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Exciting news about Battlefront and Slitherine


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Obligatory question for when this happens:  have you decided whether to issue Steam keys to current customers to let them transition over to that platform?   In case anyone hasn't used Steam and

I for one welcome the potential influx of new forum members. This forum could do with some fresh blood, otherwise it runs the risk of getting stale. And frankly I find the cliquish attitude a bit sad.

It'll be interesting to see how successful this is. Sacrificing CMSF2 to the gaping maw of Moloch might be worth it in increased brand awareness alone. I can't tell you how many times I've had this

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On 9/2/2020 at 8:27 PM, Macisle said:

I've caught a few vids by YouTubers popular for military strategy and FPS content showcasing the SF2 Steam release. They've all been quite positive. One guy with a strong presence in the Arma community went out of his way to comment that the AI in CM absolutely wipes the floor with the AI in Arma.

So far, so good. Congrats BF and Slitherine! -Looking very forward to the WWII titles getting the sunshine.

I totally agree with that statement. Problem I've noticed with Arma is that while the AI can behave realistically when modded correctly, they don't pose enough of a real threat:

What I like about CM:SF2 is that the AI behave realistically in a firefight (cover, morale, rate of fire, accuracy, etc.) and are not invincible to stupid decisions. You can overcome ridiculous odds in Arma due to the fact that you aren't restrained like the AI are. And the moment you buff up the AI reactions the game becomes arcadish. CM:SF2 finds the right way to solve this issue by removing control from the player as the one actually engaging.

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2 hours ago, AlanSA said:

Are we talking weeks, months or even a year before a decision is made regarding the success of this new partnership and the appearance of the other titles on steam?

The only one who could answer that question would be Steve and I'm pretty confident that he's not talking.  So, with that in mind, my completely uninformed guess would be that they would space the releases of stuff being ported over to Steam a couple of months apart.  Maybe four to six months apart would be my guess, but that's just me guessing.  I would also guess that perhaps since they started with Shock Force 2 that they would go in order of original release for each base game.  You probably wouldn't want to just put them all onto Steam all at once because your customers wouldn't be able to buy them all at once so it seems sensible to space them out.  I'm sure there is also a lot of conversion work that needs to be done on each game before they can go onto Steam and since Shock Force 2 is the first one and nobody but BFC and Slitherine know how long that work takes there is no way for us to know how long that process is.  Whatever work it does take is doubtless going to be applied sequentially to each game as it's next in line for release which would also contribute to the time it takes between releases. 

judging from the popular new release information on Steam it does seem like the release was a successful one, but I'm not sure that Steam actually shows exact sales figures (I don't think so but I don't know for sure) so there is no way to be certain. 

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9 hours ago, AlanSA said:

Are we talking weeks, months or even a year before a decision is made regarding the success of this new partnership and the appearance of the other titles on steam?

If SF2 is successful then dollars to donuts more titles will release before Christmas.

If Covid keeps students home en masse, then even earlier. 

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https://steamcharts.com/app/1369370

Not direct sales numbers, but one benchmark people use to determine new players is to watch CMSF2 concurrent players around release time.  CMSF2 was maxed out around 200 within 48 hours of release.  But a week or two after release it'll drop.  There are sites around that track games on Steam, but Steamcharts is what I have always looked at. 

 

For comparison, ARMA 3 comes in around 50k max and 20k current users.  So I wouldn't call it gang busters, but its better than a sharp stick in the eye.

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2 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

https://steamcharts.com/app/1369370

Not direct sales numbers, but one benchmark people use to determine new players is to watch CMSF2 concurrent players around release time.  CMSF2 was maxed out around 200 within 48 hours of release.  But a week or two after release it'll drop.  There are sites around that track games on Steam, but Steamcharts is what I have always looked at. 

 

For comparison, ARMA 3 comes in around 50k max and 20k current users.  So I wouldn't call it gang busters, but its better than a sharp stick in the eye.

True, but Arma 3 is much less centered on its original core mission of simulation. The more popular you become, the less niche your product general is due to the fact you're trying to reach as many markets as possible. It's happened to Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, and it's now happening to Arma 3. I look at sims like Steel Beasts and CM as good examples of maintaining your core audience while generating the required funds via military contracts. Everyone wins :)

Note: MicroProse is doing essentially the same exact thing as CM and Steel Beasts.

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49 minutes ago, ZackTactical34 said:

True, but Arma 3 is much less centered on its original core mission of simulation. The more popular you become, the less niche your product general is due to the fact you're trying to reach as many markets as possible. It's happened to Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, and it's now happening to Arma 3. I look at sims like Steel Beasts and CM as good examples of maintaining your core audience while generating the required funds via military contracts. Everyone wins :)

Note: MicroProse is doing essentially the same exact thing as CM and Steel Beasts.

I completely agree with this. Very well put, and informs some of my trepidation with Steam in general. 

I'm also excited to see what new things Microprose brings. There are a few titles they are publishing that I am already excited for. I'm hoping that more comes from them in the near future. 

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Everything is relative.  Arma 3 had a budget that was likely in the $50,000,000 range.  If it didn't have 50k people looking at it, me thinks Bohemia would be in big trouble :)  They require MILLIONS of buyers just to break even.  If we had a fraction of that buying Combat Mission I'd be typing this from my private island or the plane, yacht, or submarine that gets me to/from it.  Since we have no illusions that this is the sort of attention we should get from Steam, comparing us to them doesn't have much purpose.

For us, we're simply looking for a decent bump up from what we otherwise would have without Steam.  That's what we're using as our gauge for determining if we want to do more Steam products or not.  So far it's looking pretty good, though we've not received a sales report yet as it is way too early for that.

If we give Steam the thumbs up, when will more stuff be available?  Not sure.  However, we will not be releasing them all at once.  That's marketing suicide.  We'll also likely do Black Sea next as it is complementary to Shock Force 2.  Then WW2 titles probably starting with Normandy.

Steve

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FWIW, it was interesting watching the progress of two seemingly-similar games on Steam over the last year: Post Scriptum and Hell Let Loose. Both are tactical FPS set in WWII. The general view is that PS is more realistic and hardcore (but not that much), while HLL is more casual and "accessible." There are a lot of people who play both.

To make a long story short, the PS community is significantly smaller, but much better at team communication, with very few problems related to things like intentional team-killing. I have PS and never saw a first-hand incident of it. I think in 6 months, I only heard about two.

OTOH, a constant complaint from HLL players is lack of team comms and intentional team-killing seems to be such a problem that the developers have spent resources attempting to find solutions, from what I understand.

I post the above because I think it highlights a situation where pushing the realism slider only a marginal amount to the hardcore side has the dual effect of making the gameplay significantly better for those looking for realism, while shrinking the community and making the game obviously more niche.

Over recent months, the HLL team has been going great guns on community interaction and frequent updates, while the PS team has been fairly quiet and had some people leave. So, that has obviously impacted things as well. After initial release, HLL tended to have roughly twice as many players online as PS. After the most recent DLC and free weekend, PS was briefly beating HLL. However, since then, HLL seems to have broken out completely. PS stopped showing its numbers when HLL started consistently having 5X the players online.

So, to sum up, the above "case study" highlights how realism level impacts the niche aspect, community size and character of a game. It also highlights the importance of developer interaction with the community, the implementation of a clear roadmap and offering an update schedule to make the community feel that devs are on it.

Worth considering as BF moves forward with CM on Steam.

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3 minutes ago, Macisle said:

Post Scriptum and Hell Let Loose

I could talk to significant length about this  but the key issue for Post Scriptum is that its core code base is from Squad and significantly behind Squad in features. The end result is Post Scriptum is pinched between Squad and Hell Let Loose.

Essentially it largely is attracting a subset of players who want a Squad style game set in WW2 so much that they are willing to forego new features.


 

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I always wondered what would happen if CM did away with it's complex code running behind the scenes and just had health bars and fixed damaged values instead. :) I'm guessing a complete replacement of it's player base as a starting point.

Personally it's ARMA3 > HLL and PS. The big difference is variety. ARMA is a sandbox with a much larger array of opportunities for different missions and setups to keep it fresh from the user end. Even after all this time something keeps bringing it's players back in whether it's from the devs or community. Other titles are relying more on map and expansion packs from developers. Giving the more realism focused fans a sandbox to play in keeps them around and engaged.

The one that maybe a bit of an odd in this space is Men at War. Not suggesting it's the same as CM by any stretch but attempts by modders to push that casual setup towards the realism side of the fence seemed out of place. Just a curious one. (And not suggesting even something like Robz Realism Mod puts that game into CM league in terms of complexity).

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39 minutes ago, Ithikial_AU said:

I always wondered what would happen if CM did away with it's complex code running behind the scenes and just had health bars and fixed damaged values instead. :) I'm guessing a complete replacement of it's player base as a starting point.

I always wondered what would happen if they increased the complexity of damage modelling and graphics to the level of for example the Graviteam games. I'm guessing it would mean a lot more players :)

 

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1 hour ago, Ithikial_AU said:

...Personally it's ARMA3 > HLL and PS. The big difference is variety. ARMA is a sandbox with a much larger array of opportunities for different missions and setups to keep it fresh from the user end. Even after all this time something keeps bringing it's players back in whether it's from the devs or community. Other titles are relying more on map and expansion packs from developers. Giving the more realism focused fans a sandbox to play in keeps them around and engaged...

I'm very much hoping that the SDK for PS happens and opens up sandbox functionality for it. At this point, it kinda' looks like that's really needed to give it more momentum. I've so far passed on HLL and probably won't pick it up.  Every time Arma 3 goes on sale, I nearly buy it, but just don't want to risk the lost time if I get into it. I spent a lot of time in the Arma 2 Editor for a stretch and know how lost in that world you can get.

I really like PS, but the inherent realism limitations of first-person play mean that it doesn't take me long to want to return to CM and spend my very limited game time on the much more realistic battlefield I find there.

1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

I always wondered what would happen if they increased the complexity of damage modelling and graphics to the level of for example the Graviteam games. I'm guessing it would mean a lot more players :)

 

Here's hoping that one of the effects of CM's entry onto Steam is to make enhancing the graphics and animations more of a priority. 😁

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2 hours ago, Macisle said:

Here's hoping that one of the effects of CM's entry onto Steam is to make enhancing the graphics and animations more of a priority. 😁

Not only the graphics, but the actual damage modelling for AFVs too. I'd love to see some of the same stuff happen to tanks in CM as in Mius Front.

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What I find interesting about "realism shooters" outside of Arma is that they all ignore force density to a large extant. I know when playing Combat Mission the force I have relative to the combat area can really determine how I play a battle. A mechanized company on a 1.000 meter wide map is going to see a lot of bang bang as you use your firepower to clear your way. While that same force on a 3.000 meter wide map leaves a lot of room for maneuver warfare.

Then you look at Post Scriptum and there are 80 guys on a 16km^2 map.



RE: Graviteam Tactics. They get the benefits of being a tank sim first. IIRC Steel Armor used that same engine and then they switched to a tactics game.

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1 hour ago, chi-chi said:

RE: Graviteam Tactics. They get the benefits of being a tank sim first.

That's true, but they made it so.

They started with making a tank sim, and then changed it to be more of a tactics game. BFC has a tactics game ... it would be great if they added some more tank sim stuff. Like tracks breaking, etc.

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