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Am I missing something with Campaigns?


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It just doesnt feel like a campaign to me..Feels more like a bunch of single player missions intertwined with a campaign map that says 'look at how far you've made it!'

Is there any way to see my force pool? Customize my orbat? Or order reinforcements? How about a way to look at my overall campaign progress, or even SELECT my next mission?

I played through the TF Thunder mission and just felt like it was mission after mission.

Mission x - Oh yay a SBCT mission where I'm taking a town

Mission y - Oh...a Armored battalion fighting tanks.

Mission z - oh ok..now I have hmmm's in another town.

Where's the CAMPAIGN structure?

I recently bought Matrix Games latest remake of Close Combat 5, called Close Combat: The Longest Day. It actually features Brits, Canadians, Americans and Germans. Its not bad, but the great thing about it is the CAMPAIGN. You see your losses, and can decide your own fate at the stategic level....you can see each battalions equipment #'s and can customize your orbat.

I post this due to my recent start at the Marines campaign (havent gotten to the Brits yet)

I started the campaign up, and my initial thought was...'ok not this AGAIN'. Campaigns just feel...empty..like a fire and forget mission.

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TF Thunder was the first campaign - try the Marines or Brits campaigns.

However, I think it's pitched at a different level from what you're talking about though - the campaign link element is in preserving your forces for later missions, you will notice if you take too many losses early on!

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FMB has made a few campaigns where you follow one or two main units. Forging Steel, forget the author, covers a one or two companies in a twelve hour fight between heavy-mech forces. I'm not so much wanting customizable orbats or strategic options, I just enjoy the challenge (realism?) granted by having to fight tomorrow with what I have left over from today.

Campaign is still fun, but for that reason alone I liked CC1 the best.

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You shouldn't draw your conclusions about "campaigns" based on one of them (the very first made at that). One of the beauties of Combat Mission is that you (and anyone else) can make as many campaigns about as many things as they like. They can be small, or large, following one unit or many. There can be complex scripts or very simple linear campaigns.

The kind of scripted management campaign that CC allows you to do is not what CM is designed to do.

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One could argue that CM should be designed to do more then what it does today.

Persistent damage would be one feature I'd love to see, allowing us to fight several battles on the same map, like the old style Operations. It may be a gameform that Steve seems to have no high regard for but whose continuity beat the current campaign by a country mile.

Or unit experience. You can start a game with a platoon of Green soldiers and twenty battles later, after killing more people then Genghiz Khan they are still Green soldiers. A flaw which demotes virtual soldiers to mere tools for the task of reaching the end.

This campaign offers no tangible reward a player for fighting a battle other then proceeding to the next. It will not let you defend that office block you captured earlier, take that squad of farmhands and see them through the campaign until they are battle hardened killers.

If those pleasures aren't in CMSF because it wasn't what it was designed to do I can only hope that the design will be DRAMATICALLY improved for Normandy. I hate to say it but the current offering is sub par.

It just isn't rewarding for a player. The only reward is letting me fight the next mission. Well big whoop if that next mission is once again so sterile, devoid of player influence or feedback. The current campaign is such an exceedingly small improvement of just playing single battles that I'm half wondering why it's there at all.

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You shouldn't draw your conclusions about "campaigns" based on one of them (the very first made at that). One of the beauties of Combat Mission is that you (and anyone else) can make as many campaigns about as many things as they like. They can be small, or large, following one unit or many. There can be complex scripts or very simple linear campaigns.

The kind of scripted management campaign that CC allows you to do is not what CM is designed to do.

Yes, but I do think that the role playing aspect of the campaigns would be given a big boost if there was a way to somehow insert a special order of battle screen of some type. Something which shows all your assigned forces and core forces and then allowed the player to purchase replacements or new units for the core force or something along those lines. It would be a special screen that popped up before each battle in the series and would be similar to maybe a cherry pickers quick battle set up screen or something but with restrictions placed by the designer on what could be purchased. It would have to have a fancy interface that included pictures of your troops too so it would look cool. ;)

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This campaign offers no tangible reward a player for fighting a battle other then proceeding to the next. It will not let you defend that office block you captured earlier, ...

Actually, you could do that in a campaign, if you really wanted to.

Since you apparently really want to, why don't you make one like that?

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Whoa, Elmar, I didn't realise you'd gone over to the Dark Side! Good points though, and I'm only kidding.

Some kind of field promotion system would work well for me. One thing I like about CMSF is the way it simulates command. Last night I fought a very satisfying battle in the third mission of the Brit Campaign, the first one where you have Challengers. I planned well, executed tightly and was rewarded with a Total Victory but, here's the good bit: I felt bad about the 12 Blue KIAs. I should not have dismounted that platoon and so, despite a pretty low mortality rate for a company-sized battle, I still felt responsible as the Major in command. It would be great to design a campaign where command and responsibility are earned, from having to lead an infantry platoon as a subaltern (2nd Lt.) to larger units as a Captain, companies as a Major and up through Lt. Col. and possibly full-bird although I doubt that a CM campaign could, or should offer battles much bigger than reinforced companies. Something could be done, however, to earn promotion based on achievement of briefed goals and force preservation, reflected in branching missions. I would have accepted another mission as a Major, having lost those 12 men, knowing that, if I learned from my mistakes I might be promoted to Lt. Col., which might get me a bigger force with correspondingly bigger responsibilities.

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Lt Mike,

The best campaign for the 'continuous feel' is "From Dawn to Setting Sun". You take a platoon of Marines through one hell of a day. Beware: it's too damn hard if you lose guys, so do it as perfect as you can.

As far as the other stuff goes, you don't have any control. Just do your best not to lose men because sometimes those casualties carry over. Beyond that, you just have to use your imagination.

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Actually, you could do that in a campaign, if you really wanted to.

Since you apparently really want to, why don't you make one like that?

Aside from laziness?

Because you are wrong, JonS. You can fight on the same map twice and that's the whole problem. Once my artillery is done pounding enemy positions it won't be the same map. Next mission though, there are no craters, no flattened buildings, no tank hulks. And the players progress across the map? No way to track it.

So, what we end up with is a poor reflection of the old Operations of CMx1 days.

And no, I've not joined the darkside. I've always been on one side, and one side only. I'm unwaveringly on own side. And while I've always defended CMSF as being quite good, it falls a little short on fun for a variety of reasons.

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One could argue that CM should be designed to do more then what it does today.

Persistent damage would be one feature I'd love to see, allowing us to fight several battles on the same map, like the old style Operations. It may be a gameform that Steve seems to have no high regard for but whose continuity beat the current campaign by a country mile.

I remember back about ten years ago arguing for campaigns and being far from alone... at any rate, I think Operations work best in limited scale. No way you could do the whole TF Thunder as an operation, you'd probably be looking at something along the lines of final 72-104 hours of the war as the SBCT took down it's share of Damascus. I'm sure that would appeal to a few who fit a particular mold, but I'm guessing they wanted gamers to be able to get the full flavor of the game without necessarily depending on 3rd party content.

Just my guess, variety being the spice of life and all that.

Or unit experience. You can start a game with a platoon of Green soldiers and twenty battles later, after killing more people then Genghiz Khan they are still Green soldiers. A flaw which demotes virtual soldiers to mere tools for the task of reaching the end.

This campaign offers no tangible reward a player for fighting a battle other then proceeding to the next. It will not let you defend that office block you captured earlier, take that squad of farmhands and see them through the campaign until they are battle hardened killers.

They rejected the RPG element as far back as CMBO demo days as well.

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... I think Operations work best in limited scale. No way you could do the whole TF Thunder as an operation, you'd probably be looking at something along the lines of final 72-104 hours of the war as the SBCT took down it's share of Damascus. ...

True enough, but I suspect Elmar wants everything.

That is, he want to be able to refight maps a'la CMx1 if he wants to (or rather, if a campaign designer makes it so) AND have the ability to campaign across time and space (a'la CMx2).

[snark]I wonder what features he's prepared to give up in order to realise this.[/snark] ;)

They rejected the RPG element as far back as CMBO demo days as well.

And with good reason, IMO.

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Elmar,

One could argue that CM should be designed to do more then what it does today.

Yup, that's certainly true. However, one also has to understand that improvements to the campaign system by default come at the expense of improvements to the tactical system. CM has always been, and will always be, a tactical game first, second, third, and even forth. Our priorities, therefore, are focused where they should be instead of getting distracted like Close Combat did with a strategic layer and a tactical environment that saw very few improvements.

Persistent damage would be one feature I'd love to see, allowing us to fight several battles on the same map, like the old style Operations.

Yes, that will happen at some point.

It may be a gameform that Steve seems to have no high regard for but whose continuity beat the current campaign by a country mile.

They are completely different games. Might as well say that a double capuccino beats an espresso by a mile ;)

I designed both systems. I wanted Operations to work so very much. They didn't for the vast majority of our players. And we couldn't make any significant improvements that people, even the supporters, wanted. So it was killed off because it has no future. The current campaign system has plenty of places to go.

Or unit experience. You can start a game with a platoon of Green soldiers and twenty battles later, after killing more people then Genghiz Khan they are still Green soldiers. A flaw which demotes virtual soldiers to mere tools for the task of reaching the end.

We've been over this a billion times before... :)

This campaign offers no tangible reward a player for fighting a battle other then proceeding to the next.

Or winding up with depleted units for future battles. Some would find that to be a tangible punishment, which if avoided is a tangible reward.

It will not let you defend that office block you captured earlier, take that squad of farmhands and see them through the campaign until they are battle hardened killers.

In the timeframe of our Campaigns, this is not very realistic. The experience thing I mean. Defending something you've just taken is possible in the Campaign if that is what the campaign designer wishes.

If those pleasures aren't in CMSF because it wasn't what it was designed to do I can only hope that the design will be DRAMATICALLY improved for Normandy. I hate to say it but the current offering is sub par.

People seem to enjoy it just fine, even though there is definitely room for improvement. In a few years nothing in the game today will look exactly the same. That's part of the overall plan for CMx2. There's no way, none, that we can put even a fraction of the stuff people want into the game within a reasonable timeframe. So things will have to be introduced along the way. Either that or find someone with many million Dollars lying around, have them give it to us with no strings attached, and we'll shut our website down and in 10 years we'll have a game that will knock your socks off :D

It just isn't rewarding for a player.

Your opinion, of course. And the opinion of many I'm sure. Just don't presume that there's only one type of player out there with one vision for one specific form of Campaign.

The only reward is letting me fight the next mission. Well big whoop if that next mission is once again so sterile, devoid of player influence or feedback. The current campaign is such an exceedingly small improvement of just playing single battles that I'm half wondering why it's there at all.

Because not everybody is like you ;) I suspect most people here play the campaigns. I suspect that most of them enjoy them far more than you. That doesn't mean the system is perfect. I would not be so arrogant as to assume that. But that doesn't mean the system is complete trash. You should not be so arrogant as to assume that. Fair is fair ;)

Steve

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Elmar,

I've always been on one side, and one side only. I'm unwaveringly on own side.

I don't have a problem with that except when you forget to apply your own logic. This is YOUR argument, but you tend to apply it as if it is everybody's argument. That's really not the case. So while I don't fault you for being critical of the current form of the Campaign, I can (and will be) critical of you for voicing that criticism as if your vision and your solutions are the only way a campaign can be. That's really not productive, nor is it even remotely accurate. As Apocal quite nicely put...

Apocal,

I remember back about ten years ago arguing for campaigns and being far from alone

Heh... far from it. I think if I took a vote, during the hight of CMx1's popularity, if people would rather have Operations (as they were) or some mythical "campaign" system the overwhelming majority would have voted against Operations. They were a great idea, and did have some very good elements to them, but it was clear to us very quickly that most found them seriously lacking. And lacking in such a way that there was absolutely no way to fix them. Which is why we abandoned the Operations concept.

... at any rate, I think Operations work best in limited scale. No way you could do the whole TF Thunder as an operation, you'd probably be looking at something along the lines of final 72-104 hours of the war as the SBCT took down it's share of Damascus. I'm sure that would appeal to a few who fit a particular mold, but I'm guessing they wanted gamers to be able to get the full flavor of the game without necessarily depending on 3rd party content.

Correct. Operations were only good for fighting, basically, the same battle at several intervals. We did this on purpose because that is exactly what we wanted Operations to simulate. But we found that most people found them dull and unexciting. Repetitive even. We reluctantly had to agree with the critics.

They rejected the RPG element as far back as CMBO demo days as well.

We do want to have more RPG elements in the campaign as time goes on. However, we are still trying to resist "gamey" RPG stuff. Improvements in Experience should take weeks, even months, of fighting to achieve. That's a bit of a stretch for CMx2's chosen scope. However, I do agree that really crappy units, which somehow manage to survive, should probably see an Experience increase towards the end of a Campaign. But the old Steel Panthers nonsense of having all Elite units under your command, simply because you babied them by using the non-Core units as casualty sponges, is definitely nothing we are even remotely interested in doing.

JonS,

[snark]I wonder what features he's prepared to give up in order to realise this.[/snark]

Well, that's nub of the problem with campaigns for tactical games in general. Trying to have two levels of play theoretically can be done, but in reality it really needs twice as much development resources to pull off. Since that is not possible to do, especially for such a niche as this, the developer has to make choices. I have always been very critical of Close Combat because they chose to focus on the campaign system instead of the tactical environment. They were off to a great start, a beautiful start even, with the tactical environment. But they froze it and that lost my attention. I didn't care how I got to the next battle because I didn't care about the battle itself.

The question about why we included an "imperfect" campaign system instead of a "perfect" one is simple. First, there is no such thing as a "perfect" campaign system. I've argued this for more than 10 years... there are WAY too many wildly differing ideas as to what a campaign system should be. We'll never get more than a decent percentage of our customer base to barely agree on the general direction. After that we'll have further differences on details. We are sure, however, that the type of campaign we have now, and are intending to add to over time, is the one which is the most attractive.

OK, so why not leave out a campaign system completely for a few years and then introduce something which, although not perfect, is better than what we have now. Does anybody here SERIOUSLY think that is a viable option for us? By that I mean, does anybody here really, honestly, believe that we would receive less criticism from our customers for having no campaign system than having the one we included in CMx2 thus far? If someone does think that, I have a bridge in slightly used condition that I'll sell to you cheap.

Steve

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The only reward is letting me fight the next mission. Well big whoop

I'm not sure what the alternate would be, a cash payout? There's definitiely two types of players, the ones who play to win and the ones who play to play. After a game, I hardly bother to look at the 'end-of-game' screen. I already got what I wanted out of the scenario just from enjoying the fight. Adding a trumpet flourish and waving flags would become kind'a annoying after the third time I saw it.

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tApocal,

Out of pure curiousity, what reason is that?

It's a matter of choice, really. We could add Experience improvements after battles, user initiated "upgrades", additional units if you've been a very good commander, fewer additional units if you stink, pixel medals to pin to your virtual chest, etc. These things take time and effort to implement, but from a design standpoint they are pretty simple.

The question is, does the CM community benefit, overall, from us spending a couple of months putting "feel good fluff" into campaigns which bears little relation to the real world? OR does the CM community benefit, overall, by us not diverting resources into these sorts of things and instead invest them in making improvements to other aspects of the game. For example, user deployable defenses like trenches. Or perhaps the ability to create your own Order of Battle. How about vehicle damage which is unique to the type of hit that has been received! Or perhaps better explosion graphics that people have asked for. Maybe putting in an Order of Battle display like we've been hounded to do since Day One. Some of these things are "feel good fluff", but they are at the tactical level which is where people spend 95% of their game time experiencing.

The thing is that Elmar, and others like him, asks for these things ON TOP of the "perfect" campaign experience. In fact, Elmar was in a thread just a little while ago berating us for not including some of the things I just mentioned. And I haven't even mentioned a massively improved QB system :D

It's just not possible to deliver everything to everybody at all, ever. And to expect that all in one release... that's a set of expectations that need a serious adjustment for reality. So we must pick and choose what we do very carefully. The best way to do that is to focus on a few core things and devote most of our attention to that which we have deemed most important.

Losing our focus means bad things for everybody. Going with a campaign game system which is fanciful in its treatment of reality, yet time consuming to implement, is a bad idea. Therefore, we won't do it. Improvements to the campaign system? Sure, but within the context of the game as a whole. For example, we're going to reintroduce Kill Stats and they will be tracked throughout a Campaign. It's a win-win feature for everybody.

Steve

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I have a great idea for a reward system.

A player gets a number of points after each mission, and there are different levels of points. The basic point unit is the Cool Point (CP) and for each Total Victory at a scenario level, let's suppose that the player gets 5 CP. Well, the level of points above that is Smooth Points (SP), and it's 10 CP to 1 SP. If the player completes so many missions that they get 10 SP, that equals 1 Groovy Point (GP). GP, SP, and CP can be used to purchase items from the Battlefront website. For example, you could start selling KaBar knives for $50 OR 2 GP. I think I've encountered a reward system like this somewhere before, I just can't think of where.... :D

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I have a great idea for a reward system.

A player gets a number of points after each mission, and there are different levels of points. The basic point unit is the Cool Point (CP) and for each Total Victory at a scenario level, let's suppose that the player gets 5 CP. Well, the level of points above that is Smooth Points (SP), and it's 10 CP to 1 SP. If the player completes so many missions that they get 10 SP, that equals 1 Groovy Point (GP). GP, SP, and CP can be used to purchase items from the Battlefront website. For example, you could start selling KaBar knives for $50 OR 2 GP. I think I've encountered a reward system like this somewhere before, I just can't think of where.... :D

Sounds like World of Warcraft ;)

All you need is maddening 6 hour long battles that must be completed with a bunch of inept randoms from the internet, and then a slight random chance to get an upgraded M1A2 TUSK, and you're sorted.

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Sounds like World of Warcraft ;)

All you need is maddening 6 hour long battles that must be completed with a bunch of inept randoms from the internet, and then a slight random chance to get an upgraded M1A2 TUSK, and you're sorted.

D&D actually. ;) I kick it old school, FMB can attest to this.

Bullethead? Is that you?

Nope. Don't know who that is.

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