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Reponse to 2GD : Meta of Successul Games
Let's talk about casual player base vs. the 'hardcore' player base. The first big misunderstanding I think a portion of the community has is that early FPS games were chock full of competitive players, leagues, and tournaments. This was not the case and I will illustrate examples of the overall casual community vs. the competitive format. I think the first real example to talk about is Quakeworld release of Q1. Certainly popular, but the base game it self is not what truly generated the 'Quake' community. The overwhelming majority of Quake 1 players were either CTF, Clan Arena, or Team Fortress players (with the latter being the most prominent). Most of this player base was not heavily involved in e-sports/leagues/tournaments. They hopped on a public server, enjoyed a game for a while, then dipped out. Half-Life was a wildly popular single player game but the multiplayer was pretty unsuccessful again. Then the modders got to work. Wildly popular and some enduring games came out of this era. Examples like Counterstrike and slightly less popular Day of Defeat. Quake 2 was also driven as far as I know by the CTF scene, though it was less well received than Q1/Q3 and there's a fairly significant player base gap that migrated to other things until Quake 3's patches ironed out a lot of things. Again, I would like to point out the vast majority of the player base was involved in itemless pick up modes Quake 3 TF, RA3, Threewave CTFS being the most popular mods. Moving away from the CS/early quake days we'll talk about WoW. Specifically Battleground PvP. Again, the majority of the battle ground player base were not hardcore arena gladiators but non-competitive players looking for some action. Warsong Gulch, Eye of the Storm, Arathi, and to a lesser extent Alterac Valley. While this genre is nothing like aFPS mechanically, there is a lot of cross over design points. WoW was/is wildly popular for a variety of other reasons but I would like to focus on the cross-section of PvP battlegrounds. Finally there is Overwatch, which is essentially Quake 1 TF shamelessly recreated but thrown onto weird mode maps along with some other heavily 'inspired' by characters like Genji (Gunz the Duel players should be salty). We also have LoL, which also has some similar design traits to these games as it's a game style born of modding an RTS. I am not going to speak on other communties too heavily because I didn't play everything and I would like to stick to what I have experienced first hand. With all that established let's look at what these games in common. In my opinion the following attributes of these games are what kept them afloat with active communities/player bases.
Medium to Large multiplayer format in public/casual play.
Q1 TF Public Servers - Usuaually 10v10 or 12v12, even 16v16. Q1 CTF/DM/FFA casual servers allowing up to 32 players. Q2 CTF Public Servers - Basically the same. Q3 RA3/Q3F/servers - usually 8v8, 10v10, 12v12 Counterstrike pubs - pretty sure they weren't 4v4 ;p World of Warcraft PvP - 10v10, 15v15, and to some extent 40v40. Overwatch - 6v6 LoL - 5v5
Low latency/ability to play on server of your choosing. All of these games do this fairly well except LoL.
Crisp controls with quick animations, when you hit a button something happens. All of these games likewise do this well.
Sit and Go unkranked gameplay LoL is the exception here not the norm. Jump in quick, jump out quick if you need to. Larger team size means players drifting in and out of the server doesn't have as dramatic an impact on the action as 4v4 quickplay.
Clear animations and visuals in art style design - not too cartoony, not too realistic
Not going to go deep into art here, but yeah, a good middle ground to appeal to most. I think Eggbots was a mistake, but I think hypeover detailed graphics are too.
Approachable simple game modes that are easy to learn for casual play The most popular of these have always been CTF and variants, clan arena, capture and hold. Even LoL has a symmetrical 'CTF' feel to the map. Item pick up modes have never and I mean, never been the popular game type. Duel, Team DM, and Item Pickup CTF have always been a hardcore subset of an already relatively hardcore PvP game. For most people, a couple of simple objectives, a flag or two, a bomb to plant, a dragon to kill is enough.
Quality core maps for casual, more complicated stuff for competitive
Examples - Q1 TF was almost all 2fort4, then 2fort5r eventually, then a dash of well6. The most popular competitive maps like 32smooth were not played on public/casual servers often. RA3 had map11 which dominated most public servers, but match play saw map1, map7, map9, and map12 for example. ra3map4 was popular on pugs but widely reviled for matches. Threewave has an amazing map pool of match ready CTF maps (and CTFS) maps, but the majority of the community spammed Camper Crossings, Spider Crossings, Shinin Forces with a dash of sidemaps like Lunar. WoW has Battlegrounds for casual, but Arena for hardcores. WoW Battlegrounds Warsong Gulch/Arathi Basin were the flagship maps.Everyone liked King's Row and Control Center in OW but hated stuff like Volskaya/Temple. Players don't actually want 20 maps in the pool. They might bitch and gripe about playing the same thing too much, but honestly I've never seen more than 3-4 maps in a game have wide spread public appeal (as far as I can recall) Players want their comfort map, especially more casual players that don't have as much time to dedicate to the map. Stability and comfort keep the players coming back and measure their improvemnt over time.
Low Skill Floor to High Skill Ceiling
Ability to be effective without complete game knowledge in casual play.Examples of this being Team Fortress (1 weap per character basically), LoL (Have to learn your skills first, don't have to know all champions) RA3/CTFS (No items just mechanics!) Overwatch of course, same as TF. This doesn't mean the game play is simple overall, for example LoL has an enormous learning curve, it just means that to get something done in game the "skill floor" of the game is not so high that people are waddling around ineffectively but likewise the skill ceiling of the game is still high enough to keep people engaged. Even stuff like CS, Battlefield/Warzone have limited skill sets in comparison to the full course of something like aFPS duel. Again, not that these games are unskilled, just that their skill floor is approachable for new players.
Seperation between Competitive Play and Casual Play
Companies are now trying to hold iron fist control over competitive play/their product since they know gaming modders/communities tend to spring out into... a new company if they are successful. The most successful games have had a distinct seperation between casual play and competitive. The majority of LoL players didn't play ranked as far as I know. Most WoW players don't play arena. Most Quake players don't play duel, you see where I'm going with this. In my opinion Diabotical is strictly designed for competitive modes and has taken the agency away from the casual player base... and that's why there isn't one.
Competitive play for Non Esports/part time players
Games like Q1, Q3, LoL, WoW and so on all had decent player run communities or the ability to hop into a ranked game whenever. Whether this was early Q1 Leagues like Iron Glove League, Stronger than All, or later things like CAL. There was an avenue for people with adult schedules to sneak in a clan practice once or twice a week, then play a match or two on the weekend. I think the entire Tournament format taking up most of the weekend is bad in terms of growing player base. New players who want to be competitive would definitely like chances to win sometimes. We all know it's a lot of the same old players doing well in the tournaments, mostly Quake Live Veterans/Q3 players. If you guys want 'fresh blood' you need to give them avenue to develop and work their way up towards E-sports caliber.
Suggestions and Conclusion
To have a healthy player base means you need a healthy casual player base first. The competitive community is an extension of the casual player base. Previous successful games have had a middle tier meeting point that allowed semi-hardcore and casuals to compete as they wanted, without being overwhelmed by professional level teams with years of experience. This is partly why Overwatch and LoL do well. I say look at bringing back the utter chaos of 10v10 CA, 20+person FFA, medium-large modes that are absolutely not fit for tournaments. People like giant brawls, chaos, crazy stuff happening ; basically pitched battles. A lot of us meme that 'Warmup' is the real mode right now for casual play. You can do this and keep the 4v4 (yes get rid of 3v3!) for competitive play. Keep the format stable and one mode at a time for most events. E-sports full circuit is too way too much learning curve for new players to keep interest as 'the weekly' format. I've had multiple Quake 3 veterans tap out on the learning curve of item pick up modes for my teams (MCS Gaming). Something like Circuit is fine for big events, but it's not very approachable for most. Look at the history of amazing maps in FPS gaming and analyze their design elements if you're not going to recreate them. Push support for weekly leagues/tournaments that play a single mode each week, and preferably, the SAME mode each week, without having to commit a full saturday/sunday to competition. Again just my opinion, but of the existing modes that have done well in aFPS I honestly think Capturestrike or a Clan Arena variant are the ways to go. Hardcore competitive modes and casual modes can co-exist. Quick play doesn't have to be the same format as ranked, it's just not working so far. If someone out there who runs things wants a consult on how the most successful long term weekly leagues were run in Q1/Q3 hit me up. Look at your marketing/social media - straight up time to pay some influencers, 20-50 views on Twitch is normal and in this day and age that's not going to work. It needs to be budgeted right in with your advertising, just sayin'.
I could write a post almost as long or close to as long about things you all have done well with this game. I probably will at some point in the near future, do a similar break down of things done well. This is my favorite type of game and I really hope you all can pull the player base together so this thing doesn't turbo-die like most aFPS once the tournament money dries up. I know this barely touches the complexity of addictive game design and there's so many more angles/things/elements to consider when it comes to a successful game. I may be entirely wrong with my views on these games, but I was in the mix when they came out, lived/breathed the communities, and that's what comes to mind that they share. If you managed to make it this far through this rant, thanks for your time!
[Lords of Terra] The "Higgen's" Landing Boat LCVP-S
The "Higgen's" Landing Boat LCVP-SThe Higgen's boat, officially LCVP-S Mk 1 Mod C, has been in service for fifteen years. For that same 15 years, the Patriarchy has flatly refused to authorize a new mark, or even mods, insisting that the existing craft is both sufficient and inexpensive enough to outweigh any other argument that improvements are needed.
In the face of this intransigence, TFAFMC Operations, Analysis, and Procurement are hampered by being unable to make any changes that support the Marine Corps requirements. Without the financial backing of the Patriarchy, which is one of their important functions, the Marine Corps is stymied. This does not sit well with anyone. Least of all, the Procurement Officer, General Anson R. Davis, who is catching flak from everyone for not convincing the Patriarchy to fund the necessary development.
His temper has worn thin, and it shows.
|1||1-5||I||—||$50 K (each)||Initial purchase.|
|2||1-5||I||A||$50 K (each)||First run successful. Mods approved.|
|3||1-5||I||B||$50 K (each)||Mod A successful. Mods approved.|
|4||1-5||I||C||$50 K (each)||Mod B successful. Mods approved.|
|5||1-5||I||C||$50 K (each)||Mod C successful. No doctrine changes. Mods denied.|
|6||1-5||I||C||$50 K (each)||Mod C successful. No doctrine changes. Mods denied.|
|7||1-5||I||C||$50 K (each)||Mod C successful. No doctrine changes. Mods denied.|
- Vendor clearly states that subsequent mods are not possible. A new Mark is required to fully integrate the existing mods, update the design, and allow subsequent mods. Patriarchy refuses mods and new marks.
- Vendor warns decreasing capability, increasing enemy threat, increasing injuries to troops. Patriarchy refuses mods and new marks.
- Vendor reprimanded for repeated alarmist warnings of decreasing capability and increasing threat—reports of increased injuries blamed on the manufacturer.
- Cadence break. The vendor insists on presentation and review despite new marks/mods being denied.
Five Year Review: Mark 1 Mod C: Run 7Despite the adamant position of the Patriarchy, General Motors Thiokol — represented by it's President and Chairman of the Board, Apollo Pauling — has insisted on this review. The review is pointless because there can be no purchasing changes without authorization for funds from the Patriarchy.
- Davis, Anson R., General TFAFMC Procurement
- Fielder, Rosen, Captain TFAFMC Operations
- Pauling, Apollo, GMT President
- Ashedown, Matthias, Patriarch - Declined Attendance
- Coombes, Jonathan, Patriarch - Declined Attendance
NOPATRIARCH permitted as no patriarch was present for the review. Per standard procedure, the report is automatically classified.Pauling and Davis look at each other. They used to be good friends. Davis was frequently invited to the Pauling's for dinner, or just drinks and company. That friendship has eroded over the last fifteen years, as pressure from all sides has grown, demanding changes to the LCVP-S, which the Patriarchy refuses to fund.
Everyone attending this meeting knows that the Patriarchy is not going to authorize any changes.
Apollo Pauling, President of GMT, opens the presentations.
"May we begin our presentation?"
General Davis looks at him through veiled eyes. "On one condition."
"General, we were not informed of any conditions."
"Mr. Pauling, this condition is mine and is one that you are fully familiar with, regardless of the present attempt to circumvent my condition. You are permitted speech and plain text to make your presentations. You are not permitted to use slides or, as I suspected, movies. The true purpose of this is to glaze the eyes of the Patriarchy until they are willing to sign for anything. No. Movies."
"Davis! Our marketing people put a lot of work into..."
"...Empty promises that they do not have to keep. Only blame your engineers when they don't deliver, then ask for more money to fix the problem. There is no more money. Save your movie for someone who can afford to have their brains numbed, or better yet, get Ashedown and Coombes to watch it. If you can glaze their eyes into signing a contract, I'm all for it. Absent that, spoken word, hard report with test results, or go talk to someone else. I've got nothing to do, and nothing to do with it if I did, except sit here and watch my career die while your company goes bankrupt."
"Fine, here's the short and sweet. We still make the least expensive, most reliable landing craft in the entire universe. Aside from enemy action, we have never lost a shipment of troops or resupply sent by this method. Your requirements haven't changed in the last fifteen years, which we both know is bullshit. Our design people have been after you for upgrades for the last ten years, which you know are necessary. Our safety people have been after you for the last five years to update your specs in light of the number of troops you have down due to spinal injuries, which have nothing to do with the landing craft, and everything to do with how you choose to abuse them."
With a distinct hint of finding sour grapes in the middle of your apple pie. "The landing craft or the men?"
"YES!" The reply of another honorable man, also at the end of his rope.
In an attempt at reconciliation, Davis explains what he thinks Pauling already knows. He's partly right. "Apollo... Look. I'm catching this from three sides. I agree with you. Our own analysis and operations people agree with you. Both sets have been hammering me like it's my fault that the Patriarch's refuse to fund these changes. Except the Patriarchs, all of us agree is necessary, prudent, and entirely affordable within the real budget. The 'public' budget is a bald-faced lie. You know that I know that, the Patriarch's know that. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to reach anyone within the Patriarchy who is willing to listen. It's always 'talk to Ashedown.' Note that: it's always 'talk to Ashedown.' Now, you tell me why that should be so."
"I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad. Ashedown has something on the others, or at least enough on the right others to block everyone, but... You do have the right to contract for an improvement."
Davis rages, although it's directed at the Patriarchs who refused to show up. It may be just as well that they haven't. This would have gotten Davis discharged. "I DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY FOR THAT! The damned blind Patriarchs cut our budget, AGAIN! I've barely got enough to buy replacements for the pods we've used. I don't even have the money for this damned review that you insisted on! I'm going to have a budget overrun, for which the Patriarchs will have me finely grilled over a slow smokey fire! AND YOU KNEW THAT BEFORE YOU EVEN ASKED FOR THIS REVIEW, WHICH I AM LEGALLY OBLIGATED TO HOST AND PAY FOR! For the love of GOD! WHY DID YOU DO THIS!?" The aggrievement in his voice is strong.
Pauling' next words, for all that they are spoken softly, carry much more grief than Davis' words. "Because my son, Lance Corporal Icarus Pauling, will never walk again."
Davis is stunned. "Oh, God..." He has known Icarus since he was born. "I'm so sorry, Apollo. Deneb VI?"
"Yes." Pauling sounds more normal, but you can still see the pain. "That's also why I asked you to have Captain Fielder here. She analyzed the entire operation."
"I know." For all that they were at each other's official throats moments ago, and despite the estrangement, they are still the friends they have always been. The stress of the last 15 years has eaten into both of them. "I've been flogging that report all over the Tower. The Patriarchs. Do. Not. Care. It has driven me to some thoughts of... No. I will not go there. No matter how much they deserve it."
With sour humor, Pauling responds. "Yes... I'd like to do something like that too, but there's always more where the last set of shits came from."
"It's not supposed to be this way. The Patriarchs are supposed to clean house when someone has gone too far. I know that Ashedown is the major blocker. I think Coombes is okay, but he's junior to Ashedown, so his options are cramped.
For the first time, Captain Rosen Fielder (TFAFMC Ops) speaks. "Actually, General Davis? I'm here to present you with a solution. We get new, better pods. GMT gets an upgrade contract. We don't have to pay any extra money for the next five years. By that time, we'll have the hard data that we can use to hammer any Patriarch that even thinks about not paying the full price after that."
Davis is curious but cautious. "And how does that work?"
"We declassify the old model."
"Declassify it? On what grounds?"
"The Deneb VI event. The squids got their hands on a large portion of the craft, mostly intact after their fire knocked it out of the sky just as the troops were ejected. It was the botched ejection, due to enemy action, that caused all the casualties. The damned squids were laughing at us when they sent our boys back. See! We can shoot you down now! Since they can do that, the landing craft system is no longer acceptable to the Corps. Which means there is no market for it within the entire government."
Becoming more animated as he understands the ramifications, Davis nods his head. "And once there is no market within the government, it's dead easy to get it declassified. Okay, I see how that works. Apollo? You plan to make a civilian model?"
"Yes. At ten times what the government will pay. It'll last longer, be capable of limited movement — as far as civilians are concerned — and be reusable for no less than 30 sorties. The extra money will go to replacing the Corps model with a vastly improved system.
"Translate that into Corps terms. It'll last longer, drop the troops right where they need to be, and allow both strategic and tactical advantages that your OpAn people have been begging for, for the last ten years, while the Patriarchs partied the budget away. Best of all, for the first five years of production, your existing budget will cover the portion of manufacturing costs not already covered by what GMT has already agreed to put into the project. We'll even convince the Patriarchs to allow us to cover the costs of this review since it means they won't have to pay for it.
"Strangely enough, we appreciate the TFAF and want you guys to live longer."
Captain Fielder continues, "There is an additional factor. I came into this position two years ago. One year ago, my grandfather, Lord Freidrich Fielder, ascended to the Lords of Terra upon his father's death. We now have an advocate inside the Lords of Terra."
Davis sat straight up at that; it's a complete game-changer. "An advocate in the Lords of Terra... Tell me more!"
General Motors Thiokol PresentationClassified: JUNEAU / RIGGED
LCVP-S Mk 1 Mod C: "Higgen's"
|Per Unit Cost||$50,000 (Fixed Price)|
|Launch G||max 2G|
|Land G||std 5g impulse 20G|
|Suit G||(see Corps STDs)|
DescriptionThe GMT Higgens Lander is the pinnacle of reliable troop delivery from any Military Base with access to an IG Magrail (GMN). Anywhere in the galaxy, in the shortest time possible, at the least cost. They are inexpensive because they do not need stellar drive, need only minimal fuel, provide only minimal life support, and are guaranteed to deliver the troops in a functional condition at the LZ.
Concept of OperationsTroops are loaded at their base into the lander in any one of it's 185 different configurations. The lander is then loaded into an IG Magrail and launched to the target planet. The Launch acceleration load never passes 2G sustained.
No acceleration is experienced during travel phase, no artificial gravity is provided, and minimal life-support to augment Corps suit life-support. Corps suits land with full life-support capacity.
During landing phase, the sustained load is 5G. There may be impulse loads to 20G for evasive maneuvers or enemy fire. The majority of deceleration is achieved by aerobraking.
During LZ approach, the craft steers towards the LZ but never exactly at the LZ. This allows deception of LZ up to the point that the suits are ejected. Preventing a pre-targeted bombardment is viewed as a positive benefit.
At suit ejection, transient G loads may peak at 15 G, but the sustained ejection load is 10G. This is essential to separate the suit from the lander in the most expeditious manner possible. Getting the troops on the ground quickly is seen as a positive benefit as it reduces their exposure to enemy fire.
After suit ejection, the craft will self-destruct some distance from the LZ as a deception and safety measure. The enemy may assume that their fire has destroyed the craft and write off the troops.
Total destruction of the craft is seen as a positive benefit as it removes any chance that the enemy may capture TFAF tech or that the deployed troops need to recover any equipment.
- Recent developments in hostile capabilities have rendered some of these statements invalid, but without sufficient time to revise the presentation. Safe delivery cannot be guaranteed with the existing Mark I Mod C "Higgens" craft.
- The destruct system to ensure the complete dissolution of the craft is capable of damaging a suit if the suit is too close. Care must be taken to ensure sufficient separation before destruct. Regular upgrades are required to reduce the chances of enemy fire triggering the destruct too soon. This is a known issue that GMT is unable to remedy without development of at least a new mod, if not an entire mark.
- For the last three runs, GMT has repeatedly informed the Patriarchy that without upgrade, the degradation of capability due to enemy advances would reach this point. See Appendix A: Record of Communications with Patriarchy.
- The Patriarchy has seen fit to issue a reprimand for alarmist behavior. General Motors Thiokol rejects that reprimand as inappropriate, unworthy, and false.
- General Motors Thiokol categorically refuses to continue production of a system that is proven unsafe in any combat zone due to enemy advances.
- General Motors Thiokol categorically refuses to accept responsibility for any injuries incurred over the last three runs even remotely attributable to equipment failure as they were potentially avoidable given sufficient funding. Any responsibility for injuries lies squarely and properly on the individuals responsible for refusing to fund any improvement of capability for the last 15 years.
Proposed ReplacementLCVP-S Mk 1 Mod D: "Deneb"
Classified: JUNEAU / RIGGED
|Reuse||Up to 50 times|
|Version||Mk 1 Mod D|
|Per Unit Cost||$50,000 (Fixed Price)|
|Launch G||max 2G|
|Entry G||Std 5g / Emg Ev. 20G|
|Land G||Max 2g|
|Flight Gp||Std up to 5g max 20g|
|Arms & Armament||Grade 5 Armor & point defense.|
- Absent battle or excessive G landing damage, without refurbishment reuse is limited to 25 times; with refurbishment reuse up to 50 times is the maximum possible without major refitting. Major refitting is deemed too expensive, so recycling is recommended. All parts must meet original standards or better before being reused. With damage of any sort, individual evaluation by trained technicians is required.
- With OpAn deletion of evasive and eject objectives, a full power landing is available. Relaunch for interstellar requires an IG Magrail; absent IG Magrail, a recovery vehicle of sufficient size must be dispatched.
- The deletion of the evasive and eject objectives also release mass/volume for life support expansion.
- The fixed price is ONLY for the first five years of this Mark/Model. After that period, GMT will insist on a new contract to purchase the new craft at a fair market value T.B.D. to cover all production costs, plus 10% to cover development and manufacturing costs of the previous 5 years not recovered by production of the civilian version.
- Subsequent runs will include only FMV production costs.
- With full flight, the suits need to cover the Launch, Entry, Land, and Flight requirements, with the proviso, the occupant is strapped into a properly designed chair oriented to resist in all four conditions those G forces. GMT does not propose to dictate the operational design of the TFAFMC Suit systems.
- Up to two G landings are possible without damage. Landings beyond 2 g and up to 5 g are survivable, but the craft is damaged; mobility may be impaired. Landings beyond 5 g will incur injury, and the craft is no longer mobile.
- Sufficient flight capability is added that battlefield mobility is available, at both a tactical and planetary strategic level.
- The original Grade 3 armor is upgraded to Grade 5, increasing survivability in the event of a hit. In addition, the "Deneb" is now actively defended against incoming projectiles of sufficient size.
- Believing that our armed forces deserve the best possible systems, General Motors Thiokol has authorized expenditure of capital resources and private/personal resources to fund the development and production for the first five years.
TFAFMC Operational Analysis PresentationClassification: JUNEAU / RIGGED
See Also "Deneb VI Incident Report"
- At its inception, the GMT "Higgens" LCVP-S was the pinnacle of safe delivery of troops from any IG Magrail location to any other planet with sufficient atmosphere which is also suitable for humans to breath. Since those conditions cover 90% of the planets that we are likely to deliver troops to, this was an ideal solution.
- Since its inception, the "Higgens" has received three further upgrades, keeping it at the pinnacle of performance and gaining it a reputation for utter reliability.
- Over the last fifteen years, the "Higgens" — through no fault of GMT — has slowly fallen behind enemy capabilities. (See Appendix A: Vendor Recommendation Memos.)
- As the battlefield has evolved, the G-loads have increased to the point that our best troops must be withdrawn from service for extended medical treatment due to G-load-induced spinal issues after less than five drops. Troop landings are no longer safe.
- The indirect approach to the LZ is no longer of use. Enemy forces are fully aware of this and will even use it by attempting to destroy craft just as the troops are ejected.
- The attempted deception by destruction of the craft is no longer of use. Enemy forces are fully aware of this and discount it unless they are certain that their fire caused the craft's destruction.
- Our troops are not fungible goods. They are highly trained and very expensive. An experienced Private First Class has approximately $300 million in training. This disregards the experiential training from each action, which has a high, but ill-defined value.
- A single drop of ten troops is worth — in cold money terms — $3 billion dollars. Sending our best — and expensive — troops in a system that has become outdated, is no longer acceptable.
- Due to recent enemy developments (See "Deneb VI Incident Report"), the "Higgens" LCVP-S Mk I Mod C is no longer acceptable in any theater of operations.
TFAFMC Operational Recommendation
- Obsolete the existing "Higgens" Mk 1 Mod C.
- Purchase the upgraded "Higgens" Mk 1 Mod D, for the same price for the next five years.
- There are no additional costs.
- The design and tooling already exist, as GMT expected this development.
- GMT commendation for forward-thinking and willingness to support TFAFMC requirements.
TFAF Procurement Recommendation
- Accept TFAFMC Operational Recommendation in its entirety. Procurement is in complete agreement.
- As the existing "Higgens" Mk 1 Mod C no longer has any position in the TFAF or any other TF government agency, it is immediately declassified under Section 17678 / D / 1 / e "Transfer of Obsolete Technology to Civilian Sector" excepting only military systems such as "Ejection System, Suit, Single."
- See Appendix R for full list of excepted technology.
- See Appendix S for full list of released technology.
- GMT agrees to price lock-in at $50,000 for the next five years, at 1000 units per year.
- Budgetary concerns expressed by PAO can best be relieved by permitting GMT to repurchase the obsolete equipment at the same price so long as the obsolete equipment remains on our roster. This will alleviate TFAFMC's concerns regarding the ability to meet the rising demand for services without costing any additional funds.
- AT THE END OF THE FIVE YEAR AGREEMENT, A NEW PRICE PER UNIT MUST BE NEGOTIATED.
Private Conversation"Apollo? Do you think they'll actually buy this?"
"Ashedown? He won't even look at the fine print. A better system that (a) he doesn't have to pay for, (b) drains our resources, which he sees as money-grubbing from the government, and (c) that he figures he'll be able to twist our arm into continuing at the old price indefinitely? He'll be drooling over the contract when he signs it."
"What about Coombes?"
"You tell me. You're the one who has the good word for him. I've only seen him in company with Ashedown."
"Hm... I think I'll find a convenient method of meeting him in a semi-private location that is utterly unsuspected."
"I've got just the thing. My wife and I are hosting a soiree in three days. I will see to it that you are invited. I happen to know that Coombes has already accepted."
"What about Ashedown?"
"He's insulted too many honors by refusing to recognize new honors properly. He hasn't even noticed that he isn't receiving as many invites as previously."
"None so blind as will not see."
"Truth. You will arrange things so that Coombes and I can converse at length without drawing suspicion?"
"Easily done. Many at these parties are there for exactly the same reason. We'll simply arrange it that Coombes and yourself are not seen going in the same direction. The old mansion has many ways to reach certain rooms, and some of them are quite unknown."
"Do tell! I seem to remember chasing a young Icarus through some of those."
"Yes... He did enjoy playing in them. He also found out about them by quietly observing everyone around him. A still child is invisible. He has discovered that the same thing is true of an invalid in a hoverchair. No one wants to be rude by staring, so they err the other way and ignore him."
"That's got to be hard on him. Do you think he will be glad to see me?"
"After I explain what we're up to, he'll be ecstatic. Please, do try to raise his spirits; he's very depressed now."
"I've... had to deal with men under my command being invalided out, and extended my personal support to them once discharged. I can hardly fail to do the same for the son of a very good friend, whom I care about deeply."
"The friend or the son?"
The two part amicably, and even with some joy. The results of this review largely erased the last fifteen years.
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