Jump to content

"CMX2" request thread

Recommended Posts

This Bone Thread is where this one started and there were 300+ other posts and bones there as well. smile.gif



Member # 42

posted February 14, 2005 03:26 PM               


In another post I had talked about many of the people here not thinking about CMx2's potential to be much more than CMx1, rather than to be a modestly refined sequel. I was a little surprised to see that since the discussions I've participated in were about fundamental aspects of difference between the two game engines. But enough people seemed to not understand what CMx2 is supposed to be, I figured I should make a single, clear statement so there will be no more confusion.

Most wargame developers are more about making a better wargame, not making a better simulation of warfare. When they look for ideas they tend to look at how other games have modeled things, tweak it as necessary, then implement it. Because of this wargame designs over the years have been fairly consistent and incremental in their improvements towards modeling warfare. Very few games broke the fundamentals known to core wargame designs, and therefore wargames have remained largely unchanged for decades.

CMx1 was a ground breaking game system because of how it was designed. Instead of looking at what other wargames did, or did not do, Charles and I instead looked at real warfare and tried to model it in game format. Some wargaming conventions were retained, but only because they were consistent with the design philosophy of "model warfare, don't model wargames". In other words, no wargaming conventions were considered untouchable.

This philosophical perspective is what gave you guys CMBO, CMBB, and CMAK. The list of wargaming conventions these games broke is far, far longer than the list of conventions it retained. Things like no hexes, 3D environment, highly realistic ballistics, no national modifiers, WeGo, etc. were all combined to create a game system that bore no resemblance to any other wargame of its day. And, I think it is fair to say, none since. Since these features are the reasons for the CMx1 success, and these features would not have been possible without the "model warfare, don't model wargames" philosophy, then it is pretty safe to say that the philosophical design position we adhered to is why CMx1 (from a design standpoint) became what it became. Obviously all game designs are only as good as their execution, so the ability for Charles and I (later a bunch of others) to turn vision into reality is equally important.

So there you have it... CMx1 was made great by a combination of a design philosophy and the ability to execute it. It should be comforting to know that this combo is also the heart and soul of CMx2. Even better, our abilities to design are better than they were 7 years ago as well as our ability to execute it. We've got a lot more experience, resources, and dedicated people working on CMx2, which all translates to better capabilities to turn designs into successful games.

Now, ask yourselves... was CMx1 perfect in all ways? I don't think anybody thinks that at all. Certainly we don't! Therefore, now that we are starting with a fresh slate what should we do? Cripple our design philosophy by attaching a blanket rider to it? Such as "model warfare, don't model wargames except CMx1, and in the case of the latter follow it religiously". Er... doesn't that seem to be a bit limiting? Why not keep the same philosophy that proved itself so important in getting you guys something superior to all that came before it? This is where the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude should be applied, not to specific features of CMx1.

Regardless, Charles and I aren't changing our philosophy. CMx2 is being designed from the ground up to be an improved simulation of warfare, not an improved version of Combat Mission. Having said that, we aren't chucking things out of CMx1 just for the sake of doing something different. Things that worked well in CMx1 that can work well in CMx2 will stay in. Since a lot of what was in CMx1 worked well, a lot of it will be staying in. Other things will be in, though perhaps not in a way that is directly understood by the player. Some stuff is going to be abandoned in favor of totally new things which will not only replace the old feature but allow for a better game and/or sim experience. In the end CMx2 will be recognizable as being related to CMx1, much the way that an M1 Abrams is recognizable as an improvement of the M60, which in turn was an improvement over previous tank designs going all the way back to WWI. Will the Abrams drive and shoot the way a WWII A7? It certainly should not if the point is to have an accurately modeled Abrams

With all this in mind... what will CMx2 be? The whole answer can't come in one post, nor can it come for a number of more months. But for now, these are the basics (in no particular order):

1. Not CMx1

2. A game system that is flexible enough to handle many different theaters, timeframes, and game genres without doing years of rewriting for each. This does not mean that the CMx2 codebase will automatically support things like horse cavalry or Space Lobsters, rather that it will not automatically preclude them from being added in later. The CMx1 codebase was absolutely not written this way, which is why we told you almost 2 years ago that CMAK would be the last game made using this code.

3. A graphics engine that takes advantage of today's hardware possibilities. The idea is that a more realistic looking game is a more realistic feeling game, all else being equal. When combined with #2 above it also means that internally it is a lot easier for us to make cool graphical representations than it was in CMx1 (which was a nightmare ). Therefore, the development distraction to us should be less than it was in CMx1 even though there will be a big leap forward in terms of quality. A win-win situation for everybody.

4. A game that can be played by more than 2 people, with a heavy emphasis on cooperative play (CoPlay). While we can not do this feature for the first release (not practical), the game engine itself is being coded to work with many players as soon as we can code the rather difficult technological foundation to allow such play. Think of it like CMBO not having TCP/IP functionality even though the game was written to work using this protocol.

5. The plan is for unit focus (scale) to be flexible, though the tactical focus for the first two CMx2 games is the Squad/Team just as it was for CMx1. This may or may not vary from title to title afterwards, we simply aren't planning that far ahead. Just know that in theory the CMx2 code allows us to keep things a bit flexible.

6. The command level is, like the unit focus, somewhat flexible. However, like CMx1 the first two planned games for CMx2 are Battalion/Company centric.

7. Each soldier has its own 3D representation in the game. For the first two CMx2 games there will not be 1:1 control over these soldiers, but if the scale is lowered for another game 1:1 control is possible (eg. we make a Platoon level game where you only have 30 soldiers, obviously more control is desirable). 1:1 simulation is also desired, but hardware limitations will mean some carefully implemented compromises (i.e. 1:1 LOS checks are impossible). Overall the control should be roughly the same as CMx1, but the abstractions far less.

8. WeGo is not being abandoned. In fact, there will be more options to make this system work even better.

9. Relative Spotting, as described in depth over the past couple of years, will be a huge part of the CMx2 experience. This feature can not be turned off.

10. Overcoming CMx1 "Borg" problems is a top priority to us since it is one of the biggest distractions from a realistic combat simulator. However, there is only so much we can do with this, so it isn't like we can eliminate the Borg problem. It will, however, have far less influence over games than it has in the past. Some of these features can be toggled off for those who really want more unrealistic game experiences.

11. The "God" problem, which is related to #10 but is not the same, is also something we are trying hard to knock down. The player will be able to choose how much he wants to be like a real Human commander and how much he wants to be a God.

12. A tighter focus on "story" than in past CMx1 games. A lot of the previous mentioned features will add to this, but we are putting in specific features to draw them together into a more clean message for the player. CMx1 games were sometimes described as "soulless" because of how little influence we (Battlefront) and scenario designers had over the "big picture" setting. We agree with this and therefore are putting in more tools for the scenario designers as well as us the game designers. Again, these sorts of things will vary from game release to game release, being either a more or less important part of the game.

13. Much finer detailing of terrain. This means a ton more flexibility in how maps look and how units interact with them.

14. Coupled with the above, we are including a lot more stuff for making more realistic looking scenarios. In a CMBO setting this might be stuff like telephone poles, previously wrecked tanks, far more rubble options, decorative bushes, haystacks, etc. These things may or may not have much value to the game play (wrecked tanks would, decorative bushes not so much), but the atmospheric affects will help out in a major way.

Hmmm.... well, there is probably a lot more stuff that I've touched on in other posts, but these are the big things I can think off right now. Hopefully the totality of the stuff in this post will give you an idea of what CMx2 is intended to be, both in general terms and in some specifics.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...