Soldiers Inc Overview (The Big Picture)

4 Replies
Badlag247
2 September, 2017, 8:00 PM UTC

I've heard some posts from players that amount to "they just want money".

I thought that putting things into context might help both the players, and the company providing the games.

To develop and release a MMO typically costs about $30 million. (That's a 3 followed by 7 zeros.)

Most people in this world don't have that kind of money to simply make a game with, and those that due tend to not just waste it for the sake of entertaining others. That means the money tends to come from investors. Those investors expect to get not only their money back, but also a "usage fee" from having their money used. This is sometimes called interest, dividends, or profit. This is not going to the company that developed and released the game, it is what they must pay to the people that fronted the money.

How much do these investors want for their money? Typically about 20% per year for a project with this kind of risk. That works out to about $6 Million per year. Unlike a mortgage on a house, this $6 million doesn't reduce the outstanding debt. The company must pay back over $6 million to reduce their future payments.

Another important point is that this $6 million doesn't go to paying the staff to fix bugs, answer questions, power the servers, change light bulbs so that they can see the keyboards, etc. The brick and mortar, as well as the staffing and office equipment, are all extra.


Soldier's Inc got a bit of a break though: the company was able to make 6 clones using the same game engine. Only the graphics change between them. (For the most part.) Assuming the graphics were free, made by artists doing it for the sake of their artistic pursuits, that would allow the company to divide the investment of $30 million across 6 games, and each game would only need to generate $1 million a year to support the payments on the debt to investors.


It also means that chasing down bugs can be paid for by all 6 games, then applied to all, making the staff requirements nearly 1/6 the size for any specific game. 

The down side is: the code for all 6 games needs to stay nearly identical to prevent running up staffing costs. In other words: you played 1 game, you played them all. It also means you can't switch games to avoid changes you dislike, because their other games will have them also. While they might not be released into all games at the same time, eventually the changes will affect all.

This is one of the reasons the company will say things like "We are not going to reverse the change we just made." Because quite simply: they can't.  
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Badlag247
2 September, 2017, 8:10 PM UTC

The big picture when fixing bugs:

As already noted, there is basically 1 team working on the bugs for all the games. This is a massive project that took years to put together.

How hard is it to fix bugs?

Let's look at a small program I wrote of this type for a single player:

In 8 hours I was able to write a little over 2,000 lines of code.

In the next 8 hours (next day) I was able to correct all the syntax errors I had made, reducing the number of errors from the compiler from about 200 to about 40.

In the next 16 hours (2 more days) I was able to fix the logic errors to bring the compiling errors down to about 8.

At this point I had spent 3 times longer fixing bugs than it took to originally write the program, and it still wouldn't compile.

It took about another day to track down the causes for the last 8 errors and get the game running. 

This meant a week to get the game to Alpha testing, and it was only 2,000 lines of code.


One of these MMOs is on the order of 100 to 1,000 times more complex, having hundreds of thousands of lines of code, and they are not all written by the same person. It is always about an order of magnitude harder to troubleshoot someone else's work, because you don't know what they were thinking when they wrote "this" piece of code. Frankly: far too few programmers (in my experience) do even half enough documenting within their code to make it intelligible to maintain.

UTC +5:00
Sergey Kryvorotchenko
Community Manager
4 September, 2017, 12:38 PM UTC

Hi BADLAG247!

I understand that the main purpose of this post is to make some things clearer for our players. But I'm afraid, it may confuse them. So I suppose it would be wise to mention in your post that all the information in it is just your point of view but not an official data.  

Soldier's Inc got a bit of a break though

Actually, we have no breaks for each of our projects. Currently, we're working on bug-fixing but in the future, we'll add several significant changes as we already have such plans.

This is one of the reasons the company will say things like "We are not going to reverse the change we just made." Because quite simply: they can't.  

I'm afraid you got this wrong. Actually, some of our games have tangible distinctions. And sometimes we can reverse the change we just made as we did a few weeks ago on Sparta: War of Empires.

I understand and agree with many of your statements. However, knowledge of our players is often not enough to imagine a "true big picture of the game". Please, trust only official sources.

Thanks for understanding.

Plarium Community Manager Please note that I will be unable to respond to your private messages, review your tickets, or check your account information. All technical issues should be directed to our Support Team at plrm.me/Plarium_Support
UTC +2:00
Badlag247
4 September, 2017, 2:30 PM UTC

Sergey Kryvorotchenko said:


-snip -

Soldier's Inc got a bit of a break though

Actually, we have no breaks for each of our projects. Currently, we're working on bug-fixing but in the future, we'll add several significant changes as we already have such plans.

-snip-

You are saying that none of the code from 1 game has propagated into any of the other games, and that all the coding for each of the clones was done from scratch, by individuals not involved in the other products?


While I agree that there are some significant differences between some of the games, others are so similar that it is hard to tell them apart except for the skin and text. 

For example: Soldiers Inc is essentially Stormfall Age of War, and if you understand the wraiths in Stormfall, you'll understand how the Mercenaries work in Soldiers without having to read the Field Manual on them.

While Vikings is a significantly different product in some respects, it is still a TW style game, and may share the same core engine. (This is speculation on my part, but could also be made from scratch.)


Finally, while it is possible to take 8 teams and make 8 similar games without any collaboration between teams: this would be criminal on the part of the company if it has stockholders. Traded companies have a financial responsibility to not waste money, so not leveraging code and other resources produced for 1 product to make it faster  and cheaper to produce the next would reduce profits, and be grounds for terminating the leadership of the company, and maybe even suing them.


While I don't know all the ins and outs of this company in particular, there is a fair amount of information available to anyone who wishes to look.

My main points though were: 

1) The company providing the games is not simply "greedy" as many have suggested in numerous posts.

2) Players are getting a lot of "bang for the buck" from this company because it has the ability to leverage similar games.

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with the company, and do not have access to their facilities, so I am not an "insider" in the company.

UTC +5:00
Sergey Kryvorotchenko
Community Manager
5 September, 2017, 1:18 PM UTC
You are saying that none of the code from 1 game has propagated into any of the other games, and that all the coding for each of the clones was done from scratch, by individuals not involved in the other products?

I didn't say that, actually. Of course, our games have many similar parts of the code. It allows us to affect all our games at the same time. But each of our games is a separate and independent project. So we can add new features to each of them without any influence on other projects. 

Anyway, I hope your post will help other players to take a better view of game development.

Thank you.

Plarium Community Manager Please note that I will be unable to respond to your private messages, review your tickets, or check your account information. All technical issues should be directed to our Support Team at plrm.me/Plarium_Support
UTC +2:00
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