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lordhedgwich

Graphics suck?!!?!?!

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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.

Absolutely agree. The thing that gamers don't want to hear about is talk about "bottom lines" of game development. As a business guy, whose butt is on the line, I don't fancy doing something like spending $100,000 to maybe get another 1000 players involved. Because to me 1000 players paying $55 a pop means we have lost a lot of money for no gain. Sure, those 1000 players will be super happy we catered to them, and the community itself would likely be happier for the new money losing features. But I got news for you... we won't be happy. And if BFC ain't happy, eventually NOBODY will be happy.

Game developers hate thinking about this as a business. But do you know what they hate more? The consequences of NOT thinking of it as a business.

Which is why customers fall back on the arguments that there's huge pots of money out there to be had but we're too stupid, too stubborn, too blind, too... well... too not-like-them to see the possibilities and go out and seize them. It doesn't matter that said customer has ZERO experience in game development, and likely hasn't ever run a business before. Because apparently the ability to type on a keyboard into a Forum means we are all inherently equal and our opinion carries no special weight to it.

Yeah, it's frustrating being a game developer sometimes :D

Steve

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For what it's worth as a non-tech/programmer type, I think the engine is still holding up fine.

 

I'm still having fun with the game after all these years which is a rare thing these days. I'd rather they kept refining this engine and releasing more titles that start from scratch all over again, which will probably mean back to Normandy... again. Not that there is anything wrong with Normandy, it's just it would be great for CMx2 to head to mid and early WW2 first. :)

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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.

A hearty "welcome" and I want to assure you that my previous two rant posts were not directed at you or anybody else who is engaging in this conversation with an understanding that we're not up for a lecture on how stupid we are.

 

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.

For sure, no question about it. But there's a pretty big conceptual leap from a game that is 1st person centric to one that is 3rd person on a much broader scale. There's definitely crossover as you, others, and myself like FPS games. Realistic or otherwise. But it's a subset.

 

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

SWMBO is a force that should not be unreasonably trifled with (and if nobody knows the acronym, there is Google to help you out!).

 

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!

Since you're new, I'll give you a preview of comments from me that you'll certainly see in the future... we hate video card drivers. With a passion. We do our best to work around other people's bugs and crap implementations of standard API calls, but we don't have the sort of clout that Arma3 type developers have. Somewhere at nVidia there is probably a dedicated phone linked directly to Bohemia Interactive. When nVidia screws up, the phone rings and it gets fixed. We have to submit tickets with their tech people and hopefully they will get around to fixing it. Sometime. Current nVidia drivers and hardware combos have left some of our customers with 2fps speed. Rolling back to an earlier version and it's 30+fps. Ain't that great?

 

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

 

That is what we really like to hear. The game is designed for that, not to compete with Arma3's graphics. If we failed at both we'd be in trouble.

 

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?  :)

No ;)

Steve

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Game developers hate thinking about this as a business. But do you know what they hate more? The consequences of NOT thinking of it as a business.

Which is why customers fall back on the arguments that there's huge pots of money out there to be had but we're too stupid, too stubborn, too blind, too... well... too not-like-them to see the possibilities and go out and seize them. It doesn't matter that said customer has ZERO experience in game development, and likely hasn't ever run a business before. Because apparently the ability to type on a keyboard into a Forum means we are all inherently equal and our opinion carries no special weight to it.

 

Sounds all too familiar. I am good friends with the guy who develops & publishes the Rise of Flight and IL-2 titles. He likes to talk about how people tell him he doesn't know how to run his business, how [insert title name] will be abandonware this time next year, how the guys working for him are incompetent, etc., etc. Yet, as he likes to say, here they still are, going strong and working on new content. That doesn't happen without a rational business plan.

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1998%20cmbo%20alpha.jpg

 

Hey, it looks like CMBS at level 4.

 

I'd give the out of the box CM graphics a C. They aren't horrible, but they aren't awesome either. They get the job done. CMBS is the most disappointing so far with the ridiculously close LOD changes and all the vehicles and small arms that are missing normal maps. A step backwards from the other titles tbh.

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.... That doesn't happen without a rational business plan.

 

Or the passion for the product. Passion about the product is just as important, otherwise you're just going through the motions. 

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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.

 

 

If your just going to dismiss what I said as "RTS click festers and frag-a-maniacs" then you don't have a clue about your prospective player base, I am sorry. Sure there is the option of continuing to manufacture games for the sole denizens of this forum I guess. But who am I to know eh, aren't we all just "joe public" at the end of the day.

Edited by Stagler

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Wargames like Combat Mission want to be niche, thats just the truth.

The developers fear to attract a bigger audience because this will mean more criticism and more support work.

The players fear to become "mainstream", they dont want the Company of Heroes "kiddies" to play "their" game too.

Edited by Wiggum15

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The players fear to become "mainstream", they dont want the Company of Heroes "kiddies" to play "their" game too.

Yup I crap my pants every night as a lay awake stressing about this.

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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

That is a bit of bombshell Steve,  I personally think the graphics are not holding the game back (but like anything can always be improved) but I hope this niche is alive and well in a few years and the company has plenty of drive for a game engine 4+. 

The game series has evolved so much in 10 years, i am excited about the what it could become with another 10 years for development. 

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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.

So when we went from CMx1 to CMx2 there wasn't an increase in the player base?

Edited by Jock Tamson

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I never understand this 'it's a niche game' argument.

 

All games are niche, only some fill a larger niche than others and there are few larger niches in gaming than RTS.

 

I have been looking at this game for a couple of years but have only just taken the plunge, and if I am honest the graphics definitely played a part, I know that is slightly daft and now I have the game I love it and regret the delay, however, you can bet that a lot of potential buyers hear about the game and it instantly appeals, then they investigate the game and after watching footage of troops moonwalking over fences drop the whole thing right there.

 

Sad but we all know that's the case.

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It isnt even about graphics anyway. They are fine. The concern is other things - effing multiplayer framework. Proper AI that actually thinks and does a battle by itself instead of the AI plan system. I dont know if these can be done in OpenGL, but they are a standard these days - even in PC chess games ffs.

If OpenGL is unable to perform these functions or provide this as a capability then its time to either upgrade or take another directional tack.

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It isnt even about graphics anyway. They are fine. The concern is other things - effing multiplayer framework. Proper AI that actually thinks and does a battle by itself instead of the AI plan system. I dont know if these can be done in OpenGL, but they are a standard these days - even in PC chess games ffs.

If OpenGL is unable to perform these functions or provide this as a capability then its time to either upgrade or take another directional tack.

 

OpenGL is a graphics API. It has exactly nothing to do with multiplayer, AI or anything else.

 

Plus chess is much, much simpler to write AI for (and much simpler to implement network play for too)

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... Proper AI that actually thinks and does a battle by itself instead of the AI plan system. I dont know if these can be done in OpenGL, but they are a standard these days - even in PC chess games ffs.

...

 

Have to disagree here.

The TacAI in CM is very very good ( yes, even though it sometimes does bizarre things ) considering the massive number of variable situations it has to cope with.

 

Overall AI ( which you want, rather than the plans which move the units into places where the TacAI will take over ) I doubt you'll see in CM anytime soon - but I'd love to know where it is "standard".

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Have to disagree here.

The TacAI in CM is very very good ( yes, even though it sometimes does bizarre things ) considering the massive number of variable situations it has to cope with.

 

Overall AI ( which you want, rather than the plans which move the units into places where the TacAI will take over ) I doubt you'll see in CM anytime soon - but I'd love to know where it is "standard".

If you play Chess Master 10. The computer AI will see where you move your piece, and move their piece against you. This is AI.

 

The combat mission AI is, as you have said, just a generic plan made by a player that is followed by a computer. Not a plan made by the AI against you.

 

Is it bad to want overall AI? Is it bad to want an actual thinking AI opponent? I dont think so. Im sure many people dont either. I also doubt I will see it in CM anytime soon as well sadly.

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Aye, but what I'm saying is that an overall AI for CM is going to be immensely complex if it can be made to work at all.

 

It would have to make decisions based on objectives and terrain ( LoS or lack of it ), troop type availability and so forth. Then it must be able to adjust on the fly based on enemy encounters ( reinforce or retreat, hold position ? ) and so on. It would need some form of "memory" so that it wouldn't ignore units it had seen earlier. And human players would probably still be able to spoof it fairly easily.

 

The more you think about it, the more complex it becomes. Even if the CPU cycles weren't being mostly used by all sorts of other stuff that CM is doing, you'd probably need a Cray in your basement just to come close to what you're asking for.

 

AI triggers have helped, but in the end, if the AI isn't good enough, you just have to play another human.

Edited by Baneman

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Pretty high standards here for BFC and CM to measure up against - graphics from a AAA title, AI from a top tier chess program, I wonder what next?? Seriously people, I thought the player base was more intelligent than that. ;)

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Pretty high standards here for BFC and CM to measure up against - graphics from a AAA title, AI from a top tier chess program, I wonder what next?? Seriously people, I thought the player base was more intelligent than that. ;)

 

AI from any title Ron. Not just a top tier chess title, any title. Red Alert, in 1995, had a thinking opponent that probed then attacked your weak points. That was twenty years ago.

 

I couldnt give two F's about graphics. The reason I am in this topic is to fight for change and improvement on the titles, and hopefully instill a new strategic direction for BF to take or at least give some credence to - it is because I want to see these things ingame and it be a better title for it: I want the player base to be bigger. I want to be able to play against MP easily with a lobby system. I want to be able to pick up and play any map without worrying about playing the same AI plan over and over.

Edited by Stagler

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Aye, but what I'm saying is that an overall AI for CM is going to be immensely complex if it can be made to work at all.

 

It would have to make decisions based on objectives and terrain ( LoS or lack of it ), troop type availability and so forth. Then it must be able to adjust on the fly based on enemy encounters ( reinforce or retreat, hold position ? ) and so on. It would need some form of "memory" so that it wouldn't ignore units it had seen earlier. And human players would probably still be able to spoof it fairly easily.

 

The more you think about it, the more complex it becomes. Even if the CPU cycles weren't being mostly used by all sorts of other stuff that CM is doing, you'd probably need a Cray in your basement just to come close to what you're asking for.

 

AI triggers have helped, but in the end, if the AI isn't good enough, you just have to play another human.

All of that has been done in Arma by one modder - 4 years ago.  Check out Hetman AI Commander.  Scans the battlefield, sets or amends waypoints, attempts to recon and flank, orders fire missions, transports troops by helicopter  That is on a battlefield many, many times the size of a CM battlefield.

Edited by Jock Tamson

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I am just thankful for the game.

Warts and all, there is no other that brings the same amount of fidelity to tactical gaming.

You can be sure I would like improvements but I also recognize the work, creativity, and thoughtfulness that have made Combat Mission excellent right from the beginning.

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If you play Chess Master 10. The computer AI will see where you move your piece, and move their piece against you. This is AI.

 

The combat mission AI is, as you have said, just a generic plan made by a player that is followed by a computer. Not a plan made by the AI against you.

 

Is it bad to want overall AI? Is it bad to want an actual thinking AI opponent? I dont think so. Im sure many people dont either. I also doubt I will see it in CM anytime soon as well sadly.

But in chess it sees one move and responds to one move with no LOS concerns building an AI to do what you want would be far beyond BFs capabilities and if they could do it, they would likely be working on something far more lucrative. Is it bad to want better overall AI, no but it is also not bad to want world peace. It is simply a question of likelihoods.

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A better comparison would be the strat AI from the original CM1 games.  It needed no set up.  But it was single minded...objectives.  It would be nice to have a default AI plan like that sets up regardless of map.  But I think the better direction is where BFC is heading...more features for the current AI planning tools.  In CMSF, a designer's hands were pretty tied with the tools available.  Now there are some useful and flexible tools for designers.  But it would be nice to have a default AI that you could use right off the bat.

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