Strategic Designs Ltd., forums

SO8 - if it happens
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Author:  NPG319 [ Mon Jun 28, 2021 11:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

Interesting read.

I'm a small business owner and understand the challenges of social media - it is almost a job in itself and I think someone needs to be employed on a casual or part time basis - someone who understands online marketing and how to exploit it. It's more complex and time consuming than it appears from the outside.

Back to the game.

I think if there is an SO8 then the game needs a more user friendly interface. No more small tabs or small boxes to tick. Some great ideas in SO7 just too complicated to work it out.
Personally that is what I don't want - I don't mind that thought has to go into game play and breeding but I don't want to be a rat in a maze trying to figure out how to get there.


I will always think that the League could be used as a great vehicle to promote the game but it needs on-going support.
The race kit for the League has to be simple and balanced.
Handicapping in the League at the moment involves triple handling, is far too time consuming and a pain in the arse and is too much for volunteers to be expected to handle.
On top of that the current race kit can only handicap English or European races only - any racing outside of that the race kit can't balance.

Mark - you did great things for the League in SO7 to make it a fairer game and harder to manipulate but the handicapping from the race kit has let it all down.
If SO8 goes ahead with a league then it needs to be supported and a new race kit needs to be built that simplifies it all so there is less reliance on volunteers.
The race kit and TOM also needs to be owned by the game and not a third party.

Author:  neves_rats [ Fri Jul 02, 2021 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

Thanks for the input Mark and glad desktop hasn't been forgotten. I wont say I'd never buy on mobile as never is a very long time, but, currently and for the foreseeable future, desktop is my only interest, I don't see why I would want to pay for a watered down game that I already own.

Author:  Long Haul Harry [ Sat Jul 03, 2021 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

Good things are being posted on this thread, but it kind of demonstrates how difficult it is going to be for the developer to please all of the people all of the time. Anyone who has invested lots of energy into this series will have a shopping list of improvements and there will never be full agreement. For instance : Tomas (and I say this with respect for your own opinion), I would never buy a game with a 30-40 horse restriction. I play with at least double that number, and in a combined game - so I often have close to 200 horses to deal with. It makes for a slow game, which is how I like it, but I rarely make mistakes or overlook things. Black Kangaroo is right - you need sections to your yard to segregate types. Also the 'N' feature needs to be working on all screens - it is missing in the yearlings section and given that the stats drop at 2yo you have to make initial judgements at 1yo and I have to make notes with pen on paper. My next foal drop will be 304 horses and that is a lot of writing, a lot of paper, and then it all has to be added back to the notes when the horses reach 2yo.

Anyway, I could write extensively about my own shopping list but there is not too much point given emphasis is being placed on the mobile version. Unlike neves_rats, I can say never. I have zero interest in mobile as it will never have the depth I require.

There are shortcomings in SO7 that I doubt will ever be put right, which is a real shame. My own involvement in the series stretches back just eighteen months but it is my opinion that the hardcore desktop players have been short changed somewhat. The developer must make his own decisions on how to take the game forward but to spend all his valuable time on new customers (which I think mobile players will largely be) and nothing on his loyal customers just seems to be the wrong way round for me. I love this game and have the utmost respect for how the developer has single handedly got SO to where it is today. But the seventh version just looks to have been one big step too far and I am guessing it would simply take too long to address those shortcomings.

My own wish (and yes, I am being entirely selfish) would be to see the mobile plans abandoned and all effort put into desktop. There needs to be fixes for the Steam start up crash unless you disable the sound, and for the Aintree crashes on higher spec machines. Then, there needs to be a patch with some nice changes to the UI - a freebie if you like to restore a bit of feel good factor. Then, and only then, the developer should be thinking of regular DLC's. Three or four times a year at £6.99 a throw - minor changes like injured jockeys, female faces for female jockeys, more stable purchases, a bigger spread of prices when selling a horse, perhaps a new stat or two which needn't actually work (as they don't presently) but will add to the immersion of the game. But alongside a minor change there would also need to be a more significant upgrade such as automatic game saving at the end of each race day, entry into the auctions in the same way the AI trainers do, more AI horses, more races, improvements for the league players. Not every player will buy all the DLC's but many will, just to increase their playing options - especially if reasonably priced. And there has to be a genuine easy and hard version of the game - new players are not going to spend hundreds of hours just to get a basic understanding of the game.

I have played other pc games that have regular DLC policies and I am always amazed how much they charge for them and how little additional content they bring. I am not suggesting SO be turned into a cash cow, but I think it has to be accepted that the whole project needs to be worthwhile for the developer. I would personally rather be paying out small amounts regularly for my chosen upgrades than start all over again with SO8 at a much higher price which may well also have shortcomings like SO7. I admit I do sink a lot of hours into SO7 but currently it has cost me less than one UK penny per hour. More than one hundred hours for each pound spent. I appreciate this is not entirely typical but I also know I am not alone in spending far too many hours in this game !! It does beg the question has the developer got his revenue streams right.

I suspect all of this may be irrelevant as the developer may simply not have enough hours in the day to make it happen. If that is the case I do worry for the future, but will continue to add to my 3000 plus hours and work around the shortcomings. But maybe regular income would allow some development help to be bought in. Call it a niche game if you like but I think everyone who plays SO would like to see a thriving community with new players joining in. That is only going to happen with regular development and in my opinion that can only happen with DLC's.

Author:  twilightramblings [ Sun Jul 04, 2021 9:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

Tomas wrote:
twilightramblings wrote:
Three things from my perspective:

1. Don't @ me with this one, I don't care what you think of my negative attitude - without a major overhaul of UI and quality, no player on mobile is going to see a reason to choose Starter's Orders when the already well entrenched and successful game Rival Stars is dominating the market. Like, hundreds of thousands of players across both platforms. For mobile players, they're not going to see a reason to choose Starters Orders when Rival Stars is already at the top of every search for "horse racing game". Especially not when there's nothing like a wiki to get information from or a Facebook group or an official Discord. Or a place to go to offer criticism where I don't get told by another player that "if I have so many ideas, why don't I go make my own game?" - bad reviews and criticism is part of sharing a game with the public, it's how you respond to them that makes the difference.

You cannot compare the two games twilightramblings, give me Starters Orders any day for the rest of my life and I will always be playing it, and why? well don't you think we have been there before with a games like the one your advertising on here.
nothing will top the strategic side of Starters Orders mate.
in my Opinion.

For the record Tomas, thank you for demonstrating what I mean when I said that I feel like I can't talk here without someone saying something ridiculous like "you're advertising for Rival Stars". Your experience of the game is your own but everyone has a different experience and has just as much right to speak as you do. The way you play this game is not the only way to play and Mark himself put the stable sizes up, so what is the point of telling someone they don't need that big a stable? Honestly, re-reading over the forums the last few times I've been here, you're actually the one constantly jumping in to defend the game and tell people they shouldn't be talking about what they want in the game. Mark is a full grown man, he doesn't need a white knight constantly harassing people who offer their opinions. I talk this game up to people every damn week but that doesn't mean I can't be realistic about how it could be improved on.

Nevermind that multiple people agreed with my assessment. Perhaps the man who doesn't even use a smartphone might not know what people who use smartphones for gaming are looking for?

Author:  Tomas [ Sun Jul 04, 2021 9:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

1- I am so sorry if I upset you twilightramblings but I didn't mean to.
2- We all will get what Mark will give us at the end of the day, as he is the author of the game.
3- Do you honestly think if I said to mark the game will play better if he cut down the size of the horses in the stable, he would?,
I don't think so as I am no one to mark, twilightramblings, mark creates the game that he is happy with.
4- I am so sorry that I love this game and don't think that it needs to much to fix twilightramblings, so what can I say?
"bite me". :wink:

Author:  DaleNiland19952k [ Fri Jul 09, 2021 5:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

This Is Amazing News, Mainly For Me I Would Maybe In The Future Is Too Bred With An Legends Horse That People Have In Their Legends File Like, Frankel ETC.
Make It A Little Natural How It Happens In Real Life It Would Be Amazing To Have A Horse That I Have In My Stud For EX
Say I Have A Horse Called Hippo And It Would Bred With Frankel, That Would Be My Personal Best Thing To Have On Either S07 Or In The Future.

Author:  marklaker [ Sun Jul 11, 2021 2:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

Tomas wrote:
Do you honestly think if I said to mark the game will play better if he cut down the size of the horses in the stable, he would?

This will apparently come as a shock to you, but that's what successful game developers do. They establish a venue and solicit customer input in an effort to sustain or extend the game's appeal. Isn't that the design of this forum, or am I confused? It doesn't mean every suggestion will be adopted, but a forum like this can be a fruitful breeding ground for future improvements, and I suspect it has been throughout the years. Look at every thriving game series and you'll find this to be the case. I'm sure Mark knows this better than anyone.

Tomas wrote:
I am no one to mark.....mark creates the game that he is happy with.

If that's his only criteria for improvement, I hope he either has a very large extended family or no concern for growing the customer base. We should all be someone to him.

Tomas wrote:
I am so sorry that I love this game and don't think that it needs to much to fix so what can I say?

I would suggest there are just as many people who feel otherwise, maybe more, and we're all entitled to our opinion without being discounted or shamed, provided we do so respectfully.

For the record, I'm very captivated by this game and will continue to play it as is, even if abandoned. It's the best of its genre, but it's not perfect. No game is. There are plenty of additions I'd like to see. Some you may agree with, some you may find superfluous or asinine, but let's encourage discussion rather than thwart it.

Author:  Tomas [ Mon Jul 12, 2021 4:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

Thank you for respecting me on here with your post marklaker, and I do think that you are wright, the game need more then what it's got at the moment, but mark has always worked in that manner and goes not play his hand out ever since the start of the game but I do agree with you the game is lekking a lot of work, so telling each other off on here is not going to change marks way how he communicate on here with us, so I say let him do his work and will see what he comes up with in the future, I would like to see a Starts Orders 8, so we can all hope its a good one this time around.

Author:  simpleminds [ Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

Mark I have decided if SO8 comes out and I can't use my saved Game and my HBD files from SO7 i will not buy it I can not Stand the thought of starting over again i have done it in the past but it is a pain to a Online Player like me who just starts to be competitive in the League. I am a Player that doesn't breed hundreds and only play 1 Combined game for the league I am sure this is the reason we lose alot of Players from the League the thought of starting again.


P.S Guys that means i wont be involved in the League after SO7.

Author:  jockeyryan321 [ Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

simpleminds wrote:
Mark I have decided if SO8 comes out and I can't use my saved Game and my HBD files from SO7 i will not buy it I can not Stand the thought of starting over again i have done it in the past but it is a pain to a Online Player like me who just starts to be competitive in the League. I am a Player that doesn't breed hundreds and only play 1 Combined game for the league I am sure this is the reason we lose alot of Players from the League the thought of starting again.


P.S Guys that means i wont be involved in the League after SO7.

I doubt SO8 will ever come out. S07 is already lacking multiple updates and nothing is being done about them.

Author:  nick_driver [ Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: SO8 - if it happens

Mark wrote:
With talk about current development being aimed at mobile it's inevitable that comparisons with other mobile games will arise. Starters Orders is primarily a sim and has never really aimed to appeal to the same audience as these games which have a different (but bigger) audience. This put's Starters Orders in what is really a niche of a niche. As long as that small niche continues to pay for development this can continue but there are real questions around breaking out of that niche as it would likely increase sales to a degree where a high quality desktop sim could then be produced. We now live in an age where to create a proper 3D desktop sim with all the racecourses and licences and high quality visuals is very expensive so either that happens or Strategic Designs partners with a third party or the focus remains on the sim and visuals are secondary and players will have to accept that is a price for the focus to remain on realism rather than the game ending up a more shallow experience. All these options are open.

A new menu framework has been developed for mobile but this framework should have utility beyond a mobile Starters Orders game and possibly the mobile platform itself. It should provide a much more friendly user experience on mobile. The underlying SDK I'm currently using does also support desktop platforms (but right now it only supports 2D races).

So it may be the next mobile release will remain a niche title but it should be a much nicer user experience and provide a base for further development. We will see how it turns out. I do have plans to look beyond this niche soon and to expand the game possibly utilising some upcoming technology and emerging gaming related concepts but this is for the future and would be potentially quite a big change of direction. A niche mobile sim is worth releasing based on previous mobile sales (future mobile release should be both iOS and Android) but I also expect to use this new menu framework potentially for other products. I want to update Greyhound Manager at some point as it must be a decade since GM2 was released now. I also have a couple of other potential projects to look at.

I should say at this point it's just me working on Starters Orders and dealing with everything else (development and otherwise) so this has implications for social media, marketing etc. etc. (PS. I have made a note of the marketing link it may be useful - thanks). So at the moment desktop may seem as it is being neglected a little but the focus is currently elsewhere and development takes time. It has not been forgotten.

Is there any update on the mobile version, this is something I'd be very interested in, given I don't have a home desktop/laptop anymore, or the time to spend blasting out hours on the game. However something I can play on the way to and from work etc on my mobile would be fantastic. There's definitely room for a Horse Racing Sim on the app store given the majority of games are very arcadey and fully based around a pay to play model which just isn't me.

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