Is Cattle and Crops a Scam? Now before I get too deep in this blog article, let me just say for the record that I DO NOT believe Cattle and Crops is a scam. However, as I frequently discuss Cattle and Crops (CnC) in my YouTube “Let’s Play” series and on my YouTube, Twitch and Hitbox Livestreams (not to mention I’ve blogged about CnC many times on my blog site) the question does come up from time to time. Just a few days ago during one of my YouTube Livestreams a viewer asked my opinion of this very subject. So I thought it might be time to discuss this concern here on my blog. But before we dive into the question if it’s a scam, allow me to provide a little more insight.
2017 – The Year of Farming
Just a few months ago I wrote about how I felt the year 2017 would go down as the year of farming. If we count the final few months of 2016, along with the discussions for future agricultural based simulation games with planned release dates in 2017…one could easily say that 2017 would be “The Year of Farming”. As we were all prepping for the end of 2016, Professional Farmer 2017 came crashing into the scene just ahead of the release of Giants Farming Simulator 17. For the record, I did take a long hard look at Professional Farmer 2017, but decided to keep my money in my pocket. I’m glad I did! Even after many patches and updates, I still think this title has a very long way to go to be considered. Another title (which really isn’t worth mentioning) is Farm Expert. Like Professional Farmer 2017, I also gave this one a pass.
If you’ve been watching my YouTube channel, you know I’m very pleased with Giants Farming Simulator 17. I have over 430 hours in the game (compared to 743 hours for FS15). I realize I may not be setting any records with the amount of hours I’ve recorded in FS17, but these are all actual game play hours. Meaning I’ve spent over 430 hours sitting at my gaming PC playing FS17. Anyway….
In addition to the very promising release of Cattle and Crops (which I’ll discuss in a moment), another title which impressed me and I became excited about is Pure Farming 2017. The team behind Pure Farming 2017 launched a website and a Facebook page. Unfortunately, while I’m not saying this is a dead project…there really hasn’t been any new news on this title in some time. I guess time will tell just what these guys are up to. I suppose it really doesn’t matter as they haven’t approached the community for any money as of yet.
While my predictions of 2017 going down as the year of farming may not be looking as promising as it was in the Fall 2016 time frame, I suppose only time will tell. Now, let me get back on subject.
Enter Cattle and Crops
It was early 2016 (February/March timeframe) when I first learned about Cattle and Crops. The first blog entry I found where I mentioned CnC was dated 8 March 2016. They released a “pre-alpha” video which really impressed me. Ok…the video had a cat in it and that pleased me. But the more I read about this game and their plans for it, the more and more impressed I became. As the year progressed, the CnC Dev team released more information and more videos. Sometime in the early Fall timeframe we learned CnC would be funded via a Kickstarter campaign. I’ve supported many endeavors via Kickstarter in the past, but this would be the first time I would actually support software development. I signed up immediately…it was a no-brainer. At the time of the Kickstarter campaign the plan was to provide the financial backers with an early release product sometime in March 2017 with more expanded features afterwards, leading up to the full release sometime in late 2017. I think everyone will agree, the Kickstarter campaign has been tremendously successful. Based on the information published on the CnC website, they have a total of 10,071 Supporters who have contributed 460,726 Euro.
Why I don’t believe Cattle and Crops is a scam?
Understand, I absolutely do not have any first hand information to validate my opinions one way or the other. Like many of you, I’m just simply an investor in the Cattle and Crops Crowdfunding campaign and (again, just like you) I anxiously await the early release and/or any news from the CnC Dev team. Based on all that I have seen, read about and my own gut feeling….I truly believe this is a genuine software product (not vaporware) which is being actively developed with the intentions it will be released.
I believe much of the concern has to do with the delayed release of early access and the somewhat lack of communication from the CnC Dev Team. I’ll address communications in a moment, but in the real world I work as an IT Manager for a large US based software company. While my direct job isn’t in software development, I’m obviously aware of the various lifecycles a software product will go through from the time of its initial concept design to being 100% ready and rolled out to customers. The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” can often be an understatement when talking about software development. As hard as any development team may try to avoid, delays happen and it’s generally in everyone’s best interest to press the brake pedal, versus rolling full-steam ahead. In addition, early release products and any associated dates of release should always be viewed with flexibility. While I agree any published finished product dates should accompany a more solid commitment regarding the date, early access is just that….it’s an early access product.
In addition to what I’ve already stated, I also believe based on some of the individuals involved with the project who have experience with Courseplay, DriveControl, GearBox mod and Modhoster that we would have learned by now if this was destined to only be vaporware. Moving along…
Communication, Communication, Communication
Early on, I was extremely impressed with the level of communication the Cattle and Crops team released. While we’ll never know for sure, but I think it was the CnC communications efforts which drove Giants to do a much better job in communicating and building the media hype ahead of the release of Farming Simulator 17. But unfortunately, I’m of the opinion that Cattle and Crops have really hurt their cause with their lack of communication in recent weeks.
As I’ve already stated, software development is not a perfect thing. Delays can and will happen. I fully support CnC’s decision to delay the early access release originally scheduled for March. Especially after watching how Farm Expert and Professional Farmer 17 were received. While I agree it wouldn’t be wise to communicate a new target date as often more delays occur and the last thing you want is to have to constantly communicate more delayed releases. But at the same time, going almost completely dark isn’t helping their cause.
Now some will argue that it may take too much time to create game play videos and that CnC is better off keeping their nose to the grind stone and not wasting time communicating. But honestly, I really don’t need a weekly YouTube video to keep me engaged in their progress. A simple blog posting, Facebook posting or even Tweet on Twitter each week would be all that is needed to keep their audience in the loop. To make us feel as if we’re still part of the process.
If the original early access release date was end of March (remember what I said earlier about flexibility), we are now one full month beyond that. Most folks who may have helped to fund CnC may not be as familiar with how the software development process and early access releases work. Again, a little more frequent communication from the CnC Dev Team is most certainly encouraged.
Now having said all the above, the CnC Dev team did release an inspiring video showcasing how they have resolved leaky barn roofs. The timing of this video update couldn’t have come at a better time for me. After watching this video and feeling impressed about what they have achieved, I sat down to record an episode on my Lone Star FS17 Let’s Play. Before I could get all my work done it began to rain. As I parked my tractor in the barn I happened to notice that it was raining just as hard inside the barn as it was outside. See…it’s these little things that have me feeling so excited about the release of Cattle and Crops. Immersion and realism is very important to me in a simulation based game.
Cattle and Crops a Game Changer
In closing, please allow me to remind you that I have no inside information. I’m not associated with the CnC Dev Team outside of my financial investment as a crowdfund investor. That’s It! But I really, really believe we’re going to be surprised (in a good way) with what we’ll see both in the early access version and the full blown release version. I stand by what I’ve said many, many times that I would much better wait for the product they intend us to have than to receive something that is half baked and riddled with problems.
Finally, I only have a need for ONE agricultural based simulation game in my library. The main reason I got involved in the Kickstarter for CnC is I do firmly believe that Cattle and Crops will change the way we experience agricultural based simulation games. While I think FS17 is an awesome product, I’m disappointed in the similarities with FS15. Giants most likely (or should be) is in the process of really upping their game. If history repeats itself (and I see no reason why it wouldn’t) we can expect to see Farming Simulator 19 in October 2018. I’m more than certain Giants has been watching and we should assume that one (or more) of the 10,071 supporters of CnC are folks at Giants looking to get their hands on the game. While I don’t like to make dire predictions, but when Cattle and Crops reveals it is everything we hoped it would be AND if Giants releases a product which is just a slightly enhanced version of FS17 but they call it FS19, then that my friends might just spell the end for Giants. At least it will in my book…
I’m curious what you think. Please leave your comments below.
The talented people over at Cattle and Crops have released a new video showcasing AI Controlled Vehicles. Of course, AI controlled vehicles are nothing new in the world of simulation gaming. Even in the “Farming” genre we have had AI vehicles for some time. We of course also have AI controlled workers either through the default game play or through mods such as CoursePlay, AutoCombine etc. These AI workers (and their equipment) must be very closely managed and we must also hold their hand to get them started in whatever task we need them to do.
Even when I first started playing FS15, I thought it would a great feature to be able to hire a worker and without driving the piece of equipment to the field and then having them start the task, just be able to say “Hired Worker Fred” go to field 5 and plow it. Then Fred would drive his tractor and necessary equipment (all by himself) to the field and begin his work. In the short video below (released from CnC on 21 October) they demonstrate just what we’ve been longing for.
It didn’t really take long. By Friday evening I had pretty much decided that I would sign up and support the Cattle and Crops Kickstarter campaign. I guess it was a combination of several things. First, as I stated earlier in the week….Cattle and Crops caught my attention from the very first minute I learned about them. Second, the gameplay trailer they released on Friday convinced me this was more than vaporware and third…I guess I didn’t want to be the “odd-man” out come Spring 2017 when they plan to release an early access version. Anyway, I pledged the $49 dollar level which includes the Season Pass for 1 year. After more research (and some viewer feedback) I determined the season pass wasn’t a “Pay for play” scheme, but just another way of marketing and packaging DLC. Bottom line is I’m excited.
The Kickstarter campaign (as of Saturday, 1 October) has 1,340 backers and has raised $68,178 towards their goal of $84,298. With just over $16,000 to go, I have no doubt this Kickstarter campaign will be funded. While I’ve backed other projects via Kickstarter campaigns, this will be the first software project I’ve participated in. I’ll be sure to post updates as more news is made available and of course I’ll provide a full review of the early access version once it has been made available sometime in the Spring of 2017.
If you want more information on the Cattle and Crops Kickstarter campaign, please visit their Kickstarter website. Additionally, I also invite you to join the PC-SG Simulation Gaming Community. We’ve already started conversations regarding Cattle and Crops and invite you to join in.
A brand new Cattle and Crops Gameplay Trailer was released today. If you’ve been holding onto your pennies in anticipation of the new Cattle and Crops farming simulation game releasing this year versus pre-ordering Farming Simulator 17, then go ahead and place that pre-order for FS17 TODAY! Cattle and Crops will not….I repeat, WILL NOT release in 2016. Yes…this is disappointing news. But in the past few hours we’ve learned a lot about who’s behind Cattle and Crops and a much better idea regarding their plan.
First, please direct your attention to the brand new game play video which was released today.
I must admit, I’m still mostly captivated by what I see from Cattle and Crops (CnC). For me, this has been the case from the very first video they released. However, it’s all starting to make a little more sense to me. Just as I mentioned earlier in the week when I posted the CnC news regarding the upcoming gameplay trailer, we haven’t heard much from CnC and I had started to hold little faith that we would see this game title actually release in 2016 despite what they stated on their website. The software business (including the gaming world) is all about marketing. We’ve heard practically nothing from CnC compared to GIANTS and their upcoming release of FS17. But again, it’s all making sense now.
I do applaud the CnC folks for not rushing this product out the door. If it’s not ready….then it’s not ready! While I’ve often thought the whole CnC concept was vaporware (not real, just a hoax) I’m now convinced this is an actual product/concept and I will continue to follow its progress. But we still have many unanswered questions. In my opinion, wonderful graphics is only part of what goes into a true simulation based game. The short gameplay trailer really didn’t demonstrate anything more than that. Time will tell just how much focus they have dedicated to produce a more realistic simulation versus an arcade experience.
The Cattle and Crops website has been updated to include much more detail regarding CnC, the people behind CnC and the future plans (including the Kickstarter campaign). Please visit the Cattle and Crops website for more information. When you view the actual Kickstarter page (and I hope you do), please pay close attention to what they are calling “Season Pass”. You’ll find this starting at the €44 level. I really don’t know what this means, but it looks like….sounds like…some sort of subscription “pay for play” model???
In closing, I don’t need to worry about my attention being pulled away from FS17 later this Fall or early Winter. As I’ve stated, I pre-ordered FS17 a few months ago and am looking forward to sinking my teeth into all that is new and different. At this time I’m undecided if I’ll participate in the Kickstarter campaign. I’d really like to better understand what they are attempting to achieve with what they are referring to as a “Season Pass”. I’m certainly not a cheapskate, I support GIANTS (and others) by purchasing most DLC made available for their titles. My advice to CnC is scrap the “Season Pass” concept and just produce affordable, quality DLC (like GIANTS) but please don’t become another Train Simulator.
Until next time…
P.S. In the long run, it’s probably very smart for CnC to delay their release until the Fall of 2017. After all, at that point FS17 will be a year old and unless GIANTS changes their highly predictable release schedule, FS19 will be a long one-year away. This could mean the audience (you and I) will be ready to try something new. If CnC is successful in accomplishing all they hope to accomplish, it should also drive FS19 to be that much better.
The silence from Cattle and Crops over the past few months has been absolutely deafening. The last update on their Facebook page was 26 August and it didn’t tell us much. In contrast, Giants has been releasing news content multiple times a week on the much anticipated release of Farming Simulator 17. But the silence has been broken today with a news bulletin from Cattle and Crops.
According to the Cattle and Crops Facebook Page, we can expect a gameplay trailer to be released on Friday. C&C have also posted a countdown timer on their website which indicates the Friday they are referring to is this Friday, 30 September.
I’ll be honest, much of the excitement I had for Cattle and Crops has dried up. If this game ends up being more than vaporware, they seriously need to re-think their marketing strategy.
I’m not the only one that may have considered waiting to purchase FS17 if the communications from C&C would have been more forthcoming. I’m extremely impressed with how Giants have kept us all informed on the new changes coming to FS17. This is what marketing looks like. Unfortunately for C&C, I made the decision to pre-order FS17 as I really didn’t believe Cattle and Crops actually existed or if it did exist, it wouldn’t be releasing before the end of the year.
Again, I’m not the only one left scratching my head here. A Facebook user named Jarrod, posted “I’m not sure what your strategy is for releasing this game knowing that FS17 is already being released next month and pre-orders are already out there. If I were you I would wait and see the faults Giants are going to have and be so much better than them”.
Like you, I’ll watch the game play trailer on Friday. Will I lose any sleep over it Thursday night? Nope…but I’ll watch it. Most likely I’ll even have some comments to share here.
I spent some time in my lazy-boy recliner on Monday evening doing a little reading on the highly anticipated release of Farming Simulator 17. As I recently pointed out, the summer of 2016 (like most summer months) has been really busy for me. I’ve just not had time to spend gaming and when I don’t game….well I also don’t have much time to blog either. Of the simulation based games I frequently play (when I have time) I must admit it is Farming Simulator which is one I really enjoy and I think the reason for this is because it is not just one dimensional. Meaning, with American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2…the task at hand is driving a truck. With Train Simulator the task is driving a train and with Flight Simulator….Ok…you get my point. Now…please understand that I do enjoy each and every one of those sims. I also realize each of those do offer a great deal of variety in the types of trucks, trains and aircraft which can be operated. But the general premise is still one dimensional.
While Farming Simulator can certainly be one dimensional if that is how one desires to play it. Of course, in the early stages of a new map the game play is often devoted to just farming (planting, harvesting, sell, rinse/repeat). But as your farm/map gets rolling there’s plenty of other things to do including animal husbandry and even logging. Yes…yes…I know. The element of logging might be a short stretch with regards to connecting it to farming. I’ll also be honest and say that until I purchased my Logitech joystick and figured out how to get both the wheel/pedal AND joystick all working together, I absolutely hated logging. By the way, I recorded a YouTube video documenting how I managed to get it all working in Farming Simulator 15. Even without a joystick, a chainsaw and this modded woodchipper can help earn some good money and help remove some of those trees which always seem to get in your way. But hey….this blog post isn’t supposed to be about any of this.
The countdown to the release of Farming Simulator 17 is on everyone’s mind (including mine). If you are a Farming Simulator fan, then you know FS17 is expected to release on 25 October 2016. In early March of this year, I typed up a Top 10 wish-list of sorts for what I had hoped FS17 would include. Once FS17 has been released and I have a few hours with the game, I’ll certainly compare notes between my wish-list and FS17. But….from what I’ve been reading several of the items I called out may have been addressed. We already know FS17 will include more crop and animal types to the base game. Of course, with mods the sky is the limit and our friends who play Farming Simulator on a console platform will finally (with the release of FS17) have mod support.
As I mentioned at the top of this article, I spent some time relaxing in my Lazy-Boy recliner on Monday evening. With laptop in my lap, I began reading the over 40 pages in the FS17 Feedback thread on the official Farming Simulator Forums. Through the 40+ pages, the topic of conversation which began on 28 July 2016 is for the purpose of comments and feedback related to the screenshots, videos and other information officially released by Giants. While representatives of Giants have occasionally posted answers to questions and feedback to opinions, I only found a few examples of this. By the way, the links to the feedback thread are for the English language section. I’m told Giants may be a little more responsive in the German language section. As I don’t speak German…that does me no good. However, there is still a lot of good information in the English language section.
Some details I learned pointed me to the Giants Farming Simulator Facebook page. On the Notes page, I found information regarding the “New Environment” including the new North American themed map which is set in the Pacific Northwest of the US (Washington State). While I’m not that excited about finding and collecting the gold coins (I know some of you are), I am really interested in what Giants has described as interacting with local businesses, farmers and residents. While the missions in FS15 were fun in the beginning…I always felt more could be done other than just moving a pallet around or mowing. From the sounds of things, the new Mission System in FS17 will certainly be more interesting as we’ll have the opportunity to earn money by performing tasks on fields we currently don’t own. That’s pretty cool!
2017 – The Year of Farming
2017 is certainly shaping up to be the year of farming. In addition to the Giants release of Farming Simulator 17, we also have other “Farming” themed titles slated for release this fall. Of course, Cattle and Crops is the one at the top of my watch list. Of the “17 or 2017” branded titles, Professional Farmer 2017 was the first to release earlier this year. I sampled it by watching a few YouTube videos and quickly realized I would just keep my pennies in my pocket. Professional Farmer 2017 is available from Steam for $19.99
Next on the list is Farm Expert 2017. It’s been available as a pre-release beta but now has been officially released as of 1 September. I watched several videos and while I think it shows some promise I personally don’t plan to purchase at this time. Many of the reviews seem to point to issues which were present in the pre-release and didn’t get fixed in the full version. From what I have read (and seen), Farm Expert 2017 is more about the actual “Farm Management” versus farm equipment driving simulation. But having said that, I’m certainly going to keep my eye on this title and see how it progresses over time. Farm Expert 2017 is available via Steam for $19.99.
Pure Farming 17 is one I just recently learned about. They have a website and Facebook page with a few published videos. But unless I’m mistaken, the videos appear to be CGI and not actual recorded game play. The release is slated for early 2017.
Finally, Cattle and Crops. Some speculated Cattle and Crops was nothing more than a hoax. I suppose that could still be the case, but other than being excited about FS17, I’m also holding out some excitement for Cattle and Crops. It could still prove to be vaporware….but from all that I’ve read and seen about this new entry, it has all that we love about FS15 and all that we want FS17 to be rolled into one. Like Farm Expert 2017, Cattle and Crops is also supposed to be more than just a farm equipment driving simulation. But really who knows? Cattle and Crops, if you are reading this…why are you not pushing more videos, screenshots and general information out?
I’m just speaking for myself here. While I’m already committed to purchase Farming Simulator 17 (pre-order via Steam), I plan to just carefully and cautiously watch the other titles. I really don’t have an interest in owning and playing multiple farm sim games. Meaning, if I felt confident Cattle and Crops, Pure Farming 17 or Farm Expert 2017 had what it takes to beat Farming Simulator 17, then most likely one of those two titles would replace FS17 for me. But as it certainly stands today….I feel pretty confident in saying that FS17 will be enough of an improvement over FS15 to justify the cost and FS17 will become my “Farm Simulator” title once it is released.
However, if anyone from Cattle and Crops, Pure Farming 17, Professional Farmer 2017 or Farm Expert 2017 is reading this. This blog site averages around 4,500 – 5,000 page views per month. I’d be more than happy to write an honest review based on game play if you care to contact me.
As I’m traveling the next few days this will be the last blog post until mid-September.
It had been over a month since we last heard anything about Cattle and Crops. Perhaps longer. Just this week we’ve had two teasers. Here’s the first.
I’ve read on many farming simulator communities where virtual farmers would like to have better control of their hired help. Who knows if Giants will ever listen to our suggestions. Looks like who ever is behind Cattle and Crops ARE listening. Just enjoy this screenshot for a few minutes. I’m off to go shovel my driveway now. It’s Saturday, April 16 and it’s snowing in Denver, Colorado.
I know some have been anxiously awaiting the next version of Farming Simulator from sometime shortly after FS2015 was released in the fall of 2014. As a matter of fact, I began seeing postings in the forums asking this very question within only months after the release. Yea, it’s safe to say that Giants Software really has a hit on their hands with this franchise. I would even go as far to say the popularity and success of Farming Simulator very closely rivals that of what Microsoft had with Flight Simulator. Time will only tell if Giants repeats the mistakes Microsoft made. But that is a different story for a different article.
Am I looking forward to the new version? You betcha! Farming Simulator 15 was really my first experience with a simulation style game that WASN’T Flight Sim based. So this will be my first experience with making the transition from an older version to a new version and all the pains that may be part of that process. Like in the example of Flight Sim, when moving from Microsoft FS9 to FSX, nothing really worked initially. It took some time for the add-on community to begin to make the transition and I’m sure the same will apply for Farming Simulator. I wouldn’t necessarily expect many of the FS2015 mods to immediately work in FS2017. I suppose DLC might be a different story. But then again, I’m really not sure. The only FS15 DLC I currently own is the JCB pack. But I find it somewhat interesting that we are perhaps less than 6 months away from the release of FS2017 and Giants is taking pre-order purchases for their Holmer DLC. Will the Holmer DLC purchased in March 2016 be usable in FS2017 when it is released later this fall?
Yes, you’ll most likely find me purchasing FS2017 the day it is available to download via Steam. Yes, you’ll also most likely hear from me via this blog (and perhaps via Twitch) regarding my first opportunity to play FS2017. Of course, we are still several months away from all this. But the good news of course is Farming Simulator 17 is coming….
While I’ve known about “other” farming base simulation games such as Pro Farmer and Farm Expert…and I’ve watched YouTube videos showcasing these games…I didn’t see them as competition for Giants and their Farming Simulator franchise. But competition (real competition) is about to come to the virtual farming world.
In addition to the news from Giants regarding FS2017, we are also learning about a brand new entry into the “all things farming simulation” genre with a new simulation game titled Cattle and Crops. You can visit their website here. They also have a Facebook page here. Cattle and Crops is due to be released sometime this calendar year (2016) and boasts the following (and I must say impressive) list of features:
Simulation – Detailed machinery and realistic harvesting techniques.
Management – Your employees will help you take care of your farm, your animals and your estate.
Vegetation – Plant growth and health depending on multiple ground conditions.
Weather – Advanced weather system influencing your farming strategies.
Brands – Supported by our license partners in the industry.
Multiplayer – Join your friends in conquering the maps.
Modding Support – Enhance the game with your own vehicles and maps.
Made with Passion – By Gamers – For Gamers
You can view a short “pre-alpha” video which was released a few weeks ago below
In closing, like me…I’m sure you have many questions regarding the new release of Farming Simulator 2017 and of course, questions about the new Cattle and Crops simulation game. With FS2017, I think we sort of know what we can expect from them. With Cattle and Crops, well…this truly excites me. While the jury is still out, my opinion is that the folks behind Cattle and Crops have been listening to many Farming Simulator users and have taken many of the requested enhancements which Giants may have been slow to implement (or not wanting to implement at all) and are planning to provide what we all want into the new game. But again, the jury is still out. But I say competition is good…and competition will help bring us forward.