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Battlefront.com

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  1. Totally understood. We've definitely been able to reproduce the bug with some regularity. It's not an "all the time, every time" thing, but it's definitely something that needs to be fixed as soon as we can. Generally speaking, when a bug is pretty evident it's usually fixable without too much fuss. What takes so much time is testing, verification, release, and post release. The primary concern is since the game engine is in constant flux the more time that passes the more current and previous code diverges. Since we don't rebuild and test each inactive game regularly alongside an active project (totally impractical to do that) it's entirely possible that something in the current code doesn't play well with another game. Testing is the only way to know for sure, and if we do find something (happens more than you think) then that has to be fixed before release. When we do put out a patch it's always a risk that we missed something like that. When that happens a brand new patch, which cost us quite a bit of time to do, now has a new howl for fixing. And then we're right back in the same position we were in before. Perhaps worse in some people's eyes. The only time we can make a "quick" patch is within days or a few weeks of a release. In that case there's likely been little new work done to the game engine and that reassures us we can punt a patch out without too much risk of unintended consequences. By the time this Bocage discussion really got going we were already outside of that window by months. To put out a patch now is not quick or easy to do, so we've been waiting to amass more fixes before committing to a new patch. It's a damned if we do (time + risk of more troubles), damned if we don't (customer annoyance) situation. Nobody's happy with those. Steve
  2. Dang it! I just had my English corrected by a treadhead. How embarrassing! Well, could have been worse... a Marine could have corrected my grammar Steve
  3. Unless you live up my way We consider winter gone when you can see the ground again, and that certainly isn't March 19th. Sometimes it drags out into May. See, game companies aren't the only ones that can be late! Steve
  4. Thanks. Unfortunately, I don't have anything more to add at this point. We're not very keen on producing patches to fix singular, situationally specific issues because it takes quite a bit of time to produce a patch. The time needed to release a patch with 1 fix is the same as a patch with 100 fixes. Since there's always something to fix, we have to do it this way or everything will suffer. Eventually things get fixed. Obviously this does present problems for a customer who experiences a specific bug that is more than irritating. The bocage issue you've brought up is certainly more than irritating to those who experience it, but it is fairly isolated when one considers the whole range of possible Combat Mission games and maps. We have to balance our limited resources. I'll see what I can do, however don't hold your breath for anything soon. Our schedule is crammed at the moment and we're already having to juggle too many things. The release of RtV helped get things back to "normal overloaded", so odds of a patch are better. Steve
  5. Sheesh. I gave you guys a year (2020) in my post, you'd think that would be enough But seriously, winter 2019/2020 is the one I meant. Now I have to get back to getting the Volkssturm TO&E integrated. Funny how much time it takes to make tactical units that are complete rubbish. Steve
  6. I don't recall it either. Which kinda indicates how important this "bug" is even if it exists. My guess is it either doesn't exist or is so situationally specific it's not noticeable. If someone knows of a thread where this is discussed, I'm happy to look into it. After all, it is my job Steve
  7. Aaaaand CarlWAW is now banned. No big surprise to anybody, I bet. But to be formal about it, here are the reasons: 1. Pretty consistently makes personally abusive posts 2. Has been repeatedly warned about behavior 3. And it turns out... was previously banned for abusive behavior using a different account. Just noticed that and it comes as no surprise As long time Forum members know, we never ban people for being constructively critical or even being generally sour in attitude. Sometimes people flame out, others go the slow burn route. CarlWAW has been on the slow burn route for quite some time. I've been overly patient. Thanks for the reminder that I should "do my job", BTW. Steve
  8. Oh for sure the majority of negativity expressed towards CMBB and CMAK were the usual "I wish they would make the game I want, but such is life" sort of thing. There were few who really got bothered by it, but there were very heated debates about why the person making a point was so obviously right and the person opposing it was so obviously wrong. You don't have to look very far back, or hard, to see that sort of thing here on these Forums. Especially between the Eastern Front and Western Front super fans. The Eastern Front folks think there is no other front more worthy of attention for 10 zillion reasons (I agree with 9 zillion of them, BTW!), the Western Front folks have their 10 zillion reasons why their favorite place is the best (I'd give them 8 out of 10 zillion). The supporters of other areas of personal interest (PTO, Italy, Crete, North Africa, etc.) might not have 10 zillion reasons in a debate, but they have more than a couple (of which a few are pretty good). I've even seen the odd person here or there try to make the case that an obscure chapter in WW2 era, like Abyssinia (I remember someone saying we should focus on that!) is more interesting than the more popular ones. Maybe they have a point or two, but as an old saying goes... if you put a monkey in front of a typewriter long enough... The point is these sorts of debates happen in wargame forums. And they happen frequently, often passionately. At least here they are generally kept civil. Sometimes by brute force Steve
  9. Yup, I remember it well. As an Eastern Front fanatic I was a bit miffed that Western Front people, who just had their turn with CMBO, thought Combat Mission should be limited to just Western Front stuff. Then we got people ticked off at us again with CMAK because, once again, they thought we were wasting our time with things that didn't interest them. And when we announced the first title of CM2 Engine would be modern... that really brought out all the love and understanding from the Western Front fans. At least this time they had company because the Eastern Front fans were upset, as were all the ones who wanted us to do 1940 or PTO. I dunno, maybe I'm remembering things all wrong and in fact our customers were uniformly open minded, happy-go-lucky people who never showed a hint of passionate or opinionated disapproval of anything we did. Maybe I should spend time looking through old threads to find out? Steve
  10. Good point! Shermans were just a T-34 with a different cardboard counter silhouette Steve
  11. I think the primary reason why people didn't like to play as the Soviets, way back when, was a lack of familiarity with the Eastern Front in general. No, I'm not talking about Grogs, but about the general gaming population. I could get a half arsed wargamer friend to play every now and then, but he wanted to work with something familiar. And for an American, familiar was US or German stuff because that's what was part of our culture. It was difficult to get good books about the Eastern Front and of course the Internet didn't exist. Since that time there's been a lot of opportunities for people interested in warfare to learn about the Eastern Front beyond the myths and headline events. But for more Grog types there's something else, I think. Starting with Combat Mission Barbarossa to Berlin the Soviet stuff was finally given some dimension to it. No longer was playing the Soviets a matter of having bigger stacks of inferior units to push across the board, then watching them melt away in combat. Nope, there was the ability to really see that the Soviet forces had interesting tactical possibilities and that it was possible to beat a German foe (or totally squash an Axis Minor force) unit for unit. Even better, the Soviet player had a chance of experiencing "hero" units that showed some personality. Other games followed CMBB's example since then. Just my 2 bits Steve
  12. And you win the prize for pointing this out first 🙂 Winter padded uniform textures aren't integrated yet, so we limited screenshots of Soviets to just the one. Do not worry... full on Soviet winter uniforms will be a part of Fire and Rubble. The preorder window for Rome to Victory was opened a wee bit longer than we would have liked. This time we'll err on the side of opening up closer to release than we did with R2V. Back to the question about EU/NATO forces getting added to CMBS, it's possible but definitely not with this first Module. Steve
  13. Commonwealth Forces are a go for the CMFB Module! There's not much that changes with the US forces, so bringing the CW into CMFB gives the Allied side a nice boost that otherwise wouldn't be there. On the German side there's a lot of stuff to add. Steve
  14. Hello everybody! It’s that time of year again… specifically the very beginning of it. As per long standing tradition, it’s time for me to say a few words about where things are going for Battlefront and Combat Mission in the new year and a little bit about to wrap up the previous year. As long time followers of our work know quite well, Combat Mission releases come about whenever they are ready. That makes predicting release dates pretty tricky. Sometimes they come out roughly when we think, other times a wee bit later, and rarely MUCH later. The release of CMFI Road to Victory was one of the latter. Clearly we got ourselves in too deep with that one as it was back burnered while we did CMSF2 and then took much of 2019 to complete. We’re very pleased with how it turned out, but we did learn that we’re not going to try anything like that again! The compounding “gotchas” resulting from so many new forces spanning a large swath of time added up to far more work (time) than we expected it would. It really exposed the remaining bottlenecks in our development process, that’s for sure. That said, we’ve continued working on a number of other projects throughout 2019 that are now front and center for our 2020 calendar. The most immediate of which is Fire and Rubble, the long awaited first Module for CM Red Thunder. This is a joint internal/external project which is in a very advanced state right now. How advanced? I’m glad you asked: The terrain artwork for Germany is complete Most of the German and Soviet forces that are needed are in place. This includes Waffen SS, Luftwaffe FD, Luftwaffe FJ, Kriegsmarine, and Soviet Lend Lease Volkssturm models and textures are done, with Soviet Partisans coming very soon Master Maps that cover huge swaths of key battle terrain are ready to use for battle making Campaigns are designed and ready for scenario building The inevitable question is… when will it be ready? Winter 2020 is as specific as I think I can be at this point. That’s only a few months and it seems about right for what remains. With the release of Fire and Rubble coming relatively soon, I’m guessing at least one of you might wonder what else we have planned for 2020. Might as well get that out of the way now as well We are not quite sure what the next release will be, though we know for sure it will be one of the following: CM Final Blitzkrieg Module. This will take the Western Front from the Rein to the Elbe. CM Black Sea Module. Picture US Marines, Ukrainian VDD, and Russia VDV forces added to the mix. CM Red Thunder Battle Pack. A bunch of battles for the late Summer 1944 time period was started a while back and is now moving forward again. At least one more Battle Pack, yet to be determined. And as always we’ll be working on things we’re not ready to talk about plus the customized British MoD version. We do like to keep ourselves busy! Here’s to a happy 2020 Steve P.S. Oh yeah, there’s this too...
  15. Sure, I can see the value in it for those who would want to use it. However, it is not a substitute for a campaign system. Since a campaign system is a mandatory component of any CM game, that has to come first. Any import/export system would have to be a second feature separate from the first. And that means creating and maintaining two systems, which we are reluctant to do. Combat Mission can not be everything to everybody all the time, which means there will always be features not developed even though some % of our audience would appreciate them. Steve
  16. Tons of threads on this topic as well. Especially back in 2007/2008 when CMSF was first released. Few people played Operations and of those that did most complained, loudly, about its shortcomings (in particular frontline calculations). This despite considerable effort at addressing the shortcomings. We decided it was unproductive and counter to the interests of CM's customer base to try and fix the unfixable and not really improve customer use. This is coming from the guy that designed Operations and thought they would be the best thing since sliced bread. Sometimes we get things right, sometimes we get them wrong. Good game developers know which is which and use that knowledge going forward. We consider ourselves good game developers Steve
  17. We've been over the "open vs. closed" debates more times than I can count. Our calculation is that the % of our audience that would benefit from an open system is too small compared to the effort to create and maintain an open system. As with so many things, those who are passionate about a particular feature/concept are almost by definition not a good judge as to what it's priority should be within Combat Mission's overall development. Put another way, I have no doubt that some people would love to have the ability to dig into raw data to create their own concept of campaigns. There might even be some decent tools created to make such data more accessible for players. But we don't think that's where we should spend our development and support time, therefore it's not going to happen. I don't expect my position to be accepted by those pushing for such features because in the past it never has It also never has changed our development priorities. Since we feel strongly that we must have a campaign system built into the game, from the outset, our efforts are focused on finding one that appeals to the highest percentage of our audience as possible. The CM2 Campaign system largely achieved that goal, while CM1 Operations failed. Anything we do in the future will likely look different than either, but definitely more akin to CM2's system. Steve
  18. Creating an export and import capability isn't that difficult. Definitely less work than making a whole campaign system. However... it doesn't do anything in and of itself. Someone else would have to create another program to do anything meaningful with that data. And that is no small task. Some of you old hands might remember that we partnered with someone to do just that with CM1, which is an infinitely more simplistic system compared to CM2. The effort failed because the amount of work necessary to get even a rudimentary external campaign system up and running was too big. It's not something we view as having much value to us or to our customer base, therefore it's not on our agenda now or in any time down the road. Steve
  19. My hyperbole aside, it makes perfect sense to me. If you dip into some of those older threads you'll see how passionate people are about a wide variety of incompatible concepts. And even when a subset agrees with a broader type of campaign structure, they quickly go in different directions within the concept. That's because Campaigns are more about how a story is told instead of what the story is about. Steve
  20. I don't want this to turn into a campaign concept thread. There's a couple thousand of those already And because of that, there's not a single suggestion you could make here that we haven't seen more than once (likely to the 10th power) over the past two decades. And that's the problem I alluded to earlier... there is no consensus on what a good campaign system for CM would look like. I'd even hazard a guess that there's no one single idea that has maybe 20% buy-in in broad concept, and even less when it comes down to possible forms of execution. That includes the idea of exporting data so that others can figure out how to make campaigns from it. That excites some for sure, but I suspect several in-game solutions would have more support. With that said, I'm exiting the campaign discussion as I don't think there's much for any of us to gain from it. We'll just trod over the same beaten ground. Steve
  21. We used to email out a newsletter, but things changed. Over the years the various gateways for email have (rightly so) clamped down on mass emailing. We ran into this with our old sever long ago where our dedicated marketing emailer was getting our IP blackballed for "SPAM". We then emailed things in smaller batches, but eventually that ran into problems as well including end user based filters flagging us as SPAM. We can currently only send 100 emails at a time. That barely works for emailing our pre-release customers. absolutely doesn't work for emailing our whole list. When we started up our current website we looked at new options but the cost of sending out our whole list was stupidly expensive. Remember, for an expense to be worth doing we have to get someone to buy something that they never would have bought without that expense. Someone buying a month or two sooner than he otherwise would have doesn't help us. The economics of emailing our whole list likely meant we'd lose money. Seriously. Still, it is worth looking into this again. Dynamics might have changed. I smell a task for Elvis Steve
  22. Attilaforfun, Please don't take what I'm about to say as aggressive or dismissive, but rather a straight forward addressing of your points. Because I've seen them more times than I can count, my responses may look familiar to the regulars here You start off with the most important point to consider in any discussion about Battlefront and/or Combat Mission. And that is we've been around for a lot longer than most game companies, especially ones in our niche. And we've done it without being bought out, reorganized, rebranded, etc. Given the legendary failure rate of game companies, we obviously have avoided the sorts of mistakes that have killed of much bigger and much better financed companies and small companies alike. This leads us to a bit of cognitive disconnect whereby a customer can congratulate us for not being like other companies, but then in the next breath say we're doing things wrong. Especially when the list of things we've been doing wrong is almost word for word the same list we've been seeing for 20+ years. Yup, we see the same suggestions and concerns over and over and over again. It would be nice for customers to ponder the possibility that it is precisely because we don't do these things that we're still around. Not to worry. If we tried to go for a much wider audience we'd have to leave our niche. And to leave our niche we'd have to change our business model. Since it is so difficult to find even one business model that can last 20 years, we're humble enough to be concerned we might not figure out a second one. That doesn't mean there's no room to widen our audience, just that it can't be safely done at the expense of our core CM2 customer base. Just like the move to CM2 would not have survived if we cut out our core CM1 customer base. This is one that comes up all the time. We've not done any serious advertising since... 2006? Even then we were criticized for not advertising enough. This is deliberate. Advertising is a black hole that sucks resources away from the customers we know we have and gambles it on customers we don't know we can land. We've done the cost benefit analysis and we feel the risks outweigh the rewards. It's one of the reasons we're still in business. Therefore, expect to continue to not see advertising for us. This one There's countless threads debating this and I'm not going to make another one. All I'll say is if the majority of our customers could agree on a single campaign system that was realistic to develop, we'd be all over it. But that's not the case. Your passionate arguments for a particular system make others yawn. Their passionate arguments make you yawn. Campaign systems are just like that. We prefer having a system that is reasonable to develop/maintain which most people mostly like. Shooting for an expensive campaign system that only a fraction of our audience would like any better is a fool's errand. See previous comments that suggest the reason we're still in business is because we aren't fools. Then prepare yourself to be pissed off. As I've already said, we will not have a single engine ever. Not for CM2, not beyond it. And you're right that it is deliberate. We understand the technical, commercial, and customer perspectives. Customers don't have a good grasp on any of the three. Yup, not even customer perspectives. And that's because most customers happen to think their personal perspective is in the majority and is always correct. More often than not, neither is the case. Do not think this position is not considering what customers want. It is. But what does a customer want more than a single game engine? A game that works and a company that is in business to support it. We're focused on the latter more than we are any one feature request, no matter how sensible that feature request is in the mind of the customer. That is also our wish. Which is why it's important to accept that the only way that is going to happen is if we (Battlefront) continue to run things the way they need to be run instead of the way customers think they should be run. As I have hopefully illustrated above, there's quite a gap between the two concepts and only one of them has a chance of keeping Battlefront alive for the foreseeable future. Steve
  23. We had thought we could "slice" things relatively easily and that's what we based the CM2 strategy on. The bugger is battlefield timeframe. Forces didn't remain static for more than a few months until the very end of the war. They didn't neatly enter/exit the battlefield, nor was there any consistency between different branches and forces. We'd have to release the entire war's worth of forces for a particular nation to avoid some of the pitfalls we have now, which then means releasing the full suite of equipment, uniforms, textures, etc. That's a huge amount of work and that presents logistical challenges. This is a viable for some companies, perhaps even necessary because direct competitors have set the stage. For us, I don't think that exact model would work. Bad premise. There is no "natural" way to do things with this content. It's all subject to the real world constraints of creating, deploying, and managing the content. Delays for something like Rome to Victory came about because of the complexity of the forces involved and how they relate to the precedent set by other CM2 releases. We could have theoretically released content sooner, but it would have been much less content each release. That would mean restricting options in a different way (i.e. because forces are dribbled out means not having the whole thing at once). This gets back to the inherent head butting between two very distinct subgroups of Combat Mission gamers. On the one hand there's the people that buy and enjoy the game precisely because it offers carefully crafted historical settings. On the other hand there is the type that just wants to slam stuff together however they want to. It is arrogant to think that there is only one type of player and it happens to be the way you want to play. Our sense is the historical crowd is more important to our sales than the snadbox crowd. Fortunately, we provide a game where both types get what they want out of it. Which is a good thing for everybody. Steve
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