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The selective reading of external threads by Thewood1 is instructive.  People aren't just saying "I'm confused by BFC's DRM, I need some help".  No, they are saying "BFC is run by a bunch of incompetent morons and they should go out of business for this and a bazillion other reasons".  Then there's the bile spitting personal attacks on me and anybody, and I mean anybody, who has a different opinion.  This is typical of reactionary mindset.  They scream to the heavens about how their voices aren't heard or respected, then they use that same staccato Volume 11 voice to drown out anybody who challenges them.  Especially when their objectivity is questioned.

What I find most fascinating is the people spewing forth bile and vitriol towards us believe two things simultaneously:

1.  They want us to go out of business because we're not coddling them, personally, the way they want to be coddled.

2.  They want us to hurry up and release more games, more quickly, so they can get their preorders in ahead of everybody else.

Further, there's this crazy dual belief system among our most vocal and hateful critics:

1.  Everything bad about CM and Battlefront is directly attributable to the people that them happen (often I'm singled out because I'm the only official voice) and often the people that support them (in particular the Beta Testers, but general customers as well).

2.  Combat Mission is a great game system which, apparently, is the product of immaculate conception, not the product of the very people they loath and hold in such low esteem.

It's quite... interesting.  A psychologist might have a different way of characterizing it :D

This is why I haven't been to those Forums in years.  Even ages ago I only had to skim a few threads to notice the pattern of behavior was fairly consistent.  There's nothing in those threads that's worth wading through the questions about my state of mental health or Battlefront's immanent financial or how BFC deserves to be extinguished from this Earth for (insert reason de jour) or the hilariously uninformed speculation about a host of related topics.  And contrary to the insistence of people like Thewood1, ignoring the most disgruntled, the most unbalanced, and most unstable of our customer base does not put us at financial risk now or in the future. I'd posit that ignoring them is in everybody's best interest, including those who complain the loudest.

Steve

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10 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

It's quite... interesting.  A psychologist might have a different way of characterizing it :D

Humanity? :D We have a very fine tuned ability to contradict ourselves and hold what should be mutually exclusive (as specified by logic) ideas in our head at the same time.

10 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

I'd posit that ignoring them is in everybody's best interest, including those who complain the loudest.

That is a certainty. Trying to chase every little nit to satisfy noisy people leads to those same people still dissatisfied (see previous point) and the thing you are "fixing" in a mess.

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On 1/9/2019 at 3:24 PM, slysniper said:

from the one site I would have to assume BF is out of business by now and I will not be seeing any of those games that they are releasing in 2019.

:D  I find it quite amusing that someone can repeatedly make bad calls for 10+ years and just keep on making them like they've never been wrong before.  It reminds me of doomsday cult fanatics who are absolutely sure the world is going to end on Day X in Year Y, then when said day comes they move the goalposts down the field to another day and claim that one is the real end of times.  Reminds me of the 1990s when guys would tell me Apple was going to go out of business any day now.  Fun times :D

Eventually we will shut down for some reason or another.  Could be age, could be an ill timed street crossing (e.g. hit by a bus), could be we find something to do with our limited time on this Earth we find more meaningful.  I doubt it will be because after 20 years of being profitable that we've suddenly figured out a clever way to be deliberately unprofitable.  Which is to say, even if we were to shut down tomorrow the Chicken Littles who claimed to have seen it coming for the past 10+ years will still be wrong.

The sad thing is that after we leave the industry I don't think anybody will come in to replace us.  The market is too small, too aging, and too grumpy for anybody younger than us to want to bother with.  So like the Elves of Middle Earth, at some point our time here will be over and we'll all go off to the undying lands of Groginor.

Steve

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I've never joined another forum to talk about CM because I can't stand the negativity. I run into people like that in the real world I cut them from my life immediately. I ain't got time for it.  I want the places I join and the people I encounter to enrich my existence not bring me down. I can be miserable on my own I don't need any help. And there are the guys that think they're edgy and every post has to be smarmy or cynical and any kind of positivity is fanboyism. I can't think of any poster we have on the boards right now that hasn't had some criticism for the game. Just most of us know how to use words and tact.

And my last point, hiding out on another board, acting all badass and edge lordie isn't gonna affect the game's development. 'Cause the only ones reading it are the other malcontents. If they aren't malcontents, why aren't they here? LOL. Cause a good bit of them were banned years ago because they couldn't keep their hands to themselves. Again, when I don't like something, a game, movie, band, I just ignore it. I don't join forums and spend 12 years crying about it.

Of course not every guy on other boards is a malcontent but we know the ones who are.

 

Mord.

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21 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

The sad thing is that after we leave the industry I don't think anybody will come in to replace us.  The market is too small, too aging, and too grumpy for anybody younger than us to want to bother with.  So like the Elves of Middle Earth, at some point our time here will be over and we'll all go off to the undying lands of Groginor.

Man, that Lord of the Rings reference put quite the smile on my face just now. I recently re-watched the three extended editions so I have LotR on my mind. Hopefully we are still a long way off from the BFC elves leaving Middle Earth!

I agree that the future looks bleak in the world of wargaming without BFC. There are some other game franchises out there that are still going strong that I enjoy, but most of them are above the level that CM operates in. The only sim/wargame I can think of that operates well in the same relative space as CM is Steel Beasts. Even then though, that is an armor centric simulator, so it would be a poor replacement for CM if CM were to disappear overnight. Not to mention it only covers modern warfare, no WWII content. Adding insult to injury is the fact that Steel Beasts only features 1 T-80 variant (T-80U) 😁

As for the detractors, no matter what one does in this world, there will always be a group of people who hates them. Just a rule of human nature I suppose. Better to just carry on and ignore those who have made it their mission to despise you.

Anyways I don't want to distract the conversation by prompting everyone to come in and post their CM alternatives. Just wanted to say that CM certainly dominates the niche it exists in and that It'll be a sad day when the last CM game is released. Unless of course that game is CM: Fulda Gap, because that alone would be enough to occupy me to the end of all ages!

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Well, if BFC stopped right now and left the business, they will have left enough content that I'll certainly have enough to make, play, and mod for the rest of my days.  I still have all the Oleg Maddox's original IL2 series/modules/mods plus a bazillion aircraft skins on a thumb drive to dive right back in if I ever get bored with Combat Mission, which has yet to happen since I found CMSF1 by accident in 2008.

 

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48 minutes ago, Mord said:

I've never joined another forum to talk about CM because I can't stand the negativity. I run into people like that in the real world I cut them from my life immediately. I ain't got time for it.  I want the places I join and the people I encounter to enrich my existence not bring me down. I can be miserable on my own I don't need any help.

Thanks Mord.  Life is too valuable to waste on their destructive drivel.  

BFC has a proven history of creating = Being Productive. If the "BFC is run by a bunch of incompetent morons ... should go out of business for this and a bazillion other reasons".... when will the b*tching step forward put their $$$ on the line to PRODUCE something... anything of quality and value? If that ever happened (it will not) the b*tching boys are starting  from the behind.... "20 years of being profitable" and a successful business gives BFC a Heads Up Start... 

Buzz ... 

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1 hour ago, Buzz said:

Thanks Mord.  Life is too valuable to waste on their destructive drivel.  

BFC has a proven history of creating = Being Productive. If the "BFC is run by a bunch of incompetent morons ... should go out of business for this and a bazillion other reasons".... when will the b*tching step forward put their $$$ on the line to PRODUCE something... anything of quality and value? If that ever happened (it will not) the b*tching boys are starting  from the behind.... "20 years of being profitable" and a successful business gives BFC a Heads Up Start... 

Buzz ... 

They will never step forward because, it's always easier to tear down and feel superior than to build.

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On January 10, 2019 at 12:56 AM, LukeFF said:

No, not really. Just like with Combat Mission, modern flight sim titles are not cheap to develop. If you want to see insane prices, go look at DCS.

Now that's really an unfair statement as you of all people should realize!

I fly in IL-2, which charges for the base game Battle of Moscow (BOM), the Battle of Stalingrad (BoS), the Battle of Kuban (BoK), the Battle of Bodenplatte (BoB), and Flying Circus (FC), each of which cost $60 to $70 USD and each include some airplanes. Then you can buy "collector" planes for each game and campaigns for the series.

I also fly in Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) that provides a free download with the Caucusas map and a TF-51 and an SU-25T also for free. You have to pay for individual maps such as Nevada Testing and Training Range (NTTR), Normandy, and the Persian Gulf, and the aircraft that have fully clickable cockpits. DCS and IL-2 run periodic sales both by IC/777 and ED of their aircraft on both their websites and on Steam. I have all of the content on IL-2 and all except a couple on DCS that I simply have no interest in flying.

I fly mostly in DCS because of the realistic clickable cockpits, but I also enjoy flying in the more simplistic IL-2 because I don't have to think about mixture, or water injection, or temperature control, if I don't want to (unless I'm flying on a multiplayer server) and that I can fly in a multi position airplane in multiplayer with a friend.

Both titles have their strengths and weaknesses. It isn't right to bash a simulator simply because you're more closely associated with one than the other.

Edited by Vet 0369

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38 minutes ago, Vet 0369 said:

Both titles have their strengths and weaknesses. It isn't right to bash a simulator simply because you're more closely associated with one than the other.

I'd say no matter what it is, CM, DCS, IL2, Crusader Kings II, EU4, Rome II etc. the price is only expensive if you buy it and don't play it. If you spent 600 bucks on a game over the years and played it for a couple thousand hours then you got your money's worth. It's all subjective, I think. One man's trash and all that. I sold 30 computer games back in 2000 at about 2 bucks apiece to buy CMBO. For almost three years straight a day didn't go by that I didn't open the game and do something, play, mess around with mods, screw with the map editor etc. Never thought twice about how much I gave up to buy it.

BTW you wanna talk about bang for the buck? As of January 12th my brother has logged 3079 hours on XCom 2! LOL. I don't know how he does it.

Mord.

Edited by Mord

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3 hours ago, Vet 0369 said:

Both titles have their strengths and weaknesses. It isn't right to bash a simulator simply because you're more closely associated with one than the other.

Oh, please. Yes, I am closely associated with some of the devs at 1CGS, but that doesn't mean I can't have an opinion about the pricing model of both DCS and IL2. It's hardly bashing DCS when - at the moment and for quite some time now - all of the WWII aircraft have very limited single-player replay value. There are planes that have been in development for literally years now, and the only 2 flyable German planes don't even fit the map. And yes, it's pretty darn crazy that one has to buy ground units separately in order to populate the map properly. 

Now, if that situation changes (and it looks like it may) I will reevaluate my opinion of them, but until then, that's my judgement of where the content I care about with regards to DCS is at right now. 

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2 hours ago, LukeFF said:

It's hardly bashing DCS when - at the moment and for quite some time now - all of the WWII aircraft have very limited single-player replay value. There are planes that have been in development for literally years now, and the only 2 flyable German planes don't even fit the map. And yes, it's pretty darn crazy that one has to buy ground units separately in order to populate the map properly. 

I just don't understand how someone can pay 60$ to fly an F86 over Georgia circa 2008, the Persian Gulf in the 2020s, or Normandy in 1944. But sure the joy of doing so is real to them. I usually tolerate and respect, until I observe those same individuals getting all worked up when one just mentions to them, or in front of them, that alternative sims exist, with better value for money to the average fan.

10 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

The sad thing is that after we leave the industry I don't think anybody will come in to replace us.  The market is too small, too aging, and too grumpy for anybody younger than us to want to bother with.  So like the Elves of Middle Earth, at some point our time here will be over and we'll all go off to the undying lands of Groginor.

There already credible alternatives, who actually have expressed respect for your work in public several times, yet approach the subject matter differently. I have no reason to assume more developers will turn out to do similar games, with emphasis on different aspects or looking at different periods. The past is a different country, they do things differenly there... the catch being that we are all the past of some future. 

Tolkien was an Edwardian man who came to see:

- crashing the Empire to abject lows of oppression and eventual dissolution,

- along with the downfall of the ethical, moral  and political system of the 19th century,

- two vicious world wars,

- a great depression,

- with the cherry on top that was the cold war and the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction.

So he was perhaps a bit dramatic, and that ending sounds like being sad. But my reading is that Tolkien was just observing that the Old plants the seeds of the New, and it is a good thing for the former to leave space to the later, to make its own mistakes or reach heights never seen before. Such is the way of the world, until somebody makes the mistake to invent a potion of eternal youth  :)

Edited by BletchleyGeek

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OMG .... They are still at it. Glad I spend my time in the editor. Apparently the forum still has more then a few angry ex wives who lost their alimony cases

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14 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

I jThere already credible alternatives, who actually have expressed respect for your work in public several times, yet approach the subject matter differently. I have no reason to assume more developers will turn out to do similar games, with emphasis on different aspects or looking at different periods. The past is a different country, they do things differenly there... the catch being that we are all the past of some future. 

Serious wargames, the ones that we all here love to play and are willing to spend significant money on, have been in decline for a long time.  Very long.  In fact, I'd argue that the trendline had already sunk too deeply downward for serious 3D wargaming to even establish itself as a genre or even a sub genre of any significant size. Disagree?  Well, how many serious minded 2D wargames have been released since CMBO (the first serious 3D wargame)?  I bet off the top of your head you can only list a fraction.  Now, how many serious minded 3D wargames have been released since CMBO?  I bet you can name almost every single release and that two companies (Battlefront and Graviteam) are responsible for almost all of them.  Stretching to include other good 3D "lite" wargames increases the total by a few, but there's quite a gap between the two types in terms of "seriousness".

The fact is that for very well documented reasons each generation of gamers contains fewer "grogs" or those with potential to become "grogs".  This goes beyond pointing fingers at the Millennials (though it is fun sport ;) ) as the trend has been there for at least 25 years.  I for one am not surprised the trend exists nor that it hasn't leveled off yet, not to mention changed direction.

Battlefront is well positioned to continue making serious 3D wargames for quite a long while.  We also think it's likely we'll get tired of doing it before market forces would put us out of business.  That's good news for everybody here that's over the age of about 45, not as good for those younger.  So to the youngsters out there I say if you want to see another generation of serious minded 3D wargames, best that some of you learn how to code something other than small apps :D

Steve

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3 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Battlefront is well positioned to continue making serious 3D wargames for quite a long while. 

I take it that means Shock Force 2 is doing well then? :D

It's a shame to hear about the decline of wargaming. I'm quite young myself and it makes me wonder what wargaming will look like decades down the line (if it doesn't just die out). CM is like the dream wargame I had when I was playing with little toy soldiers and reading history books as a kid. I was amazed when I first saw CM with the 1:1 soldier representation and all that.

Seems like one big cause of that decline would just be the sheer number of games there are now. It's like we're living in a golden age of video games where there are thousands and thousands of them to choose from. Someone else mentioned Paradox games like CK2 and EU4, and just those alone can suck hundreds of hours of your life away from you. I've spent way too much time with just CK2. Then there's all these other countless genres that I want to try out now and then. On top of that, people tend to work longer hours these days for less pay, and at least in the USA, the vast majority of people here live paycheck to paycheck or are outright in debt. So who has time to sit down and learn how to play complicated wargames? Gamers these days seem to demand infinite replayability for the cheapest possible price and the lowest possible effort, and it's easy to find some cheap game on Steam for a few bucks until you get bored of it and then go on to the next cheap game. It doesn't seem like there is really any answer to that.

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4 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Disagree?  Well, how many serious minded 2D wargames have been released since CMBO (the first serious 3D wargame)?  I bet off the top of your head you can only list a fraction.  Now, how many serious minded 3D wargames have been released since CMBO?  I bet you can name almost every single release and that two companies (Battlefront and Graviteam) are responsible for almost all of them.  Stretching to include other good 3D "lite" wargames increases the total by a few, but there's quite a gap between the two types in terms of "seriousness".

In the 3D space, other than Graviteam I can think of:

- That failed attempt by Eric Young that Matrix released circa 2004

- Mad Minute Games Civil War games, and their continuation as NorbSoftDev Scourge of War Series (latest expansion to their take on Waterloo released in 2016)

- We can consider Histwar to have been released twice (at least!)

In the 2.5D space we have the new Close Combats and that beautiful curio, Firefight. 

In the 2D space since 2001 we have quite a few of them:

- Red Devils over Arnhem / Highway to the Reich / Conquest of the Aegean / Command Ops 1 & 2

- 2by3 Uncommon Valour, War in the Pacific, the Admiral's Edition follow up, War in the East, War in the West

- Frank Hunter's Campaigns in the Danube (the best operational level Napoleonic game out there) and Piercing Fortress Europa

- Desert War 1940-42

- TOAW improvements and versions 3 and 4

- Flashpoint Campaigns (both the 2006 edition and the newer games)

- Armored Brigade (not entirely sure just yet how serious it actually is, though)

- Command (nuHarpoon)

and I am sure fellow forum members can add more titles that try to capture in a meaningful way some of the physical, economic, psychological and political constraints that make war different from other human competitive activities such as chess, soccer or cricket. Trading off level of detail for broadness of scope and scale as appropiate, of course.

Ballpark figure is about 20... compare that with the number of "isometric RPGs inspired by D&D edition 3 where choices matter and the main character is guaranteed to bang at least two party NPCs over the course of the game" released between 2001 and 2019, and we'll be more or less even. I think that is about the size of what is called a "niche genre". Indeed, a tiny figure when compared with FPS, RTS, third person shooters, platformers, or casual puzzle games. 

In any case, the volume of titles released hardly matters to determine if a genre is "dying", what it matters is to see the historical figures for average number of units sold. Are you guys selling noticeably less over the years? Is that something hitting every one on the list above in the same way?

Where I do agree with you is that 3D tactical wargames are hard yakka - there's lots of roadkill on that particular route.

4 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

That's good news for everybody here that's over the age of about 45, not as good for those younger.  So to the youngsters out there I say if you want to see another generation of serious minded 3D wargames, best that some of you learn how to code something other than small apps

I am pretty sure those young ones - if they are of the clever sort - who have the skills and the talent will be happier to use said skills and talent getting a nice fat paycheck every fortnight, padding their 401k (or equivalent) accounts, providing for a safe and comfortable environment to raise children. Why should they give that up to work more hours than a wall clock and, on top of that, have to deal with an audience whose more vocal members can be quite abrasive?

They would be nuts, wouldn't they? :P

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1 hour ago, Bozowans said:

I take it that means Shock Force 2 is doing well then? :D

Quite fine :)

Quote

It's a shame to hear about the decline of wargaming. I'm quite young myself and it makes me wonder what wargaming will look like decades down the line (if it doesn't just die out). CM is like the dream wargame I had when I was playing with little toy soldiers and reading history books as a kid. I was amazed when I first saw CM with the 1:1 soldier representation and all that.

The good news is that that the technology needed to create a good 3D wargame is constantly getting better.  Back when we started it was a challenge from a hardware standpoint as well as software.  Now it's more software than hardware.  Meaning, if a really good programmer is dedicated to making a really good 3D wargame it's entirely possible one might happen.  Still tons of other challenges, but the days of needing a vastly and insanely good programmer just to get some polygons to move around the screen are behind us.

Quote

Seems like one big cause of that decline would just be the sheer number of games there are now.

That's been a big part of it, helped out by the fact that most wargamers have game interests outside of hardcore historical wargaming.  Could be X-Com, could be Candy Crush.  You never know ;)

However, I think it's mostly a major shift in culture towards flashy, easy in/out gaming.  I don't say this judgmentally because I also enjoy non-wargames for exactly the reason that they aren't wargames.  Variety is the spice of life, or so they say.

Couple this with the lifestyle problems facing people now more than ever.  The competition for a person's free time is vastly more intense and effective than it once was.  20+ years ago passive entertainment choices (movies, TV shows, sports games, books, etc.) were pretty much the only thing that competed against games for personal downtime.  Now those options have gone on steroids with streaming content, webpages, blogs, etc.  There's also more at-home interactive competition than there has ever been before.  Back in the old days it was two cans and a bit of string to talk with someone else (OK, not exactly!).  Now there's dozens of different means of communications, from texting to video chatting.  In fact, any one of these options could monopolize someone's total available freetime.  In fact, some of these things monopolize people's time when at work, driving, watching their kids play a sport, etc.

Oh, and if you're a parent, you're really screwed.  Back in my day kids used to pretty much take care of themselves.  Parents would send their kids off to school on foot and if they ever returned they'd feed them dinner before telling them to go to bed.  Then, provided the kid survived the previous day, would start the cycle all over again.  Parents had all kinds of time to do all kinds of things (most likely engaging in affairs, hosting Tupperware parties, or hanging around in bars with the guys.  Ah, the old days).  Now parents believe that if their kids aren't within spitting distance life as we know it will be over.  That definitely makes a wargame less practical to play, that's for sure.

Steve

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16 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

 Now parents believe that if their kids are(n't) within spitting distance life as we know it will be over.

One of the added costs of living in atomized, low-trust societies.

However, in regards to wargaming, I think this is incidental (although perhaps emblematic).

From what I can tell, wargaming as a whole is doing rather well (even board games are having good sales).

However it's been fragmented into so many sub-genres (board, computer, miniature, vassal, 2D, 3D, real-time, turn-based) that rarely do the various sub-groups interact.

A united wargaming community would have considerable purchasing power... fragmented, not so much.

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20 minutes ago, BletchleyGeek said:

In the 3D space, other than Graviteam I can think of:

- That failed attempt by Eric Young that Matrix released circa 2004

- Mad Minute Games Civil War games, and their continuation as NorbSoftDev Scourge of War Series (latest expansion to their take on Waterloo released in 2016)

I can add to that only a little.  There were a couple of not very good attempts to enter the market that flopped badly, as Yong's project.  There was a Dutch one I can't remember the name of and one that was supposed grand campaign game that combined 2D gaming with 3D tank sim.  Damn, what was the name of that?  Got totally trashed by reviewers and players alike.  One of the last gasps of the old guard publishers trying to stay relevant IIRC.

For the most part, however, the ones that flopped (including EYSA) were hopelessly compromised from a serious wargame standpoint the get go.  If realism ran into problems, realism was chucked aside.

20 minutes ago, BletchleyGeek said:

- We can consider Histwar to have been released twice (at least!)

Hmm.  I remember that being more like a better variant of Total War.  Well, I'll give it to you and that brings the total count in 20 years to a grand total of 2 long lived game series (CM and Graviteam), 2 that were active for a while (NorbSoftDev and Histwar), and a couple that bombed out very quickly.  Being generous, there's maybe 6 or 7 unique game systems, or perhaps 20 including all "base game" iterations with Battlefront having more than half (11 full games).  More RTS games come out every couple of weeks than what this amounts to.

20 minutes ago, BletchleyGeek said:

In the 2.5D space we have the new Close Combats and that beautiful curio, Firefight. 

In the 2D space since 2001 we have quite a few of them:...

and I am sure fellow forum members can add more titles that try to capture in a meaningful way some of the physical, economic, psychological and political constraints that make war different from other human competitive activities such as chess, soccer or cricket. Trading off level of detail for broadness of scope and scale as appropiate, of course.

Oh, there's tons more than that.  Check down through Matrix/Slitherine's offerings alone and you'll see dozens upon dozens of releases, many developmentally complete, released over a much smaller period of time.  And there's more diversity of subject matter as well.  I think these games will keep on trucking long after we're gone because the economics of making a 2D game and getting it out into the market are vastly easier than having a sim-wargame system necessary for 3D to work.

20 minutes ago, BletchleyGeek said:

In any case, the volume of titles released hardly matters to determine if a genre is "dying", what it matters is to see the historical figures for average number of units sold. Are you guys selling noticeably less over the years? Is that something hitting every one on the list above in the same way?

We are sure the market is shrinking and the expense of reaching new customers is growing.  We're still doing fine, but we're mostly doing fine because we got in and made a name for ourselves when it was easier to do that.  If we started today with the same shoestring budget we had in 2000 we might not have made enough to scrape by to the second game.

20 minutes ago, BletchleyGeek said:

Where I do agree with you is that 3D tactical wargames are hard yakka - there's lots of roadkill on that particular route.

I am pretty sure those young ones - if they are of the clever sort - who have the skills and the talent will be happier to use said skills and talent getting a nice fat paycheck every fortnight, padding their 401k (or equivalent) accounts, providing for a safe and comfortable environment to raise children. Why should they give that up to work more hours than a wall clock and, on top of that, have to deal with an audience whose more vocal members can be quite abrasive?

They would be nuts, wouldn't they? :P

Yup :)  The thing is all that was true for us back in the late 1990s when we started doing Combat Mission.  There were PLENTY of other game genres we could have done and done easier than CMBO.  We might even have made a decent living at it for 20 years as we have with CM.  However, it wouldn't be 3D.

So we're right back to my point.  There's NEVER been much interest in making serious minded 3D wargames because it is a comparably high risk for a comparably low reward proposition.  I doubt that will change much in the coming years.

Steve

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13 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

20+ years ago passive entertainment choices (movies, TV shows, sports games, books, etc.) were pretty much the only thing that competed against games for personal downtime.

Go back to the late 70's and early 80's and it explains exactly why role playing games hit so big. I was 11 ( in 1980) the first time I played D&D and it was like being smacked by a train. What a jolt for the imagination! Which also explains why the even older guys here were big board wargame players. We had almost no avenues outside of reading to personally engage us in adventures through history, scifi and fantasy. I was considered pretty weird (shut it, Emrys) for a long time because I played AD&D, Top Secret, Boot Hill, Gamma World, Star Frontiers, etc. Atari and Intellivison were so basic pen & paper rpgs still won the competition for our time and imaginations.

Now, I can do it all on my comp. And my biggest problem is too many choices. Good problem.

 

 

Mord.

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3 minutes ago, 37mm said:

One of the added costs of living in atomized, low-trust societies.

Yup.  I also blame people's warped understanding of risks and rewards.  The risk of letting kids go out and play on their own 30 years ago isn't much different than now despite the perception that accidents and predators are vastly worse than they used to be.  The laws of physics (especially gravity and velocity) have the same affect on little Johny and little Debbie today as they did back in my days.  Taking candy from strangers was also not a smart thing to do then as it is now.  But that's getting off track.

Oh, and thanks for pointing to my typo.

3 minutes ago, 37mm said:

However, in regards to wargaming, I think this is incidental (although perhaps emblematic).

From what I can tell, wargaming as a whole is doing rather well (even board games are having good sales).

However it's been fragmented into so many sub-genres (board, computer, miniature, vassal, 2D, 3D, real-time, turn-based) that rarely do the various sub-groups interact.

A united wargaming community would have considerable purchasing power... fragmented, not so much.

Yes, this is true but it always has been true.  The big split is between "serious" wargamers and "casual" wargamers.  Look at the old SSI sales for example.  I forget the exact numbers (I met with several SSI execs back around that time), but IIRC Panzer General 1 sold something like 5 times more than Steel Panthers 1 for the same time period.  If Steel Panthers and other Grigsby games sold as well as Panzer General did, SSI might not have has to sell out to Mindscape and Mindscape in turn wouldn't have dropped serious wargaming before they went under.

Steve

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1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

Oh, there's tons more than that.  Check down through Matrix/Slitherine's offerings alone and you'll see dozens upon dozens of releases, many developmentally complete, released over a much smaller period of time.

I have been deliberately picky in my selection, Steve. I think there's a lot of generic churning on the Slitherine line up these days. They have significantly increased their depth in purely strategy genres - like 4X - which were already carried by Matrix in the early 2000s (like Reach for the Stars! or Armada 2525). I'd say that they're diversifying and broadening their audience base. That means that the kind of games become more accessible - i.e. Panzer General clones and introductory stuff like Battle Academy.

My criterion for selecting those are the ones I personally find to offer something genuinely unique (as in never seen before) or exceptionally well done/researched. Your games fall in that category, too.

With 2D games some production costs are indeed lower, but other are higher but typically borne out by volunteer, unpaid work. Those enthusiast volunteers spend hundreds or thousands of hours and substantial money to furnish that research. I am not saying that your research isn't good, Steve, just that tactical war games feed on a kind of information that usually isn't available (except for the US Army thanks to the excellent Historical service and their Green Books series). Or require extensive manuals that need to be proofread and actually contain useful information.

On a different level, I think that coming out with credible (not perfect) external ballistics that gets right about 80% of the time match ups ranging from Panzer III vs 45mm guns to Panther versus IS-2 engaging each other at >1kms, is less time consuming than coming out with a credible system that emulates friction at the operational level due to the interaction of traffic congestion, communications and weather, or MACV intelligence collection in say, the Tay Ninh province in late 1966.

Of course, if you have particularly ehm, passionate inputs, you may spend years working out an impressive external ballistics model.

1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

I can add to that only a little. 

I just reminded another one: Panzer Command Kharkov and their follow ups. Kind of following the groove set by CMx1. But its unique feature was the interface with Google Earth to capture geographic data to setup maps. That was kind of rickety but a very cool feature (hint, hint).

 

1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

We are sure the market is shrinking and the expense of reaching new customers is growing.  We're still doing fine, but we're mostly doing fine because we got in and made a name for ourselves when it was easier to do that.  If we started today with the same shoestring budget we had in 2000 we might not have made enough to scrape by to the second game.

That's interesting and I appreciate you share that insight, Steve. I wonder if you have done any attempt to identify the causes of either issue.

Reaching out seems to be a very common preoccupation these days in the video game development world (see the Epic vs Valve upcoming store wars). This guy - another hard ass indie developer survivor 

http://www.positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/

shares some insightful stuff from time to time (he also posts some bull and potentially broken C++ code :P).

I think you have been very tactical - doh! - picking up the periods and theaters to cover, which are fresher in the memory (and imagination) of the bulk of your potential market. You may only have missed on not having a Combat Mission: Indochina in your line up. And that's a big may, imo. 

 

Edited by BletchleyGeek

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I can understand everything Steve has shared.

I am also a realist in understanding that we are lucky they have managed and wanted to stay in the 3d war game making business.

Also glad to hear he seems to think he sees himself doing it til retirement (why maybe the comment about those 45 and older are lucky)

 

The one thing I never do understand is the market and why they see it shrinking. All the reasons as to maybe why might be true but I still don't see that as  making sense.

There has always been and will always be a percentage of people that are interested in war, real war, not pretend unrealistic war type games. Not just for a interest, but as a career, as a part of life, as a part of what they prepare for. People in militaries throughout the world, many of them are constantly looking for anything that can help them be as prepared as possible for what they might face at some point in their lives.

So to me, even though its just a game, CM 3d games does provide a source for that interest that is not available by other sources. There is plenty of users of these games that are present or past military personnel. But I have found as I have shared my interest with many young servicemen about these games, they have had no clue that such a thing existed.

I think if no other group was marketed to that is fine, but I do think finding a way to inform more military personnel throughout the world of these games would bring in additional users. For I have seen it for myself. None of my kid, relatives or friends have found the game interesting as for a game, but every relative or friend that has a military career I have shared it with, has engaged in the game , been interested and some have purchased and are now owners of the game.

So that is my input of the way I see this type of game having a following that should never die or ever not have a group of possible users.

 

Edited by slysniper

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5 hours ago, PIATpunk said:

Steve, can I please ask about how are we (royal) on track for the WWII V4 patches releases?  Tanks in advance!

Since that is the topic of this thread, or more accurately was ;) , an update seems appropriate!

We are back to moving the patches through testing.  In fact, we should have a fresh round available for our testers before the weekend.  No idea how quickly things will move from there.

It's in our collective best interests to release all the patches at once UNLESS one of them has significant problems and needs more time in the oven.  Then I think withholding one isn't a big deal.  I think it will be a little confusing/frustrating to dribble them out one at a time.  Especially because the time difference between them might only be counted in days.

One of the holdups is I did massive reconciliation and standardization improvements as part of the CMFI Road To Victory TO&E, which heavily impacted CMBN and to a lessor extent the other WW2 games.  That's because common TO&E is (as of Engine 4) shared between all the games as appropriate.  This ensures bug fixes to one game transfer to another.  However, the process is quite delicate and prone to unintentional complications due to the fact that the CM games started out with their own unique (copied, not shared) TO&E.  Legacy issues... what a joy.

Steve

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