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Random morning-drive thoughts/questions on CM game structuring


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Good morning! I've been reading through the forums about speculated modules and games and what's likely to be on the horizon or not, and I've had long-standing question about why BF has structured it's games the way it has. Naturally, I don't have, nor should I necessarily need, access to BF business strategy. I'm quite sure they have a plan, and that it works for them. This isn't meant as criticism.

 

What keeps coming to mind is rather than having one-off theater games (CMBN, CMFI, etc...) is instead have an overall engine, and then regional modules. So for example, instead of having CMBN and CMFI, which covers the Allied ETO, why not have a single engine that comes with a module (say CMBN) and then nothing but modules and that build on the existing game, without releasing new executables (like FI and Bulge). 

So... instead of CMBN, CMFI, and CM-Bulge, you might have something like CM-ETO, where these modules (as an example) are built over time to fit within it making a complete theater family:

  • Normandy
  • Market Garden
  • Siegfried Line
  • Bulge
  • Sicily/Italy
  • Commonwealth and Allies

Then we go to the CM-OST Front and repeat the process, then move on from there to other wars/theaters. Engine upgrades could still occur at the release of each new module. I would gladly pay a few dollars more for a module, and pick and choose which modules to purchase, rather than buy a whole new engine.

But... I suppose that actually may be the strategy to the highest revenue.

Edited by WriterJWA
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It was discussed some time ago, if the CM2x games could be wrapped into a single big collection, where the result would be much similar to your proposal.

 

IIRC marketing reasons were adducted as a negative view of this idea, as well as the problem of a huge single download.

 

Personally, I would favor this a lot, especially if older titles are managed into the same level (patch) of the newest. This big boundle would be perfect for someone coming to the game for the first time, maybe overwhelming, but the ability to enter a game where the entire ETO, as you described, is available to play with would be very interesting.

Edited by Kieme(ITA)
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Heck why have one game for the west and south and a separate game for the east.  Let's get it all in one :)   It would be pretty cool but Steve has said in the past that there are internal design constraints that make this unattractive and testing is a big issue as well (that is from memory I cannot for the life of me find the post).  Right now if they are working on a new module they only have to test that things work with at most two other modules and a pack (CMBN) where as if it were all in one then all those interactions would be potential breakage points.  I am pretty sure $ has nothing to do with it - they could just adjust the way they price modules and the whole thing could be made revenue neutral I am sure.

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If you loaded one game and it had an icon for every module that would be one crowded splash screen!

It would look like my desktop!

...and you better not lose those 2 dozen "license keys" when you take those couple hours to reinstall the game and modules. :D

and writing scenarios would be tough because you'd need weird prefixes to define the scenario module requirements!

 

CMETO HYP TURK AX NYC CAN "The Battle of Niagara"

 

This would be for CM ETO hypothetical Turkish sides with the axis and attacks the US through Canada module! 

 

So as not to be confused with a scenario for the module where they attack through Mexico of course!

CMETO HYP TURK AX TEX MEX "Blood on the Rio Grande"

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Steve has also said that, in hindsight, he would have gone for a single engine spine with pluggable modules, but that reworking the architecture to accommodate that approach now would be too time-consuming. The original design (CMSF) doesn't even permit the engine to be upgraded... They've made that much change since BN.

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<snipped>

Steve has said in the past that there are internal design constraints that make this unattractive and testing is a big issue as well (that is from memory I cannot for the life of me find the post).  Right now if they are working on a new module they only have to test that things work with at most two other modules and a pack (CMBN) where as if it were all in one then all those interactions would be potential breakage points.  I am pretty sure $ has nothing to do with it - they could just adjust the way they price modules and the whole thing could be made revenue neutral I am sure.

 

That's my experience with software development as well.  A single engine for all game variants would have a humongous test plan with a myriad number of use cases.  When that herculean effort is finally done, every set of subsequent enhancements would then require massive regression and acceptance testing.  It's just too huge a task for the economies involved.  Our user/gamer experience benefits better from several discrete sets of stable object code than it would from a single unmanageable object or set of very large objects.  Seperate code also positions the developers for many more opportunities of process improvement gleaned from lessons learned and technology improvements in place when they begin new games.

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If you loaded one game and it had an icon for every module that would be one crowded splash screen!

It would look like my desktop!

 

Oh you are one of "those" people are you :D  Some how I am not the least bit surprised :)

 

I bet you know where everything is too.

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Yes, I try to know!

...up at the top is all the CMRT stuff. shortcuts to the z folder, data folders, my mod projects, pbem files, the game itself.

down lower left is the same for CMFI.

upper right is the same for CMBN.

down at the bottom is the same for CMPzC and PzC stuff. 

 

What is on your desktop?

 

:D

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Not much.  I just cleared away a few apps that I did not notice had put their bloody short cuts there.  So, I have the recycle bin, computer, LAN home drive, plus at work three PDFs of our buildings floor plans so I can find people and at home a link to my personal projects dev environment, lightroom and two backup scripts.

 

Nearly minimalist :)

Edited by IanL
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Not much.  I just cleared away a few apps that I did not notice had put their bloody short cuts there.  So, I have the recycle bin, computer, LAN home drive, plus at work three PDFs of our buildings floor plans so I can find people and at home a link to my personal projects dev environment, lightroom and two backup scripts.

 

Nearly minimalist :)

Haha I have a friend that just saves everything to the desktop. Drives me crazy when he asks for co purer help and I try to find anything. My own desktop has nothing on it at all.

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Yep, my father in law is a big icons all over the desktop guy.  We really do need all kinds to make the world work - or at least be interesting.  I just came from a Dr.'s office he had to carefully manage the piles of papers and files to get to the sample he wanted to show me.  But he knew were everything was.  I bet if I tidied up it would totally mess up his day.  Thankfully I just like to keep my space tidy I do not feel compelled to mess with other peoples' messes :)

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