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Why is CMFB a separate title and not a CMBN module?


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Splitting this off from another topic to steer it back on track.

I struggle to understand why CMFB is a separate title and not a module for CMBN.

I do not own CMFB and perhaps I am missing something, so I'm genuinely interested to find out what others think of this.

Here's how I see it:

1. Geographically, CMBN and CMFB are separated by less than 200km of land. While the Ardennes is different from the Normandy region - it is not more different than Market Garden is different from Normandy. Quite the opposite actually, Market Garden differs from Normandy more than the Ardennes.

2. In the time domain, CMBN and CMFB are separated by merely a few months of time - which is a similar amount of time between Normandy and Op Market Garden. I find it hard to believe there were such dramatic changes in Winter 1944/45 which would invalidate anything present in Summer-Fall 1944.

3. On the TO&E side, 90% of CMFB heavy equipment is represented in CMBN and all of personal equipment is identical. There is only nineteen items unique to CMFB - not even enough to flesh-out a module. It is also either niche pieces - things like the Jagdtiger, Sturmtiger, flame tanks, etc - or things which could've also been represented in Normandy and Market Garden - US Armored cars and extra Sherman versions. On the other hand, the Commonwealth module, introduced something to the tune of four dozen new pieces and an entirely new combatant.

4. The only real difference between CMBN and CMFB is the winter setting and the appearance of snow. While I can see snow being an issue to add to CMBN, as it would appear the game engine is currently not set up to swap textures based on a season. Which is not to say the game can't swap textures dynamically - the introduction of mod tags allows different scenarios to display different textures without any manual file swapping by the user. Beyond a few snowy textures, CMFB did not seem to introduce actual snow mechanics - neither actual visual effects, nor an abstracted representation of deep snow or frozen conditions.

I'm being very careful not to sound salty or accusatory, but it seems that while CMFB is an aesthetic re-skin of CMBN and adds the content equivalent of a $10 "battle pack", due to the sheer volume of art that had to be re-done in "whitewash" BFC could not justify the time investment unless the content was released as a full-price title.

 

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45 minutes ago, Roter Stern said:

things like the Jagdtiger, Sturmtiger, flame tanks, etc - or things which could've also been represented in Normandy and Market Garden

While flame-tanks were fairly widespread, you won't find any Jagdtigers or Sturmtigers in Caen or Arnhem.

The Battlefront crew have to make a living from this, so releasing these as seperate packs is almost certainly a business decision on their part.....Absolutely not a problem for me, I feel these titles are a bargain at the price. 

I have no idea how many hours I've spent either playing CM (All titles & all modules from CM:BO to the present) or mucking about in the editor, probably thousands.....I really can't think of anything that offers better value for money TBH, I've spent a couple of hundred times more on kits.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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8 hours ago, Roter Stern said:

Beyond a few snowy textures, CMFB did not seem to introduce actual snow mechanics - neither actual visual effects, nor an abstracted representation of deep snow or frozen conditions.

CMFB does feature snow mechanics. There are ground conditions patchy snow /  light snow / snow / deep snow. There is different kind of snowy weather: light/heavy/blizzard. There is temperature cool/cold/freezing/extreme cold.

Those all affect the battlefield in various ways, or have I been imaging things? ;-).

 

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22 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

The Battlefront crew have to make a living from this, so releasing these as seperate packs is almost certainly a business decision on their part.....Absolutely not a problem for me, I feel these titles are a bargain at the price. 

I have no idea how many hours I've spent either playing CM (All titles & all modules from CM:BO to the present) or mucking about in the editor, probably thousands.....I really can't think of anything that offers better value for money TBH, I've spent a couple of hundred times more on kits.

Absolutely! Let me make it clear, that the issue I take with CMFB is not a financial one. If $60 is what it costs to justify the volume of work to introduce proper winter conditions - then so be it.

I just wish they released it as a $60 module for CMBN and built up on the existing content, instead of splintering away from it. After all, the British were present in the Battle of the Bulge, so no real reason to explicitly exclude them from appearing in that time frame.

That said, I still think CMFB is a little thin on features...

19 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

German buildings, the way hedges are treated in winter, and frozen streams are just a few that immediately spring to mind.

14 hours ago, Lethaface said:

CMFB does feature snow mechanics. There are ground conditions patchy snow /  light snow / snow / deep snow. There is different kind of snowy weather: light/heavy/blizzard. There is temperature cool/cold/freezing/extreme cold.

Those all affect the battlefield in various ways, or have I been imaging things? ;-).

 

How exactly are the hedges treated?

"Light snow / snow / deep snow" is just a map-wide setting - much like "damp / wet / muddy" in every other title. As far as I can see there is no way to create localized impassible snow drifts, as it would've been the case during the actual Battle of the Bulge.

What effect does the temperate have exactly? Do troops left on a wind-swept open field suffer injury? Do vehicles stall? 

The manual makes precisely zero mention of any winter or snow mechanics, beyond "vehicles have been given a new coat of whitewash". Excuse the eye roll here.

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If snow and tank riders were easy to retrofit into CMBN...

If the DRM in CMBN were easy to workaround to somehow keep CW, MG, VP, etc. properly sorted...

A separate CMFB codebase provides a means to both expand features and host different modules.

I'm not defending BFC decisions. I'm simply acknowledging that hindsight isn't always 20/20 when we aren't privy to internal deliberations.

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Normandy hedgerows are impassible to vehicles and need dynamiting to get through. Bulge battle hedgerows (and hedgerows in every other title) are just roadside brush than can be easily driven through.

Historical Bulge battle didn't have impassible snow drifts. They didn't get that blizzard snow we see in all the picture books until January when the Germans were already on the run. The deeper the snow in the game the more road types disappear until there's no more roads on the map. Scenario designers rarely use deep snow in scenarios because its a pain to fight through. Troops get exhausted almost immediately. Freezing temps have one benefit. The ground freezes and the chance of vehicles bogging drops sharply.

CMSF2 players often complain about troops exhausting themselves too quickly (carrying all that body armor in extreme heat) but its nothing compared to troops trying to move fast through deep snow in extreme cold conditions. 

Wanting CMFB part of CMBN is mere sophistry. What would be the point? They'd charge you the same for it, anyway. Literally all of the art is different. the TO&E is different, even the tree types are different. Plus making it a module would have obliged purchasers to buy CMBN first. Just want the Bulge title? You'd be out of luck.

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There is also an issue of the TO&E. WWII saw a lot of TOE changes across all the participating armies, especially the Germans and Americans. Having one title cover a large part of the war with one TOE that changes a lot based on dates is, to put it simply, a monster to work on. It is one of the reasons the CMFI R2V module took so long to get out the door. Working with a single TOE that spans from 1943-1945 with multiple nations and multiple iterations of the TOE through the years per nation... it created a real headache. In short, cutting down on TOE bloat.

In a similar vein, another reason CMFB is its own title is to cut down on data bloat. CMBN already had a ton of data in it, such as artwork for France and the Netherlands and the various nations that were added, to include their artwork, TOE and all the rest. I think CMBN is still the single largest download of all the CM titles. IIRC Steve mentioned that if they made CMBN any larger there would be some stability issues, which is another reason why CMFB is its own title.

Plus, do remember that there is a planned module in the works to bring CMFB to the end of the war. This will include yet more artwork and TOE changes (adding Commonwealth forces, German late war formations such as ad hoc kampfgruppes and volkssturm). When that is said and done, CMFB will have plenty of content to warrant being its own title. 

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On 10/12/2020 at 9:45 AM, Bulletpoint said:

One thing I'm wondering about is whether trees and hedges offer less concealment in CMFB since it's winter and the leaves should have fallen off?

CMFI trees in spring time should be between CMFB "less" and CMBN "more" than.

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On 10/11/2020 at 10:25 AM, Roter Stern said:

 built up on the existing content, instead of splintering away from it.

BFC is going to go whichever route they choose, but I hope that if there ever is a new generation, that it is Combat Mission as a base game and every module plugs in to that, so that it all works together as one.

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20 hours ago, Sgt Joch said:

CMFI has both summer and winter versions of deciduous trees, i.e. the leaves fall off in winter.

CMFB has that too, as it takes place in both autumn and winter.

Graphics change from showing coloured autumn leaves to showing trees with no leaves. But does that actually affect spotting and concealment?

Edited by Bulletpoint
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