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Update on Engine 4 patches

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3 hours ago, Howler said:

 

 I suspect we are dealing with an older code base that is straining. There seems to be a lot of effort lately to consolidate core features after the fact. Perhaps to be better positioned for CM3... dunno. I'm an optimist that way.

 

The odd part was that CM1 had to go since it took so long to modify due to how models and data were stored.  Hence CM2.  Now we are two years into waiting for a patch due to how the models and data are stored...

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It's positive that they are dedicating more resource to communications.

It is also great that they are maintaining all titles up to date, despite of all the problems associated with that.

It's interesting that BFC are trying to standardise - hopefully that means they expect to make lots more content in the future😋

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17 hours ago, BFCElvis said:

Now that it is part of my job description, I plan to post more frequent updates.....Not just for the patch but on other projects as well. Unfortunately, ....there will be times that those updates won't be much more than some form of "still banging away at it. It won't be this week but we're getting closer". Heck, if you had asked me for my candid predictions in February, I would have said "definitely before March 1st"....which is some of the danger with giving even loose ETAs.....it's sometimes very hard to predict when the the unexpected pops up (I guess by definition of "unexpected"). 

That is great news, that's all most of us wanted really, just to be kept informed. Cheers Elvis

 

regards

 

slippy

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18 hours ago, BFCElvis said:

Now that it is part of my job description, I plan to post more frequent updates.

That is excellent news.

18 hours ago, BFCElvis said:

<snip>if you had asked me for my candid predictions in February, I would have said "definitely before March 1st"....which is some of the danger with giving even loose ETAs.....it's sometimes very hard to predict when the the unexpected pops up (I guess by definition of "unexpected"). 

Yeah, my advice is to try *not* to mention specific dates. Just priority order. But if you do then the other advice you are getting here about posting a "we aren't going to make it" either before or shortly after said mentioned date passes. A few of those and you'll be looking longingly at the "don't give dates" advice :)

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12 hours ago, Oliver_88 said:

I am not a person then it seems. 😉

Sorting out the issues with tentative icons, mortar acquiring issues, Bren fire rate issues, also yes some TO&E things (purchasing Vickers detachments giving you Headquarter detachments instead, whole formations missing in QB that exist in SD, formations missing their vehicles and so on). Then yeah sure after all that infantry under artillery fire behaviour would be good.

Yeah the artillery thing is a big issue that lots of people care about but that is usually typically there are a bunch of similar priority issues to fix. BFC tries to tackle a handful at at time not on at a time. More on why I agree with that later...

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4 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

 Is that worth the piece of BFC's soul that Steam asks for?  I don't know.

Steve does - it's his soul. :D

 

12 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

And this is why a lot of game companies now focus on releasing smaller and more frequent patches.  Exactly why.  I would prefer 10 patches over two years  than one big patch every two years.  

I am not surprised BFC have chosen to work this way. It's about focusing on priorities. If you are trying create a new module or game and you stop 5 times a year to build a patch that is very taxing on getting other things actually done. So, when you work on a patch you want there to be a number of things getting fixed not just one - even one as important as the one everyone seems to be waiting for.

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2 hours ago, Howler said:

By complexity, I mean the effort required to maintain the code base. I'm not implying that CM is more feature/model rich, or "realistic", than any similar product on the market.

Except that it is :)  Ooops is my bias showing :D

2 hours ago, Howler said:

I also don't think partnering with Steam is the 'silver bullet' that will miraculously resolve all issues. I view Steam as a distribution platform. As such, I'm not convinced it gets us much closer.

I believe correct - and it would incur costs on top of not actually giving real benefits - to BFC. I get that people think there are benefits to us consumers.

2 hours ago, Howler said:

In other words, I'm willing to grant that Steam could simplify a release (patching) process. I'm not sure Steam helps significantly to the construction effort leading to a release which seems to be where we are at. 

Yep

2 hours ago, Howler said:

One thing that we should expect is better management of expectations. The rest is woulda, coulda, shoulda. Hopefully we all take away lessons learned...

+1

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4 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

 Is that worth the piece of BFC's soul that Steam asks for?  I don't know.

It can be more than a piece of someone's soul, I have found out. Without boring anyone with the gory details, Steam (very nicely I should add) has very detailed descriptions and FAQs of their distribution agreements. It's a very long read and available for anyone to read. The short answer is IF  the maths worked out where Steam generated enough additional sales to offset their fees there is more to it than just that. 

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3 hours ago, Howler said:

 I view Steam as a distribution platform. 

Given my experiences with them earlier in the year, I view them as a bunch of....... Goes off to fill Elizabeth's "Oliver's Profanity Box" with coin of The Commonwealth.

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1 hour ago, IanL said:
3 hours ago, Howler said:

By complexity, I mean the effort required to maintain the code base. I'm not implying that CM is more feature/model rich, or "realistic", than any similar product on the market.

Except that it is :)  Ooops is my bias showing :D

For our sanity; please put something on to cover your... bias... as you call it. I understand a posting from @Warts 'n' all has that effect on some.

Out of curiosity, what does your spouse call it? 🙄

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3 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Given my experiences with them earlier in the year, I view them as a bunch of....... Goes off to fill Elizabeth's "Oliver's Profanity Box" with coin of The Commonwealth.

What's the story, gramps?

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Oh, there was a thread on here back in January. Unfortunately I can't remember the actual title. A lot or people had money stolen from their Credit Cards, and some seemed to think that it was down to a BFC problem, because they'd purchased CMSF2. I chipped in with my tuppence-ha'penny worth. 

1. I didn't buy CMSF2 (Not my period of interest).

2. I bought something on Steam and someone helped themselves to £150 in five batches, which just happened to be the amount of times I visited their website.

And just to rub salt in the wound I fell foul of their policy of sending a receipt printed in battleship grey on a black background, so that my old eyes missed the terms and conditions. And of course, because they rarely give us demos to play, by the time I found out that the game was garbage it was too late to get my coin of the Commonwealth back because I'd exceeded their strange 2-hour rule. So not a happy Crommers. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Oh, right, I remember that. I said I got scammed out of 500 € in that thread, however it happened shortly after I bought my first two CM games, but also after buying some Steam games (I'm a regular patron).

Really, if you get scammed like that, you can only guess why it happened in the first place. Now, back on topic.

Edited by Frenchy56

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I hope folks are more careful in the future, regarding scammers and phishing (fake websites). Keep an eye out for Soviet-levels of deception, they can make their website (email or phone number) look exactly like your bank's (let alone a game distributor). Older people being their target audience, so to speak. Most security breaches (even for businesses) happen due to people giving up their info, unwittingly.

Recently, a lot of new high profile game releases have been moving away from Steam. Some REALLY big ones are now going to be Epic Store exclusives. Others are being pulled back into Publisher's own platforms (Uplay, Origin). The industry is moving away from Steam, for the same reason BFC is -- the hefty Valve tax. As a Steam user, I am not happy with it -- and many others are not, either. This being said, I can't blame them -- it's a free market.

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You need to close that barn door before and not afterwards!

Steam (not a fanboy) does a few things rather well. These being: cost, exposure, and DRM (not too damaging). Going back to a series of walled gardens with diverse costing, limited titles, and DRM that mangles systems (or incompatible with competing DRM!) is a pipe dream. There are a lot of indie games that would die of obscurity without it.

I understand the larger publishers wanting to claw more money back but, that isn't a business plan. Execution is the only thing that matters. Steam executes. EA/Blizzard/etc. can't. Too many decades of easy money are wired into their DNA.

Apologies for being off topic.

 

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11 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

 

2. I bought something on Steam and someone helped themselves to £150 in five batches, which just happened to be the amount of times I visited their website.

 

Are you somehow suggesting that the number of times you visit a webstore is somehow related to the number of times your compromised credit card can be accessed? That's comically ignorant.

 

2 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

Recently, a lot of new high profile game releases have been moving away from Steam. Some REALLY big ones are now going to be Epic Store exclusives. Others are being pulled back into Publisher's own platforms (Uplay, Origin). The industry is moving away from Steam, for the same reason BFC is -- the hefty Valve tax. As a Steam user, I am not happy with it -- and many others are not, either. This being said, I can't blame them -- it's a free market.

Epic is throwing its money around trying to jam its way into the market. BFC should see if they can get in on that Fortnite money. It's hard to argue as a small developer with a distributor covers 90% of your development cost and guarantees a minimum revenue.

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56 minutes ago, SgtHatred said:

Are you somehow suggesting that the number of times you visit a webstore is somehow related to the number of times your compromised credit card can be accessed? That's comically ignorant.

I'm allowed to be comically ignorant. I'm 400 years old. I only made one purchase, made two free downloads, one refund request, and one more visit after my refund was refused. Perhaps the five £30 thefts were just a co-incidence. Personally I couldn't give a monkey's. My bank gave me my money bank, end of story.

Now about this engine 4 patch.......

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I am a stalwart supporter of BFC, been playing the games for longer than I can remember. I made a modest contribution to the development of CMFI some years ago.

Yes, waiting for the patch has been unusually testing, but this game system has so many facets that even though I played less I still had a lot of fun making maps and designing scenarios, not to mention fun testing them.

 

These guys are a small team of extremely dedicated enthusiasts. They give 100%. I still haven't found anything remotely approaching their product for the kind of game play I appreciate. I have total confidence in their judgment and integrity. And I don't begrudge them for one minute the long gestation of this patch, or the confusion over exactly when it will be released.

Thank you Steve, thank you Charles, thank you everyone else who put their time and effort in bringing these games to us.

I've gone through a rough patch that has lasted nearly ten years so far. If and when I get back on my feet, I will be glad to lend a hand again. I hope it will be soon (can't give a precise date though... sorry, I couldn't resist that :-) ). In the mean time, I don't mind saying that playing your games has often been the only source of fun and relaxation for me, and a good way to avoid going mad during the long spells when real life got held up in limbo.

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2 hours ago, usgubgub said:

I am a stalwart supporter of BFC, been playing the games for longer than I can remember. I made a modest contribution to the development of CMFI some years ago.

Yes, waiting for the patch has been unusually testing, but this game system has so many facets that even though I played less I still had a lot of fun making maps and designing scenarios, not to mention fun testing them.

 

These guys are a small team of extremely dedicated enthusiasts. They give 100%. I still haven't found anything remotely approaching their product for the kind of game play I appreciate. I have total confidence in their judgment and integrity. And I don't begrudge them for one minute the long gestation of this patch, or the confusion over exactly when it will be released.

Thank you Steve, thank you Charles, thank you everyone else who put their time and effort in bringing these games to us.

I've gone through a rough patch that has lasted nearly ten years so far. If and when I get back on my feet, I will be glad to lend a hand again. I hope it will be soon (can't give a precise date though... sorry, I couldn't resist that :-) ). In the mean time, I don't mind saying that playing your games has often been the only source of fun and relaxation for me, and a good way to avoid going mad during the long spells when real life got held up in limbo.

I'll echo Warts here; very well said indeed.

Hope things turn around for you soon. At least you have the patches to look forward to! 😁

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14 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

I'll echo Warts here; very well said indeed.

Hope things turn around for you soon. At least you have the patches to look forward to! 😁

Thanks for the good wishes. I think I am 75% there. Another year maybe...

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On 4/24/2019 at 2:07 AM, Howler said:

 I also don't think partnering with Steam is the 'silver bullet' that will miraculously resolve all issues. I view Steam as a distribution platform. As such, I'm not convinced it gets us much closer. In other words, I'm willing to grant that Steam could simplify a release (patching) process. I'm not sure Steam helps significantly to the construction effort leading to a release which seems to be where we are at.

https://www.winterwolves.net/blog/2019/04/fifteen-years-indie/

Observations on Steam from a niche indie simulator developer - very plain language there.

I had a laugh 😁 when he complained of being recommended flight simulators.

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8 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

Observations on Steam from a niche indie simulator developer - very plain language there.

Again, I'm not a Steam fan boy, his term for gatekeeper is rather loose. You aren't a gatekeeper if other avenues are open to bypassing said gate. He mentions two viable ones, selling direct and Patreon. There's also GoG, Twitch, YouTube, etc... that can be used to attract attention. It's never been easier to be a 'content creator'. The hard part has always been (and remains) 'execution'.

In his case, upping his overhead from 8% to 30% (aka Steam Tax) didn't result in expected revenue gains (growth). The fault apparently lies with Steam and their search algorithms. I wish him the best now that he knows the blame isn't on him.

To  be gatekeeper, you need to foster scarcity artificially and then then be able charge exorbitant rents. Last mile access to the home for telecom services protected by ineffective regulation - yes. A cinema chain dictating price and availability - yes. Steam does not, to my knowledge, dictate cost, availability (scarcity), nor is it unduly protected by regulation to maintain dominance.

It's simply a distribution platform. Call me when they start to enforce 'exclusivity' or capriciously dumping titles from their catalog.

I guess it's natural to feel some sense of entitlement when we see corporations and industries protected by various governments securing theirs. I'd rather the solution be the removal of such from society. But, I digress...

In ant event, I don't see Steam being a solution to whatever we feel ails BFC. While I don't like any DRM; theirs seem to be the least intrusive and disruptive. The already maintain a site to distribute their products. They also own any PR short comings there may be. I think they're doing fine. Every iteration of their product seems to be easier to use (eg all-in-one installer).

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Howler said:

Steam does not, to my knowledge, dictate cost, availability (scarcity), nor is it unduly protected by regulation to maintain dominance.

I totally agree with all of these observations, and I am pretty sure the guy blogging does too. I think gatekeeping is a rather ungenerous characterization, motivated by many indie developers being a bit pissed off at the law of large numbers, that point at the rather obvious fact that Steam is sitting at the door of the biggest PC games market. People resent the "tax", especially when they get no service they are interested in getting in return. Steam is very pro-consumer (within the strictures of DRM, of course), and not every pro-consumer feature (like reviews, forums) is a pro-developer one (like auto patching, secure anonymised multiplayer, etc.).

I wasn't posting to start a discussion on Steam and its suitability to BFC - that was settled by Steve ages ago as he said he would monitor the situation and see if his assessment would change. To be honest, seeing how things are going, I don't think the environment has become any inch easier for a niche developer.

Graviteam has an "ace in the hole": they are based in Kharkov, Ukraine. Even after  the Steam tax, and the publisher tax (the dodgy Canadian outfit, Strategy First), I am pretty sure that our dollars and euros convert to hryvnias (sp?) just fine. And quite sure too they get a pretty good salary for Ukrainian standards

<removed link because of dodgy clickbait at the end of blog>

Maybe some of the Ukrainian forumites can comment on this in a more informed manner.

Edited by BletchleyGeek

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