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  1. Not true. People spread things around, they complain when they break, they blame us when something doesn't work as they expect, and when requesting tech support fail to mention that they are using Mods. I know this for a fact because this is what happens with the stuff we do allow you to mod (graphics, sounds, etc. It also splits the community up based on what Mods are/aren't used. It's even worse for multiplayer because people now have to agree what to play with to start. If someone insists on playing with a particular Mod, and someone refuses to play with it, then there's problems there. On top of that, modding is largely unnecessary because CM is (for the most part) a fact based game. Screwing around with facts to bend something into doing something different is almost always going to have negative knock-on effects. So why allow you guys to mess around with stuff that is not in need of messing around with in the first place? As for game variables, there's almost nothing to mess around with because results are complicated products of very intricate equation. Even Charles, who wrote all the code, hesitates to tweak variables because of this. Allowing you guys to muck around with stuff that you haven't a clue about is not good for anybody. Nope, not concerned about multiplayer. Very easily worked around if we wanted to allow game behavior modding. But we don't, so it's moot. As the guy that has spent probably 1-2 years of my life "correcting nothing" on top of more years of creating everything to start with, I think you and I are done here. Steve
  2. Sigh... Look, we've had this discussion about modding game mechanics a billion times before. We will never allow players to do it because it undermines the integrity of the system, introduces headaches we have to deal with, and splits up the community. The latter isn't a problem when a community has a couple million players, but that isn't the case with us. If it was, we would have retired by now If there's something empirically wrong, REALLY wrong, with something in the game then we should fix it. That way everybody gets a vetted change that isn't one guy's opinion. That's the way it's been since 1999, it's the way it is now, and it's the way it will always be. Imperfect? Sure, but compared to the chaos that would come about from end user "solutions" it's vastly superior. Professional customers need the ability to change things for various reasons that are above my pay grade. What they do with the game doesn't affect anybody else and if there's a problem there's only one person POLITELY AND RATIONALLY making requests of our time. I'll also nix the idea that Pro customers can change whatever they want. They absolutely can not. There is a limited list of things based on what they paid us to add. For example, there is no variable to change a belt fed MG's ammo supply type, the way the TacAI behaves, or thousands of other things. Adding support to monkey with game mechanics ranges from easy to impossible, so imaginations should not be running wild. Steve
  3. Even if we "didn't give a toss" (as our Brit friends might say!) about diversity from a socio-political point of view, we do care about it as part of our desire to simulate battlefields as realistically as possible. That includes things such as race, gender, and language/dialects. Obviously for us, a humble game developer, there's limitations on how much effort we can put into this. Though that's true with pretty much every feature in CM, when one thinks about it. There's only so much time and resources available to us. A perfect example of diversity enhancing the game experience is in CMFI Rome to Victory where we included Sikh models and textures, but didn't make specific voice samples for them. For most CM players the effort to have more tailored voices would likely have been wasted, but the visuals? Totally worth it! As an FYI, for the MoD we also modified code to select races and genders to reflect the current makeup of British military demographics. Steve
  4. Agreed. The problem that US military, in particular, is called upon to do a wide variety of tasks on relatively short notice. Prior to the Stryker concept when there was a "medium" need they often had to send in "light" forces because that's all that could be deployed. Or they put in a more expensive, difficult "heavy" force simply because the "light" force wasn't strong enough. The two possible criticisms I can see about Strkyer implementation is: 1. Is too much of the active component of the US Army "medium" in the event of a near peer conventional armed conflict? 2. Is the specific makeup of the Stryker Brigade structure sufficient to handle a near peer conventional war? For the first, I don't think it's a problem in any practical sense because I don't see a scenario for a near peer conflict that would give the US time to deploy large amounts of heavy forces within a timeframe to matter. For the second, I think a SBCT would fare very well against a near pear heavy force. I'm a long term strategic thinker. I think overall the US military is better off having a significant amount of medium capabilities for reasons of sustainability and logistics. If the US is in a near peer conflict without air superiority... well... a lot more than Strykers will find themselves tested. The entire US military, from frontline to rearline, is built on the presumption of air superiority. More than a few military thinkers have pointed out that might not be such a great assumption to make. Yup, the Stryker (medium) concept has not been tested in conventional warfare in a near peer conflict. Except in CM However, the Soviets and their proteges had this concept implemented on a massive scale in real life. The only combat instances of such forces (at a large scale) were in the Middle East and therefore not really applicable as they were totally over matched at all levels and, basically, didn't stand a chance. Steve
  5. The major influence on US military thinking about moving to wheeled armor traces back to Kosovo. The US needed to get an armored force deployed very quickly. Snarky paraphrasing follows: PRESIDENT = we need to do something about Kosovo right away!! PENTAGON = not a problem, we're super awesome and wicked capable. PRESIDENT = I don't want us to lose anybody because people are wary about going in there at all. Can we get something deployed that is intimidating as well as capable? PENTAGON = sure can! We can create a fully Armored BCT and get it over there right away. Tanks and everything! PRESIDENT = awesome! By "right away", you mean this week? PENTAGON = not exactly. It's a land locked location and we don't have direct access to it by rail or even road. It will take a week just to figure out how to get everything deployed. PRESIDENT = OK, so how long after the paperwork gets sorted out can we have tanks in theater? PENTAGON = about a month. PRESIDENT = you're kidding?!? What if we put all assets into the mix and ran deployment ops 24 hours a day at maximum capacity? PENTAGON = that is already assumed in our estimate PRESIDENT = this sucks PENTAGON = yup, but on the bright side you didn't ask us to deploy more than 3000 soldiers, because we've got all our logistics committed to just the 2500 planned PRESIDENT = what would happen if we needed a larger force deployed? PENTAGON = do you remember Desert Shield? PRESIDENT = that sucks times two. Maybe we should figure out how not to take a month to move a rather small armored force from bases in Europe to another spot in Europe using all our logistics capabilities on the assumption that we have nothing else that needs doing at the same time? PENTAGON = yeah, we're kinda thinking the same thing. We'll get back to you And thus, the beginning so a Medium BCT was born. Here's some good reads on the topic: https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=441636 https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1406a.12?seq=22#metadata_info_tab_contents Time and time again history has proven that logistics win wars. The Sherman was a decent tank, but inferior to the Panther and Tigers. In CM you might very well conclude that the Panther is a superior tank. However, if you were a soldier on the Western front you'd more likely be happier to be a US infantryman being supported by decent tanks than a German infantryman relying upon a Panzerfaust because there wasn't a Panther anywhere to be seen. Germans in WW2 were thinking more like a CM player and we all know how that turned out Steve
  6. No, wrong there too. The vulnerability of the original Strykers to IEDs is well known and not unique to it. The whole reason for MRAPs being introduced was NOTHING the US military had as transport was up to the challenge of IEDs. Not even Bradleys. Doesn't indicate a particular failing of the Stryker, but just about all military vehicles in NATO inventory prior to Iraq. Similarly, offroad mobility issues are more inherent to the Stryker's wheeled nature than something specific to the Stryker. Just like the limited operational range and tactical speed of a Bradley is inherent to a heavy tracked vehicle. Every system has its pros and cons. Prior to Strykers most infantry engaged the enemy in Humvees. Tactically, the Stryker is vastly superior to the Humvee platform in nearly all ways. Operationally the Stryker is vastly superior to the Bradely. Vastly easier to get into theater, support once there, and redeploy as needed. Soldiers who have to live in their vehicles day in and day out speak very highly of the Stryker. Bradley grunts do not speak as lovingly from what I've read. None of these things are simulated in CM, but they are never-the-less massively important considerations in the real world. The US Army has expanded the number of Stryker brigades and is upgrading the fleet for a third time. Hardly abandoned Steve
  7. Sorta! We had the idea to do modern first, then during the research phase ran into the brand new Stryker concept. No vehicles had been built at that time. We thought it was an excellent opportunity to not only explore a new (for the US anyway) concept before it hit the ground, but also a shameless marketing angle that put us out ahead of any other contemporary warfare environment Oh, we weren't skeptical at all. In fact, huge supporters of the concept right from the start. Having only light and heavy options available to such a huge military was, and still is, a really dumb idea. As for the specifics of how the Stryker program was implemented, such as costs and the obvious fudging of C-130 deployment capabilities... well, the devil is always in the details. Abandoned? Huh? The US Army has expanded the number of brigades and is in fact now in the process of developing the third generation Stryker vehicles: https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2020/9/18/army-begins-fielding-upgraded-third-generation-strykers Not what I'd call abandoned. Steve
  8. OMG, I haven't thought of that bit of propaganda in a very long time! "We want to show the Nazis as awful enemy. How do we do that quickly? I know, have them machinegun an old lady. Oh, and while we are at it, let's have the Brits stop their advance for tea." Steve
  9. CM2 would have to be rewritten from scratch to have more than 2 sides. Sometimes baked in assumptions can not be undone, and this is one of those conditions. If adding civilians was technically viable we'd probably be working on it right now for our Professional version. But it's cost prohibitive so we aren't. And if it's cost prohibitive for a customer willing to pay a lot more than $60 to play it, it's certainly out of the running for the Commercial version. Steve
  10. Absolutely. And for our military customers, they want civilians as explicitly simulated as possible. The problem with this for commercial games is twofold: 1. explicit and realistic portrayal of civilians would likely add no less than 50% to development expenses 2. the interest level in the average gamer having to deal with explicit civilians is exceedingly low Combine the two and you have a massive expenses for an audience that doesn't want it, therefore they aren't going to accept the cost of it. That's why we don't have civilians explicitly simulated in CM1 or CM2. The market to support it simply is not there. This is not correct. We were right that Syria was to be the next major conflict in the Middle East, but we decided to frame it as a conventional war because that is what we (and by extension our customers) were interested in. What actually happened, obviously, is a civil war with the usual element of externally supported proxy forces. That is a *totally* different game. Which means what CMSF2 is has nothing to do about predictions being wrong, it was about making the game that we thought our customers wanted. Conventional war yes, civil war not. I don't think we wrong at all. You are also incorrect about the Syrian civil war being "completely new". It isn't. For sure it has some new wrinkles (most large and long lived conflicts do), but it basically amounts to the usual array of competing power blocks willing to kill each other and destroy their infrastructure and hobble their long term viability as a society. Gotta disagree. Poll wargamers and you'll find they are overwhelmingly interested in maneuver warfare, military hardware, historical battles, etc. They are not interested in having civilians be a major factor in their gaming, nor do they want to see the horrors of what warfare produces. As for the latter, this is why we don't have realistic gore or other effects in the game. An example of the realistic effects our customers don't want... back when the Soviets were fighting in Afghanistan there was a film crew out with a Soviet convoy that got ambushed very badly. The Mujaheddin hit them from a distance and did not close in on them for days. You could hear the screams of wounded Soviet soldiers echoing in the valley all day long, not just in pain but probably pleading for aid. Why the HELL would anybody want to experience that in a GAME? Not without a massive development cost. Civilians move around and behave very differently than our Pixeltruppen. There is simply no way to add civilians without massive expense. Which is exactly what we told one of our military customers who requested such a feature. Even they didn't have the money to pay for it Steve
  11. Only minor changes were made to the original CMSF TO&E to better reflect the way emerging concepts of the mid 2000s wound up looking like in the 2010ish timeframe. In particular we reduced the number of grenade launchers for Marine Squads. Off the top of my head I can't think of anything else, but I'm sure there were some other tweaks. Turks were kept out of it on purpose. At the time there was some doubt that Turkey would want to involve its ground troops in Syria. I think that was the right call when we made it. Since then, however, things have changed significantly with a protracted conflict which bolstered Kurdish capabilities. Something even the older Turkish government wouldn't be keen on, but especially not under Erdo─čan's government. Even still, it took many years for Turkish forces to become directly involved in combat ops on Syrian soil. The suddenness and overwhelming ground force response by non-Turkish forces that are the core of the CMSF backstory, to me, still seem to lean in favor of the concept of the Turks leaning towards a hosting role only. Steve
  12. I agree there would be individual/unit activities that would be generally categorized as "war crimes" (plenty of those in the past 20 years), but widespread civilian destruction would not happen as a national policy for any Western country. Even Spain I can envision a bunch of other things that might happen that didn't happen with the 9/11 attacks (such as curbing/restricting Muslims within their own borders, sanctioning any nation that offered even mild opposition to military action, etc.), but not widespread civilian casualty causing military actions. Steve
  13. I agree that the game designer's scenario behind CMSF, or CM Cold War for that matter, isn't really important OTHER than the player feeling there's a reason for the fictional war. Let's be real. If we had the background setting to CMSF be all about expanding markets for Walmart, Coke, McDonald's, and the likes... would people feel as justified for blowing stuff up and getting their own pixeltruppen killed? I really, really hope not In all seriousness, I've heard from many a serious wargamer that they can't get into playing Eastern Front games because they can't relate at all to either side's motivation for fighting. Personally, that's not the sort of thing that gets me to play a game or not, but for sure it is for others. Steve
  14. As the author of the backstory of CMSF, someone who designed the civilian accountability system in the game, watched the Twin Towers collapse in real time, and earned a piece of paper that says I know a lot about history... I'll field this one First, if the goal of a terrorist group is to cause mass disruption, expense, and distraction of a large and well armed enemy nation state, dirty bombs are an excellent choice because that is what they do best. Casualties that go along with it would be a nice bonus in their view, not a measure of how effective the attack/s are. For example, think of any Western nation with the center of its capital city (Paris, London, Berlin, Washington, etc.) unlivable for a few hundred years. Now think of this happening with zero civilian casualties. From the terrorists' standpoint, don't you think they'd call that a win? Yup. From the victim nation's side do you think the resolve to go out and destroy the attacker is going to be any less than if there were a lot of civilian casualties? In practical terms, absolutely not. Therefore, civilian casualties is really not much of an issue for either side. Second, Western militaries have strong doctrinal and legal restrictions on use of force against civilians. As imperfect as those controls are, tactically and strategically, they exist and are very much a central part of military planning and execution. The restraints on causing civilian casualties can be easily seen in Afghanistan even in the immediate timeframe after 9/11. If anybody doesn't think the US, in particular, exercised massive restraint then it's clear to me they know almost nothing about what a lack of restraint would look like. Bombing a wedding party because the local commanders were naive enough to believe their "informed sources" is not even in the same ballpark as deliberately ordering a wing of B2s to turn an entire village into dust. Third, every nation has its fair share of idiot politicians and idiot political hacks calling for extreme action or, in fact, extreme inaction. Right, left, center... they all have far too many nutters IMHO. The measure of a nation is to what degree national policy is tilted to carrying out the will of the least informed, most extreme elements of its citizenry. As we saw with 9/11, civilians did not become targets in any systemic, deliberate way. That sort of restraint would likely exist in the CMSF scenario as well. Fourth, citizens of a nation at war tend to not care about pretty much anything in my experience. The hardcore pro-war types care as little about the impact of war on the enemy as they do on their own uniformed service personnel IMHO. Very "ends justify the means" thinking tends to go in that direction. Hardcore anti-war types swing in the opposite direction, don't care about future casualties and ill effects that might come about by not engaging in military action today. The majority in the middle just go with the flow more than anything. As a historian, short sighted clueless thinking is bad no matter what the motivations behind it are. So a mosque gets hit and the hardcore pro-war folks say "serves 'em right" and the hardcore anti-war folks say "nothing justifies the use of force" and the middle majority say "that's a shame, but what can one do". Predictable as the sun setting at the end of the day and rising at the beginning of the day. Fifth, one of the neat things in CM's victory conditions feature is that it doesn't have to be the same for both sides. One side might care a LOT about something, the other might not care at all about that very same thing. Mosques, oddly enough, are one of those things. For the West, blowing up a mosque plays out bad within the Muslim world and with domestic audiences. For the terrorists or a despotic regime trying to cling onto power? Ends justifies means thinking doesn't really care about such things, so if they blow up a mosque that's OK. In fact, deliberately using mosques as a fighting position was pretty common in Iraq, much to the frustration of Western forces. Lots of irony there. Anyhoo... there's some thoughts for you guys to chew on. Keep responses civil and responsible and the thread stays open. Otherwise, SNAP. Steve
  15. As important and tragic as things are in Afghanistan, this is not the thread to have a discussion about them. Off topic to an extreme, so if that's the direction this continues in I'll have to follow standard protocol and lock it up. Thanks for understanding! Steve
  16. Correct. As I've said whenever this is brought up, the differences in equipment and TO&E from what we have already in the game is massive. Aside from some Soldier stuff (basic model, helmet, rifles, etc.), it would be like making a brand new game from scratch. We don't think the market will reward such a huge development expense. Steve
  17. Although it is true that we do pop out a big surprise every now and again (Fortress Italy and Cold War being two huge ones, with Afghanistan and Touch being more nichey surprises), we're really not planning on anything like that. Though, to be fair we didn't plan on any of them before either So all I can say for now, for sure, is that we do not have another "Cold War" type game surprise up our sleeves, not that there never will be another one. As I said in the interview, we are at a minimum committed to making Modules for Black Sea, Final Blitzkrieg, and Cold War along with several Battle Packs. Several of these are well underway already. We'll be talking about them in detail pretty soon. Steve
  18. About our thoughts for Engine 5. There's all kinds of things that have come about in the 'puter world since we started coding CM2. No really, it's true! Some of the improvements translated very easily, even automatically, into improvements for CM's overall performance. However, over time APIs change and expand to offer control of new hardware capabilities. These often times require a lot of work to tap into. For the majority of CM2's development time we've favored adding features and content to CM2 with performance improvements being sprinkled in here and there. For a while that was fine because hardware really hadn't improved that much. But as the years passed the gap between what CM2 does and what it could do has grown wider. And at the same time the list of major feature requests that large amounts of players agree are super important AND are within reason for us to deliver has grown shorter. Yes, yes, yes, I know each of you has at least 1000 things you want to see added That's not what I'm talking about. What I'm talking about are the features that are common to large chunks of players and viable for us to implement. This is why we are focusing on performance stuff more than game features for the first time since 2007. It's about time we did, me thinks Fortunately, there's a list of performance stuff that were uncovered when doing Engine 4 that we didn't have time to implement. We're going to dust those off and see which ones of them are still promising. Trust me, we know all the places we want to improve, we just don't know which ones are worth doing. Just getting an answer to that one tiny question can take weeks of coding time. We'll let you know what we've come up with when we have something solid to discuss. Steve
  19. Glad you guys enjoyed the interview! Charles (the interviewer) promised me really good questions and he did not disappoint. Yeah, goof on my part. From a product management standpoint we have 8 CM "Families" (9 if you count the discontinued CMSF1 games), but one of those is indeed CM:A. I should have said 7 CM Families. As far as I can tell nothing is going to happen with CM:A as we don't own the content and we're having difficulty getting authorization to do something with it. I did manage to track down one of the guys that helped develop it (the company is defunct) and we exchanged some emails. He said he'd contact the guys who own the rights and get back to me. I haven't heard back from him even after a follow up nudge. If we ever have the chance to strike a deal with the CM:A guys we will definitely look into porting the content over to CM2. But it might prove too much effort for too little interest. Porting over CMSF1 (same version of the engine as CM:A) was a massive undertaking. Yes, partly because of the quantity of stuff in CMSF1's four releases, but mostly because we changed all the unit, model, and TO&E data formats between Engine 1 and Engine 2, with a little bit for Engine 3, and a small bit for Engine 4. Still, I'm definitely open to the possibility of CM:A2! Steve
  20. No CoPlay in CM2 at all, but yeah... if it were practical to add there certainly are plenty of military customers who would be interested in it. They've told us as much over many years, so unless they are all fibbing, there is a for sure market out there Steve
  21. All non-Commercial versions of Combat Mission have complex licensing arrangements with corporations or governments. Slitherine handles all of that. One of the contracts consisted of a few hundred pages, so Slitherine is welcome to that job Steve
  22. I figure it would be good to clear up a few things Currently we have four versions of Combat Mission 2: 1. Commercial (what you guys know and love) 2. Student 3. Academic 4. Professional All four of these use exactly the same game engine, including grid size. The difference is what bells and whistles are available. The Student version is basically just specific playable content, but otherwise no difference in features. The Academic version has some features that are intended to help with gathering large sets of data output (number of rounds fired, tallies of shot results, etc.) for analysis purposes. New this month, FightClub is being used as the vehicle for harvesting that data. Professional has all the features of Academic plus the ability to add/modify all kinds of things. Adding units, modifying weapons characteristics, changing select game variables, creating/modifying TO&E, etc. None of the features in Professional are coming to Commercial. Steve
  23. Everything appears back to normal, though I still don't have an explanation for the outage. As an FYI, we keep a local backup of all customer data. If our site should ever go down completely we can reconstitute everything, including license keys and what not. This outage reminds me why backing up is a good thing to do! Steve
  24. Yup. I've cased out a bunch of different scenarios and the only one that fits all the available info is they cut back on weekend tech support and didn't tell us customers. Which is really odd and on its own is a reason to look for somewhere else to call home. Yet the other scenarios don't fit the facts as we can see them. Really strange. Steve
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