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Graphics suck?!!?!?!

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There is no excuse for the textures not being better IMO, when within days of release the modders have got it looking so much better (and have managed to do so with every CMx2 release).

 

Oocch!...This'll mean another long night listening to drunken rants from Jackson Pollack.  I told BFC not to hire the guy but those old softies said Pollack was down on his luck and needed a break... well don't we all. 

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and it's also a matter of monetary investment. If you have 1 programmer you can ask him for a new engine (for example the multicore 64bit), but let's say he will tell you: ok give me 5 years and you got it. I have no idea how much time would be needed, all I know is that it's not so easy (otherwise it would have been done already).

So, do you hire more people? You should, but how do you pay them? What kind of new Investments can be done? All these matters come before the game is released and more fans join in. This is often overseen.

 

BFC is a small company and its tracks are quite set. If I was rich enough I would go there and toss money, without any consideration for it, to Steve asking for every goodie I can imagine (first of all combat mission Vietnam with working helicopters). It can be done, money can do a lot, but would Steve accept? He might not, and he is wise at least to think about saying no, because there's a lot more to consider, any kind of investment can really change BFC and every step must be considered wisely, even if money grew on trees.

 

But BFC does not have to recreate engine. In my opinion, it's an old way of thinking. If everyone was thinking that they have to create their own engine, we would not see a flood of new indie games. Fact is, that new small development studios make a one time financial investment into 3rd party engine provider, and then invest their creative time in gameplay creation. And market is full of very good engines, which are cross-platform, could be adapted to any rendering needs, and the engines are not expensive.

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Pardon me folks, I typically do not wade into threads like this one, but Steve’s post on page two (#33) made me have a Colonel Kilgore moment…

 

 

Over time we have improved the game's look. We have improved its performance. We can continue to do that for a while yet. But yes, at some point it will run its course. Whether we'll be interested in putting another 2-3 years into a new game engine that caters to an exclusive and niche market remains to be seen. I'm not saying we won't, I'm just saying it's not a foregone conclusion. We have been at this particular game series for about 10 years now and 5 with the previous. Nothing lasts forever.

 

There is not a single untrue word or sentiment in his post, which is why I got a bit of a twinge upon reading it.  Having migrated from Close Combat to Beyond Overlord way back when, Combat Mission has earned the top spot in my rather limited gaming time over the years.  It has been a fun ride watching the game, company and the people behind it grow over time.  While I selfishly fantasize that Steve, Charles and the crew will produce Combat Mission games late into their lives the likely reality is, as Steve planted the seed, they will eventually move on to other pursuits.

As this thread shows, we will all determine how much enjoyment we permit these titles to bring us.  As for myself, I plan to soak up every last minute of wonderfully engrossing fun Combat Mission brings because…

 

tumblr_m4mo6c7w0L1qgple6o1_500_zps7yh2bf

Edited by Peter Panzer

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Pardon me folks, I typically do not wade into threads like this one, but Steve’s post on page two (#33) made me have a Colonel Kilgore moment…

 

 

There is not a single untrue word or sentiment in his post, which is why I got a bit of a twinge upon reading it.  Having migrated from Close Combat to Beyond Overlord way back when, Combat Mission has earned the top spot in my rather limited gaming time over the years.  It has been a fun ride watching the game, company and the people behind it grow over time.  While I selfishly fantasize that Steve, Charles and the crew will produce Combat Mission games late into their lives the likely reality is, as Steve planted the seed, they will eventually move on to other pursuits.

As this thread shows, we will all determine how much enjoyment we permit these titles to bring us.  As for myself, I plan to soak up every last minute of wonderfully engrossing fun Combat Mission brings because…

 

tumblr_m4mo6c7w0L1qgple6o1_500_zps7yh2bf

 

 

So your saying that CMx3 will start out with...

 

CM: I Corps, 1968

 

Complete with helicopters and F-4 Phantoms dropping napalm!

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But BFC does not have to recreate engine. In my opinion, it's an old way of thinking. If everyone was thinking that they have to create their own engine, we would not see a flood of new indie games. Fact is, that new small development studios make a one time financial investment into 3rd party engine provider, and then invest their creative time in gameplay creation. And market is full of very good engines, which are cross-platform, could be adapted to any rendering needs, and the engines are not expensive.

 

That isn't the issue.

 

Like sure BFC could use Unity, which would have a plethora of pre-made scripts and will handle a lot of stuff for them. However, they still have to code in the tacai, stratai, pathfinding, weapons, ballistics calculations, map making, logic for the terrain, logic for boarding vehicles, logic for spotting, optics, IR optics, penetration of materials, spotting algorithms, C2, support call ins, Anti-air simulation, ai aiming, morale, fragmentation simulation, ammunition resupply, ammunition sharing, ERA, APS, SOPs, logic for onboard artillery, airburst weapons, canister shot, flamethrowers, fire, water etc..

 

Right now you can load up a quick battle and within minutes get a decent game going with another opponent and have a U.S. SBCT up against an MRR. with firefights between vehicles at 1km +, javelins flying through the air, and at the same time have infantry fighting at grenade range. There is a lot of complexity there.

Edited by Pelican Pal

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If you see them as just another computer game company, ... maybe.

 

But if you see them as an alternative miniature tabletop war game company... 

 

It really depends on, what do you think Combat Mission games are.

 

I came at the game from the hobby modeling end, had never touched a tabletop wargame. Seen as a 'virtual hobby modeling' CM is cheap indeed. A single Tamiya vehicle kit will cost you fifty+ bucks. CM will give you the whole frickin' Russian and German armies for that price!

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OpenGL is not a standard with a very bright future and I would think it makes it difficult to do some of the basic things that most gamers expect out of the box in a game in 2015.

 

I'm no graphics expert I know there is Direct X but it does not work on Macs (or am I missing something). What else is there that runs on Macs and PCs?

 

I could easily live with the graphics, if I know I can get good results from a PC I buy.

I think the mistake people make is thinking that the graphics card is the most important part but CM is really CPU bound so faster processor is important.

 

 

Whether we'll be interested in putting another 2-3 years into a new game engine that caters to an exclusive and niche market remains to be seen. I'm not saying we won't, I'm just saying it's not a foregone conclusion.

 

Whoa yikes - the harsh mean reality of it all. :(

 

As a brand new player I have to say that when I first saw the graphics my heart sank, I am sure there must be a problem with my game or something because what I am looking at is not what I've seen in the videos I watched.

See "Options" page 12 of the manual. By default the settings are pretty easy on the computer and not nearly as nice as the can be. After you read that section crank up the settings and see how it looks / plays.

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Have a Coop mode where one player plays the FO team while another player plays the artillery ?

 

A co-op multiplayer mode where one can delegate command of different formations to other players would be absolutely awesome! And played in Iron mode? I'm salivating...

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If you check the hotkeys menu in game I believe that alt-[ or alt-] will increase and decrease quality on the fly.

 

IanL, the issue is more that CM is bound to a single core. So while my PC has a fancy I7 with 8 cores CM only uses one. If you wanted the best CM computer ideally you would have an absurdly powerful single core. Unfortunately that isn't really a practical option.

 

 

Paddyusmc, This is currently doable although I think you would need a ref and some honest players.

 

Essentially each player is assigned a part of a formation and would pass around the save file from each other to the ref. With all communication done through written reports that are sent to the ref and then sent to the target player. You could also check for a C2 connection to see how much of the order went through.

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IanL, the issue is more that CM is bound to a single core. So while my PC has a fancy I7 with 8 cores CM only uses one. If you wanted the best CM computer ideally you would have an absurdly powerful single core. Unfortunately that isn't really a practical option.

Yes, indeed you are correct. I know this thread has focused on future stuff and clearly adding multi threading in the future will help.

I am just talking about things as they are. The way the game feels when played on an i3 processor will be worse than on a machine with an i5 processor which will be bested again by one with an i7 processor even if they all have lots of memory and the *exact* same graphics card.

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I am just talking about things as they are. The way the game feels when played on an i3 processor will be worse than on a machine with an i5 processor which will be bested again by one with an i7 processor even if they all have lots of memory and the *exact* same graphics card.

 

That isn't strictly speaking true. If you had a i3 clocked at 4.00 Ghz and an i7 clocked at 2.00 Ghz I strongly suspect that the i3 would be preferable since so much of the advantage of a multi-core processor is the use of multiple cores.

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ACC 337,

 

Welcome aboard!

 

From what I can tell, graphics essentially constitute a bottomless money drain for tiny companies like BFC. Barring some radical, and I do mean radical change (Steve gets adopted by the Sultan of Brunei sort of radical), BFC's never going to be able to afford top of the line FPS graphics. Consequently, BFC is trying to provide a rich visual experience, but always at least second to core game function and playability. Graphics have to be good enough to attract new players, but they can't be at the expense of why people play in the first place, and BFC is resource, personnel and time limited. What must be given up in order to get some desirable graphics thing done? Also, there's another factor at work here, and it goes all the way back to CMx1 CMBO. BFC designs the games to run, not on bleeding edge, takes the Atlantic Ocean to cool them, lightning fast custom gaming rigs, but on pretty low cybernetic tech levels. This broadens the customer base, since people now aren't looking at shelling out for the game and a new computer, greatly increasing sales prospects by limiting prospective purchaser outlay. I've been at CM stuff going back to the CMBO Beta Demo, and we are so far past that it's hard to fathom this is even the same universe.

 

Jock Tamson,

 

I submit there's a big difference between BFC and the modders. BFC not only has to do textures for CMBS, but for everything in every BFC game done in house that requires textures. Everything out there has to be supported, by very few people. That's just for the existing games. New modules require considerable work, and the CMers want, even demand, new games. Contrariwise, the modders not only aren't under BFC's constraints, but neither are they dealing with a great churning stew of matters requiring their attention. If the modders had to deal with BFC type restrictions, you sure wouldn't see wonderful graphics mods overnight.

 

Steve,

 

I don't know how you guys did it, but I'm blown away by the stupendous improvements you've been able to make in graphics relative to CMBN 1.0. I still have the exact same cyber fossil as before, 3.06 Intel Core 2 Duo iMac (4 GB HD and 256 MB VRAM) but you'd never know it in looking at the beautiful vehicles and greatly improved foliage, landscape and buildings I somehow have in CMBS. The CMBN 2.0 upgrade made a significant visual improvement, but what I'm seeing now is more like a "How did they change out my graphics card? I thought that was impossible?" sort of experience. Do other CMBS Forumites have rigs that still make my screenshots look less spectacular? Of course, but now it looks like we're both playing the same game! Hats off to whomever figured out how to pull off that feat!

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

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We've had the "your graphics suck" discussion since before we even had a name for CMBO in 1998. It's not hurt our sales because the game is what people are looking for. If we had graphics that were better than Arma3 (which would require about $50,000,000 just for starters), guess what an Arma3 fanatic would say? "Great graphics, but the game sucks". If the game doesn't appeal to the player, the graphics simply don't matter.

Now, I would love to have a $50m budget for a single CM title. That would be fantastic! But that's never going to happen, so we have to live within our means. When CM's graphics are compared against other serious strategy/war games we come out looking damned awesome. Could we look better? Sure, but see previous comment about living within our means.

Over time we have improved the game's look. We have improved its performance. We can continue to do that for a while yet. But yes, at some point it will run its course. Whether we'll be interested in putting another 2-3 years into a new game engine that caters to an exclusive and niche market remains to be seen. I'm not saying we won't, I'm just saying it's not a foregone conclusion. We have been at this particular game series for about 10 years now and 5 with the previous. Nothing lasts forever.

Steve

 

I've come from Arma 3, spending a year with a milsim group and had CM on my radar for the last few months. 

Yes, you get spoilt with pretty graphics, but there is also the modding community in A3 that has come to the rescue, with updated ballistics tables following real world data. A3 occupies the middle ground between an FPS and a wargame, as the sandbox environment allows for team, squad based or even company sized missions to be undertaken. 

 

That said, I was so impressed with the demos of CMBN and Shockforce, that I bought CMBN3 with commonwealth forces as well as Black sea a week or so after it was released. No, I didn't buy Shockforce, as the features, units and scenarios offered in BS were more appealing, and I couldn't justify the extra expense to the Minister for Finance. :P  

The only graphics based issues I've had recently are with shaders and decals. While definitely not deal breakers, zooming into hit locations on vehicles and determining the origins of the attack are really cool. It's like a table top wargame, except with tracers!

 

I have only a handful of hours invested so far, and while I have a lot to learn, I'm really enjoying the challenge. 

 

EDIT: Speaking of modding, I kinda like the idea of modding the map area to have a timber frame around the map edge and a skybox texture of a family or games room, to give CM that tabletop wargame feel! Am I alone on this?  :)

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There was the notorious case of some ex Red Sox player who started his own game company. Got a big amount of business startup money from Rhode Island, secured huge office space, sunk millions into the venture. And eventually the company simply imploded. I vaguely recall at one point they had to lay off 250 people. I joked at the time that for BFC to lay off 250 people they'd first have to hire 240. There's a certain amount of peril in being too ambitious. BFC could go 'big-time' and wind up being eaten alive by their overhead and imploding. To quote Dirty Harry from the film 'Magnum Force' - A man's got to know his limitations.

 

I think I have the illustration from that old game company article somewhere. Let me see...

 

 

post-36386-0-94033700-1424391962_thumb.j

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I didn't play Arma 2 much, but I spent a few months really trying to make the Iron Front A2 mod package (meaning IF imported into A2 and fully updated with added realism mods post import) do what CM does as a SP experience. I spent a lot of time in the editor setting up formations and defenses and running games as close to playing in a CM style as I could.

 

It ain't even close, folks. At first, I really thought I was on to something, but eventually, I found so many holes it wasn't even funny and gave up.

 

I lost my taste for Arma/IF after that.

 

You can get an incredible first-person experience out of it, but you have to accept it for what it is. It is in no way in the same league as CM for a full-spectrum, realistic battlefield sim experience. And the modelling of hits/vehicle damage, ballistics, and arty is far superior in CM.

Edited by Macisle

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EDIT: Speaking of modding, I kinda like the idea of modding the map area to have a timber frame around the map edge and a skybox texture of a family or games room, to give CM that tabletop wargame feel! Am I alone on this?  :)

 

 

Not at all. A 'board' or 'base' has been requested. 

 

And welcome to  CM!

Edited by Imperial Grunt

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I've come from Arma 3, spending a year with a milsim group and had CM on my radar for the last few months. 

Yes, you get spoilt with pretty graphics, but there is also the modding community in A3 that has come to the rescue, with updated ballistics tables following real world data. A3 occupies the middle ground between an FPS and a wargame, as the sandbox environment allows for team, squad based or even company sized missions to be undertaken. 

 

That said, I was so impressed with the demos of CMBN and Shockforce, that I bought CMBN3 with commonwealth forces as well as Black sea a week or so after it was released. No, I didn't buy Shockforce, as the features, units and scenarios offered in BS were more appealing, and I couldn't justify the extra expense to the Minister for Finance. :P  

The only graphics based issues I've had recently are with shaders and decals. While definitely not deal breakers, zooming into hit locations on vehicles and determining the origins of the attack are really cool. It's like a table top wargame, except with tracers!

 

I have only a handful of hours invested so far, and while I have a lot to learn, I'm really enjoying the challenge. 

 

EDIT: Speaking of modding, I kinda like the idea of modding the map area to have a timber frame around the map edge and a skybox texture of a family or games room, to give CM that tabletop wargame feel! Am I alone on this?  :)

 

More evidence of my case of the same player base being the target audience and worthy of aimed marketing.

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I'm no graphics expert I know there is Direct X but it does not work on Macs (or am I missing something). What else is there that runs on Macs and PCs?

 

...which makes me wonder why BFC continues to insist on making a Mac version of every one of their titles. Seriously, what other game developer out there today puts out both a Mac and a PC version of their software?  :mellow: 

Edited by LukeFF

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Thanks Imperial Grunt!  :lol:

 

I've always been intrigued by strategy games, even though I have repeatedly displayed an inability to walk and chew gum simultaneously, I keep searching for that elusive element of realism. Before CM was MOW Assault Squad, but was irked by the pace of it. I've even tried my hand at mission editing in Arma 3 using High Command modules, and voice control. It was more trial and error than actual game play, unfortunately.

As I'm getting older, clickfests and twitch games are just getting the better of me. The turn based system works well for me, allowing me to think and plan at leisure whilst reviewing the action. The models in CM are also amazingly detailed, even on the inside. I can understand why the faithful stayed with this series.

 

Given my aging reflexes, I'm kinda worried how I'll do when Homeworld Remastered comes out  :huh:.

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There was the notorious case of some ex Red Sox player who started his own game company. Got a big amount of business startup money from Rhode Island, secured huge office space, sunk millions into the venture. And eventually the company simply imploded. I vaguely recall at one point they had to lay off 250 people. I joked at the time that for BFC to lay off 250 people they'd first have to hire 240. There's a certain amount of peril in being too ambitious. BFC could go 'big-time' and wind up being eaten alive by their overhead and imploding. To quote Dirty Harry from the film 'Magnum Force' - A man's got to know his limitations.

 

I think I have the illustration from that old game company article somewhere. Let me see...

 

CM is a niche game and it'll always have a limited audience. That's not saying our audience couldn't get bigger with a bit more exposure but to try to suggest as some have on this thread that CM could take a lot of the Total War or Company of heroes players if CM just gets better graphics is off the scale ridiculous as far as I am concerned.

Edited by niall78

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Combat Missions graphics are ok, but not great. I'd love to see better graphics, not only for Combat Mission, but other games I play like Command Modern Naval Ops and the War in the east and West series. I'm not holding my breath for a variety or reasons and learned to live with what I have.

 

As for computing power usage, most programs are not taking advantage of the multiple cores and graphics computing power in PC's. The profits are probably not there. The PC as a platform isn't what it used to be in the late 80's and the 90's-the sales is not growing exponentially.

 

It was mentioned in another thread, one of the devs dreams of a defense contract. If true that could could solve the 50 million needed for graphical improvements. 50 millions is petty cash for the DoD. They spend more for hammers and toilet seats.

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People who want us to push towards better graphics put forward the same arguments each and every time:

1. There is a massive market just waiting for us, but our graphics suck and so we're going to remain a niche player for ever. The legions of RTS click festers and frag-a-maniacs out there are just DYING to play a serious wargame without powerups, factories, or spawn points. Well, except they don't know that they want to.

2. Somehow a half dozen guys can make a game that is a graphical and modable match for a game that had a $50,000,000 budget. I mean, really, those guys were being paid to play ping-pong all day and their only real cost was downloading some Unity modules. Battlefront for sure has $2000 to make a cutting edge, mouth dropping game engine just like the big boys!

3. The same half dozen guys, on their $2000 budget, should be able to do all the same graphics as the $50,000,000 game AND make a better, more detailed game on top of that. You know, just like everybody else.

4. If Battlefront doesn't come around and get with the program someone else will do it. Sure, this has been said since 1999, but someday it will happen!

5. Playing games means having the knowledge of what it takes to make them. It also gives any random person out there who has ever fired up an RTS has the innate ability to accurately lay out a viable business plan for an industry that sees billion Dollar companies collapse and go bankrupt. Battlefront's ability to stay in business for almost 20 years doesn't show business smarts, it shows laziness because after 20 years they still haven't figured out what the random Arma3 player knows to be true.

Guys, it's a tired line of argument that goes nowhere every single time. We absolutely know the market, our customers, development costs, and our limitations far better than any of you. The only way you can win in an argument with me on that level is to go out and form your own company and make the product you have pictured in your head AND then come back in 20 years and show me it worked as you expected. Or try to find someone else that has done it. And no, nobody else has or you would be off playing that game and not arguing here.

With that said...

We understand the importance in graphics. It is why CM: Black Sea doesn't look like this...

1997%20cmbo%20prototype%20combat.jpg

1998%20cmbo%20alpha.jpg

2002%20cmak%20beta.jpg

If you've played CMSF v1.0 you know there was a big leap to CMBN v1.0. And if you've played CMBN v2.0 you know that there was another leap, especially in performance. Each release has involved more improvements.

Is it the same as Arma3? No, of course it isn't. How could it possibly be given the little thing we like to refer to as "reality". It's a harsh thing to have fantasy smashed by reality, but that is Lesson #1 for a game developer. Gameplayers have the option to reject this notion, but that ensures they will always be gameplayers.

Sorry to inject a little bit of perspective into this conversation. I know it will tick off those who prefer that not happen, but there it is anyway.

Steve

P.S. Don't even get me started on how much CRAP we took for people when we ditched CMx1's graphics and went to CMx2. We're certainly not afraid to change.

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