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Frankly, I am getting to the point now where I probably will not be giving BF any more of my money. I think their attitude sucks.

I'm sorry to hear that. Your support will be missed.

As someone who's spent a long time in IT project management, I have come to develop a fairly high regard for BFC because they are in the small minority of companies who connect SALES with DELIVERY; many software organizations do not. Software development is highly specialized, often arcane, and problematic to communicate. Battlefront tries hard to inform us in a timely fashion. While they may regularly fall short of some customer's expectations, they acknowledge so when it happens and have always shown respect and regard for their customers. (This peanut gallery gets snarky but hey, what can one expect from such a collection of war-gaming miscreants and reprobates . . . . !)

While Battlefront are imperfect, they've earned my trust. And they make great games. I get more than my money's worth from them. When I've had complaints, they listened and resolved. Of course, you'll need to satisfy yourself of that but I think patience in this regard will be satisfied.

Good luck and good gaming!

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Actually my main issue is not communication, but customer satisfaction.

If expectations are too high, then customer satisfaction will certainly suffer.

Yes, I know that BF has been working on a patch since May. It is now Mid-September and it has not been released in any form. In that same period they seem to have brought CMFI and CMBN up to the 3.0 standard and fixed the bug. Why did this occur? Well, I speculate it is all about dollars and cents. Income would be generated from the "upgrades" for CMFI and CMBN, while no income is generated from patching CMRT. Frankly, I think this sucks.

First, that's not the truth of it. Second, customers who have no interest in Red Thunder will likely disagree with your characterization of our priorities. We have to keep in mind ALL customers, not just the most recent ones. Which is a good thing for everybody long term because one day Red Thunder will not be the most current thing on our plate and yet it will still get fair attention from us.

As for how things actually happened, we had expected to get the Red Thunder patch out months BEFORE the upgrades. But the stupid building bug continued to defy an easy fix. We thought we had it fixed several times, but it didn't turn out that way. While this was going on we continued working on the Upgrades since we do have the ability to work on more than one thing at a time. The Upgrades wound up being done before the bug was fixed and in fact delayed the Upgrades. We fixed the bug (we think!) and released the Upgrades because they were the bigger thing on our plates at the time. We expected to turn around and release the Red Thunder patch a week or two later. Unfortunately DRM issues crept into the mix and we've been having problems getting the thing to run reliably. So it's been dragged out unexpectedly.

What could BF have done to make me happy? Well, allowing customers access to the Beta patches either via a public beta procedure or an expanded beta tester program would be nice.

Never going to happen because it would make things worse, not better.

At least it would make us feel like we are involved in the process. However, when I brought this up before I was told by Steve in no uncertain terms that this was a bad idea. (This was in response to some issues that were found immediately upon release of the 2.11 patch.).

Obviously my position on this hasn't changed :D

In general I find Steve's "My way or the highway attitude" rather bizarre for someone in a customer dependent business.

You find it "bizarre" only because you apparently can't figure out how we can be both customer unfriendly and yet be in business longer than just about any other wargame company ever to exist. That's because you refuse to understand that what you want is sometimes not what is in your own best interests. And I'm quite honest about that too. Or would you prefer this response from me:

"Dear Warrenpeace. Thank you for your recent inquiry about receiving beta code instead of waiting for the product to be properly tested and released. We value your opinion and I can assure you that it is under active consideration for some time in the future, but at the present time I regret to say that we are not in a position to accommodate this suggestion. Sincerely, Customer Support Representative"

If you prefer slick BS like that, I can assure you I am fully capable of doing so. It would require me to insult your intelligence and knowingly disrespect your wants/desires, but if that's what you want then maybe I should just do it.

Frankly, I am getting to the point now where I probably will not be giving BF any more of my money. I think their attitude sucks.

Our experience is customers that have convinced themselves that they should be upset with us will always find a reason to be. It's your choice, not ours.

Steve

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Actually my main issue is not communication, but customer satisfaction.

Yes, I know that BF has been working on a patch since May. It is now Mid-September and it has not been released in any form. In that same period they seem to have brought CMFI and CMBN up to the 3.0 standard and fixed the bug. Why did this occur? Well, I speculate it is all about dollars and cents. Income would be generated from the "upgrades" for CMFI and CMBN, while no income is generated from patching CMRT. Frankly, I think this sucks.

Do you really think that or are you just frustrated cause I think with pretty much certainty it had absolutely nothing to do with income. So you are just jumping to a conclusion that is further souring your attitude, but your premise is simply wrong. That may not help your overall frustration, but that particular premise should not be a part of it.

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As someone who's spent a long time in IT project management, I have come to develop a fairly high regard for BFC because they are in the small minority of companies who connect SALES with DELIVERY; many software organizations do not.

Thanks for noticing :D Yes, that is definitely our attitude and it, apparently, sucks in some eyes. We feel that the most important thing is to deliver the best products we can and to support them effectively. No amount of hand holding and coddling customers' every whim will keep us in business if we lose sight of what's really important. It's why some of our loudest and most harshest critics, who savage us at every opportunity real or imagined, still show up in our order logs on a regular basis. If we didn't deliver high quality products that our customers actually want, I'm sure we'd feel it in the wallet.

Steve

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Currently BFC answers questions in a variety of threads which is kinda insufficient for the problems at hand.

Take tank riders for example. Many players expected tank riders out of the box. It was not clearly communicated that they were not part of the upgrade until after a few days of sale. It was communicated to players because a number of threads popped up on all three CM WW2 sub-forums mentioning or complaining about the lack of tank riders.

BFC then proceeded to answer why tank riders were not included in a minority of these threads. This resulted in a number of customers in a number of threads not getting the information and new threads still popping up trying to find answers to why there were no tank riders.

If instead of individually answering these questions in a number of threads a sticky post was made explaining why there were no tank riders the entire forum going player base would know. Instead of a subset of it.

The use of sticky posts updating the player base on some of the larger issues would go a long way in providing better communication.

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I appreciate the honesty but I think you are wrong about the believe that people need your software and therefore should be glad. At the end it's a game. The software is not needed to get something done. People do not need the product.

The tobacco industry sells products that make their customers addicted. And although people really need their products, do they say so? Do they say "Ha, you are addicted to our products!"? No they say: Smoke - enjoy freedom. Smoke and be cool. Having no fitness is cool, being addicted means freedom? Smokers love tobacco companies and their brands for poisioning them. That's the power of marketing.

And you claim that it was not possible to treat your average customers in a way that they feel more respected while it's possible to sell illness and death? :D

I think you exaggerate the PR task because you just want to keep it going the way you probably have been handling it for years. You have a tight schedule, you must take care for more important things than improving PR.

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Currently BFC answers questions in a variety of threads which is kinda insufficient for the problems at hand.

Take tank riders for example. Many players expected tank riders out of the box. It was not clearly communicated that they were not part of the upgrade until after a few days of sale. It was communicated to players because a number of threads popped up on all three CM WW2 sub-forums mentioning or complaining about the lack of tank riders.

BFC then proceeded to answer why tank riders were not included in a minority of these threads. This resulted in a number of customers in a number of threads not getting the information and new threads still popping up trying to find answers to why there were no tank riders.

If instead of individually answering these questions in a number of threads a sticky post was made explaining why there were no tank riders the entire forum going player base would know. Instead of a subset of it.

The use of sticky posts updating the player base on some of the larger issues would go a long way in providing better communication.

Exactly.

Better PR would have not only avoided this disappointment, but would also allow to inform all customers with minimal effort. Like using Twitter.

A twit(ter message :D ) at the morning coffee for someone working with the computer takes really no time, not worth to mention. The info would spread in the forums anyway.

Visiting forums to get updates is already from yesterday.

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Steve:

Because all of us could be making a lot more money with a lot less stress and increased job security doing any number of other things. You guys are definitely lucky that we're too stupid/stubborn to look for work elsewhere. Because if we did, guess what you wouldn't be able to buy?

Yes I am a fanboi (sue me...) and totally biased (oh dear), but as far as I am concerned we are indeed lucky to have a game like Combat Mission at all. The small staff at BFC together with a bunch of volunteers have worked miracles IMHO. This game is what I always wanted, ever since I played with my little Airfix plastictruppen as a kid.

There is no better game in this genre out there. Period. And it keeps getting better. And I hope BFC will keep at it for another 15 years at least.

And yes, I can understand the frustration if you are bugged by a ... bug that inhibits you from enjoying the game. Waiting for a fix can be a pain. But, it will be fixed like Steve said.

Now, if you will excuse me, I'm off to sacrifice a Donkey to appease the Powers that be at BFC. Perhaps this will result in a new module for CMRT :D

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The best thing with this thread is that Steve seems to have the time to post on the forum. Which usually means he's got nothing better to do which in turn means that some kind of release is imminent! :D

To add something useful: I really think that both BFC and we would profit from a better release documentation. BFC for whatever reason does not document very well (or at all) what is new and what has been fixed when they do a release.

IIRC Steve said they don't keep track of that. But OTOH they have a BTS and we submit bugs there to the benefit of both sides. Would be nice if at least the reported bugs would be mentioned in the release notes of a patch.

You do the work why don't advertise it?

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Exactly.

Better PR would have not only avoided this disappointment, but would also allow to inform all customers with minimal effort. Like using Twitter.

A twit(ter message :D ) at the morning coffee for someone working with the computer takes really no time, not worth to mention. The info would spread in the forums anyway.

Visiting forums to get updates is already from yesterday.

Personally I wouldn't be a fan of using something outside of the forum to collate this information, but to each his own.

A simple sticky that addressed much talked about topics or to give general updates on unpleasant bugs though would be nice. If BFC is already answering the question I don't see why they can't just put it in a more prominent location.

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Well, just dont poke the BF bear too much and make him mad.

Because they create these games out of love for the hobby also. Not for the best job they could have. This is their interest also, thus the reason we even have the games. But when you turn it into work, everything gets old after time and it becomes hard to keep working doing the same thing, exspecially if the fun is gone.

So just dont make Bf"s lives too hard to bear or maybe they will move on to other things.

Then none of us wil have to worry about how they do Bussiness at all because it will be gone.

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The best thing with this thread is that Steve seems to have the time to post on the forum. Which usually means he's got nothing better to do which in turn means that some kind of release is imminent! :D

?

I was thinking the same thing... Usually that is the case but who wants another game release anyway?

Bobo

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The best thing with this thread is that Steve seems to have the time to post on the forum. Which usually means he's got nothing better to do which in turn means that some kind of release is imminent! :D

Or it could mean that he is so busy that he did not notice this thread until a tester begged someone allowed to speak for the company to say something. It was not me though thank [redacted]:D

Reminds me of that one Dilbert comic: (paraphrasing) why are you so far behind schedule? I demand hourly status reports! :)

This is the closest I could find

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1995-02-17/

Or take one, or should I say two, steps further

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2007-11-09/

And just for laughs - on topic because Steve could just stop and go leave near a beach some where.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1994-07-04/

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If anyone is complaining of not getting updates and is not watching these then you have only yourself to blame. Where? Check Chris's sig, link is there.

While Chris's Twitch channel is great (and I tune in as much as I can) not everyone has the time to watch the videos and/or sift through them to find out where Chris gives an update about a certain title. On that note, what would be nice is a quick post in the forum after said Twitch broadcasts stating what new info was revealed in that day's broadcast and where in the timeline of the day's broadcast the player can go to see video footage of the update (if applicable, and mainly thinking of CMBS here). Other software titles I follow certainly do that, and they certainly aren't what one would call big development houses, either.

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I have seen other companies using the blog system with success. They just use a free blog and update it on a given basis sometimes with a few lines, sometimes with 1+ screenshots, sometimes with a video.

The effort to keep this thing running is connected with the pace of updating it, maybe a monthly report could be feasible for bfc standards, or even an unscheduled update whenever they got some time to do it or feel like doing it, but it's up to them.

Anyway, the blog is an easy instrument for both sides that could be linked on bfc main page as a "developers' blog" and/or on forums as a sticky link.

Looking at constructive people replies here seems that a concentrated and easy access source of information is what's preferred.

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If instead of individually answering these questions in a number of threads a sticky post was made explaining why there were no tank riders the entire forum going player base would know. Instead of a subset of it.

The use of sticky posts updating the player base on some of the larger issues would go a long way in providing better communication.

Your answer to people not reading existing threads is ... more threads? I'm not clear on how that is supposed to work :confused:

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All this ranting about a game! Some of you come across as if the problems are ruining your life. If so, then you really need a better life.

I have enjoyed all of the games I have bought from BF, and feel I have always got amazing value for the money. True, none are perfect, and there is a long list of items I would love to see fixed but, so what. Even with their faults I still find CM to be the best game of its type that I have owned.

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All this ranting about a game!

From experience these 'If I ran this business this is how I would improve it' threads pop up every now and then. *shrug*

Personally I think a bad business model leads to a company's quick demise, so given that Battlefront is still churning out pretty good product after some 15 years now means they're doing a lot more right than wrong.

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No problems here, I have all the Combat mission WWII games :)

As others have pointed out, like most games there are faults, but that doesn't mean the games are ruined.

On the other hand, we have forums so that people can air their views and ask questions. If they do it in a constructive and fair way then there is absolutely no reason to get grief for it....

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