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Everything posted by Battlefront.com

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Well, for sure I'm now less enthusiastic about the contract being in British Pounds than I was when we started it. Oh well, nothing to be done about that except hurry up and finish! Reminds me of when the EUR was new we insisted on contracts in USD. Not too long after that we wished we had done it the other way around. Steve
  14. Thanks! For sure some would salivate over the forensics stuff we're working on, but there's very little practical use and requires external tools to use. None of it is in the form of ingame displays as that would be impractical. Steve
  15. For NZ we did not modify the game engine at all. Just TO&E, models, and textures. Think of it as a very nice Module that nobody else gets to see A significant amount of the work we're doing for the British is of a similar nature, and therefore also akin to a Module that you guys can't have access to. SOME of that content MIGHT be released in commercial form in some way in the future. What's new with this contract is we are modifying Combat Mission's code to include new features not found in the commercial version. For the most part the new/modified features are not "interesting" to gamers in any meaningful way and therefore won't ever be seen in by anybody outside of a specific defense contract. The few features that MIGHT be of interest to you folks MIGHT be moved over at some point, but likely not in the same exact form. Steve
  16. Let me correct your quote for you... Now that there's some info out there, not so secret any more Yes, we are working on a customized version of Combat Mission for use within the British military establishment. For the most part it will be used as an analytical tool, not a training tool in the usual sense. It's purpose is to experiment with various options and measure the results to better inform decision making. This is something that Combat Mission is very well set up for due to its underlying "science based" simulation methodology. The extra workload is certainly affecting our overall timeline, but the work with Dstl comes in waves and that means we are able to work on other things concurrently without too much interruption of our commercial work. And before anybody says it, the work with the British MOD does not mean we're moving away from commercial development. Making games for you guys is still our priority long term. Defense work isn't predictable or lucrative enough to become our only product line. Steve
  17. Probably better to lock this up. Links are there for people to explore if they have an interest. Steve
  18. The policy, as such, has existed for a long time. Anybody trying to justify warcrimes, genocide, racial discrimination, etc. is just asking to get banned from this Forum and not just have a post locked up. Neo-fascism of any sort is a special source of irritation for people that aren't intellectually broken, so I don't see why the majority should have to put up with the extremes of defective Human thought. That's the easy part and I think we've been VERY consistent about that over the last 20+ years. Where things get tricky is the fine line between explanation and justification, discussion and promotion. In my view it is perfectly fine to point out that not everybody serving in uniform on behalf of Germany was a crazed mass murderer just as it is to point out that not everybody who served in the Allied forces was a poster child for everything good and wholesome. The reason is both positions, if stated properly and in context of some relevant topic, is factually correct. Trying to shut down someone making such a point falls on the bad side of censorship (i.e. Political Correctness). It is not possible to fully learn about and understand history if some facts are selectively excluded based on standards of a particular viewpoint. Do I have a problem with someone posting an interview with a WSS soldier talking about his experiences in combat, even if I don't feel they are fully accurate or representational. Listening to why an ardent Nazi felt justified in doing horrible things is also important to be exposed to, though not likely in this Forum. Can't defeat an enemy if you don't know how he thinks, right? Therefore, blocking a primary source just because someone doesn't like the broader organization he served in is a really, really, really bad way to study history. Really bad. All of that said, these Forums are here to discuss topics directly related to Combat Mission. The more a topic moves away from that focus, the more likely it is off topic and should be shut down. Doesn't matter if it's talking about why the Nazis were just good but misunderstood Christians or diving into the details of the inner workings of a 1966 Ford Mustang's engine in a thread talking about Mustang aircraft. Off topic is off topic. Separate, but related, is a type of behavior that is also explicitly a no-no on this Forum... and that is what we call "axe grinding". Someone who shows a clear pattern of breaking Forum rules in order to push an agenda is just asking for banishment. Whether it's regurgitating revisionist/neo-Nazi talking points or someone who just won't let it go that Combat Mission doesn't simulate the differences in Fatigue levels due to style of boot worn, it's boorishness at best and a deliberate distraction at worse. We all have better things to read than the same people harping on the same tired talking points over and over again. Finally, there is an inherent problem with talking about genocide, war crimes, and other things on this Forum in that they can never be anything other than off topic right from the start. As with all discussions, a bit of off topic discussion can be acceptable, but if it starts to go down the paths such discussions usually take, then a thread padlock is the least that should happen. Hopefully that clears things up. Steve
  19. There should be no backwards compatibility problems with the TO&E, though theoretically it can happen. Charles has code that checks to make sure things aren't dropped between versions. And a good thing too, because it absolutely does happen and is caught before testers even get a whack at it. Unfortunately save games (and PBEM is at its core a save game) sometimes don't work because of a code change. An OME (Out of Memory Error) is a sign that something in the save file is not as the game expects and things go very badly as a result. It is why we always suggest players finish up games in progress before patching. This has been true since CMSF1 and will continue through until the end of time. However, as many of you have found out over the years... save games very often work fine after a patch. It totally depends on what code was changed and if a particular save state has a value stored in it, and used again, which the new version of the game doesn't like. Sometimes pretty much nobody can use a save game, sometimes it is purely circumstantial. No way to know. Steve
  20. OK, I'm shutting this down. However, I am going to exercise my executive privileges to say my own piece before doing so. I have a piece of paper that says I'm a Historian, so I like being able to justify 4 years of education and expense every once and a while The topic of how organizations (not just States) can get otherwise decent people to do blatantly immoral or illegal actions is a fascinating one. Understanding the techniques and mechanics that can produce this sort of behavior from people who otherwise would be an average good neighbor is critically important for people who value a just society. While no two epochs of Human history are 100% comparable, in many ways what happened in Europe (not just Nazi Germany) in the 1920s through 1950s is an excellent area to draw lessons from for what is going on right now world wide. Especially in countries that are experiencing moves towards more autocratic and less law based governments (USA, Britain, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Italy... the list goes on and on, unfortunately). The book "Ordinary Men" (mentioned above) is probably one of the best books on this subject. The book documents how a normal, every day police force was transformed into a slaughter machine. It does not sugar coat anything, but instead looks very deeply into the way the world really works. It should be on everybody's summer reading list. I insist Another one is "Into That Darkness". This covers interviews with a concentration camp Kommandant and building up of a psychological profile of someone who, like the police in Ordinary Men, would likely have lived a normal life had it not been for people deliberately grooming him for something extraordinary. It shows how an organization can, if it tries hard and deliberately enough, find someone to do its bidding no matter how "evil" it might be. For those who don't fully understand how the Holocaust was not a "German thing", you should add "The Nazis' Last Victims : The Holocaust in Hungary" to your reading list. It documents the events that took place in Hungary to eliminate their Jewish population on their own, though with obvious approval and coordination with the Nazi government. Unlike the active compliance of local populations and elites in occupied territories (in particular France, Poland, and Ukraine), Hungary was a truly independent sate through most of the war and therefore can not excuse its actions by saying "the Germans made us do this". Not that I find that much of a credible excuse for the French, Poles, Ukrainians, etc. anyway. History is a tool for learning how to recognize and respond to events happening today. The activities in Europe during the early part of the 20th Century are extremely well documented and examined from a variety of perspectives. Since today's society is largely based on the society of that time period, we all have an excellent source of knowledge to help us recognize and respond to what is happening in today's world. And with that, I'm shutting down this thread. Steve
  21. There is no difference between the GOG version and what we were selling. We've not touched the code since the Vista patch. We couldn't make a change to the code now even if we wanted to. What this means is it's probable that any issues any of you have now will not change with the GOG version. Having said that, there are a few other variables at play (DirectX for example) that I suppose might get cleared up with a fresh GOG install. Steve
  22. The reasons for not putting our current games onto other sales platforms still remains. Sales would have to increase by a factor of 2 to break even. We're not confident that is the likely outcome. The older Gagmes, which (for now) we aren't even selling on our own site, aren't much of a risk for us Steve
  23. Well, that didn't take long They just went live this morning and yes, totally legit. We've been working on this deal with them for some time now. It's something we haven't done with anybody in a long time so we're interested to see how things go. Steve
  24. Yup, that's been tweaked a bit as well. Steve
  25. It was definitely started that long ago, but we put it on ice for more than a year to focus on CMSF2 after it was clear we needed to focus on it to the exclusion of all other things. But yeah, it took way longer than we wanted it to, that's for sure. Steve
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