Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Battlefront.com

      Final Blitzkrieg v1.01 released!   05/21/2016

      Once again proving that we don't sleep much, we have just released v1.01 for CM: Final Blitzkrieg.  There's lots of great improvements and fixes now just one download away.  Click HERE to see the release notes and download links.  Thanks to everybody for reporting issues and special thanks to the testers who make sure we don't overlook them.
    • Battlefront.com

      Special Upgrade 4 Tech Tips   12/27/2016

      Hi all! Now that Upgrade 4 is out and about in large quantities we have now discovered a few SNAFUs that happen out in the scary, real world that is home computing.  Fortunately the rate of problems is extremely small and so far most are easily worked around.  We've identified a few issues that have similar causes which we have clear instructions for work arounds here they are: 1.  CMRT Windows customers need to re-license their original key.  This is a result of improvements to the licensing system which CMBN, CMBS, and CMFB are already using.  To do this launch CMRT with the Upgrade and the first time enter your Engine 4 key.  Exit and then use the "Activate New Products" shortcut in your CMRT folder, then enter your Engine 3 license key.  That should do the trick. 2.  CMRT and CMBN MacOS customers have a similar situation as #2, however the "Activate New Products" is inside the Documents folder in their respective CM folders.  For CMBN you have to go through the process described above for each of your license keys.  There is no special order to follow. 3.  For CMBS and CMFB customers, you need to use the Activate New Products shortcut and enter your Upgrade 4 key.  If you launch the game and see a screen that says "LICENSE FAILURE: Base Game 4.0 is required." that is an indication you haven't yet gone through that procedure.  Provided you had a properly functioning copy before installing the Upgrade, that should be all you need to do.  If in the future you have to install from scratch on a new system you'll need to do the same procedure for both your original license key and your Upgrade 4.0 key. 4.  There's always a weird one and here it is.  A few Windows users are not getting "Activate New Products" shortcuts created during installation.  Apparently anti-virus software is preventing the installer from doing its job.  This might not be a problem right now, but it will prove to be an issue at some point in the future.  The solution is to create your own shortcut using the following steps: Disable your anti-virus software before you do anything. Go to your Desktop, right click on the Desktop itself, select NEW->SHORTCUT, use BROWSE to locate the CM EXE that you are trying to fix. The location is then written out. After it type in a single space and then paste this:

      -showui

      Click NEXT and give your new Shortcut a name (doesn't matter what). Confirm that and you're done. Double click on the new Shortcut and you should be prompted to license whatever it is you need to license. At this time we have not identified any issues that have not been worked around.  Let's hope it stays that way Steve
    • Battlefront.com

      Forum Reorganization   10/12/2017

      We've reorganized our Combat Mission Forums to reflect the fact that most of you are now running Engine 4 and that means you're all using the same basic code.  Because of that, there's no good reason to have the discussion about Combat Mission spread out over 5 separate sets of Forums.  There is now one General Discussion area with Tech Support and Scenario/Mod Tips sub forums.  The Family specific Tech Support Forums have been moved to a new CM2 Archives area and frozen in place. You might also notice we dropped the "x" from distinguishing between the first generation of CM games and the second.  The "x" was reluctantly adopted back in 2005 or so because at the time we had the original three CM games on European store shelves entitled CM1, CM2, and CM3 (CMBO, CMBB, and CMAK).  We didn't want to cause confusion so we added the "x".  Time has moved on and we have to, so the "x" is now gone from our public vocabulary as it has been from our private vocabulary for quite a while already.  Side note, Charles *NEVER* used the "x" so now we're all speaking the same language as him.  Which is important since he is the one programming them

Recommended Posts

I am happy to hear all that Steve said. My worries that the battlefront guys got busted with a mistress and their spouse's lawyers took away the company are proven false. :P

I will continue my CM hibernation for several more years and hope to emerge to see some new modules. No different from when I went into hibernation after CMAK and never emerged until well after CMBN came out. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IanL   

 

14 minutes ago, kohlenklau said:

I will continue my CM hibernation for several more years and hope to emerge to see some new modules. No different from when I went into hibernation after CMAK and never emerged until well after CMBN came out. 

Are you saying that you saw your shadow and are now going to hibernate longer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Raptorx7 said:

Who did matrix games or slitherine sell out to?

They're still around and going strong.

Slitherine bought out Matrix but preserved the brand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

Always great to read you @Battlefront.com.You forgot Talonsoft on that list :-) John Tiller (barely anymore that's true), Joel Billings and Gary Grigsby are still around too.

Dang!!  I forgot Talonsoft.  Sheesh.

TalonSoft - 5 years

Sure, there's still plenty of people still around.  On that list Bill Stealey is on there twice (MicroProse and Interactive Magic), and would be three times if I included iEntertainment Network.  Billings and Grigsby are definitely still out there, but SSI is not.  And they are now developers, not publishers.  There's a difference, though staying alive as a developer is no small feat either!  Tiller is also an example of a developer that has made it long term, but HPS should have been on my list.  They're going on 27 years, which is extremely impressive even though many of the criticisms of us in this thread apply to HPS as well.  So not sure that helps the other side of the argument ;)

4 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

IQuestion #1 paraphrases one by Stephen Jay Gould. If the history of those companies was a magnetic tape and we could rewind it and play it back, would the life cycle of those companies play in the same way? And I don't want to sound gloomy, but it is an obvious fact that all living things grow old and die, and companies are living things of a certain sort. 

Absolutely there's natural life cycles for creative enterprises.  However, lifespan is extremely variable.  The trick is to "live forever" you have to succeed enough for someone else to take it over.  Apple survived the loss of both of its founders, for example.  So did Ford Motor Company.  To use your life metaphor, most of the companies I listed died before their time because they either got an illness they couldn't shake or didn't look when crossing the street and got hit by a bus.  They didn't die graceful deaths after a long life.

4 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

You're very right that overreaching and overextending are a typical "evolutionary trap". People like Jim Rose are no longer around... when I hear someone who isn't backed by Goldman Sachs say "go big or go bust" I can't help smirking. 

Many of the companies I listed were bought out by larger companies and were supposed to continue on in some form.  Instead the new owners found there wasn't much value there after all and so they retired/killed off their purchases.  I worked for one such company (Impressions) so I saw it first hand.

4 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

Nowadays we have seen an explosion of cottage game development... seeing people pursuing pet projects from their bedrooms (and surprisingly, sometimes people well into their 40s and 50s) and making quite ambitious games has become relatively common. I don't need to see you working from your bedroom with a cot and a nappy change table in the background in order to think that you believe in what you're doing, don't worry :) Question #2 is: how many of those one, two or three amigos outfits will get to develop more than one or two games and grow up to become the "Battlefront" of the niche of their choice?

Not many.  There's some sort of natural order of things where business minded people tend not to be very creative and creative people tend not to be very business minded.  Usually the creative types go bust because they can't manage the business side, business types run companies into the ground because they can't manage creativity.  Steve Jobs is one of the very rare people that was both insanely creative and, eventually, insanely good at business.  Note though that Jobs failed miserably on the business side and if he hadn't been ousted Apple would not be here today because of it.  He got a second chance, which isn't something you see every day.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, BletchleyGeek said:

Slitherine bought out Matrix but preserved the brand.

Correct.  Slitherine was also foremost in my mind when I said there's a few other companies that are more-or-less Battlefront's peers that are not showing signs of imploding any time soon.  Unless they mismanage something (and my bet is they won't) Slitherine will be around a long time to come.  Probably longer than Battlefront because Slitherine is a publisher with developers.  Battlefront is a developer which publishes.  If one of Slitherine's developers retires or flames out, they keep going.  If Charles and I decide to call it quits, for whatever reason, Battlefront effectively ceases to be.  Which is another point...

There's very, very, very few game developers out there which are also their own publishers relative to the numbers of publishers or developers.  The reason for that is in my previous post... very few creative types have enough business skills to survive.  Which is why there is the publisher/developer relationship in the first place.  In theory it's a more stable system than what we have with Battlefront, but man-o-man does it not work as well in reality as it does in theory.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before anybody beats me to it

 

 

33 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

The trick is to "live forever" you have to succeed enough for someone else to take it over.  Apple survived the loss of both of its founders, for example.  So did Ford Motor Company.  To use your life metaphor, most of the companies I listed died before their time because they either got an illness they couldn't shake or didn't look when crossing the street and got hit by a bus.  They didn't die graceful deaths after a long life.

Live forever... that's why we have children right? :)

Thanks for the answers and long and prosper!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

The reasons why companies succeed or fail is complicated.  I know a bit about the business side of each of the games I listed and there’s one very common element among them all… higher overhead than they could afford.  Why has Battlefront lasted as long as it has?  Because it lives within its means and doesn't engage in risky speculative activities.

I think the misconceptions is centered around that we outsiders have no idea what 'risky speculative activities' actually means in a Combat Mission and wider Battlefront sense - and how those conclusions are reached. And the perfectly fine arguement is nor should we, Battlefront are a privately owned company who can do what they want. If they decide to list on the stock exchange and we all bought shares... that's another story. :D

Even with my background as a number cruncher/economist by day, I have no idea how someone in Battlefront's position would analyse an evidence base to decide if a specific module of new game family is a worthwhile venture or not. I mean a number of us will always go on about wanting to see mid and early war titles within the CMx2 engine at some point, (guilty hand up for being part of that crowd), but for all we know Battlefront have already decided the market/expected sales, even within their die hard customer base, is too small to entertain developping a Barbarossa or a North Africa family. From what I gather from Steve's comments over the years is that the forum crowd is only a fraction of CM customer base so may not be an accurate sample. Even surveying the customer base based on past customers would probably be a wrong step and provide a massively biased result; you ask people do you want X, Y and Z with no links to wallets... they're generally always going to say yes. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
QuiGon   
1 hour ago, Aragorn2002 said:

One simple remedy to prevent this kind of discussion. A bone from time to time. Keeps us busy for months.

This! If you don't want to expand your business in any way, for the reasons mentioned, then it would be really great if you could give us some small updated on how what's beeing done once a month or so. That would make it much easier for (some of) us to keep the patience and not start threads like this ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3j2m7   

Sure is that 90 percent of readers on this forum are in admiration from Bf since CMx1, I dont have to mention that they make the game that we need... and BF is always awake of ours wishes, we have only some frustations to dont hear weeks long about the futures expensions... or we are only a little affraid that BF said one day "is over with CMx ? we have enough"... this woull be very sad,  this is why, a little update from development or some infos will be really welcome, and let us reborn and believe in BF future, and let some threat like this, i hope never more appear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Ithikial_AU said:

Even with my background as a number cruncher/economist by day, I have no idea how someone in Battlefront's position would analyse an evidence base to decide if a specific module of new game family is a worthwhile venture or not.

And there is yet another factor to consider. Steve and Charles and whoever else is currently on the payroll are not only game makers, they are also game players. They have steadfastly refused to venture into any territory that does not personally interest them, cases in point the Pacific and North Africa. This also happens to make good business sense in their case because without that spark of interest, they would be dragging themselves through whatever project is not engaging their full interest only to make less of an effort to turn out the kind of excellent product that we have come to expect and demand from them. Nobody wins in that case...except maybe their competitors.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kraze   

Yeah the lack of any news is the problem. Even if it's just deeply WIP. I remember all the excitement from those unfinished CMBS videos of ChrisND from a more peaceful time.

And I do wish Battlefront has created some kind of a common platform for their games. I can even get why Final Blitzkrieg is a "separate" game from CMBN at that pricepoint. But seeing how engine is the same one why (well I get the "small team" answer - OK, but again - a wish!) not have a modular platform for WW2 titles and modern titles. DCS does that, some of its modules go full-price too but one thing I like about it and another example I've made (GTOS) is mix'n'match of a whatever content you like - like how you could wage war using cold war era tanks in GTOS on snowy maps from another module in the series. Or fly A-10C on a lush Normandy map. And sadly Graviteam decided to separate their next titles so no brits vs. germans on temperate maps f.e.

In case of DCS you can even not own some module but can battle people that do leading to a rather whole community (well, OK, disregarding the 3 separate versions of the game thing but it's only temporary). Italians vs. Red Army in a CM battle?

Edited by kraze

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love teasers and bones and generally being given some idea of what may lie in store.  Like all of you, I want to have some idea what to look forward to. It’s natural. But my experience in software development over the years has repeatedly demonstrated that no amount of information is ever sufficient. What starts with a well-intentioned small hint leads to demands for more information, which may not even exist as the product is still under development. Then the griping starts. Even worse, what one hints at today may end up being dropped or changed substantively, leading to more complaints. No matter how many times one indicates that something is a work-in-progress, expectations are formed, and disappointment is inevitable down the road. I’m no longer surprised at all that developers are cagey. I’ve seen people relentlessly complaining about something that was not developed almost 5 years after the initial speculative announcement that a particular feature was undergoing a feasibility study, not even a planned enhancement. 

None of this is limited to CM or Battlefront. I’ve seen this repeatedly on quite a number of developers forums over the years. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Bud Backer said:

I love teasers and bones and generally being given some idea of what may lie in store.  Like all of you, I want to have some idea what to look forward to. It’s natural. But my experience in software development over the years has repeatedly demonstrated that no amount of information is ever sufficient. What starts with a well-intentioned small hint leads to demands for more information, which may not even exist as the product is still under development. Then the griping starts. Even worse, what one hints at today may end up being dropped or changed substantively, leading to more complaints. No matter how many times one indicates that something is a work-in-progress, expectations are formed, and disappointment is inevitable down the road. I’m no longer surprised at all that developers are cagey. I’ve seen people relentlessly complaining about something that was not developed almost 5 years after the initial speculative announcement that a particular feature was undergoing a feasibility study, not even a planned enhancement. 

None of this is limited to CM or Battlefront. I’ve seen this repeatedly on quite a number of developers forums over the years. 

Bud, please stop being so realistic!

Yeah, yeah, you're right of course.  We're predators, all of us. :)

Edited by Aragorn2002

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Ithikial_AU said:

I think the misconceptions is centered around that we outsiders have no idea what 'risky speculative activities' actually means in a Combat Mission and wider Battlefront sense - and how those conclusions are reached. And the perfectly fine arguement is nor should we, Battlefront are a privately owned company who can do what they want. If they decide to list on the stock exchange and we all bought shares... that's another story. :D

Yup, this is a big part of it for sure.  It's a learn-as-you-go sort of thing and even companies that have been doing it for a while get it wrong, often failing in the process.  Sources of funding can help you survive the learning curve, but it can't substitute for bad decisions.  38 Studios is the poster child for what happens when experienced people are put together without a good plan for success.

I don't mind my customers being unable to evaluate us as a business because I know they don't have a clue.  And why should they?  Even if they are in business for themselves, unless it is an independent games developer/publisher there's usually not much beyond the basics to compare to.  And since only a small minority of people on this Earth start up and run their own businesses (even unsuccessfully), it's a pretty good bet that whomever is throwing mud at us doesn't have a basis to properly evaluate what we're doing and therefore shouldn't be throwing mud in the first place.

An old saying applies here... "I don't come to your place of work and tell you how to do your job, so don't tell me how to do mine".  Unfortunately Gamers in general think they are exempt from this life's lesson :D

9 hours ago, Ithikial_AU said:

Even with my background as a number cruncher/economist by day, I have no idea how someone in Battlefront's position would analyse an evidence base to decide if a specific module of new game family is a worthwhile venture or not.

Exactly!  And what Battlefront evaluates and the conclusions it takes from it is likely very different than another games company.  I firmly believe that the reason why niche products fail is not because there isn't a sufficient sized audience, it's because someone mismatched the economics.  For example, last night my wife and I finished rewatching one of our favorite TV comedies.  It made it 2 seasons.  Why?  Because the network they were on had higher expectations for audience size than the show was able to gather.  One can blame the network or the show's creative team, but in the end the network didn't have what they needed for their economic model and the show's creative team didn't have an outlet that allowed their creativity to be expressed.  It does not mean the network is stupid or the show was canceled because it sucked.  The network expected a bigger audience and the show wasn't aimed for it.

Using this TV show thing as an analogy, Battlefront (network) is scaled to support Combat Mission (TV show), not the other way around.  Therefore, Battlefront behaves differently than a network that is geared for making money as its first priority.  And that's a good thing for you guys ;)

9 hours ago, Ithikial_AU said:

I mean a number of us will always go on about wanting to see mid and early war titles within the CMx2 engine at some point, (guilty hand up for being part of that crowd), but for all we know Battlefront have already decided the market/expected sales, even within their die hard customer base, is too small to entertain developping a Barbarossa or a North Africa family. From what I gather from Steve's comments over the years is that the forum crowd is only a fraction of CM customer base so may not be an accurate sample. Even surveying the customer base based on past customers would probably be a wrong step and provide a massively biased result; you ask people do you want X, Y and Z with no links to wallets... they're generally always going to say yes. :rolleyes:

Absolutely.  It's like a restaurant trying to figure out what to put on the menu by asking the top 10 people that come through the door every single week.  They might represent the same tastes as the hundreds of others that come to your restaurant, but I highly doubt it.  At the very least it's a very, very risky strategy.  Which is why big restaurant corporations spend billions on market research every year.  If it was as simple asking a small number of random customers who are most likely to fill out a "customer survey card", don't you think they would have done that?

9 hours ago, Aragorn2002 said:

One simple remedy to prevent this kind of discussion. A bone from time to time. Keeps us busy for months.

Yes, and for sure we are guilty of having our heads buried in work and not remembering how much time has gone by since the last bone.  Especially now that Chris isn't around to remind me!  I'll work out something to present to you guys soon.

5 hours ago, Michael Emrys said:

And there is yet another factor to consider. Steve and Charles and whoever else is currently on the payroll are not only game makers, they are also game players. They have steadfastly refused to venture into any territory that does not personally interest them, cases in point the Pacific and North Africa. This also happens to make good business sense in their case because without that spark of interest, they would be dragging themselves through whatever project is not engaging their full interest only to make less of an effort to turn out the kind of excellent product that we have come to expect and demand from them. Nobody wins in that case...except maybe their competitors.

Correct.  Our personal interests by definition narrow down the field of possible options to pursue.  However, we also have to avoid doing things which do personally interest us because they don't have much chance of success.  For example, I'm fascinated by the Axis Minor forces that fought on the Eastern Front.  There's a reason why that stuff is in CM1 but not in CM2, and it has nothing to do with my personal interests.

2 hours ago, kraze said:

Yeah the lack of any news is the problem. Even if it's just deeply WIP. I remember all the excitement from those unfinished CMBS videos of ChrisND from a more peaceful time.

And I do wish Battlefront has created some kind of a common platform for their games. I can even get why Final Blitzkrieg is a "separate" game from CMBN at that pricepoint. But seeing how engine is the same one why (well I get the "small team" answer - OK, but again - a wish!) not have a modular platform for WW2 titles and modern titles. DCS does that, some of its modules go full-price too but one thing I like about it and another example I've made (GTOS) is mix'n'match of a whatever content you like - like how you could wage war using cold war era tanks in GTOS on snowy maps from another module in the series. Or fly A-10C on a lush Normandy map. And sadly Graviteam decided to separate their next titles so no brits vs. germans on temperate maps f.e.

In case of DCS you can even not own some module but can battle people that do leading to a rather whole community (well, OK, disregarding the 3 separate versions of the game thing but it's only temporary). Italians vs. Red Army in a CM battle?

There's some nasty technical reasons for the separate Family concept, not just development economics and/or marketing.  However, we have worked through many of those issues over the past 10 years.  While technically we still can't produce a "universal engine" for CM2, we have at least greatly simplified things on the production side so that we can do more content with proportionally less of Charles' programming time.  Which means he's freed up to do other things which 2-3 years ago he wouldn't have had time for.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sttp   
11 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

Which means he's freed up to do other things which 2-3 years ago he wouldn't have had time for.

Ooh... and now the speculation begins. I like the way that sounds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an analogy.  A young child is given a scale toy car or truck to play with by its parent.  The old style peddle type, not the motorized type the soft and coddled youth now expect :D  The child loves it!  The sounds of glee makes the parent love the child all the more.  It's a good thing for both.

The child obvious associates its scale vehicle with the real ones.  The child is unequipped to understand the differences between them except that the bigger, shinier one is "better".  So the child asks to drive a real car or truck.  The parent explains to the child why this is not physically possible and initially avoids the larger and more complex issues of safety, laws, liability, etc.  This information should be enough to satisfy the child because it should be apparent to it that not being able to reach the peddles or see over the steering wheel is definitely a problem.  The child might not like the answer, but by and large probably most accept it. 

Some, however, do not behave appropriately!  They throw tantrums, which then causes unnecessary strife, stress, and bad feelings.  AND they still don't get to drive the real car/truck.  Sometimes rational responses work on the tantrum throwing child, sometimes they do not.  I believe spanking is a measure of last resort, but one that should be employed when the tantrum will not stop by other means.  IGNORING a tantrum only encourages more of it in a broader range of situations, so that's not a good option for anybody.  Especially for the neighbors or shop patrons who have to hear the child in question "wind up" for another "show" :D

I think the application of this analogy to this thread is probably pretty obvious, but in case it is not... I don't mind when you guys think you know more than we do or request things which we don't think are good ideas or things which are not possible.  I will take the time to educate you so you can be better informed customers.  But when a customer is throwing a virtual tantrum AND doesn't respond to any rational explanation from me... well, then a virtual spanking is in order because it is deserved.  I do not ignore badly behaved customers because it only makes things worse for everybody.  Especially the ones who have been told dozens of times why they are wrong and absolutely refuse to learn from it.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Raptorx7   

I still have to make my obligatory

"Combat Mission would be very popular if it was advertised more or offered on other websites" post.

Ok, done. :D

Edited by Raptorx7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×