Please bring back PlayCatan!!!

  • administrators

    @joem As we stated in the earlier post and throughout the whole process:

    PlayCatan was the first online platform for Catan ever created and was developed over many years. The developers could not have foreseen what technical or political (GDPR) changes would occur during its very long runtime.

    And it is very typical for software at some point, it stops working. This is not because it's a bad software or the developers are just too lazy to work on it or don´t care. Its because the world of software development evolves super fast. A software that is 10 years old or even older is ancient compared to new standards and new possibilities.

    We see it in our very own Catan Classic App. It is a passion project to keep it up and running on new mobile devices but every new generation of operating system and device challenges us even more. We have to pull every trick in the book to make it work and comply with new standards. But eventually, you reach a point where and further adaptation takes up more time and resources than if you start all over again.

    Also, some new features people are used to by now will never work with an old code.

    PlayCatan was only designed to be played on the PC. And when the development process started that was the best move they could do. PC and online did fit together. Noone would have thought we might and up with little computers in our pockets always connected to the internet. But now people want that. They want to be able to play anytime anywhere.

    That would never have been possible with PlayCatan and even the costs to keep it up would have surpassed anything the providers estimated on the income side.

    And again, we never have been the provider of PlayCatan, its not our software. We made our own successful and loved Catan products for years but they have been different products and we learned our own stuff about creating successful and good digital Catan games.
    That doesn't mean we don´t care about feedback. We already incorporated a lot into the game and will keep on doing that in the future.

    But all we can offer now is Catan Universe. We are responsible for that and we will focus on that.

  • @Fortuna Thank for making this post...I agree 100% with everything you have pointed out. I play exclusively single's my relaxation time. CU's version of singleplayer is logically incomprehensible...and the screen clutter is a chore to work around.

    To the developers; If you're not going to make a product better, why are you doing this? For over 2 years I have been reading player feedback about CU and it seems pretty obvious (and consistent) YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY. What you're doing it making it less attractive/enjoyable for the players. WHY?????

  • Banned

    @Administrator you're the only one with the license rights for online Catan. Your product is inferior and we are not your beta testers. Stop saying it's a technological hurdle to re launch PlayCatan and blaming the GDPR bogeyman. We don't care about playing on mobile devices, we just want a FAST AND EFFICIENT way to play the game we love WITH FULL FUNCTIONALITY. Your "passion project" is garbage and instead of spending more time developing it you should put it on the shelf and figure out how to relaunch PlayCatan for the people that want it. Exocet are experts in Java, this in not a huge challenge.

    PlayCatan has superior game play mechanics. You didn't spend a significant amount of time playing so you wouldn't know. Instead you sunk all your time into that piece of crap app. You could have played 3-4x as many games over those years...

    Bring back PlayCatan! Let us maintain it and pay for it. You just collect money.


  • I have questions for the administrator and for anyone else who might have an answer or an opinion: Since the administrator said PlayCatan software was not theirs, then whose was it? Someone must have made the decision 2 years ago to pull it. If not CU, then who? And why? Technical and political changes? Please explain the political changes.
    And excuse my technical ignorance, but can software stop working? Perhaps it won't work on new mobile devices-I can understand that. But just because mobile devices have become so popular and ubiquitous are we going to let them determine what software stays and what goes? Okay- PlayCatan won't work on my IPhone. So what? It seems to me that whoever decided to take down PlayCatan thought they were being long sighted in regard to what the tech future has in store but was short sighted in disregarding the money maker it had in hand.
    As for feedback which you say you care about I offer this: Make CU as close to PlayCatan as possible. Remove anything that slows the game down. Remove the animation if necessary. Remove all the fancy graphics if necessary. Remove multiple screens. PlayCatan was elegant in its simplicity even though it was old fashioned. Please make that your goal. I'm not the only one who has been offering that feedback. I know you've heard that from many, many others.

  • @joem honestly I think you are on the right track here. I thought the admin's response above was very thoughtfully written but he/she is still missing the point that you and others have pointed out. For various reasons the feel of catan universe is annoying, buggy, slow and misses socially. I also think it suffers with cutesy graphics which annoys hard core catan players that see it as insulting.

    To the @administrators

    My suggestion for the administrator and UDM is DO LISTEN better to your customer base here. They know what they are talking about.

    I get the economics (revenue vs. cost) but maybe do this - stand up a server of playcatan and play it play it play it. Play cities and knights, play multi, play all the scenarios several hundred times. Some of us here have played 1000s of times. I bet Fortuna 10,000 times.

    You will soon realize why we all feel the way we are feeling and I believe it will positively influence redesign of CU. Look at all the "what's wrong" lists, start building your backlog.

    I do appreciate that some of the feedback has been considered and incorporated. It just feels like not enough of the issues are resolved and it feels like you should have proven that your product is superior before terminating playcatan fully, even if you are running it at a small loss not to alienate what will become a passionate fanbase and fantastic annuity to your revenue stream.

    In the mean time, while you do this evaluation, please please please reconsider - we are all going out of our minds here. Maybe propose a much higher fee - like $20 per month - I will be the first to pay it. I would pay it just to play on saturdays or play fortuna or mrspock or sarahdd or subartickcat or the many others who are just as passionate - just 1 time per week.

    Also, please keep talking to us, we really appreciate it when you put together thoughtful responses, it gives us hope that we can be part of this solution together with you.

  • Banned

    You are talking to people that have literally played thousands of games on the PlayCatan platform, myself included. The sheer amount of time that we have spent you will not be able to duplicate, so you cannot possibly know how well that version of the game was executed. The two posts before this one say exactly how I feel as well, albeit with less colorful language. Please see my post about open sourcing the PlayCatan software if you don't want to host it yourself. Let the players have the game.

    Bring back PlayCatan! Let us maintain it and pay for it. You just collect money.


  • @joem - I received an answer to my personal letter to Klaus Teuber, and it is basically the same as what Admin has been saying.
    It was a joint decision of all involved and they will stick to it.
    I am sad, I miss the fun, easy, entertaining game we all enjoyed, and the player community, but I will drop it now . But I will never be a fan of this CU game. Too bothersome for me.
    I can send you the answer Klaus, via Arne, provided if you want in the chat feature. Just have to go to a different PC...

  • @Fortuna Yes, I would like to see the response.

  • @administrators
    Fine lets accept the fact that Play Catan is no longer possible to keep up and running. I would like to know what is being done to make CU better? I was here 2 years ago when Play Catan was shut down and made a whole bunch of suggestions to improve game play, at that time CU was filled with so many bugs that it was impossible to play. 2 years later I'm forced back on this platform and a lot of the bugs have disappeared and speed has improved but the game play sucks.
    Why are you not listening to any of the suggestions we're making about improving the game play for eg. we can't see all our cards when playing we have to keep clicking a hundred times to just look at what we have. Another suggestion was to introduce double clicks so we can play faster. Another on was to improve the trade window.
    These suggestions were made 2 years ago as well and nothing has changed.
    Players have been complaining about this everywhere and it doesn't seem to be implemented at all. If you claim to be playing this game then you should understand that everyone wants a fast game not to be slowed down by having to click a hundred times just to perform basic operations in the game.
    The reason Play Catan was good was because the community helped it get better, but the important point being that the communities suggestions were implemented. Why are you guys not taking our suggestions? Right now in the current form it is impossible to play and enjoy the game. It just frustrating to play so start listening...

    By the way suggestions I had made a week back... no response to date
    @belz said:

    After playing a few game I've come up with suggestions to speed up the game and make some other changes to improve it.

    1. Placing the roads, settlements, cities and other stuff needs to be sped up. This game needs so many clicks for simple moves that it needs to be cut down drastically. Start allowing double clicks to place roads etc.

    2. The development cards can be read if they're hiding behind each other. Why would you do this??? have them displayed clearly so you don't have to click to enlarge them and then click on them again to see what you've got. This serves no purpose at all, just let us see what cards we're holding and only similar cards stack behind each other. Another point is if I click on the cards and they enlarge but still hide behind each other I still can't read them!!! so disable the enlarge feature if its so pointless.

    3. The trade window needs to change because it is so slow and useless. The interface needs to change to a Play Catan interface so it faster with some short replies like I need more, offer something else , etc. Also how is it possible not to have to option to counter a trade offer??? this is very much a part of catan so why is this option not there ?

    Every move needs multiple clicks to execute and not just multiple clicks but moving the mouse all over the place to confirm simple moves, slows down the game, create the option for more experienced players to use double clicks so that the game speeds up.

    You need a lobby otherwise I have no idea what i'm joining, even in automatch I have no option to select dice game so essentially I'm at the mercy of what ever random dice happens, cuts the skill of players... We need a lobby!!!

    I know you guys have only done app stuff but the platform has moved to the computer now so you guys need to stop thinking like app programmers and thinking like computer users because right now this program is terrible to play.

  • @joem - HI there - Here is the answer I received per email after I sent a letter to Klaus Teuber in Germany.
    It was posted in German, I will also add a translation for the English speaking fans of PlayCatan:
    Für uns bei Catan war es die erste digitale Online-Plattform und daher auch etwas Besonderes in das wir über die Jahre viel Arbeit und Herzblut gesteckt haben.
    PlayCatan läuft jedoch nur online mit einer aufwendigen Serverinfrastruktur auf wenigen Plattformen. Da das System zudem technisch veraltet ist, war die endgültige Abschaltung leider irgendwann nötig und schon frühzeitig angekündigt worden. Trotzdem hat USM, der Publisher der digitalen Catan Versionen, den Betrieb von PlayCatan so lange wie möglich versucht aufrecht zu halten und tat dies netterweise für bereits registrierte User sogar kostenfrei.
    Seit der Veröffentlichung vor 2 Jahren wurde Catan Universe dabei stetig weiterentwickelt und auch auf Kritik aus der Community wurde, wo es möglich war, reagiert. Z.B. haben die Entwickler schon frühzeitig die Kritik an der Spielgeschwindigkeit aufgegriffen, wodurch die Aktionen der Computergegner und die allgemeinen Animationen nun deutlich schneller als zu Beginn ablaufen. Die Geschwindigkeit der menschlichen Spieler kann sicherlich nicht beeinflusst werden, trotz integriertem Timer, da mag jeder individuell spielen. Sie können das freie "Ankunft auf Catan" Szenario jedoch auch mit ausgewählten Mitspielern anlegen und spielen, wenn Sie die gleichnamige, kostenlose Einstiegskampagne durchgespielt haben. Alternativ können Sie das Catan Basisspiel auch für einen kleinen Betrag kaufen, womit dieses dann mit allen verfügbaren Optionen und Varianten dauerhaft verfügbar ist.
    Ich bin zudem sicher, dass die Entwickler auch weiterhin konstruktives Feedback aus der Community aufgreifen werden. Auch für uns als Lizenzgeber ist es wichtig, dass Catan Universe sich im Sinne der Spieler entwickelt.
    Ich hoffe also Sie werden Catan Universe trotzdem noch eine Chance geben und es wird auch für Sie eine Plattform werden, auf der Sie sich wohl fühlen.
    Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
    Arnd Beenen
    Catan Team
    For us at Catan it was the first digital online platform and therefore something special. We poured a lot of hard work and our whole heart into this.
    However, PlayCatan only runs online with a complex server infrastructure and only on a few platforms. Since the system was also rather old and outdated, it was regretfully necessary to shut it down at some point and we have made an early announcement about this. Despite this, the publisher of the digital Catan versions, USM, tried to keep PlayCatan running as long as possible, and for the players already registered, they kindly offered to do so free of charge.
    Since its launch 2 years ago Catan Universe has seen continuous improvements and they have also reacted on critique/input from the Community, as much as possible. For example - the developers took action early on about the speed of the game, and now the actions of AIs and the general animations run a lot faster than in the beginning. The speed of the human players can surely not be influenced, despite the integrated timer, everyone can play at their own pace.
    You can now play the "Arrival at Catan" scenario with other players you can select, after you played the entry campaign with the same name. Alternatively you can purchase the basic Catan game at a low cost, and then this is available to you with all options and versions permanently.
    I am also convinced that the developers will continue to implement constructive feedback from the community. For us as licensor it is also important that Catan Universe is developed with the player community in mind.
    Therefore I hope that you will still give Catan Universe a chance and that it will become a platform you will enjoy.

    There you have it...... same answers that we just don't like since after several games I still do not like CU and all its bugs and awkwardness. It is not a worthy replacement of what we have enjoyed for so many years.
    Miss you all!!!!

  • Thank you for sharing. I'm still confused by a couple of things. I've now read twice about the system being old and outdated. Is there a techie out there who can explain why that means "...It was regretfully necessary to shut it down.."? I'm also confused by the statement "...complex server infrastructure and only on a few platforms...". Does that mean they're committing to accommodating mobile device usage which PlayCatan wasn't compatible with? I think they're making decisions based on available new technology rather than customer needs; the tail wagging the dog, as it were. If anyone out there can explain these things in layman's terms it would be appreciated.
    Once again thank you, Fortuna and hello and probably good bye to all my fellow cataners. It was a blast.

  • @joem I am not a technical person either, but I will try to explain what I can for you. :relaxed:

    "online with a complex server infrastructure and only on a few platforms. Since the system was also rather old and outdated"

    ...So basically, they are saying the software is too old to continue putting resources ie. manpower, time, effort, etc into keeping it working properly. Also the industry grows so fast that applications that run on older software are dismissed simply for using older software.

    So you don't have to agree with it, obviously, but if they want to grow their application, they have to do something that includes mobile. So yes, they are attempting expansion in that direction. They might even want to expand into other ways to play (or platforms as the techies say), such as XBox, PlayStation, or other stand alone game systems like that. VirtualReality (or VR) is probably going to become standard in a few years, so they have set themselves up for that too. Also, if they want to attract new customers, they must make it look good as well as have a solid game play.

    Personally, I think it's good that they are going into mobile apps. I think they need to do that, even though I think internet connections need to come a long way before we are all connected well enough for long enough to play a game across the globe on our cellphones. Also, I think they have focused too much on looks and not enough on the way the game plays. It's that whole, 'don't judge a book by it's cover' thing. I played a VR of Star Trek and it looked beautiful...absolutely gorgeous! But I struggled to play because it wouldn't register my hand movements. Part of that could have been me and the general learning curve of the game; but some of that is how the game functions. I think CU needs to improve their game play for those who are already here and giving them money, otherwise they will lose those people...and not recommend their product to others. PlayCatan was very much about the community and being a family friendly place to play a few board games, maybe meet some new friends. CU seems more about getting people playing in whatever medium they want, but there is no encouragement for a community. That results in the community being dead, or at least dying. :disappointed: I do miss my friends that I have made and played with, chatted with, visited, etc around the world. Feel free to look me up friends!

    Sorry that ended up being way longer then I meant. :innocent:

    TL;DR: (means Too Long, Didn't Read for those still working on grasping this computer stuff)
    Mobile's the way to go, CU is doing that.
    I think CU has many things to fix before the game play catches up to the looks of the game. And I miss my me friends.


  • @EmeraldAngel It wasn't too long. And thank you for the explanation. I didn't know there were manpower needs and other costs for old software so this makes more sense now from a business point of view. I just wish the administrator had stated that clearly and directly- that it was a cost issue. I can understand that.
    And regarding going to other platforms I can see how they might want to do that although I'm not convinced they'll attract enough gamers to a game like Catan even if they go to mobiles, Xbox, etc. Somehow, I still look at Catan as older and slower. I might be wrong.
    That leaves your final points about how the game functions. I agree all around. It needs to be streamlined even if it means sacrificing the graphics and animation. And yes, the community was an integral part of the fun. I'll miss it and continue to dream it will return somehow on CU.

  • @kuandreas22 I am absolutely clueless how to develop a game. I need to rely on the professionals to do that. :smiley: :speech_balloon: And it seems to me some of the changes we ask for could be easily done. :disappointed: :speech_balloon: I don´t understand why it is so hard to put our input into practice. For example, why simple changes - like showing the cards not in a fan, but in a line, so they don´t cover each other - could not be realized within 2 years. :angry: :speech_balloon: :snail: This is not a whim, or a matter of taste. It creates a completely unnescessary handicap in the game. Maybe there is a perfectly good reason, but for 2 years people have been asking for this, to no avail. :rage: :speech_balloon: I would be grateful if admin could help me understand. I know it must be hard to handle so much criticism, but we put a lot of time and thought into our feedback to help you improve the product you want to sell. We should not be on opposite sides, because we have a common interest: :sparkles: A well playable, easy to use Catan Universe. :sparkles: I know it sometimes must feel like nagging and hackeling, but you should consider our feed back a valuable resource, not a curse :ghost: you have to live with.

  • Banned

    The problem of course being that the people involved now have not spent any significant amount of time actually playing the games on PlayCatan. It's the gold standard for playing the game quickly and efficiently. They do not understand that a game is completed in literally 1/3-1/4 of the time that a game on CU takes. They don't know this because they didn't use PlayCatan. Everything we suggest sounds like a huge pain to them because they did not build their new universe to accommodate that kind of functionality.

    Bring back PlayCatan! Let us maintain it and pay for it. You just collect money.


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