Phil Markgraf
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I wanted to post a little update on where we are in new product development for Birds of Prey.

Fighter Sweep
This started out as a small project grown out of a reinforcement pack concept and meant to bridge a period when Tony and I had very little spare time to think about more complex projects like the Ultramodern folio and BoP V2.0. Over the intervening time it grew in scope with little tweaks to the ADC list and changes to take advantage of scenario research that came available during this period. Recently, I've decided this growth had gone too far and split the folio into two folios. First to release will be "Fighter Sweep: Next War to Gulf War". The remaining content is shifted into a currently untitled Indo-Pakistani module.

Fighter Sweep will now contain twelve ADCs and eight MDCs, plus another two ADCs as a PDF registration gift. It will also have a batch of scenarios (roughly twelve to sixteen), including some really cool solitaire content. The planned "detailed SoP" play-aid has been shifted into the Birds of Prey V2.0 content. There will be fourteen box-miiniaures and fourteen missile tents (times two-or four). The product will cost a bit less than originally proposed. I really think folks are going to be excited about some of the aircraft added into the mix!

Art for Fighter Sweep is close to complete. A couple of aircraft need camouflage, and another few need a tweak or two to match the ADC version. Other than that, there are two new missiles that are being drawn (and should be complete in a day or two). We are hoping for a fall (late-fall) release of Fighter Sweep.


Reinforcement Pack B: From Next War to Gulf War
Complementing the release of Fighter Sweep will be a new reinforcement pack with fourteen more box-miniatures and missile tents. These aircraft are in different markings and aircraft across all of our releases. This reinforcement pack will be released concurrently with Fighter Sweep.


Birds of Prey V2.0
We are making slow progress towards the release of a new edition of Birds of Prey. I don't expect this will be ready before CQ2 2011. We have a couple of problems to work out with how the documents are assembled across the three people making direct document changes. With about a hundred component documents and images being combined, version control is very important!

The game itself is largely unchanged (there are a couple of minor tweaks planned in the SoP), but we are making a number of changes to make the game more accessible. Foremost is a new tutorial that has shown very well in early testing. This will be coupled with a significantly rebuilt rulebook, with an emphasis on cross-reference with the tutorial. We are working to extract what is useful from the current tutorial and devising some content to help those new to air combat games get a leg up on the decisions to make.

I am currently restructuring the Aircraft Control Cards and Nomographs. This will spread things out, by supporting one plane on the card and setting up an order of operations that minimizes flipping of the cards. This is just concept work at the moment, but should be ready to test by winter. There is also work planned to spread out the content of the playaids, making them less crowded and improving the flow through the various steps involved.


After...
We've done some work (art, descriptions and scenarios) for an Indo-Pakistani folio and an Ultramoderns folio. Some of this work will continue alongside the V2.0 content development. Hopefully we'll have something to show for this in Summer or Fall of 2011.

Edit: twelve ADCs in Fighter Sweep, not ten.
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Chris Toltesi
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Excellent news; thanks for the update! I'm looking forward to dusting the initial release off in the future!

Will you be offering a discount and/or an upgrade kit for us early adopters?
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Chris Buhl
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PMarkgraf wrote:
I wanted to post a little update on where we are in new product development for Birds of Prey.


Excellent, thanks!

PMarkgraf wrote:
Reinforcement Pack B: From Next War to Gulf War
Complementing the release of Fighter Sweep will be a new reinforcement pack with fourteen more box-miniatures and missile tents. These aircraft are in different markings and aircraft across all of our releases. This reinforcement pack will be released concurrently with Fighter Sweep.


So are the reinforcement packs different renditions of similar aircraft, entirely new aircraft, a mix of both?


PMarkgraf wrote:
The game itself is largely unchanged (there are a couple of minor tweaks planned in the SoP), but we are making a number of changes to make the game more accessible. Foremost is a new tutorial that has shown very well in early testing. This will be coupled with a significantly rebuilt rulebook, with an emphasis on cross-reference with the tutorial. We are working to extract what is useful from the current tutorial and devising some content to help those new to air combat games get a leg up on the decisions to make.


Great news. I'm on my way out East Saturday to learn the game as it is, if you need more testers after that I'd be happy to oblige.

Thanks for the update,

Chris
 
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Colin Hunter
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Quote:
This will be coupled with a significantly rebuilt rulebook, with an emphasis on cross-reference with the tutorial.
I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this, but can I just mention that my strong preference would be to have a comprehensive single rulebook as a priority and then a good tutorial, but I kind of feel like trying to integrate the two together is part of the problem with the current rules set.
 
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Phil Markgraf
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toltesi wrote:
Will you be offering a discount and/or an upgrade kit for us early adopters?


Yes, it will be offered at a significant discount. Ad Astra Games' policy on this sort of update is to offer the content at essentially the component + shipping costs. (I think there is a little added to cover the cost of the person that packs/ships.)
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Phil Markgraf
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fatgreta wrote:
So are the reinforcement packs different renditions of similar aircraft, entirely new aircraft, a mix of both?


Much like Reinforcement Pack A, this reinforcement pack is different markings on existing aircraft. We sometimes cover aircraft that were in registration gifts that might not have a box-mini of their exact variant. Since the reinforcement packs are counter-only products, we can't really do any entirely new aircraft... as there would not be an ADC for it.

Check out Reinforcement Pack A: Interceptors and Aggressors at:
http://www.airbattle.com/Birds_of_Prey/BoP_Reinforcement_Pac...
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Kenneth Ellis
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"I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this, but can I just mention that my strong preference would be to have a comprehensive single rulebook as a priority and then a good tutorial, but I kind of feel like trying to integrate the two together is part of the problem with the current rules set."

Rulebook 2.0 is comprehensive. All of the rules are stated with better focus on understanding. However, a rulebook is not the place for examples. That is the place for a tutorial.

The cross-integration with the tutorial is example based; instead of spending space in the rulebook to provide an example with zero context (ie, having to reestablish context for each individual example), the indexing directs the user to the tutorial section in which they can follow along with the rules to completion of the process in question.

It is all about using the right tool for the job.

In much the same way that Rulebook 2.0 provides every rule, Tutorial 2.0 provides an example for each of those rules in the overall context of an engagement in which the player follows along with. Having gone through the experience of the tutorial, a player can use the rulebook as the tool intended- checking to make sure that they are actively completing all steps required for play in the appropriate fashion.
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