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I own base CMBN and CW Module.

1. So before I can buy a MG (Market Garden) Module I will need to upgrade my game to version 2?

Correct. You don't have to Upgrade if you don't want the features or access to Market Garden. But if you want either you will have to Upgrade.

2. Buying CMFI (Fortress Italy) will give me a version 2 version of that game only and WILL not upgrade my existing version of the CM engine?

Correct. There has never, and will never be, a centralized game engine that spans all theaters and timeframes. Therefore, it is physically impossible for an Upgrade to apply to anything other than what you purchased it for or what it inherently came with.

3. BF then bring out what they are calling various packages. If I install the Flamethrower package and the German Paratrooper package I can easily play them in single player. If I want to play an opponent using these packages, then he has to purchase them as well. If he does not have them then the game files will be incompatible.

A Pack is no different than Modules which we have been releasing for 4 years now. When going into a multiplayer game CM looks for the common content and makes them available to both players. Anything that only one person has is unavailable for that game session.

Sceanrios/Campaigns made using a particular Module/Pack only show up in the Load screen if the person has that content.

Again, this is the way it's worked since the beginning so it's nothing new.

So in future, before playing an opponent I would need to ascertain:

Not just the future... the present and past as well. It's always been this way.

1. What version of the game he is running.

Yup, just like always. The only new wrinkle is that up to now there was no reason for someone being out of date, and if out of date he'd be just a couple of mouse clicks away from being up to date. But with the Upgrades some people might not want to Upgrade and therefore if you're Upgraded you won't be able to play them without having a second install of the previous version.

2. What packages he has installed. This would be very important in a QB as I wouldn’t want to go through the choosing forces stage only to find out he cant run the packages.

This doesn't happen now with Modules, never has and never will, so it's not an area of concern.

I wonder how easy it would be for BF to implement the following:

Packages:

When new packages are released release them as a patch to everybody. However, to be able to use them you have to buy them.

This would mean that everyone could play every scenario but only those who bought them could initiate them. So if I didn’t buy the flamethrower package I couldn’t pick it in a QB but my opponent could and I would see it in our game. You never know, it might even encourage him to buy it after seeing it being used on him.

It's not that simple. Not only would the free patch for the non-Pack owners have to contain all the code necessary to handle flamethrowers and their effects, but it would also have to include sound effects, graphics, and TO&E. We would then have to modify how the game uses these things to have them subjectively on/off depending on what the other player has or doesn't have. Right now TO&E and graphics are enabled or disabled based on the Module/Pack owned, and there is no exception for one player's Purchase Screen and a different availability to the others'

I think some people have let their imaginations go a little wild about the Pack concept. We will not release a "flamethrower Pack". Flamethrowers might be part of a larger Pack with other equipment and units, but we have no intention of making very tiny, narrowly focused Packs. Each release we do adds overhead and complications to us and lots of little tiny things adds up to probably far more headaches than benefits for us.

Steve

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Shock Force 2 is a totally new game, so there's no discounts for Shock Force 1 customers. In fact, we aren't totally convinced we are going to call the next modern game "Shock Force 2". That's just what we're calling it for now, just like the other Eastern Front games are numbered EF1 (maybe called Bagration, not sure yet), EF2, EF3, and EF4.

Steve

With the new upgrade system, CM:SF 2 would sound like a v2.0 upgrade for CM:SF (something that won't actually exist), which could be a little confusing - so I think it's a very good idea to use a different name. :)

I bought a couple of games recently and finally got around to backing them up. Get my stack of CD-Rs and... wait... the files are over 750mbs. OK lets try zip or 7zip or winrar. Nope they won't compress.

Do I go buy DVDs when rumor has it that CDs and DVDs are going away?

DVDs won't go away before quite some time. But please note that CD-Rs, DVD-Rs and BD-Rs are generally NOT reliable archival media. They degrade over time and can become unreadable after a few years (or even a few months in extreme cases), and you need to be very careful with several different factors (media quality, write speed, storage conditions) to have some degree of control over their "shelf life".

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Correct. There has never, and will never be, a centralized game engine that spans all theaters and timeframes. Therefore, it is physically impossible for an Upgrade to apply to anything other than what you purchased it for or what it inherently came with.

Something that I think would cock a lot of peoples' hoops would be if, at some stage (say, after you've got to the end of the war in Europe from both directions), you revisited the content (TO, equipment, terrain) and "ported" it to the most recent engine. While it might seem to be just "selling the same stuff", I think a bunch of people would like to have one game they can load up and play anything from any period you've covered, as well as offering the opportunity to combine families previously divided, such as Soviet vs Western Allies. You could release as many Modules for the "last" version of the engine as you've already released for all the families combined.

Some would cavail at "having" to buy the same content a second time (if they ever bought it the first...), but it might be worth (if you can bear the redundancy of redoing things you'd thought long settled) exploring whether there's sufficient market for it, while we make the journey towards that notional "final WW2 CMBN engine".

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As someone mentioned abouve I'd prefer one install/engine and all the stuff hanging off it too, one shortcut to rule them all sort of thing. Haven't really liked the idea of base game releases since I first read about it, mainly coz there sounds like there's going to be quite a few of them. But it's their business so I'll leave it to them.

On first reading the info in this thread I'd have thought it'd get a bit confusing having multiple titles each with their own modules, packs and patch levels. Also potentially having to pay to patch the base game up to a level to support a module (did I read that right re OMG and having to pay to patch CMBN in general?) seems a bit meh. In essence it's similar to what happened with the releases in the CM1 family I suppose but 4 EF releases, 3 NW Europe (was it 3?), 1 Italy adds up to a lot of base game installs to look after. Would we have to pay to patch each of the previous 7 titles we own once the last one is released to get updated features? That's my first impression anyway. Will wait and see how it all pans out. The written word, inferences made from that and what actually happens in the end can vary widely so I'm not going to stress about it. I don't game CM much these days anyway so will probably wait for the bundles down the track.

Is gratifying to read about future developments, always wets the appetite.

-F

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...having to pay to patch the base game up to a level to support a module...

Don't think of it as patching. Think of it as upgrades. The development model has evolved such that, effectively, CM-OMG is a new base game, rather than a module for CMBN. Fortunately, there's a cheap upgrade path for CMBN to this new base game. Celebrate the increased frequency of base game engine upgrades, and introduction of new gameplay elements, rather than harping on about "paying for patches".

...having to pay to patch CMBN in general...

Patches will still be free. The new packs will add features which neither patches nor modules have ever done before. The prospect of getting a new UI, or fire or amphibious movement before Bulge is released is quite mouthwatering. The announced improvements in v2.0 are extremely welcome and far beyond anything we had ever been led to expect was even possible with a patch, because the new version is emphatically not a patch.

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As someone mentioned abouve I'd prefer one install/engine and all the stuff hanging off it too, one shortcut to rule them all sort of thing. Haven't really liked the idea of base game releases since I first read about it, mainly coz there sounds like there's going to be quite a few of them. But it's their business so I'll leave it to them.

On first reading the info in this thread I'd have thought it'd get a bit confusing having multiple titles each with their own modules, packs and patch levels. Also potentially having to pay to patch the base game up to a level to support a module (did I read that right re OMG and having to pay to patch CMBN in general?) seems a bit meh. In essence it's similar to what happened with the releases in the CM1 family I suppose but 4 EF releases, 3 NW Europe (was it 3?), 1 Italy adds up to a lot of base game installs to look after. Would we have to pay to patch each of the previous 7 titles we own once the last one is released to get updated features? That's my first impression anyway. Will wait and see how it all pans out. The written word, inferences made from that and what actually happens in the end can vary widely so I'm not going to stress about it. I don't game CM much these days anyway so will probably wait for the bundles down the track.

Is gratifying to read about future developments, always wets the appetite.

-F

Will be potentially problematic if I need to reinstall my system. 10 base games, modules and several patches/updates forces me to install whopping 50(?) installations. Sounds Expensive. This wont be problem in near future but seems like I eventually need an effective IT policy to manage my CM intallations. I am also little bit concerned that the current licensing system won't be suitable. I most certainly would not like to realize that I cannot install n:th module only because I have messed with licencess.

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Don't think of it as patching. Think of it as upgrades. The development model has evolved such that, effectively, CM-OMG is a new base game, rather than a module for CMBN. Fortunately, there's a cheap upgrade path for CMBN to this new base game. Celebrate the increased frequency of base game engine upgrades, and introduction of new gameplay elements, rather than harping on about "paying for patches".

Patches will still be free. The new packs will add features which neither patches nor modules have ever done before. The prospect of getting a new UI, or fire or amphibious movement before Bulge is released is quite mouthwatering. The announced improvements in v2.0 are extremely welcome and far beyond anything we had ever been led to expect was even possible with a patch, because the new version is emphatically not a patch.

Yes I guess upgrades is a better term to use. Being who I am patch is indicative of fixing or amending existing features. I am still on the fence about upgrades being a continuing revenue stream and cost to the player base. Especially seeing as being up to date will most probably be necessary to stay in the multiplayer side of things. Will be a no brainer for dedicated fans. Here's hoping it keeps BC in business producing quality content. The seeming increase in release pace would be most welcome.

Fenris

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Will be potentially problematic if I need to reinstall my system. 10 base games, modules and several patches/updates forces me to install whopping 50(?) installations. Sounds Expensive. This wont be problem in near future but seems like I eventually need an effective IT policy to manage my CM intallations. I am also little bit concerned that the current licensing system won't be suitable. I most certainly would not like to realize that I cannot install n:th module only because I have messed with licencess.

I agree, licensing is going to be a mess! I recently had a computer die on me, and the only trouble I had was with battlefronts lousy licensing. I cringe at the thought of losing my computer a year from now, what a nightmare it will be.

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As we haven't gotten there yet perhaps we should hold off on deciding how difficult it is or not. Keeping any particular game at a certain release level has not seemed to be all that hard. The only issue seems to be making sure your opponents are at the same version level and with the same modules. CMBN for example I am at 1.10 with the CW module. When MG comes out I will be at 2.0 with the CW and MG modules. Not exactly rocket science.

As to the money - well we are just going to have to accept that these guys are not a charity. They work for a living just like we do so if you don't want to buy something - don't buy it. Nobody is saying you have to buy every game they come out with and it sounds like BF isn't expecting everyone will. However if you are crazy enough like I am to want it all then you have to expect some amount of effort to go with that. Personally I expect most people will stay at the most current version of whatever family of games they like. Who is going to want Eastern Front games w/o all the latest features (and who knows what we are talking here, fire, fortified buildings, sewer movement)? Just keeping the UI similar across all the games is enough for me. Wait till we have CMFI and see how many of us hold off on playing CMBN until version 2 just because we can't have the armored cover arc till then LOL You know it is going to happen and MG module/version 2 doesn't sound like it is that far off.

As to a comment Emerys made earlier about the cost of board games- how many people here bought extra copies of ASL modules just to be able to have the full ToE for larger formations? (raises hand) and I don't recall getting a discount for that.

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Surely there must be a better and easier way to avoid all this?

I guess BFC could solve this horrible problem by producing fewer products and not keeping those products up-to-date with the latest features so that users will abandon older products in favor of smaller number of new ones, i.e. the way it was done before.

I currently have 4 separate Combat Mission games installed on my system, but I am only playing 1 at the moment. Although I am interested in the content/subject matter of all 4 games, I am not interested in playing the other 3 because they lack a number of features in the latest game that have vastly improved my enjoyment of the game. That in the future I might have multiple Combat Mission products on my system all of which I want to play equally and can base my choice purely on my subject matter interest of the moment I really don't see as a problem.

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I think people are still making too much out of the details. If it helps, when things are boiled down there are only two new elements to focus on:

1. The games you have invested a lot of money in will not die a quiet, slow death due to a lack of support and new features. That has been the case for all our previous CM games and is, in fact, the norm for games in general. Well, except that most games have a very fast death :)

2. There will be more games for you to choose from sooner than would otherwise happen. Our new strategy doesn't really give us the ability to make something we wouldn't have made before, it just allows us to bring it to you quicker.

Licensing, multi-player compatibility, restoring after a crash, etc. are all pretty much unchanged as they would be if we had no upgrades and slower production capacity.

Another thing that is unchanged is patching. We have always, and will always, fix bugs and tweak existing game values for a very long time (relative to other games) after a game is out. And those patches will be free, as they always have been. But just like before, at some point we stop patching and that is the end of improvements to what you have already purchased. If you buy the game after that point it's unsupported then what you get is all you'll get.

Under the old system the only way to get improvements after this period is to wait MANY years for us to come back around to that particular topic. Then you would have to purchase the new games fresh with no consideration that you bought similar games in the past. Prior to this strategy change we were planning about 3 years before revisiting a topic. The 11 years between Western Front games (CMBO->CMBN) was a little much :D Which means at best every 3 years you would have a choice to either stick with what you have or pay another $100+ to enjoy a new game experience with (basically) the same game content.

If any of you think that the old method is somehow better, either conceptually or financially, than the new system we're offering... you're insane. Note I am not putting a smiley there because I'm serious.

Now, if you are someone who recognizes that the new way is a ton better than what we had before, but you don't want to pay a fair price for the work we're doing to make it possible... you're unreasonable. From a practical standpoint your objections are just as meaningful as an insane person. Expecting a for-profit company to voluntarily give away it's time and energy without compensation is an expectation that can not, and should not, be met.

Fortunately, the vast majority of you guys are both sane and reasonable. If you weren't, we'd have left this niche long ago. Either by choice or because of the economics.

Steve

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It is not only not insane but it is a great way for us to keep up with all changes. I never played CMBO as I only found out about CM after the release of CMBB and did not want to go back to an earlier less polished version. This way, in 3 years, those that just discover this system can still buy CMBN with all the new features that are available 3 years hence. I am less worried about fragmentation than when I first started reading this new model. Well worth the little bit of inconvenience for me to ensure my PBEM buddies are all set up.

I do not begrudge you the money nor the DRM that you have. I still play for pennies an hour of play and once the DRM is working, it works fine. Try something like Diablo where you have to have a persistent internet connection. Their servers went down and no one could play for a while. Now that is taking it a step too far. In 2 years, no one but a few hard core gamers will be playing Diablo. in 2 years, I will probably play just as much CM if my wife lets me.

Another revenue stream, tents with computers set up in your forest outback of your house for those if us that wish to play after our wives kick us out. Slit toilets, -40C in winter will all just give this ambiance.

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It is not only not insane but it is a great way for us to keep up with all changes.

YEP! It's ALL you could ever want or hope for. I was daydreaming big waiting for them to tell us some news...but all I was expecting was maybe some new terrain and flavor objects for Market Garden and at the most, wondering about a possible new modern game 'cause of the rumor from that french magazine article. And Holy crap...my games will stay up to date along with the engine! I don't care if I have to do fifty installs...it's beyond awesome! The glass half full has turned into a river that's flooding the town.

Mord.

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The 11 years between Western Front games (CMBO->CMBN) was a little much :D Which means at best every 3 years you would have a choice to either stick with what you have or pay another $100+ to enjoy a new game experience with (basically) the same game content.

Steve

Agree, when you see the future plans it seems to be adding up to a lot of money, but over a 3 yr time period for one game refresh/base game it really will not be an issue.... bring it on :D

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Agree, when you see the future plans it seems to be adding up to a lot of money, but over a 3 yr time period for one game refresh/base game it really will not be an issue.... bring it on :D

:)

Yes, when people actually sit down and do the math the numbers look really good. Which is why we didn't think twice about the few people that complained about having to purchase a $5 patch for a game they had been playing every week or so for 6 or 7 years. Unreasonable customers do not have the best interests of anybody but themselves in mind. If you guys want us to be around in another 10 years you must take an interest in us making enough money to keep doing what we do. It's a simple equation that (thankfully!!!) very few people fail to comprehend.

The key thing here is we not be hypocritical. We don't like unreasonable customers, you guys shouldn't like unreasonable game developers. Which is why we worked very hard to produce a system which allows you guys to leverage existing investments way, way beyond what other games can offer.

There no question about it that not only does this save you guys a LOT of money over time, but it continually enhances your gameplay over that period at a very low cost. On top of that, under the old system you would have to wait years to have all the updated content released again, while under this new system you never have to wait twice for the same stuff.

On our side we get freed up to make other stuff, we get some revenue from the Upgrade itself to put towards the next game, and avoids the "race to the bottom" price discounting for prior releases whenever a new one comes out.

Works out very well for everybody.

Steve

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It's really rather amusing to consider people move from complaining about the time between releases - too long - to complaining about the time between releases - too short...

And then there are the people worried about too much content fracturing the community... more content is always better, IMHO. If my current opponents don't want to be on the same upgrade path as me, the max upgrade/max content path, I will find opponents who are and make new friends. That seems like win/win to me.

Obviously if you guys succeed in increasing your productivity (in terms of releases), and your customer base stays relatively the same, you will make more money, which truly is a good thing for everyone involved. I hope your customer base expands with your feature set, and I, delusionally perhaps, suspect it will.

Kudos to you guys, really!

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