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Interview with the Founder of Battlefront.com & Combat Mission


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Greetings

I wanted to let everyone know that we at Developer Dialogue had the incredible opportunity to interview the founder & creator of Battlefront.com, Stephen Grammont. During the interview we dove into the history of the Combat Mission franchise, discuss the company’s latest partnership with Slitherine and uncover some bombshells.  We also uncover why Battlefront never released on Steam, until now.

 

Special thank you to Stephen for taking part in this interview, it was an amazing experience.

 

If you guys are interested you can listen to it here:

 

YouTube: 

 

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/developer-dialogue/id1524192396 

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/33DiH9pCrcV9bVw4WeDWmS 

Google Podcasts: https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuc3ByZWFrZXIuY29tL3Nob3cvNDUwNTYyMi9lcGlzb2Rlcy9mZWVk

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Good interview.  From the payments he talked about regarding Steam and Slitherine, it seems they'll have to ~double sales to make this worth it.  So they must be expecting big sales increase, which also means much bigger community.  Good news for a weary world. 

So no Abyssinia??  🤪  I don't think BFC will be spending time on obscure campaigns & TOE, which is OK by me. 

And I didn't know that Fortress Italy was basically financed by some wealthy CM fan.  If I win the lottery there will definitely be Ost Front 1941-43.  Or should I spend my money on speeding up CMX3?  Being rich must be hard, all these decisions.  Oh wait, I'll just fund both.

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On 9/23/2020 at 5:38 PM, danfrodo said:

 

And I didn't know that Fortress Italy was basically financed by some wealthy CM fan.  If I win the lottery there will definitely be Ost Front 1941-43.  Or should I spend my money on speeding up CMX3?  Being rich must be hard, all these decisions.  Oh wait, I'll just fund both.

That explains a lot.  I always wondered why they went all in on that campaign and left the East Front to just lay there.  How much do you think they got?  If they had just had an auction I think we could have outbid that guy and got something we really wanted... 

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3 hours ago, MikeyD said:

Gasp, Steve talked about the mystery benefactor for CMFI? That was double-super hush-hush. Steve's been spillin' ALL the beans lately! 😱

Really? I think for an interview of that length it contains remarkably little 'beans'. CMFR will 'definitely' be out his year, which is already contradicted by Elvis, so what are the other beans that lately have been spilled?

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I was under the impression that the Jan 7 date was a joke from Elvis.  They will release when it's ready and saying it will suddenly be ready Jan 7, 3+ months from now, seemed just make believe.  I think that date was Elvis being tired of being hounded for a date that he does not have.  Perhaps I am mistaken in this assumption?

But we should all be careful about adding to Elvis' stress at this painful time in his personal life -- his Philadelphia Eagles are winless after first 3 games.

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14 minutes ago, danfrodo said:

I was under the impression that the Jan 7 date was a joke from Elvis.  They will release when it's ready and saying it will suddenly be ready Jan 7, 3+ months from now, seemed just make believe.  I think that date was Elvis being tired of being hounded for a date that he does not have.  Perhaps I am mistaken in this assumption?

But we should all be careful about adding to Elvis' stress at this painful time in his personal life -- his Philadelphia Eagles are winless after first 3 games.

It most definitely was a joke. Nobody is hounding him for an exact date, it's just high time that we are given some definitive information with regard to the release. Steve said that it will definitely be released this year, so I expect pre-orders at the beginning of november and a release in the second half of december. 

BF only has itself to blame for this situation. Elvis is being cautious, i get that, but giving the exact 'update' like we had in february has to infuriate/confuse people. 

Edited by Aragorn2002
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On 9/24/2020 at 12:38 AM, danfrodo said:

And I didn't know that Fortress Italy was basically financed by some wealthy CM fan.

Interesting fact indeed. ( I remember such a funding arrangement being behind another game: a WW1 flight sim https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Eagles:_The_Great_War_1918.  )

The timeline of release suggests this funding was for both the CMFI Base Game and Gustav Line as well. But I am wondering whether or not the Rome to Victory module was still related to this funding, or was it Battlefront's own initiative to complete CMFI to the end of the war?

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6 hours ago, Kevin2k said:

Interesting fact indeed. ( I remember such a funding arrangement being behind another game: a WW1 flight sim https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Eagles:_The_Great_War_1918.  )

The timeline of release suggests this funding was for both the CMFI Base Game and Gustav Line as well. But I am wondering whether or not the Rome to Victory module was still related to this funding, or was it Battlefront's own initiative to complete CMFI to the end of the war?

Not to get too much into the business side of things, but here's a bit more info.  The funding was for the Base Only.  Based on the success of it we went ahead and did Gustav Line and then Rome to Victory.  The latter was probably not our smartest move as we've talked about in the past.  It was far more work than we expected because the differences in the various forces from standard organizations, compounded by different timeframes, and other factors carved more out of our development schedule than we anticipated.  That said, we REALLY like what came from it.  Just a hindsight thing where we would have done things differently had we known how long it was going to take.

Steve

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1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

  Just a hindsight thing where we would have done things differently had we known how long it was going to take.

You mean like take the money and do BARBAROSSA!  When he asks about it you just show him scenarios with Italians fighting Russians with lend-lease armor.  

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The real shocker for me was Steve's admission he's more of a strategic/operational rather than tactical player, given the company's determined refusal to add a strategic layer to CM over the years. But just like with Steam (a no-no only until a few months ago) things may change in that respect too, who knows?

Hey, why not change your perspective altogether and retry a foray into the Napoleonic age, this time at a strategic level integrated with tactical battles? Probably much easier to do than a WWII game. An old game called "Napoleon 1813" comes to mind, which was a terrific concept (but hell to play).

No? Well, one can only dream...

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3 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

Try Napoleon: Total War

Yeah, I have that game. Very nice graphically but fails miserably to reproduce the specific features of the Napoleonic wars. The developers just adapted their Rome TW engine. 👎 The campaign especially is nothing close to what Napoleonic warfare was all about, IHMO.

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17 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

The funding was for the Base Only.  Based on the success of it we went ahead and did Gustav Line and then Rome to Victory.

Good to have that in proper perspective. And glad to hear that the Italy base game was a success (commercially I assume). Seems it makes for three winners: Battlefront for a successful game, The investor for eventually getting 3 Italy based games instead of 1, and the normal customers for also being able to play all of those for customer pricing.

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1 hour ago, Bufo said:

Rather try Scourge of War: Waterloo

 

 

Haven't tried it. Any good?

I like this concept:

"Players are not by definition placed on top of this chain (though it is possible), but are often placed somewhere in between. Meaning that during the battle, they get orders from above, interpret them and form a strategy with them, then, they will send out their couriers to deliver their own orders to the units directly under their control."

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