 5.

Bobtheinquisitor wrote:what is going on with APAC shipping? If Macross Island were real, they'd be the last place to get any Robotechnology.
 
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





That update is brilliant. Some of the best satire I've ever read. I especially like the part where he claims credit for the the popularity of Anime in NA because he was the only one selling Robotech VHS tapes for like 6 months.

Or wait? Was that all serious?

Someone should let that guy know he's not the great BS artist he thinks he is. And he needs to realize that being successful in 1989 doesn't count for much in 2015.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Could someone who has some actual experience with oversees manufacturing comment on the file compatibility issue? That claim he makes about that being normal part of the process has a smell to it. It seems rather fishy that all these Chinese factories have to essentially re-model every bit of design work given to them.

That has got to be an issue with the quality of the factory they chose to issue. Otherwise, what's the point of digitally designing anything. You might as well just send the factory some drawing on a napkin if they can't use your 3D files.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2015/06/08 12:38:02


 
   
Made in us
[DCM]
[***]







I haven't really been paying too much attention to the RPG scene for...a long time now, but is Palladium really a 'force' in RPGs, and has been for 30+ years?
   
Made in gb
[ADMIN]
Da Big Mek






London, UK

 CaulynDarr wrote:
Could someone who has some actual experience with oversees manufacturing comment on the file compatibility issue? That claim he makes about that being normal part of the process has a smell to it. It seems rather fishy that all these Chinese factories have to essentially re-model every bit of design work given to them.

That has got to be an issue with the quality of the factory they chose to issue. Otherwise, what's the point of digitally designing anything. You might as well just send the factory some drawing on a napkin if they can't use your 3D files.


Having done a lot of 3D work in plastic now, I can comment on this authoritatively. There have been a lot of issues in the industry as a whole with converting sculpts to something which can be tooled in plastic. If the original sculpt was done in zbrush, then it usually requires some very heavy cleanup work as the zbrush exports are pretty crap. Double/triple so if undercuts, draw angles, etc were not considered in the design process.

If a more engineering (CAD) based bit of software was used (as you'd expect for robots), which uses the combination of shapes rather than a 'digital clay' type of sculpting, the conversion process is a lot simpler, provided you are working in the same CAD software as the tooling company is familiar with and have open dialogue with them during the sculpting process. If both are using solidworks for instance, you can get some very nice, fast results.

If the plastics company is not using current, cutting edge software for this, then all sorts of issues can come into being and all manner of horrible conversions and splits are needed. If the plastics company is more used to engineering projects than miniature projects, then that can also lead to the requirement for converting and resculpting.

If the formats provided by the sculptors were fixed and non-malleable (eg; STL, OBJ), it was sculpted with only cursory knowledge of the tooling requirements, and the plastics company was not using the current cutting edge software for miniature production, then the plastics company would definitely have needed to resculpt the models from scratch in whatever engineering software they prefer to use as a source file.


It turns out the type of manufacturing we’re doing is fairly new to the hobby game industry. There are serious conversion and incompatibility issues in converting the 3D models done by the sculptors to what needs to be done in China to make the molds and go into manufacturing. This is not just something Palladium and Ninja Division ran into, it’s true for EVERYONE using this type of manufacturing process.


It is true for about half of the plastic model companies out there, but not everyone. GW, Maelstrom's Edge, Dreamforge, and others do not have this problem because the sculpting is done with full plastic tooling in mind from the start, and the sculptors are aware of the relative limitations of the medium.


How could someone not have made a conversion program for these incompatible files (3D sculpts versus what the manufacturer/factory needs)? However, we have since had this confirmed by the folks at Dust and several other game companies that this is, indeed, the case, and there is no way around it at the present time. Crazy, right?

This quote is a little more strange. There is software that will convert all but the worst files (all the way up to generating NURBS from an STL/OBJ), but it is really, really expensive so only about 3 companies in the miniature world that I know of use it. There is no automated conversion if the sculpts are badly done or badly exported (not manifold, inverted normals, etc) which might be it? Most likely is that the plastics firm are engineering focus and the 3D files provided were a more organic format, but anything I say here would be pure conjecture so needs several grains of salt.


To complicate matters further, the engineers in China have to adjust the 3D sculpts further to take into consideration the manufacturing process and the types of metal molds that are required. That makes certain undercuts and details impossible, and requires different approaches and more numerous pieces to make the detailed game pieces all of us Robotech® fans wanted.

This bit is completely standard, and all as might be expected. Plastic is a trade off of different sacrifices.


So the tl;dr; is that unless you are working with the tooling company from the outset, there are usually file conversion issues of varying complexity so it is quite reasonable to expect notable delays off the back of that.

Check out our new, fully plastic tabletop wargame - Maelstrom's Edge, made by Dakka!
 
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





 legoburner wrote:
Spoiler:
 CaulynDarr wrote:
Could someone who has some actual experience with oversees manufacturing comment on the file compatibility issue? That claim he makes about that being normal part of the process has a smell to it. It seems rather fishy that all these Chinese factories have to essentially re-model every bit of design work given to them.

That has got to be an issue with the quality of the factory they chose to issue. Otherwise, what's the point of digitally designing anything. You might as well just send the factory some drawing on a napkin if they can't use your 3D files.


Having done a lot of 3D work in plastic now, I can comment on this authoritatively. There have been a lot of issues in the industry as a whole with converting sculpts to something which can be tooled in plastic. If the original sculpt was done in zbrush, then it usually requires some very heavy cleanup work as the zbrush exports are pretty crap. Double/triple so if undercuts, draw angles, etc were not considered in the design process.

If a more engineering (CAD) based bit of software was used (as you'd expect for robots), which uses the combination of shapes rather than a 'digital clay' type of sculpting, the conversion process is a lot simpler, provided you are working in the same CAD software as the tooling company is familiar with and have open dialogue with them during the sculpting process. If both are using solidworks for instance, you can get some very nice, fast results.

If the plastics company is not using current, cutting edge software for this, then all sorts of issues can come into being and all manner of horrible conversions and splits are needed. If the plastics company is more used to engineering projects than miniature projects, then that can also lead to the requirement for converting and resculpting.

If the formats provided by the sculptors were fixed and non-malleable (eg; STL, OBJ), it was sculpted with only cursory knowledge of the tooling requirements, and the plastics company was not using the current cutting edge software for miniature production, then the plastics company would definitely have needed to resculpt the models from scratch in whatever engineering software they prefer to use as a source file.


It turns out the type of manufacturing we’re doing is fairly new to the hobby game industry. There are serious conversion and incompatibility issues in converting the 3D models done by the sculptors to what needs to be done in China to make the molds and go into manufacturing. This is not just something Palladium and Ninja Division ran into, it’s true for EVERYONE using this type of manufacturing process.


It is true for about half of the plastic model companies out there, but not everyone. GW, Maelstrom's Edge, Dreamforge, and others do not have this problem because the sculpting is done with full plastic tooling in mind from the start, and the sculptors are aware of the relative limitations of the medium.


How could someone not have made a conversion program for these incompatible files (3D sculpts versus what the manufacturer/factory needs)? However, we have since had this confirmed by the folks at Dust and several other game companies that this is, indeed, the case, and there is no way around it at the present time. Crazy, right?

This quote is a little more strange. There is software that will convert all but the worst files (all the way up to generating NURBS from an STL/OBJ), but it is really, really expensive so only about 3 companies in the miniature world that I know of use it. There is no automated conversion if the sculpts are badly done or badly exported (not manifold, inverted normals, etc) which might be it? Most likely is that the plastics firm are engineering focus and the 3D files provided were a more organic format, but anything I say here would be pure conjecture so needs several grains of salt.


To complicate matters further, the engineers in China have to adjust the 3D sculpts further to take into consideration the manufacturing process and the types of metal molds that are required. That makes certain undercuts and details impossible, and requires different approaches and more numerous pieces to make the detailed game pieces all of us Robotech® fans wanted.

This bit is completely standard, and all as might be expected. Plastic is a trade off of different sacrifices.


So the tl;dr; is that unless you are working with the tooling company from the outset, there are usually file conversion issues of varying complexity so it is quite reasonable to expect notable delays off the back of that.



With that information in mind, I could see it being some combination of ND producing models that where not necessarily built well for injection tooling and Palladium not wanting to pay the money to get the models converted or re-done in a proper way. So they just let the factory sort it out with the predicable results.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/06/08 13:19:26


 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






 Alpharius wrote:
I haven't really been paying too much attention to the RPG scene for...a long time now, but is Palladium really a 'force' in RPGs, and has been for 30+ years?


They were one of the top selling RPG companies in the 1990's at the height of their popularity but it has been downhill since then mainly because they refuse to change. The ex-employee behind the scenes post I linked above with my modern parody already lists flagging sales in 2003 and they certainly haven't gotten better since from my fan/ex-fan outsider's view looking in. I attended gencon during both periods for over 10 years straight and played palladium games during that time and definitely noticed a distinct drop in GM'ed games from 1994 to 2006 to the point where one year there was only one or two palladium games total in the prereg book whereas in the 90's there were dozens. I can't comment on more recent gencon #s though as I haven't gone in that time; they started pushing their reps very hard to run gencon games right after the KS funded so I'd expect that to have gone up (regardless of the popularity) as they made it a big priority as opposed to previously when the running of the games was largely up to individual GM's with little to no palladium input. I did a quick google search and it appears the only data I know of (the ICV2 rankings as well as the White Wolf magazine rankings I didn't know about) seem to confirm my own (admittedly biased) observations.

1990's: "rising star", "slowly overtaking FASA as the #3 RPG producer"

http://www.rpg.net/columns/designers-and-dragons/designers-and-dragons4.phtml

2000's: not a single listing

http://www.kirith.com/random-wizard/articles/rpg-ranking-by-year.html

Insert disclaimer about wikipedia commonly accepted fallacy here since I didn't vet the original sources of either and am just linking it. I can say for the past five or so years that I have been paying attention to the ICV2 rankings every quarter, Palladium has absolutely never shown up. The rules that were already made fun of back then still are 98% the same and the layout and art (albeit supposedly digital now for the former instead of actual hot glue cut and paste) are just as dated. Even a robotech rpg book I picked up after this kickstarter that was made in the last few years has an abrupt very noticeable change in the spacing and font midway through the book because they couldn't be damned to edit it down to fit into the page count they chose nor bothered to increase the page count by a 16 sheet and generate more material. They simply chose to resize a few chapters of text instead with a button click similar to how in the Coffin rant they couldn't be bothered to properly alphabetize lists because it was too hard to change pages once the hot glue dried.

The same rules that people made fun of in the 1990's are copy pasted into "new" games and editions including RRPGT. Back in the 1980's when clunky cobbled together rules were the norm (like D&D 2e), the Palladium system didn't stand out from the pack negatively in terms of mechanics and the story and breadth of theme shone through. Nowadays when companies build their games from the ground up to work as a cohesive unit (or license systems that have been), their insistence on using a distinctly 1980's style/theme/mechanics system stands out like a poop covered sore thumb. The FFG 40k RPGs show that you can have a retro-feeling rpg mechanics system that works cohesively in the modern era so it's not that Palladium can't have one... they simply CHOOSE not to. They couch it in terms of not wanting to devalue player book collections but it's more that they physically lost alot of the cover art in their "crisises of treachery" as well as them being unable to redo the books given that they were literally cut and pasted with hot glue together so redoing them is not as simple as opening an old computer file and going to work. I'm a very vocal critic of GW and their recent screw you 2 year book life cycle change but even on a bad day I would wholeheartedly support a company who wants to update an RPG book after 25 YEARS!! And, yes, 20-25 year old rifts books are still completely current offerings on sale on their site with no significantly change made during that time beyond a mid 1990's typo correction or very rare errata.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2015/06/08 13:48:43


   
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 Alpharius wrote:
I haven't really been paying too much attention to the RPG scene for...a long time now, but is Palladium really a 'force' in RPGs, and has been for 30+ years?


Not remotely. Their own forum has a thread dedicated to noting stores that sell Palladium Books, err, books. Such a rarity as they are 'in the wild'.

And yes, before you ask, you'd think Palladium would have a better source for such info through their distribution/sales, but apparently 'fans seeing books in stores and posting about it' is a more efficient way of compiling data.

I'd say they were a bigGER name in decades past, at least among my friends. But to call them a 'force in the industry' today would be vastly overstating their clout.
   
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 legoburner wrote:
[
So the tl;dr; is that unless you are working with the tooling company from the outset, there are usually file conversion issues of varying complexity so it is quite reasonable to expect notable delays off the back of that.


Thanks for the much more detailed (but not quoted above) explanation. In regards to the above, would you say that two full years is a reasonable period in which to be able to fix even the most complex conversion issue or is that much longer than you as a creator would find reasonable if it were the case with Medge?

   
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 warboss wrote:
 legoburner wrote:

So the tl;dr; is that unless you are working with the tooling company from the outset, there are usually file conversion issues of varying complexity so it is quite reasonable to expect notable delays off the back of that.


Thanks for the much more detailed (but not quoted above) explanation. In regards to the above, would you say that two full years is a reasonable period in which to be able to fix even the most complex conversion issue or is that much longer than you as a creator would find reasonable if it were the case with Medge?


Thanks for the info lego!

While not as authoritative as lego, I would point out that DreamForge had sculpts I'd characterize as much more complex than RTT sorted out in 2 years give or take. That looks to be about the timeframe that KD:M took as well from the same manufacturer. I'm not sure there's more complexity around in the world of HIPS than those two lines at the moment, though obviously they're dealing with a factory that is quite capable if not quite speedy. So my mildly under-informed opinion would be that given competent communication, 2 years can sort out most of the issues in even the most horrendously complicated kits.
   
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Swabby wrote:How does this company make money? I am baffled at this update. Total incompetence.

I can't believe how pretentious Kevin is. I knew there was some hubris there, but this raises the bar.

Are we really expected to not see how blatant of a cash grab this is? A-10s in robotech now? Wth is going on over there.

Actually since HG owns Robotech, and PB works with HG to open up avenues, this isn't as bad as it sounds. It's actually a good thing to expand into, because it allows for stories and fights to be done about pre-unification Earth, using familiar technologies. It's not a bad move (other than the markup) from a storytelling perspective.

From a business perspective, it's terrible. Aside from the "cash grab" feel to it, there's also the problem of long-term relationships with GHQ. If there is going to be a scale change, and Macross is included, does that mean anyone who bought the GHQ stuff is going to have to rebuy 15mm stuff? Good grief, if true, who'd want to invest?

I look at it from GHQ's perspective, it's kinda like, "Oh sure, no prob, we'd model, mold and cast up 6mm stuff for you exclusively, both ways, on demand. Yes, no problem, you can keep the original masters and mold, we don't mind... because if you guys tank, I don't want to hold on to your staff that won't sell, and if you switch scale later, I don't want to hang on to your stuff that won't sell for me either. Only way I want to hang on to your stuff is if there's enough demand, and you'd give me the masters at that point anyway so that I can manufacture your products for you."

From a certain perspective, GHQ can have very low risk in this endeavor, while PB is taking on loads of development, change and customer management risks. Ow, that's just asking to take it up the rear end.

legoburner wrote:
If the plastics company is not using current, cutting edge software for this, then all sorts of issues can come into being and all manner of horrible conversions and splits are needed. If the plastics company is more used to engineering projects than miniature projects, then that can also lead to the requirement for converting and resculpting.

(....)

It is true for about half of the plastic model companies out there, but not everyone. GW, Maelstrom's Edge, Dreamforge, and others do not have this problem because the sculpting is done with full plastic tooling in mind from the start, and the sculptors are aware of the relative limitations of the medium.

I bow to superior knowledge.

To be honest, any projects that deal with new technologies (to the company) carries significant risks. In this case, a possible scenario is that PB trusted ND's sales pitch and thought ND would handle the technological angle. But it turned out that ND didn't know as much as they thought they knew, or that the manufacturer was not as advanced to be able to help them quickly overcome that obstacle.

This in no way absolve PB of their responsibilities to the backers. End of day they are the fronting company; ND and the manufacturer are just subcontractors, in a sense. PB fell flat on their faces doing management of the overall work, no real oversight or follow up on progress tracking that would have nip a lot of these problems earlier, or at least allow them to communicate issues to stakeholders earlier. Sounds familiar? Yesh, it does.
   
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I'd also add that with KD that the minis seem to vary ALOT more in size and that they don't seem to be splitting the shipping into waves. Also, the KD and DF minis are actually mouthwatering and very well designed as sprues from my limited perspective. I may not be a fan of either visual style personally but I did find the sprues to be very competently done and the end result really reflected the original concept without an odious amount of effort required.

   
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 Krinsath wrote:

While not as authoritative as lego, I would point out that DreamForge had sculpts I'd characterize as much more complex than RTT sorted out in 2 years give or take. That looks to be about the timeframe that KD:M took as well from the same manufacturer. I'm not sure there's more complexity around in the world of HIPS than those two lines at the moment, though obviously they're dealing with a factory that is quite capable if not quite speedy. So my mildly under-informed opinion would be that given competent communication, 2 years can sort out most of the issues in even the most horrendously complicated kits.

I backed Dreamforge too and received my stuff. There's quite a bit of difference in this case.

Dreamforge went in with quite a bit of experience with 3D modeling for HIPS production, and the guy already spent a considerable amount of his own time coming up with models that he knows can work with HIPS production methodologies. In essence, the guy knew the tech risks and knew his way around the shop, so the risks are significantly lesser in the second KS he did.

Dreamforge hooked up with Wargames Factory, so they had a very experienced production team whose main focus was to do plastic model production. While Wargames Factory's internal miniature design team isn't that good (their plastic kits are ok, but not great), their technological team is very, very good, I'd rate them just a hair below GW's in-house team, and better overall because they had to deal with different customers with differing technology base. So the technology risk there is further reduced because of the experience of the manufacturer.

Dreamforge also had a good grounding in project planning, and he communicated well with his backers, showing them the schedule breakdown (which I didn't bother too hard with), and was able to clearly explain why there are delays. His constant and clear business communications to the backers was reassuring and in the end, sure there are grumblings but the goods delivered.

So it's not 2 years to deliver the product -- it's 2 years (or whatever length it really was) to get plastic out to me, but only made possible by a lot of experience on both sides of the design, development and implementation team.

EDIT: Oh, and it helped a lot that the guy's primary focus for the entire time is to get the project off the table. I think communications between Dreamforge and Wargames Factory was smooth even with the timezone difference because the Dreamforge side had nothing else business-wise that had higher priority. In RRT's case? SNORT.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2015/06/08 14:23:32


 
   
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 Lynx7725 wrote:

From a certain perspective, GHQ can have very low risk in this endeavor, while PB is taking on loads of development, change and customer management risks.


I'd say it is extremely low risk. Even if GHQ has to put up the money for the moulds themselves (assuming that this isn't even zero risk by using EXISTING moulds), the initial listing of vehicles is very generic and is at 6mm is in a popular scale for both current era military games as well as scifi games like Battletech. Even if Palladium's hail mary cash grab fails, at worst GHQ will have A-10s, Apaches, and generic trucks to produce for a myriad of other games/uses. The only substantial risk over and above their everyday risk would be for the next series of vehicles that are more specific Robotech/Macross only designs made in a scale that the Palladium has all but decided to abandon before the first molten metal even hits the mould. GHQ can simply make the generic stuff for one summer, see how/if it sells well enough to meet their own goals, and then expand as needed.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Lynx7725 wrote:

EDIT: Oh, and it helped a lot that the guy's primary focus for the entire time is to get the project off the table. I think communications between Dreamforge and Wargames Factory was smooth even with the timezone difference because the Dreamforge side had nothing else business-wise that had higher priority. In RRT's case? SNORT.


I'm not sure about that part with Dreamforge. There was a good year there where he was getting dates from the factory that would then be missed and he'd be shuffled much further down the line as a lower priority. IIRC, he specifically said that he was given a discount on their services so was thankful they were making it regardless of all the line cutters constantly being put in front of him. Lego may or may not be able to shed light as to the lead time necessary to prebook factory time at Wargames depending on his deal with them (and whether it has an NDA or not).

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/06/08 14:29:49


   
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 warboss wrote:

I'd say it is extremely low risk. Even if GHQ has to put up the money for the moulds themselves (assuming that this isn't even zero risk by using EXISTING moulds), the initial listing of vehicles is very generic and is at 6mm is in a popular scale for both current era military games as well as scifi games like Battletech. Even if Palladium's hail mary cash grab fails, at worst GHQ will have A-10s, Apaches, and generic trucks to produce for a myriad of other games/uses. The only substantial risk over and above their everyday risk would be for the next series of vehicles that are more specific Robotech/Macross only designs made in a scale that the Palladium has all but decided to abandon before the first molten metal even hits the mould. GHQ can simply make the generic stuff for one summer, see how/if it sells well enough to meet their own goals, and then expand as needed.

Nah. The immediate stuff, I bet GHQ is using existing stock. That's zero risk. I was talking more the Robotech specific stuff, like those APCs and choppers specific to the series, that won't sell outside of a Robotech/ Macross context. No matter which way I cut the pie, it's still very low risk from GHQ side if they negotiate right, with PB eating a lot of risks, so it's just strange that PB is willing to stick its neck out like that.
   
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 Alpharius wrote:
I haven't really been paying too much attention to the RPG scene for...a long time now, but is Palladium really a 'force' in RPGs, and has been for 30+ years?

Er... no. Not by a long shot. They were, back in the... late 80s, early 90s, maybe even mid 90s (although never over here, that was just back on the US. Here they've always been irrelevant). Then D&D 3.x got released a long with the OGL, and they suddenly went irrelevant. They've continued being so since then.
   
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 warboss wrote:

I'm not sure about that part with Dreamforge. There was a good year there where he was getting dates from the factory that would then be missed and he'd be shuffled much further down the line as a lower priority. IIRC, he specifically said that he was given a discount on their services so was thankful they were making it regardless of all the line cutters constantly being put in front of him. Lego may or may not be able to shed light as to the lead time necessary to prebook factory time at Wargames depending on his deal with them (and whether it has an NDA or not).

Oh sure, there were hiccups. To be perfectly frank with you, in my professional line of work, schedule delays are inevitable, so I tend to ignore those. There are projects that are absolutely time critical, but I've learnt to treat gantt charts with an enormous slab of salt.

During the Dreamforge work, I was reassured that he had the technical knowledge, that he had a responsible vendor (Wargames Factory), and his communications are open and honest enough that I'm not too bothered. If it had been a project to deliver products that my livelihood depended on, I would get a lot more upset. As it is, it's plastic-crack that I'd take ages to get around to, so I'm a lot more passe about the whole thing.
   
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 legoburner wrote:

If the plastics company is not using current, cutting edge software for this, then all sorts of issues can come into being and all manner of horrible conversions and splits are needed. If the plastics company is more used to engineering projects than miniature projects, then that can also lead to the requirement for converting and resculpting.

Golly, that doesn't sound familiar AT ALL.
   
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For the scale purists in the thread, is the below pic unacceptable to you? The 25-30ft tall mecha are upscaled 20%, the 15-25ft tall mecha are 30%, and the 15ft and below are 40% bigger. As long as the relative sizes are still visible at a glance, I'd perfectly fine with a sliding scale shift like that personally. Would Invid scouts, human infantry, and cyclones (the main two models below 15ft) would still need to be multibased on 40mm bases but I think that works out fine both thematically and mechanically.



edit: removed the previous non-combined scale pic

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/06/08 20:19:27


   
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 warboss wrote:
For the scale purists in the thread, is the below pic unacceptable to you? The 25-30ft tall mecha are upscaled 20%, the 15-25ft tall mecha are 30%, and the 15ft and below are 40% bigger. As long as the relative sizes are still visible at a glance, I'd perfectly fine with a sliding scale shift like that personally. Would Invid scouts, human infantry, and cyclones (the main two models below 15ft) would still need to be multibased on 40mm bases but I think that works out fine both thematically and mechanically.

It may well work, mini-wise.

Thing is though, what hasn't been really discussed is the game itself. Now, I backed the KS with the intent to use the Destroids for CBT, so I've already got what I want, but I do see the game itself isn't too terribad.

Thing is, the game as it is, is based around the platoon as a basic unit, and as such is nominally a company-level engagement. That works out ok for the Macross portion, and largely for Southern Cross it's going to still work out (since you're not likely to deploy human infantry against Masters mecha), even if the Southern Cross mecha are going to look a bit small (if we stick with strict 6mm).

The problem is Invid, specifically, Cyclone riders. How are they going to work? If we stick with a full military workout, then you deploy Cyclones by the platoon, and we're not talking about one or two or even four riders, we're talking about dozens in a full platoon.. probably, at 6mm, 3 or 4 per base for aesthetic purposes or even 5 or 6. They don't need to design and mold individual Cyclone riders. Or Invid Enforcers. Even Invid scouts could be two to a base, single piece models, just have enough variations.

I find the whole 6mm vs. 15mm thing is because PB seemed to have been stuck on a thought train that says "YOU MUST HAVE EACH MINIATURE PERFECT". Heck that's not necessarily the case, in a sense your game system will drive the conversation at this scale. Are you aiming for a large sweeping scale of combat (epic/ regimental to company) or skirmish scale? You generally can't have both in the same game, guerrilla fighting as represented by the Invid Invasion story arc isn't what company-level combat is about. But Invid-Zentraedi war is, and that's great and perfectly fine with 6mm sculpts.

I say, just split the line. Concentrate on doing 6mm well because you got an opening with fans now. Do the company-level game properly, don't get distracted by the 6mm/15mm split. Then do a second, skirmish scale where you can get more detailed Cyclones, bigger Invid, to represent guerrilla warfare.. once PB actually figured out what wargaming is.

Of course, given what PB is, they'd almost certainly go the other direction just to prove me wrong.
   
 
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