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      Special Upgrade 4 Tech Tips   12/27/2016

      Hi all! Now that Upgrade 4 is out and about in large quantities we have now discovered a few SNAFUs that happen out in the scary, real world that is home computing.  Fortunately the rate of problems is extremely small and so far most are easily worked around.  We've identified a few issues that have similar causes which we have clear instructions for work arounds here they are: 1.  CMRT Windows customers need to re-license their original key.  This is a result of improvements to the licensing system which CMBN, CMBS, and CMFB are already using.  To do this launch CMRT with the Upgrade and the first time enter your Engine 4 key.  Exit and then use the "Activate New Products" shortcut in your CMRT folder, then enter your Engine 3 license key.  That should do the trick. 2.  CMRT and CMBN MacOS customers have a similar situation as #2, however the "Activate New Products" is inside the Documents folder in their respective CM folders.  For CMBN you have to go through the process described above for each of your license keys.  There is no special order to follow. 3.  For CMBS and CMFB customers, you need to use the Activate New Products shortcut and enter your Upgrade 4 key.  If you launch the game and see a screen that says "LICENSE FAILURE: Base Game 4.0 is required." that is an indication you haven't yet gone through that procedure.  Provided you had a properly functioning copy before installing the Upgrade, that should be all you need to do.  If in the future you have to install from scratch on a new system you'll need to do the same procedure for both your original license key and your Upgrade 4.0 key. 4.  There's always a weird one and here it is.  A few Windows users are not getting "Activate New Products" shortcuts created during installation.  Apparently anti-virus software is preventing the installer from doing its job.  This might not be a problem right now, but it will prove to be an issue at some point in the future.  The solution is to create your own shortcut using the following steps: Disable your anti-virus software before you do anything. Go to your Desktop, right click on the Desktop itself, select NEW->SHORTCUT, use BROWSE to locate the CM EXE that you are trying to fix. The location is then written out. After it type in a single space and then paste this:

      -showui

      Click NEXT and give your new Shortcut a name (doesn't matter what). Confirm that and you're done. Double click on the new Shortcut and you should be prompted to license whatever it is you need to license. At this time we have not identified any issues that have not been worked around.  Let's hope it stays that way Steve

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  1. BTW, the reason you don't see me as often as you once did is because if I'm here reading and posting then I'm not doing other stuff. I have a lot of other stuff to do Therefore, we rely upon or testers to help us figure out what does/doesn't need our more immediate attention. It's a good system because our testers have many more eyeballs and collective time than I do, and ironically more gameplay time. You're in good hands with 'em. Steve
  2. Yes and no. The move to unified code and installers for Engine 4 does not make patching any easier than they were before. What it makes easier is having those fixes applied to across all Families sooner than they could be done before. The primary problem with patches is threefold: 1. We have to make and test five separate builds. We can not assume that if a tweak is made for one that it works for all, nor can we assume that avoiding unintended negative consequences in one game means all games will avoid new problems. This is time consuming to do. 2. We have to update all the full game installers (perhaps not right away), which is a separate process than #1 and also very time consuming. 3. We have limited time, therefore spending time on patches means not spending time on other things. This has always been the case, and will always be the case. It's just that prior to Engine 4 we also had a fourth problem which was different CM games were using different versions of code so either Charles had to "port" fixes from the current code back to old code or would have to spend time bringing older games up to newer standards before a fix could be made. It took is nearly 4 months to update CMFI's code... just to give you an idea Steve
  3. It appears there's room for improvement, for sure. When artillery comes in soldiers make a decision about what to do OR they panic. If they make a decision it is EITHER to hunker down and ride it out where they are, or relocate to some place else. Engine 4 introduced new behavior that allows soldiers to do the latter to an extent never before seen in CM. It seems that there's some situations where the new behavior (relocate) is getting triggered when the old behavior (hunker) might be better. Do not confuse relocating with panicking. If a soldier is standing out in the open and there's a brick building 10m away, he's probably going to make a break for it (perhaps not that second). This is a conscious decision which may or may not be the right one. If a soldier is standing out in the open and panics, he makes an unconscious decision to do anything but stay in place. That too could be the right or the wrong thing to do. Sometimes panicking units survive simply because making a run for it was the correct course of action. With this in mind, we think there's likely some tweaking to do. However, 20 years of debating this very topic with you guys leads me to conclude that some of the criticism is based on unreasonable/unrealistic expectations for how units behave under fire. There's plenty of accounts of units getting wiped out because they did the wrong thing, like run when they should have stayed or stayed when they should have run. Therefore, expect to see things you do not understand or necessarily agree with in terms of TacAI behavior even after some things are tweaked. Man, I hope people took you up on that offer! Your incessant pessimism and complaining might be taken down a notch if you had to pay up Steve
  4. The best resource is the people who have posted here since they are the ones actively trying to use it. However, I unlicensed my copy and relicensed without the Vehicle Pack active. I was able to select a QB with American Armor without crashing. That is consistent with what the others have said. I have a Mac but the Windows version uses the same code so all should be good. Nobody likes bugs, least of all us because patches are a real PITA and distraction for us. Unfortunately, the complex inter-dependencies which allow people to pick and choose what they do and do not buy creates a lot of variables which are not easily tested for. It's also the case that most of the CMBN customers still actively playing Engine 3 have the Vehicle Pack, so we got into a situation where it wasn't an overt boo-boo. If this crashed for all Engine 3 users it probably would have been caught in testing and certainly would have been discovered within days of the patch release. Unfortunately progress is rarely without bumps in the road! Thanks for understanding and your support. Steve
  5. I got a tip off to come take a look at this thread, so here I am If you experience a crash using a particular combo of QB settings in any Engine 3 version of CMBN then the solution is to not use that combo of settings. I know, it sounds like the old joke "doctor it hurts when I do this" to which the doctor responds "then don't do that", but that really is the only answer here. Sorry about that. There's always lingering problems with every single software release ever put out by any company since the dawn of software. It's simply impossible to provide indefinite support. Otherwise we'd still be spending our time fixing bugs in CMBO, if it were even technically possible. What v3.12 is now is what it will forever be. Note that there is no special code for either the Vehicle Pack (v3.10 and v3.11) or the Battle Pack (v3.12). Purchasing either of these simply provides you with a license key that unlocks the content specific to those releases. Based on what people have said above, it appears that one of the US Vehicle Pack vehicles was improperly assigned to a "normal" Formation. If you have the Vehicle Pack licensed then there's no problem, but if you don't then you're in a situation where the game gets confused and crashes. Upgrade 4 apparently fixed the core problem and so the Vehicle Pack is not needed for those with using Engine 4. Steve
  6. Time to lock this one up for, uhm, obvious reasons. If anybody is interested in Russia's methods for spreading influence through improved KGB strategies, there's plenty of books and articles about it. Heck, there's one in today's LA Times about "Putin's favorite Congressman" and his shady ties to the Kremlin. Interesting as it may be, it's off topic. Steve
  7. I'm glad that it was a polite and interesting discussion, but we do have to keep in mind that it has absolutely nothing to do with anything even remotely related to CMBS. Since the only problem with this discussion is that ti's off topic, I'm moving it to the General forum instead of locking it. Steve
  8. Our unofficial site historian is very much correct! IIRC it was a toothpick to the turret ring to jam it, then a pinecone "down the spout" to disable the gun Steve
  9. Good question. At the time we did CMSF the use of drones was minimal and mostly being done at higher levels. That changed dramatically soon after we released CMSF. So I'd have to say "no" to that. We are also saying "no" to changing things we guessed at which turned out to be wrong. In particular the Marines incorporation of M32 grenade launchers into their squads. At the time the plan was to issue two per squad, which is what we did, but that got changed to one. That said, we will rework some aspects of CMSF1 to conform to new capabilities of CMSF2. Three things come straight to mind: 1. reworking certain rifle platoon structures (almost all Syrian, German, and Dutch IIRC) where the real structures have 1st Squad as the Platoon HQ. As you might recall, for a very long time (Upgrade 3?) the game required the HQ to be a Team, therefore we had to artificially break up 1st Squad into two Teams. That is something we plan to rectify. 2. Trenches in CMSF were baked into the maps and therefore had no fog of war or player placement options. That changed with CMBN v1.00 and we are planning on going back and reworking that. 3. a ton of artwork is being gone over to take advantage of masking and shader improvements made with Upgrade 2. Big effort there. No, sorry. All CMA content is owned by another party. We can't use any of it without their permission. The old code is not anything we want to work with again. So Afghanistan will remain frozen "as is" for the foreseeable future. Steve
  10. No matter how this was intended, very bad form. Especially for someone coming to the forum rather fresh. I'm tempted to give you an involuntary vacation for a week because of it, but I don't recall seeing you cross the line before so I'm going to let this go with a serious warning. Please, think twice before dragging another member through the mud like that. Lucas, welcome to the Forum and please don't think this is a normal reception for new posters. Even for Finns Yes, it is true that we love to give Finns a hard time, but it is only because it's a 20 year tradition started by Finns! Steve
  11. Not for CMSF2 as that is going to be a literal translation of CMSF1. For a CMBS Module, we might very well need some help. Though we have a bunch of Canucks in uniform on our testing team that have been oh so anxious to spill national secrets. For example, that Canadians like hockey If I said "yes", would that make you happy? Because it happens to be yes. Sadly, Rome To Victory is the one project most affected by Chris' departure because it was unusually dependent upon his scenario work for the campaign. Usually we have the work more dispersed, but this one was mostly on him. Which probably contributed to the burn out. We're VERY far along in many ways, but the content is still in need of quite a bit of work. Steve
  12. That is the plan! In theory we can make it work and, obviously, we have incentive to make it work. However, until we get right into the thick of things we won't know for sure what, if any, limitations exist. We don't own the content for CM:A and that pushes it way down on our priority list for updating because it would involve quite a bit of work with considerable risk the effort wouldn't be worth doing vs. putting the same time and resources into other stuff. Shermans? Why not ask for Valentines while you're at it. We always like it when people ask us to do things that have already been done (yes, that's a bone ) We're redoing all Shock Force content, including the three Modules. We are also going to offer some form of discount to existing customers. However, we're not quite sure about the details yet so I can't give specifics at this time. Thanks for the offer! Yes, the German accounts of the late war battles is somewhat sketchy. The accounts from the Soviet side are more reliable for this time period. It is a shame more of the detailed accounts have not been published in English or even in Russian as is often the case. I've passed your name onto the guy doing the primary research and he may contact you. Steve
  13. Phil is the programmer in question and he's been gone full time for 1.5 years and about 1 year from part time work. It was discussed some time ago. Short of it is he got a DREAM job doing AI programming and doing his part to assure that machines will rule the Earth sooner rather than later. I would have kicked him in his rear if he didn't take the job because he is an AI programmer first and foremost. It's stressful enough when working in a standard office type game development environment, but trying to do it remotely without burnout is very tough. Working remotely in general is very tough. Fortunately Charles and I are wired for it. Even then we have our moments! As for announcing what is coming out and when... well, we're working on that. With Chris gone it's put a bit of a wrinkle in our plans. Nothing is getting cut, but things might not be coming out in the order we had intended. In the works right now are: 1. CMFI Rome to Victory (2nd and final Module for CMFI) 2. CMRT Module One (yet to be named, but takes the game through to the end of the war) 3. CMSF2 which brings the original content into the current Engine 4 environment We have several other things being worked on this year, but the above are the three we're focusing on at the moment. Steve
  14. Not sure how the news came here about Chris' departure. That only became official last week. So here's the official scoop... As of last week Chris is on a leave of absence due to burn out. Anybody who has ever worked remotely, without the daily routine interactions with Humans (or close equivalents!), knows that it's easy to do. Especially for something like game development. Very, very few people are wired to handle it long term. Unfortunately, Chris is in the majority on this one Burnout is pretty normal for the games industry, even when working in an office environment. No matter how laid back management is, the work is intense and comes with a fair amount of pressure. The fact that we've never had anybody work for us for less than 5 years is pretty damned good. Chris was at the 5 year mark, plus a couple of years of part time work before that. It's uncertain if Chris can, or even should, rejoin us on a full time basis. His heart wants to, for sure. My hope is that eventually he can return to work with Combat Mission on a part time project basis. As you all know, he's pretty much kick arse and will be sorely missed. I can also confirm that he's 10 times more awesome as an employee than he is a content creator. I'm offline for a few days, so no follow ups from me for a bit. The above pretty much speaks for itself anyway. Steve