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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. Oh, I certainly agree. It's just that most of our customers don't Or at least not full time. So the majority of scenarios we include with our games will be aimed in one direction more than another, even though the game itself is capable of both. Steve
  2. Gold Star for you I'm in contact with the project manager for this particular program. This is it in a nutshell. The idea is for the members of the program to get in, play, and get out as quickly as possible as many times as possible. While there is nothing to stop them from fooling around with the Editor, nor would there be anything wrong with it from the program's perspective, it is not the focus of it. Yup, that is entirely possible. Though with CMSF2 on the way it won't be too long before those things will be covered in the existing Syrian scenario. Steve
  3. Yes, for sure people CAN have fun with scenarios where there is very little combat, unit counts, limited combined arms, etc. In fact, one of my most favorite CMSF scenarios involved doing little more than maneuvering recon teams to figure out where the enemy was. Engagement was suicide and a mission failure. The combat came with the NEXT battle. It was a blast and I think most people agreed. But if it was like that for 9 out of 10 battles? We'd lose our audience for sure. The corollary of this is one of the things that the NZ Army is interested in, as are other militaries. Due to the dispersed nature of most nations' forces, the cost of using heavy equipment, and the limited amount of space to use everything all at once... there's not a lot of actual full spectrum combined training maneuvers available to militaries. Maybe once a year at best. Even the Russians with all of their comparatively large scale "snap exercises" have the same problem, even though they probably spend more resources on this sort of thing than anybody else. In the case of Russia the problem is the bulk of their forces are still 1 year conscription, so even 2 big events per year per soldier isn't great considering most of them only experience 2 in their entire career. In almost all cases the training rarely has a full spectrum OPFOR of equal, not to mention greater, size. The US Army is about the only one in the world that regularly does large scale OPFOR exercises. But like I just mentioned, per soldier it is done far few times. Going to Ft. Irwin once is definitely a big deal, but really... soldiers should be doing it every couple of months to really have the ability to hone their skills. It is simply impractical to do that. What Combat Mission provides is an opportunity for exploring the full array of military capabilities, on both sides, whenever and wherever the soldier wants. Sure, it is not the same as doing it in real life, but if in real life you aren't doing it at all... well... better to have virtual battlefield training than none! Better still is the opportunity for repetition and experimentation, two things that are absolutely off the table when it comes to real life maneuvers. Even more so, a soldier that identifies a specific shortcoming/weakness can work on those issues specific to him or her. Something that would not ever be possible with pretty much any training regiment as there's no way an exercise can be tailored specifically to one particular soldier within the larger force. It also allows soldiers to experience command decisions related to weapons and units that otherwise would never be under his/her command, thus offering some insights into how to exploit positives and avoid the negatives when working with them. Another benefit of Combat Mission is the ability to do "what if" scenarios. Not only the obvious ones where "what if a hundred T-90s show up at one time", but more interesting things like "what if one tank shows up and I don't have any long distance ATGMs?" or "what if my vehicles can't get into a place where there's a determined enemy point of resistance?". I still remember, quite fondly, when CMSF was used for a US Army battalion level training exercise where a captain kept requesting artillery support and the Colonel in charge kept saying "denied!". The officer was a bit incensed and asked why he couldn't have it and the Colonel said "because they are busy with other things and you aren't important enough". That captain had no problems like that in Afghanistan, so he did seem a bit puzzled why he wasn't the center of the universe in the training exercise As the NZ article, and others point out, this is not a substitute for real life training nor classroom work. It is, however, a great tool if used correctly. And that does mean tailoring the battles to suit the training needs instead of using battles designed for entertainment as their primary goal. Fortunately that is easily done thanks to our Editor and the game guts being inherently aimed at realism. Steve
  4. Absolutely, but where's the fun in that? I fondly remember the scenario PzKrtWfr mentioned because it was the first one created, during testing, that featured air power as a central part of a large scenario. I had a ton of fun with it. Though if we are thinking of the same scenario, it was a platoon of Stryker infantry backed by a platoon of Stryker ATGMs, artillery, and Apaches. Though maybe George changed it into something different than what I tested, that I don't remember. Regardless of the details, this is an excellent example of the difference between a sim intended for real life commanders and a wargame intended primarily to entertain. The sim would be set up to see if the commander made the right decision (withdrawal) at the right time (pretty damned soon) in the right way (having the ATGMs punch up the lead Syrian column while the rest put the peddle to the metal rearward). That's the complete opposite of what gamers want. If anything, gamers would want another battalion of Syrian mech infantry to shoot up AND a resupply truck to reload the ATGMs As said above, gamers thrive on battles which portray "worst case scenarios" for the average battalion or lower commander. They probably want 9 out of 10 battles to be like that. For a sim audience? Probably 9 out of 10 would be low to medium intensity. Different audiences, obviously, require different scenarios. Since we sell our games to wargamers first and foremost, that's what we cater to. Steve
  5. Yup Someone in the community can make THE MOST BORING SCENARIO EVER (according to gamers) and yet the sim types might think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Different needs mean different solutions. Our solutions, by default, are to entertain the gamers buying Combat Mission. If someone wants to pay us to make the game boring for gamers, we're always up for a challenge Steve
  6. Heh... that didn't take long for you guys to spot Yes, the comments reflect the core difference between a sim and a game. While Combat Mission's mechanics are absolutely a simulation engine, the manifestations of it are very much aimed at gamers. A sim might have a platoon sized force do nothing more than maneuver a map without taking much fire, then be judged almost exclusively on friendly casualties with even 1 or 2 being enough to get a poor score. Gamers would consider such a scenario a waste of time. For the most part. I mean, a gamer who really wants to have realistic scenarios might like one or two battles set up as sims, but would then say "OK, bring on a horde of T-72s or I walk away!" The other aspect is that sims require a bunch of different "tools" for a classroom environment that gamers would hate or at best not use. So not much point in spending our time on such things, especially since gamers are paying for all our development time. Literally. We don't misspend your money Steve
  7. Good Gosh and his son Jeepers. I'm locking this for obvious reasons. Steve
  8. Ah, I thought there might be some information in the comments. Don't bother trying to identify them on my account as it isn't of interest to me now. Thanks! Drones have changed warfare in so many ways! Steve
  9. Gamers tend to think of tanks as invulnerable to things such as BMPs. Not necessarily Tankers under fire, especially when taking real damage, can easily think that worse is about to come. With only seconds to make critical decisions, withdrawing is a logical outcome. CM's TacAI does this sometimes, much to the annoyance or anger of players Haiduk, Which battlefield is this? Steve
  10. Request granted Steve
  11. None of that is CMFI specific and is the sort of thing that needs to be explored in excruciatingly boring detail to separate perceptions from reality, corner cases from general behavior, things which are terrain specific from those which aren't, etc. People have been debating/complaining about such details for 10 years now, so I don't expect we'll ever get on the other side of it We will try though! Now that all of the Upgrade 4 stuff is out of the way, especially the Italian stuff, we are now full attention on Rome to Victory until it is done. A couple of months for sure, almost all of which are scenario creating, balancing, and rebalancing. The rest of the stuff (models, textures, and even the TO&E) is pretty much good to go. Supply units was an oversight as I had simply moved the US, Commonwealth, and German ones over from CMBN. There are no Italian units in Normandy so that explains that! As for flamethrowers, it was a late decision to include them "for free" and we didn't think we had enough time to make the model and textures necessary for the Italian one. Turns out we did, but that's hindsight for you! I would like to get that added in as a "freebie" for Rome to Victory, also accessible to people with the Base Game. Steve
  12. Typically, and definitely traditionally, the Russian/Soviet model is "one level up" from the Western/NATO system. Generally speaking NATO NCOs are like Russian junior officers, NATO junior officers are more like Russian mid level officers. There's a number of reasons for this, with training costs being one of them. NATO NCOs are expensive to train relative to their Russian counterparts. Steve
  13. AFAIK only Flamethrowers are new. I thought Pak43 was in Gustav Line, but I might be mistaken. Oh! And I keep forgetting to mention that CMFI now has "Supply Unit" options just like the other games. This was something we added after Engine 3 so it's the first time we had a chance to get it into CMFI. Steve
  14. Major TO&E updates. Not necessarily noticeable to casual inspection, but I can say for sure the changes are measured in the hundreds. The system itself has its limitations and so there's always going to be room for improvement. However, relatively speaking the Auto Picker should be much better than it ever has been. One reason it works "better" for the Allies is the Allies have a lot less variety of stuff with less wide a range in capabilities. Think of it like the Germans having 4 great picks, 4 questionable picks, and 2 bad picks to choose from, whereas the Allies might have 6 great picks 3 questionable picks, and 1 bad pick. Odds are simply in favor of coming up with a more appropriate force for the Allies. And if you think about it, that somewhat reflects reality. The Germans often had to make do with stuff that really wasn't suited for the mission because that's what they had. The famous example of this were the use of King Tigers by KG Peiper. Totally unsuited for the terrain and weather. Peiper didn't even want the KTs. But Peiper was subjected to a historical form of "auto picker" and had to live with the results. CM players can always restart No changes have been made to the files. We always change the version number when the files are different. The soft launch is more to make sure the sales and website side of things is working correctly, not the files themselves. That's done ahead of release by our testers. No announcement for ETA yet, but it is the next thing that we will release. Steve
  15. Only a few very minor tweaks. The sort of stuff we don't tend to document. That's because we just did a big round of fixes/tweaks for the Engine 4 release. Seems this needs more repeating Yeah, we'd never charge $10 for a "couple of maps" because we know nobody would pay $10 for "a couple of maps". Which is why this Battle Pack is not a "couple of maps" Two expertly crafted campaigns that have been play balanced and vetted by the same guys who work on the content for all our games is definitely not a "couple of maps". If that's not interesting to someone, we're fine with that. But mischaracterizing doesn't make the Battle Pack look bad, it makes... well, it doesn't make the criticism look very relevant. Steve