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  1. Correct. Attrition in wartime creates all kinds of exceptions. The turn over for US platoon leadership positions was roughly 300% for NW Europe from 1944 into 1945. That meant roughly every 2-3 months a platoon would lose its leader to death or wounding. The succession for a Rifle Platoon was flexible and allowed to work as best suited the conditions of that formation. ROUGHLY speaking, and off the top of my head, it went as follows when the Platoon CO was not present for command (including if he was away, say at a Company HQ): 1. Senior most Squad Leader (usually a Staff SGT) 2. Company 2iC (either 1st or 2nd LT) 3. 2iC from another company, preferably in the same BN 4. Pool replacement or pretty much anywhere else a 1st or 2nd LT could be spared The idea was to keep cohesion and morale as high as possible. Better to have an NCO, who probably has plenty of experience commanding while the CO was away, taking command of the Platoon rather than someone from outside of the platoon. Next best thing would be the 2iC from within the same company as the NCOs of the platoon likely had relationships with the guy already. A 2iC from another company within the same Battalion might be known to the platoon (perhaps he was a former Platoon Leader who got an assignment transfer), but at the very least he'd likely be known to their company commander. Flexibility allowed for taking into account confidence and availability. For example, if the 2iC for a company was not really cut out to be a PL Leader, then the Company CO might leave the senior NCO in charge until a pool replacement could be found. Or perhaps there was no 2iC at the moment or the Company CO was brand new and shouldn't be without the company's seasoned 2iC. Etc, etc. etc. etc. During peacetime recruitment and retention can create similar problems. In fact, the practice of Specialists (predated Technicals) was started back in the 1920s to help retain experienced soldiers. Remember that drafting people into service is seen as a last resort even for countries that rely upon it to fill their ranks. Countries want to retain skilled soldiers instead of losing them after their terms are up. Pay incentives are a useful tool to achieve that aim. As stated in my earlier post, the Technical ranks were explicitly created for pay reasons. When I was contemplating linking the Technical ranks to a movie this is the first one I thought of. Buuuuut... I figured it wasn't quite as well known as Saving Private Ryan Steve
  2. OK, now about some of the other missing ranks. In real militaries there are specialist ranks which run in parallel to what we consider "field ranks". Most nations have Warrant Officers, which are a sort of cross between an NCO and an Officer (generally sharing properties of both). WOs are usually tasked with technical, non-combat positions of authority that aren't expected to be in combat. However, some nations like to use WOs closer to front and/or more embedded with combat forces than others. Which means WOs are largely outside of CM's scope, but not always. As with the 1st and 2nd LT issue outlined above, there are cases where I had to choose a regular NCO or Officer rank over a WO rank. Other times I could opt for the WO rank, but with the same variation restrictions as I've mentioned. This means there are WOs in the game, but not always as frequently as they should be nor with the degree of variety as would be found in real life. Aside from this are a class of Enlisted ranks that the US Army employed for pretty much all of WW2 until shortly after (1948). These are known as the "Technical" ranks, denoted by a "T". These are not separate ranks but rather parallel ranks that were explicitly created to reward soldiers with higher skill levels with higher pay. By design these Technical ranks did not have authority to command anybody, even those of a lower rank, because their stripes were awarded based on technical skills only. For example, if I were a truck mechanic I might have a rank of Technician 5th Grade (T5). If I became more skilled I might be put in charge of all mechanical tasks for a motor pool with a rank increase to Technician 4th Grade (T4). That bump in rank would come with a bump in pay, but not much else. Probably I could boss a T5 in my unit around only insofar as my commanding NCO allowed. In theory if a Private from a Rifle Platoon came in, I couldn't tell him to so much as pick up his cigarette butt. Now, in reality I would probably box his ears and my NCO would cover for me, and the Private's NCO would have to take it up with him. So it's thought that in reality if a T4 inside his direct area of responsibility barked at someone of lower rank then he would be fine. But if a T4 went into the field... forget it. Sooooo... the Technical ranks are not relevant to CM and therefore are not included. For you movie fans, I'll remind you of the character Cpl Upham from Saving Private Ryan. He wore the rank of a T5 and had that rank because he was an interpreter. Remember when he was first introduced he voiced objections because he wasn't trained to fight as would a Corporal, who also wears the same stripes: Steve
  3. You guys are definitely observant, even if it takes you 10+ years to spot something Some of what you've discovered is the way things have been since CMSF1, some other issues are more specific to CMBN (and therefore 8 years as is). First issue is that the slots are gamewide and not nation specific. Which means which slots are used for a specific nation/epoch may be different than another nation/epoch. If you line up German or British against the US you'll see what I mean. It was easier to code it this way and the tiny amount of extra (unused) artwork is the only side effect. Second issue is about ranks that were used by a force in real life, but don't seem to show up in the game. This is because Combat Mission only shows the ranks of the leaders and those leaders have hardcoded ranks by unit type. Meaning, all US Rifle Platoon Leaders for a given type of formation (say, Infantry Battalion 44) are identical from the game's standpoint. Names, modifiers, etc. are all individually assigned on a per Leader basis, but not the rank. Putting this all together, in real life most leadership positions have a primary and at least one secondary acceptable rank. US Rifle Platoon Leaders, for example, are optimally 1st LTs, but 2nd LT is acceptable. Because the ranks are hardcoded to the leadership positions, I have to code it to be EITHER 1st LT OR 2nd LT. It can't be both, even though in real life it was often a mix of the two LT ranks as well as NCO ranks (emergency fill ins). The end result is some secondary leadership ranks are rarely or never seen because I had to make a choice. Hope that helps with understanding what is what. Steve
  4. I generally don't mind unless the person doesn't want to hear that the idea isn't original, few agreed with the point the last dozen times it was brought up, is either disinterested in our perspective, or the worst... throws a tantrum. There's probably other situations, but I'd rather not trying to remember examples of them The point is, if someone makes a statement like "it would be great if I could replay an entire RealTime battle as a movie" there's no harm in that. In fact, it can be instructive for us because if new CM customers continually bring up the same things over and over again, there's probably something to pay attention to in some way even if whatever we don't gain any new insights from a particular discussion. Another angle to consider is the participation of current and future beta testers in forum activities. Some of the less informed or positive minded posters here view our testers as "fan bois" that do nothing but rubber stamp what we do. That's not true at all. Because it is impossible for me, in particular, to read or participate in but a fraction of what goes on in these Forums, we rely upon our testers' experiences on the Forums to help us figure out what will/won't play well for the broader customer base. Which effectively means our testers are your advocates behind the scenes. Since you guys are here year after year, it should be pretty apparent our testers do a good job representing your experiences and perspectives. Anyway, the point is we try to learn from you via this Forum. Over time it gives us insight into what you guys want and perhaps don't want. Whether we're directly participating in discussions here or not, it's an ongoing education we take very seriously. Steve
  5. The thing to keep in mind is that we've been listening VERY closely to you guys for 20+ years. The cumulative knowledge we've built up is already baked into whatever designs we come up with before we've even conceived of what to work on next. Since whatever we do is directly related to the decades of feedback (i.e. we are not working on a successor to Mindcraft or the next Pokemon Go. There's another bone for you all ) a lot of the important stuff is already being taken into consideration. For the most part customer feedback is best when there is something to lay hands on. Conceptual feedback, if broad and not too specific, is also very good. Narrow, detail oriented feedback about things which haven't been made yet tends to have very little practical application from our standpoint. That's where the bulk of the complex, skilled engineering takes place. That's not something that can be done with customers. Doesn't matter what the product is, it's a universal truth. Steve
  6. Thanks for noticing and noting Elvis' contribution to the communications aspect. He wasn't hired just to be a mascot What I think everybody can agree upon, even grudgingly, is the most important thing for all of us is the games we produce. The best PR with the worst product is not what people want. So if we have to err on either PR or product, product is obviously what we should focus on. No gamer would want it any other way. That said, it doesn't mean we couldn't do PR better. Or for that matter, our games better. Breaking news is that life isn't perfect, so neither are games or game companies. Late breaking news is customers aren't perfect either The reason why you put up with us and we put up with you is the same... love of the games we make. As long as we're both happy with that, the rest is not all that important in the big picture. Getting back to my comments about Packs vs. Modules. CMSF2 and R2V both took much longer to do than we wanted. In effect they delayed each other and everything else we were working on. Each had too many openings for compounding development hurdles. It was unfortunate that both happened to be in development at the time we realized the issues. Which gets us to the problems of talking too soon about a game. The sooner we talk about something, the sooner customers firm up their concept of what the game is going to be like. It makes it difficult for us to scale things back a bit to speed up development. Steve
  7. Optimism or not, he is correct that the CMRT module has been in development for some time now. I think as of this week all of the artwork will be complete. That includes new 3D terrain models to give the game a bit more of an urban Prussian feel to it. This sentiment always amuses me because what it really comes down to is "I think BF could do worse than starting to listen to me more". Sorry to inform you, our customer base has never, and will never, agree on development priorities. However, Eastern Front fans have consistently been the ones to overestimate their relative size as a group. And I say that as someone who has always had no problem telling you all that I think the Eastern Front is the most interesting theater to simulate. Trying to make people happy who go out of their way to be unhappy is a fool's errand. Gamers are notorious complainers, wargamers are even more so. If we increased our output we'd be heavily criticized for a dozen reasons EVEN if we didn't sacrifice quality. But especially if we sacrificed quality. There are many people that share the opinion that the world is flat. What should the cartographers do with that information? Doesn't bother us. We've had these sorts of problems since 1998. Consistently. Look at the most successful games out there and you'll find people bad mouthing, slandering, and otherwise being right bastards towards the people that make them. Of course I'd rather have people belittling our efforts while getting rich from them. But we chose to make wargames, so we are destined to be belittled without the wealth. On this point I partly agree. The problem with putting out more information is it increases expectations, which increases demands, which increases complaints when expectations and demands are not met. We definitely could spend more time promoting our games, but that would come at the expense of production. And since production appears to be your biggest gripe with us, maybe you might prefer us to keep things as they are? Now, with all that said... we definitely won't ever try to make a Module as complex as Rome to Victory again. We learned our lesson that doing something that expansive means either spending way more time on it than we want or it means cutting so many corners that it doesn't make sense to do it in the first place. In fact, we will likely shift to Packs instead of Modules after we've put out the CMRT Module. Less stuff, faster production, lower cost to customers. It's probably the right way to go. Steve
  8. OK, let's not "go there" as we say We're happy to be working with our British cousins. Might even cause me to go back to Old Blighty sometime soon. I already checked and my two favorite pubs near my old flat are still around. You know, just in case! Steve
  9. CMSF2 came about in part because we wanted to do it and in part because we knew there was support for it. As the features of CM2 diverged more and more from the original CMSF1 feature set, the case for modernizing CMSF1's content became stronger. Eventually we just couldn't say no Steve
  10. The problem for us is that a big part of our audience expects "perfection" because that's what we've aimed for these many years. We don't like to disappoint. But on a more practical level, where do we draw the line between "good" and "good enough"? It's difficult to do that when each individual piece doesn't itself take that much time to implement. Not putting in the correct Sherman mix for the Poles in the Summer of 1944 doesn't really save much time. Makes it tough to say no! Steve
  11. Sburke is correct. We don't regret putting in minor nation forces or obscure formations, we just feel it would have been better to draw the line of what to include a bit differently. Here's how it started, in a broad way. "The Canadians use British TO&E and uniforms, so they're easy". Then we got to "Well, except the such and such only had 2 in their Scout Platoon". Right there means I have to create a parallel formation instead of reusing the British one as it was. All set now? Sure... until someone says "that configuration was only for March 1944, otherwise it's the same as the British". Dang, now I have to create the conditions to make the switch happen. All set now? Argh... the Scout Platoon didn't have one of the options that the British did, so now I have to create a new options list and go plug it in. All set now? Sorta, because later on they upped the number of vehicles. Argh... Now, take that and multiply it by multiple formations within multiple nations and you get to see the sort of compounding problems that presented themselves. This is on top of the usual sundry of low level details, like the French use US formations (for the most part), but not the same weapons. They also wear different hats for officers. Oh, and doesn't look right having white skinned soldiers representing Arabs, except for some of the formations. Then there's the Indians... gotta make sure the Sihks get their own look separate from the regular Indian forces. Then there's the... It just seems to never end! Steve
  12. I was wondering if there was something specific he had in mind. Generally someone with the balls to accuse another person of lying at least has the courtesy to be specific. But that would allow the accusation to be meaningfully disputed, which is not the intention of the original poster. And yeah, of course we didn't tell you guys a SMALL part of the delay was because of the MOD contract. Because if we had told you, we'd have had to kill you. Says so in the contract More seriously, we weren't allowed to tell anybody until they made it public. Not that the MOD aspect is delaying things by much. Only started real work on it a month ago and there's been plenty of other work done right along side. I don't think we'll ever try to do another Rome to Victory scale module again. The "oh, that's nearly the same as that so let's add it" mentality wasn't really smart. There's so many minor differences between forces, equipment, timing, etc. that we would have been much better off with trying to do less. Steve
  13. Post got flagged, so duty called me away from trying to figure out how to deal with the complexities of Free French uniform appearances in the game. Sorted out the Sikhs a bit earlier today, so got that one checked off the list! Plus, this week I fixed our well pump (water is taken for granted until it ain't there!) so I have some credit rolling forward. Steve
  14. Ah, so you're saying we're lying? What exactly do you think we're lying about? As the one you are accusing of lying, I am genuinely curious because unlike you I know all the facts. Steve
  15. We retain ownership of the code, assets, etc. so in theory some of the stuff could transfer over to commercial products under certain conditions. It's just that we don't see much utility in doing that for practical reasons. Oh, and for those who are curious about the business side of things, a lot of resources, persistence and patience is needed to land a defense contract of this nature. It also takes the right product. Slitherine has spent years working hard to break into the defense contracting world, Battlefront has spent two decades developing Combat Mission. Partnering together on military contracts makes sense. Steve
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