Purpose of this blog

Dmitry Yudo aka Overlord, jack of all trades
David Lister aka Listy, Freelancer and Volunteer

Friday, October 26, 2012

[WoWP] Alpha Gathering

100% unofficial gathering of World of Warplanes alpha testers took palce in National Museum of the US Air Force (near Dayton). Video speaks louder than word:

[WoT] Digging Through Archives: On 8.8 cm PaK 43

Some "archive stuff". The image below represents penetration tests of 8.8 cm PaK (Germany), 122mm D-25T (USSR), and 152mm howitzer ML-20 (USSR) done against IS-3 prototype by Soviets.
Central Archive of the Russian Ministry of Defence, fund 38, inventory 11355, case N2943, page 16

IS-3 wasn't impressed at all.

Text above the image:
Front plate of IS-3 is practically immune to contemporary tank guns. The durability of welded plates ensures the required level of protection.
After 7 hits of 88-152mm rounds, the front plate is still good to go. 

Text under the image:
Mark 16: hit by 88mm round from 330m.
Marks 17 and 18: hits by 122mm and 152mm rounds respectively from 690m.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

[ALL] F2P Is Now Online

GDC Online 2012 that took place in Austin, TX (US) earlier in October (9-11) was my first and last GDC Online. That's because the event is changing its format and switching to mobile and tablets, even though F2P market is flourishing nowadays (as well as mobile platforms).

Austin Convetion Center

Among the biggest participants in client-side section (apart from Wargaming :)) were Riot, NCSoft, CCP. Plus there were lots of Zynga-kind ones and a few F2P research companies. All in all, the online version of the GDC appeared to be poorer than the general one held in San Francisco.

While monetization, marketing, and business development talks were mostly ok, the ones on production, programming, and tech were somewhat worse (based on the feedback of our tech guys) - less innovative, although with some nice exceptions.

I will share some my thoughts on the lectures I have visited personally.

AION example.

By making AION EU F2P (which I believe is not strictly correct since they practically adopted hybrid model) NCSoft managed to overcome underpopulation of game servers and significantly boost the revenue. Their steps were focusing on core community (more likely to spend), making purchasable stuff achievable by playing, not flooding the in-game market at once, investments in huge marketing campaign (they needed to sell 2.5-year-old game once again), and going localized (6-digit amounts are spent to produce single pack VO+text).

General F2P trends.

The share of F2P market (US) in game industry went up from 1% (2007) to estimated 10% (2012). While sub-based games reached their plateau back in 2009 with 7+ mln of users, F2P audience has grown from 9 mln (2007) to estimated 42 mln (2012) - that's taking into account web-based and mobile.  F2P has become the dominant MMO revenue model these days, social games (FB) boast ~40$ ARPPU (average revenue per paying user) with conversion to paying user of about 2.5-3.5%. Obviously, client-side MMOs can have noticeably higher conversion rates (up to 25-30%), while for browser games, it's 5-15%.

F2P has become MP3 in games. It's accessible, affordable, interactive.

Having gone F2P the following titles got much better:

  • DC Universe - +1000% CCU (concurrent players) gain, +700% daily revenue
  • Everquest II - +40% daily logins, +300% new players
  • Everquest - +150% daily logins, +125% boost in Item sales, +350% registrations
The new game ecosystem is now the following: eSports + marketing + global community + livecasting (video streaming). The key focus is now on emergent and sandbox gameplay.

How F2P games are monetized.

The basic principles:

  • regular currency is earned through game mechanics
  • premium currency is earned by money spent
  • no two-way conversion allowed.
Item shop should be a natural part of the game, both regular and premium items should be there.

Leveling/tiering is key to monetization: early game -> mid game -> end game, each with the respective items and prices.

Most popular monetization methods:

1. By unlocks
- unlocks and access to high tiers give access to new items
- monetize rarity: sell rare resources

2. By limits
- monetize storage size or inventory size
- monetize limits of economy power (total cap)
- monetize items with less limits

3. By tiers
- monetize accelerated needs of tiers

4. By power variants
- monetize similar but better items
- use 3 or more power variables (price, duration, power)

5. By time
- universal monetizier: more money spent - less time needed

6. By trade
- amount & slots
- frequency
- time

Pricing guidelines:
- tiering, lowest price is assigned to the lowest tier
- have enough flexibility to adjust prices
- account for psycho barriers - 50, 100, 500, 1000, etc
- use matrix for pricing
- going online a bit expensive, raise item amount per money amount spent

I Invite you to the discussion of the F2P stuff.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

[WoT] Doyle, Kubinka, and Much More. Part 5: Second Answer Bulletin

This post is the continuation of Q&A session with H. L. Doyle, well-known German WWII military exert. See previous post. Doyle's replies are bolded (just in case).

And for a starter - JT's pics from Kubinka as promised some time ago. 

To the interview:

11.    What where the German armies views on the Soviet 122mm and 152mm guns?

The Germans saw the 122mm as powerful and dangerous but the many elements affecting the outcome of battles are complex.  For anyone interested in such matters I would recommend reading two outstanding books edited by my colleague Tom Jentz, namely, “Panzertruppen” Volume 1 and Volume 2.  Chapter 30 in Volume 2 “The last year on the Eastern Front” contains 27 pages of original German reports which reflect their views at this period.

I will just mention a few things:

... the Tiger (with the arrival of 122mm guns) can no longer disregard the (tactical) principles that apply to other types of Panzers...
... statements like “invulnerable” must be wiped out...
On the other hand
... IS tanks usually only engage in a fire fight at long range (2000m)... (where their frontal armour cannot be penetrated)
... the slow rate of fire of IS tanks (must be exploited)
... (Russian) antitank guns are the main opponent of Panzers 

I have not seen mention of the 152mm so it was probably considered comparable to other Artillery weapons of a similar calibre.

12.    Were there any performed test on the Jagdtiger armour, and results?
Prof. Dr. Rau was responsible for German armour design, development and application.  His department set the standards and had very clear procedure for testing armour to ensure it meet the requirements. No Panzer was produced with armour that did not meet the requirements.
As the war progressed the highest specification armour was reserved for Panzers.  Armour of a lesser specification could be produced to give protection against shrapnel and small arms fire to less important weapons such as self-propelled guns.

Test (by all countries) were carried out using their own guns.

13.    Was there ever a design push to move the drive assembly (transmission) of German tanks to the rear, as was found in their Russian counterparts?
Yes, at least at the “experimental” level designers were considering rear mounted final drives as part of “power pack concept” to simplify maintenance.  However, front drive was seen as being a good solution no decision had been taken.

Advanced design of this feature can be seen in the E-10, E-25 projects.  “Project B Antrieb” was the name of drive train project that would have combined a 1200 horsepower Maybach engine with a Mekydro 8-speed combined transmission and steering unit for rear drive in the E-100 but this would have involved moving the motor compartment forward and necessitated an entirely new hull shape.

14.    As we know most German tanks used the Maybach engine series. These petrol engines originally designed for planes.  Did the Germans/Maybach (MTU Today’s) company made any alternative engines for specifically tank usage during the war? If they did why they didn’t implemented them?

Dr. Maybach designed high performance engines for many purposes.  Before the War Germany decided to standardise on Petrol rather than Diesel to simplify logistics.  Because Maybach produced a range of engines with a high performance to weight ratio they were appointed at the supplier of engines for all special Military vehicles such as halftracks and Panzers. 

A specific benefit of Maybach V motors was their exceptionally short length.  This was due to the patented roller bearing system used on the crank shaft.  This compact design meant that the motor compartment could be smaller and the weight of armour needed to protect it was less.

The Maybach HL 230 P30 motor was progressively becoming more reliable despite problems with raw materials.  It delivered 700 horsepower.  Maybach had test versions of a HL234 with fuel injection and other improvements which would have yielded 900 horsepower with no increase in size.

After the War the French employed Maybach to develop the HL295, 1060 horsepower, for their AMX-50.

During the war other German motor manufacturers constantly tried to break the Maybach monopoly without much success.

15. Can you give any additional info about Gas Turbine engine development of Germany in WW2?

Once the power of jet engines had been recognised by German aircraft designers it was inevitable that this new form of motor would be proposed for Panzers.  Some sketches were made showing a turbine in a Tiger II but there is little evidence that this project proceeded.  When I worked with the late Walter Spielberger we published the available sketches of ideas for mounting a jet engine in Tiger in the Motorbuch Verlag book “Der Panzer-Kampfwagen Tiger und seine Abarten” This book is available in English a “Tigers I and II” from Schiffer Publications.

16.    Why did the Germans used welded armour instead of the more effective cast armour (Sherman turret and front hull, some Russian Turrets and hulls) The German engineers couldn't/didn't know the technology how to manufacturing it?

I have not seen any proof that cast armour was any more effective than rolled armour plate. German welding technology was more advanced than that of any of the Allies and this allowed them to effectively weld rolled plates to create flexible designs.  Of course, cast armour was also used when ever complex shapes were involved, e.g. gun mantlets, the front plate of the Jagdtiger fighting compartment.

17.    What info can you give us on the gun penetration tables of German tanks? Which ones do you consider the most reliable?

This is not an area that I personally have paid attention to during my research.  Many such tables were produced by the Germans for different calibre guns and for modifications as they were introduced.  There were tables for different types of ammunition.  From time to time we have included simplified penetration information in our publications but for sure this is subject would be worthy of a well researched dedicated book.

The 7.5cm K.w.K 42 L/70 was the exceptional gun of the period.  It had several good features. It had very good penetration capability, it was more accurate than most guns of that period and it had a high rate of fire.  The ammunition was not too bulky of heavy.  With a well trained crew there was a higher chance of the important first round hit.  The 8.8cm of course had better penetration but was less accurate and took longer to reload.

18.    Which was the Turret which would be most likely built on top of the built E100 chassis?
http://ww2drawings.jexiste.fr/Files/1-Vehicles/Axis/1-Germany/03-sPanzers/E-100/E-100%282%29.htm or
Or something else

A turret was designed by Krupp for the E-100.  This was a lighter version, with thinner armour, of the one designed for the Maus II.  I prepared drawings of these turrets for our Panzer Tracts No.6-1 “schwere Panzerkampfwagen Maus and E-100”. No examples of these turrets were constructed.

The vehicles at these sites are fictional creations for entertainment, although the drawings of so-called Jaguar II (E25), Hetzer II (E10) and Jagdpanther II are all based on my published drawings of proposals that had at least reached the drawing board.

19.    Same goes for the Jagdpanzer E100 If such a tank would have been manufactured, what kind of gun would it become, what would its specs be (weight/ armour/ place for the on-top casemate = more likely to be close to Jagdtiger, Ferdinand or Jagdpanther?

If such a project occurred I believe the outcome would have been similar to the Jagdtiger or possibly Jagdpanther as this would have allowed clear access to the motor compartment.  Krupp proposed a Jagdpanther with a 12.8cm gun but to accommodate such a large gun they proposed a fighting compartment at the rear.  I have wondered if removal of the motor would have had to be preceded by dismounting of the gun.  The Ferdinand had two Maybach HL120 that could be removed either side of the gun.

20.    Would it be possible for E-75 and E-50 to have rear transmissions?

Yes, but a lot of design and development work would have been needed. See my answer to Question 13.

To be continued ...

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