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Here is What I Dont Understand about BF?


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One element that has genuinely changed for the worse is the loss of ChrisND, and his twitch streams. Those were superb content, both in terms of engaging with the player base and highlighting upcoming

Yes and no...according to MikeyD, BF apparently also incurs a lot of brain damage determining OOBs and TO&Es for formations that I doubt anyone ever uses.  I was simply suggesting that they could

I've been playing Combat Mission equally as long, and I think it's an amazing outfit with wonderful support - I never got so much escapism in my life before. CMSF2 was incredible - a huge leap forward

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21 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

We used to email out a newsletter, but things changed.  Over the years the various gateways for email have (rightly so) clamped down on mass emailing.  We ran into this with our old sever long ago where our dedicated marketing emailer was getting our IP blackballed for "SPAM".  We then emailed things in smaller batches, but eventually that ran into problems as well including end user based filters flagging us as SPAM.  We can currently only send 100 emails at a time.  That barely works for emailing our pre-release customers. absolutely doesn't work for emailing our whole list.

When we started up our current website we looked at new options but the cost of sending out our whole list was stupidly expensive.  Remember, for an expense to be worth doing we have to get someone to buy something that they never would have bought without that expense.  Someone buying a month or two sooner than he otherwise would have doesn't help us.  The economics of emailing our whole list likely meant we'd lose money.  Seriously.

Still, it is worth looking into this again.  Dynamics might have changed.  I smell a task for Elvis ;)

Hi Steve,

great to see you on the forums again.

Many developers and publishers seem to keep e-mail newsletters in high regard. The Epic Games store, which was setup not too long ago, asks whenever you buy a game whether you would like to share your email with the publisher/developer, so you usually get newsletters etc. with new releases and stuff. There were some concerns about its compatibility with the European Union GDPR, but those turned out to be unfounded/quickly fixed. Also many devs I have supported via crowdfunding keep newsletters and send them more or less regularly (or you can subscribe via email directly to any new posts by the project developers on Kickstarter/Fig/Patreon etc.).

Blogging seems to be alive and well, I still read most of my nerd news via RSS/Atom feeds.

To connect with the younger generations I have no idea what you have to do. Setup a discord server? Videoblogging? But that could be curious to behold. Even one of the coolest old dudes in game development I bother following - Mitch Gitelman from Harebrained Schemes - looks distinctly out of place and slightly unhinged - in a good way - when compared to his younger peers 🙂 

Edited by BletchleyGeek
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One element that has genuinely changed for the worse is the loss of ChrisND, and his twitch streams. Those were superb content, both in terms of engaging with the player base and highlighting upcoming releases. I can't make a claim that that kind of presentation is cost effective, but it's certainly missed.

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Thanks for the responses to my post.

Reading them and seeing the descriptions of different types of customers, I do think there is a disjunct between those who see a CM family as a holistic entity and those who see it as a succession of separate purchases. But I'm not going to relitigate the points here.

Although I am not sure their post was necessarily made in good will, I think Ales Dvorak was essentially correct - I bought FI too soon.

I pretty much run about 3 years behind with all game releases, so if I have a real hankering for new (to me) CM I might instead get FB than RtoV. It would be only $10 dollars more than what I would have to pay to get the RtoV module to install, probably has more content, and comes with engine 4 in the box :)

 

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16 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

On the one hand there's the people that buy and enjoy the game precisely because it offers carefully crafted historical settings.  On the other hand there is the type that just wants to slam stuff together however they want to.

Oh, and I somehow thought there was a group, neither interested in slamming things together, nor interested, if rifles were exchanged with automatic weapons for a bataillon in May 1943 in Nothern Sicily if it didn't rain, but interested in units running torwards enemy lines to commit suicide, or crews to the last man opening up hatches to be greeted with a shower of super sniped bullets... 🚮

I would call that group wargamers interested in tactical realism. But what do I know about circular logic... ;)

 

Edited by CarlWAW
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10 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

All I'll say is if the majority of our customers could agree on a single campaign system that was realistic to develop, we'd be all over it.  But that's not the case. 

I totally agree with you here, and understand why you've not spent time/resources building a campaign system.

BUT!  I think there is one (I think) relatively simple thing to do which would help players create whatever campaign systems they prefer:  allow end-game forces and maps to be exported and imported into another scenario, to allow for persistent forces and persistent map damage, etc.  If the export format were in readable format (XML, etc), the forces could also be managed by home-grown campaign editing tools (that would allow for replacements, or whatever).

If these files are in some easily readable format, this kind of editing tool is not especially difficult to create--even I have done if for a different game--and I have little doubt that some talented folks here would take the ball and run with it.  Worst case, it would allow people to create their own manual campaigns.

This is one feature which has been consistently requested for many years, and I really hope that it can be implemented some day.

Edited by 76mm
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37 minutes ago, 76mm said:

If these files are in some easily readable format, this kind of editing tool is not especially difficult to create--even I have done if for a different game--and I have little doubt that some talented folks here would take the ball and run with it.  Worst case, it would allow people to create their own manual campaigns.

I've been experimenting with my own dynamic campaign system, and I couldn't get around that you can't load/import OOBs. I believe persistent OOBs are already in the editor, and especially in the scripted campaigns. Just one button that loads an OOB from a save file into the QB force builder, would open up a world of possibilities.

Edited by DerKommissar
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11 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

Just one button that loads an OOB from a save file into the QB force builder, would open up a world of possibilities.

Indeed.  But being able to export the OOB to something like XML and then re-import would be even better, because it would allow you to manipulate the OOB outside of the editor...say you want to automatically provide X% reinforcements, or reduce fatigue, or resupply ammo between battles--this could all be done programatically without having to make the tweaks manually in the editor. 

For CMBB I created a tool that would track units and leaders, tracking casualties inflicted and suffered per battle and over time, allowing leaders to be transferred, etc.  But ultimately to get these details into CMBB, I had to enter them manually in the editor for each battle, which was a hassle.

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16 minutes ago, 76mm said:

being able to export the OOB to something like XML and then re-import would be even better, because it would allow you to manipulate the OOB outside of the editor...say you want to automatically provide X% reinforcements, or reduce fatigue, or resupply ammo between battles--this could all be done programatically without having to make the tweaks manually in the editor. 

+1   Sounds very cool.  I have no idea what it takes programming wise to make it all work.  But again......... sounds very cool.  :)

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44 minutes ago, MOS:96B2P said:

I have no idea what it takes programming wise to make it all work. 

Frankly, it is not that hard...I'm a lawyer and taught myself how to do all of this from scratch using free tools (plus some books).  I think for an experienced programmer it would be a tiddle.  Anybody with an interest should start playing around with this stuff.

[EDIT]  And it depends on the format of the underlying data...XML is super-easy to work with because it is so structured.  I can't speak to data in other formats, could very well be harder to work with.

Edited by 76mm
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Hi Steve, Attilaforfun brought up the marketing-point; as a relatively new player to CM (I´m in for 1,5 years, maybe) I can tell you: It was this video...

...that brought me to CM. Don´t know if I would have recognized the game ever otherwise. Which would have been a pity.

(Good) letsplayers will do the work for you. Out there are some great guys like Hobbygeneral, headbreaker, Taktikfuchs (german yt-channels that do a lot CM-stuff), I´m pretty sure their CM-related-video-content is the best advertisement you can get.

 

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13 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

We used to email out a newsletter, but things changed.  Over the years the various gateways for email have (rightly so) clamped down on mass emailing.  We ran into this with our old sever long ago where our dedicated marketing emailer was getting our IP blackballed for "SPAM".  We then emailed things in smaller batches, but eventually that ran into problems as well including end user based filters flagging us as SPAM.  We can currently only send 100 emails at a time.  That barely works for emailing our pre-release customers. absolutely doesn't work for emailing our whole list.

When we started up our current website we looked at new options but the cost of sending out our whole list was stupidly expensive.  Remember, for an expense to be worth doing we have to get someone to buy something that they never would have bought without that expense.  Someone buying a month or two sooner than he otherwise would have doesn't help us.  The economics of emailing our whole list likely meant we'd lose money.  Seriously.

Still, it is worth looking into this again.  Dynamics might have changed.  I smell a task for Elvis ;)

Steve

Have you checked things like mailchimp? They do require you to sort of make a new list, but from there allows you to send large batches (mailchimp handles sending the mails). I had good experience with them, although it must have been back in 2010 orso.

 

Edited by Lethaface
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Here’s a peak behind the BFC curtain from a long-time Beta tester. (I’m not sure if this is cleared for posting, but what the heck…)

 

At the most recent BFC-Fest, the band was giving me a headache, so I pushed my way out of the mosh pit and walked up to the main house. Steve’s chauffeur pulled the horse-drawn carriage towards me, but I waved him away. I wanted to clear my head and a walk along the half-mile trail up to the house, lit by torches, was just what the doctor ordered. The amplified sound of the band gradually abated, absorbed by the woods, and the BFC manse came into view as I walked along the trail. Yes, I ignored all but one of the strategically placed drinking stops. Clear headed thinking would only be clouded by single malts. Well, except for one or two.

 

Arriving indoors, the muted string quartet provided a gentle contrast to the tinkle of champagne flutes among the many conversations. Spotting Steve, alone by the open french doors to the back gardens, smoking the remnants of a tired cigar,  I decided to share my pricing ideas and drove straight towards him.

 

“Steve,” I said, “I’d like to share a new pricing scheme with you.”

 

Never taking his eyes off the distant treeline, he gripped his cigar and wrenched it out of his mouth. “Certainly.”

 

“This’ll be ground-breaking,” I paused. “Give the game away. For free.”

 

He coughed out a cloud of smoke, “What?!? How would that keep the revenue stream flowing?”

 

“Simple. The game is free. The men and tanks are not. If anyone wants to FIGHT with a unit, they’d have to pay for each squad, team, or vehicle. Obviously, pricing would be variable, based on unit effectiveness and rarity. Each scenario would have a fixed price, based on the units in the Order of Battle. Quick Battles would be very price sensitive.”

 

“Players would rack up the units (or scenario) they want. The game would spit out a price and a hash code. Go to the BFC website, paste in the hash, pay by credit card. The website would produce an unlock code, specific to the submitted hash, and they’d be off!”

 

“This would make campaigns that much more special. No more exploratory recon! Every man would count. Who would want to pay for a Tiger tank twice?”

 

He turned towards me and fixed his eyes upon mine. He quickly stubbed his cigar out in the caviar tray being carried by a passing waiter. “You may have something…”  And then he strode out the doors onto the deck and continued into the gardens. He was still striding forward as I lost sight of him past the lighting around the fountains.

 

So, this may become the new way. Just sayin’…

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2 hours ago, 76mm said:

Frankly, it is not that hard...I'm a lawyer and taught myself how to do all of this from scratch using free tools (plus some books).  I think for an experienced programmer it would be a tiddle.  Anybody with an interest should start playing around with this stuff.

[EDIT]  And it depends on the format of the underlying data...XML is super-easy to work with because it is so structured.  I can't speak to data in other formats, could very well be harder to work with.

Without knowing anything about the CMx2 architecture, the difficulty is not to dump/export stuff to any structured format like xml or json whatever. The question is whether the dataset even exists in a consistent state at one time, allowing it to be dumped integrally. It might be quite a lot of work and or overhead to insert this logic at all required places and not creating other problems because of this new functionality. 
At the same time, because of the info on the endscreen and the fact that campaign carry over functionality does exist, one can imagine that the exact data is already neatly available and could indeed be relatively easily be exported (and of course an import interface is also necessary). And than perhaps they have other reasons not to desire this type of functionality for their product.

Edit: concluding that it's not so hard is, in my opinion, plainly wrong. And I  do have a professional background with regards to the subject matter 😜

 

Edited by Lethaface
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3 hours ago, 76mm said:

which would help players create whatever campaign systems they prefer:  allow end-game forces and maps to be exported and imported into another scenario, to allow for persistent forces and persistent map damage, etc.  If the export format were in readable format (XML, etc), the forces could also be managed by home-grown campaign editing tools (that would allow for replacements, or whatever).

Oh yes, please. I would love to see that. There are many people who play in tournaments and campaigns at TFGM site that this would benefit - because those organizing them could do even more cool stuff.

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"

Here’s a peak behind the BFC curtain from a long-time Beta tester. (I’m not sure if this is cleared for posting, but what the heck…)

 

At the most recent BFC-Fest, the band was giving me a headache, so I pushed my way out of the mosh pit and walked up to the main house. Steve’s chauffeur pulled the horse-drawn carriage towards me, but I waved him away. I wanted to clear my head and a walk along the half-mile trail up to the house, lit by torches, was just what the doctor ordered. The amplified sound of the band gradually abated, absorbed by the woods, and the BFC manse came into view as I walked along the trail. Yes, I ignored all but one of the strategically placed drinking stops. Clear headed thinking would only be clouded by single malts. Well, except for one or two.

 

Arriving indoors, the muted string quartet provided a gentle contrast to the tinkle of champagne flutes among the many conversations. Spotting Steve, alone by the open french doors to the back gardens, smoking the remnants of a tired cigar,  I decided to share my pricing ideas and drove straight towards him.

 

“Steve,” I said, “I’d like to share a new pricing scheme with you.”

 

Never taking his eyes off the distant treeline, he gripped his cigar and wrenched it out of his mouth. “Certainly.”

 

“This’ll be ground-breaking,” I paused. “Give the game away. For free.”

 

He coughed out a cloud of smoke, “What?!? How would that keep the revenue stream flowing?”

 

“Simple. The game is free. The men and tanks are not. If anyone wants to FIGHT with a unit, they’d have to pay for each squad, team, or vehicle. Obviously, pricing would be variable, based on unit effectiveness and rarity. Each scenario would have a fixed price, based on the units in the Order of Battle. Quick Battles would be very price sensitive.”

 

“Players would rack up the units (or scenario) they want. The game would spit out a price and a hash code. Go to the BFC website, paste in the hash, pay by credit card. The website would produce an unlock code, specific to the submitted hash, and they’d be off!”

 

“This would make campaigns that much more special. No more exploratory recon! Every man would count. Who would want to pay for a Tiger tank twice?”

 

He turned towards me and fixed his eyes upon mine. He quickly stubbed his cigar out in the caviar tray being carried by a passing waiter. “You may have something…”  And then he strode out the doors onto the deck and continued into the gardens. He was still striding forward as I lost sight of him past the lighting around the fountains.

 

So, this may become the new way. Just sayin’…" 

 

That's like the World of Tanks franchise where you can play for free until you need to repair your tank or want to upgrade.  I doubt if it would work here.

Edited by Commanderski
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1 hour ago, Lethaface said:

At the same time, because of the info on the endscreen and the fact that campaign carry over functionality does exist, one can imagine that the exact data is already neatly available and could indeed be relatively easily be exported (and of course an import interface is also necessary). And than perhaps they have other reasons not to desire this type of functionality for their product.

AFAIK all of the data I'm talking about is available and visible to players at the end of the game, so the data must exist.  How difficult it would be to export I have no idea.  I'd be curious if there would be some reason this functionality would not be desirable?

1 hour ago, Lethaface said:

Edit: concluding that it's not so hard is, in my opinion, plainly wrong. And I  do have a professional background with regards to the subject matter 😜

um, what is "it"?  I have no idea if exporting the data is hard or not.  But creating a program to manipulate XML data is not very hard...and I say this because I've taught myself how to do it from scratch, with virtually no experience.  Time-consuming?  Yes...  Especially difficult?  No...

Edited by 76mm
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1 hour ago, IanL said:

Oh yes, please. I would love to see that. There are many people who play in tournaments and campaigns at TFGM site that this would benefit - because those organizing them could do even more cool stuff.

Zactly.  AFAIK this has been one of the most requested features (OK, at least by me 😎) since the beginning of the CM franchise.  I have absolutely no idea how difficult it would be to export/import data, but it would be a huge breath of fresh air for these games.

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I don't want this to turn into a campaign concept thread.  There's a couple thousand of those already :)  And because of that, there's not a single suggestion you could make here that we haven't seen more than once (likely to the 10th power) over the past two decades.  And that's the problem I alluded to earlier... there is no consensus on what a good campaign system for CM would look like.  I'd even hazard a guess that there's no one single idea that has maybe 20% buy-in in broad concept, and even less when it comes down to possible forms of execution.  That includes the idea of exporting data so that others can figure out how to make campaigns from it.  That excites some for sure, but I suspect several in-game solutions would have more support. 

With that said, I'm exiting the campaign discussion as I don't think there's much for any of us to gain from it.  We'll just trod over the same beaten ground.

Steve

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