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improvements carry over from CMBN?


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When the dust of the Normandy release will have settled (and the first patch addressing some minor issues that may show up - or not, has been done also) is there a chance that some of the improvements will reach CMSF with a final patch too?

Whats possible, whats not?

I know the usual Battlefront response is: "Investing time in that would delay the 'Brits vs FJ+SS module' for Normandy, so ... unlikely" ;-)

but from a marketing point of view, a lot of old CMx1 users are coming back and may decide after some time in Normandy, they want to go 'modern' too and it would be a good selling argument that SF+Modules (and CMA) would have been brought to the same standard.

Well, its all about money these days, so i would even pay - lets say $9:90 - for a 'Full Normandy Features & Graphics update' Module for CMSF

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The next (and most likely last) patch for CMSF and modules will NOT bring over any of the improvements that are in CMBN. That would involve breaking too many things and the return on investment in time wouldn't be enough. Breaking all previous scenarios and campaigns with a new patch probably wouldn't sit too well with a number of players, though I'm sure everyone would want an improved Quick Battle system.

Unfortunately the improvements to CMBN to be brought forward to a modern setting will have to wait until CMSF2 (not an official title).

I have no real idea if 5-6 years is a good estimate on the next modern title, but I doubt it will take more than half that long.

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Bummer.

And I suppose you/Snowball wouldn't consider selling downloads of the various CMSF unit sets/TOEs to CM:A owners (buyers)?

That would at least bootstrap the engine to the CMA level. No unique content would be required, we could take care of all that and it would cheaply expand the scope of the game for the cadre modern warfare enthusiasts for the x years until CMSF2 Temperate came out.... That Helmand project, so on.

Monetizing existing IC is not a terrible idea. And it would boost sales of CMA too.

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I have no real idea if 5-6 years is a good estimate on the next modern title, but I doubt it will take more than half that long.

So 2-3 years to develop 2 whole games and 9 modules, and then SF2 itself? Quite optimistic there, but I don't think that's covered by "glass half full" :D

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I'm under the impression that there will not be MAJOR advances between some of these games. With a second programmer on hand now, some of the modules could potentially come out a bit faster than they have in the past.

I suspect that you may see work on CMSF2 at approximately the same time as the WWII Bulge family is in progress. However I don't know the actual development plan and how it will actually play out over time. Things do tend to take longer to finish than most of us expect. That and there's also the issue of only so many artists/modelers/animators to spread all of that work around to - all very time consuming tasks.

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We already have seen what I feel is a significant increase in the tempo of releases. In the last 7 months we have seen the release of Afghanistan, the NATO module and CMBN. Before then, sure, it was at least a year between releases, but I think the engine is now mature and as Schrullenhaft mentioned the addition of a second full time programmer will certainly help.

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  • 1 month later...

I think a more rational quick battle OOB choice by part of AI will be sufficient for give a relaunch to game. I don't know how it work now (seem to me it take one of two unit type anda replicate it n times: eg (bradley squad+humwee squad) x n, and use a hierarchical read of OOB (mech platoon,company,etc)).

I played for year in theblitz ladder with CMx1 and the QB PBEM is already much active also on CMBO after 10 years, because it works and people like it more than fixed scenarios, because on mine opinion, the works of build own combat team is part of fun, and scenario pre-build give advantage always to players which play it more time because they know more tips. Also CMSF is hosted on THeblitz but I don't remember to have see PBEM played with him; not because the game is not great (it is great and very fun) but because QB cannot be played.

In understand a CMBN style is no possible, but a better algorithm for the automatic OOB choice will be a big improvement.

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The quick battle component, as in CMBN, is the improvement I would like to see come to CMSF.

Potentially this could generate new sales of CMSF.

At very least, I believe existing owners would pay a module price to add it to their cllection.

I certainly would, but I am afraid it would be a lot of programming work, as the whole OOB functionality, including C2, was changed between CMSF/CMA and CMBN, if I understand Steve's comments in the past.

Backporting this change into CMSF, while keeping existing scenarios working would be a major challenge I am afraid.

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My personal take is that CMSFII "Temperate Zone" is more likely than any update to CMSF. Rather than re-building the CMSF engine to be better, it seems better to continue to update the engine (beyond CMBN) and port in the models from CMSF as available.

There is a note in the 1.32 patch thread about German antitank teams not having weapons. I've seen it in the NATO: Bier and Brezel (sp?) battle myself. I imagine BF.C will put out one more patch to finalize the game and then that'll be it. (Unless 1.32 is, indeed, the final patch.)

Just my .02 with absolutely no insider sourcing.

Ken

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There is a note in the 1.32 patch thread about German antitank teams not having weapons. I've seen it in the NATO: Bier and Brezel (sp?) battle myself. I imagine BF.C will put out one more patch to finalize the game and then that'll be it. (Unless 1.32 is, indeed, the final patch.)

I just checked, but in the Bier und Bretzel scenario, the dismounted sections already have their Panzerfaust launchers. So the rockets are just extra ammunition.

Nothing wrong there.

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Just chiming in here on the potential for "upgrading" CM:SF and/or CM:A...

Unfortunately too much has changed between the two systems to allow for backporting the CM:BN specific features. Some things, like bug fixes to common features, are already in v1.32 and earlier patches.

The primary obstacle to backwards compatibility is the way the game data is structured, especially TO&E, changed dramatically between CM:A and CM:BN. This wasn't just because of WW2 needs, though to some extent it was. The primary reason is CM:SF and CM:A system was our first attempt at complex TO&E and it had a ton of inefficiencies and limitations that only became apparent after developing the first Module. I told Charles I would rather gouge out my eyes with a rusty spoon than work with the original format again. Fortunately Charles agreed to my demands :)

TO&E is the heart of many major portions of the game. Quick Battles, for example, depend heavily on TO&E coding that is under the hood. So without redoing all the game data for all previous CMx2 releases (though I suppose we could skip CM:A) there's no way to get many of the CM:BN features working.

And then there's the major changes to the map format. Let's just say it's even more complicated than the TO&E and even more critically important.

If we did backport the code all the existing scenarios would not work. That means we would have to redo all the content (scenarios, campaigns, and QB maps) for those games. From scratch.

The costs of doing all these things far exceeds what we think we could get from upgrade fees. Therefore, even if this were technically possible without disrupting other games (including CM:SF 2 in temperate setting), and it most definitely is not, it wouldn't be financially viable for us. Which is, of course, bad for you in the long run. Especially if we go out of business.

Bottom line here... if there were a viable way of offering an upgrade for CM:SF and/or CM:A customers, for even some of the CM:BN features, we definitely would. We like having more stuff to sell, after all :D But the fact is we simply aren't able to.

Best thing I can say is your continued enthusiasm for CM:SF has ensured that CM:SF 2 is definitely going to happen. And that game will have everything CM:BN has and more.

Steve

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"The costs of doing all these things far exceeds what we think we could get from upgrade fees."

You may well be absolutely correct, Steve. But what would it cost asking customers if they would purchase/support such an upgrade and for how much just to check? Your fan base is pretty hardcore and will buy just about anything you put out. Heck... I'd still pay for "CM Campaigns"...

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We know how many units of CM:SF we sold, we don't know exactly how long it would take to backporting would take. Other than it would be several months. A pretty big chunk of the total CM:SF customer base would have to pay up front for us to even consider doing something.

The primary problem is the "opportunity costs" associated with many months of time spent going backwards. Not only would the CM:SF hardcore have to compensate us for our time, but would also have to compensate us for not doing something we know will be better for both us and our customers on the whole. We only have so much time so we need to use it wisely.

Sorry... I really wish we could do something about it, but our limited time means it's a non-starter.

Steve

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It's almost like you need a 2nd "B-Team" of trainees/volunteers to do some of that stuff, while you A-Team guys keep pushing forwards.

Am amazed at the young talent out there - and the employment picture isn't exactly rosy. Have you thought about trolling colleges, MIT etc for guys who might do the grunt stuff you don't want to do in order for them to complete PhD's, and other papers?

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I'm not sure to have understood the technical problem about the TO&E perhaps because externally look very similar between CMBN and CMSF, but "behind" they are implemented in different mode. But also without implement fully the system of CMBN (with point evaluation) is not possible permit to users the direct choice of units to take, without point expenses, only direct choice like you do in the scenario editor? The players will organize before about the TO&E to take (perhaps community will create evaluation white papers about the relative units strenght for permit proportional battles).

Or also some external tool which create a file where the AI will take the units list at place of use own choice algorithm (PzCommand OstFront use a similar system)

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The amount of hidden data in the TO&E is huge. There are only two people that know how to work with it... myself and Charles. I tried to train someone else to use the data and it didn't work out as well as we would have liked. Even using a proprietary database and video conference lessons. Yeah, it's that complicated :D

The amount of changes from the initial CM:SF format to what we're using now is just one of the hurdles we'd have to get over to update CM:SF to CM:BN standards. There are countless others that are equally, or more, serious than the TO&E. We know... because we did look into what it would take to backport the changes to CM:SF/CM:A. We had hoped it could be done reasonably economically, but our conclusion is it can't be.

Steve

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Hi Steve

I understand how difficult it is explain how proper source code to someone other, especially if a "first work" of a new engine, where the problems of a solution appear evidents at posteriori. I'm myself a programmer (ERP software not videogames) and made reverse enginering of programs without documentation, because the original programmer is gone on another customer, and you must correct the bugs in his programs is very long and boring. We can add each programmer has own proper style and logic, so you must enter also in other people mind for understand better (I prefer create programs using 2 or 3 lines of instructions more than create short forms of the sames more smarts and performing but difficult to debug and read after).

Anyway my original request was also if, without implementing the same QB of CMBN, is not possible improve the automatic purchase logic.

I tried to understand making series of test the actual logic and i have concluded this:

- battle dimension fix basic number of points to use for purchase units

- battle type (metting,attack,assault,etc..) add points to attacker proportionally to mission type of attack

These two points are derived by the same logic applied in CMx1 QB

- Branch fixed the scenario purchase units branch the software use for select the units

- Type should limits the possibility of choiche of unit internally to branch but in reality doesn't work very well or at least work in a mode not very clear: if I choice syrian armors, I can have syrian mech infantry. So perhaps this indicate a preference, not a limit to AI; perhaps there is a complex alghorhitm which select also on the basis of rarity, equipment quality, adversary force type, and map type for try to maintain the balance.

- Quality setting tell to AI to raise or lower the soft factors, but this is more complex that it appears, first the raise and lower is limited for each soft factor (a default veteran unit cannot become conscript with poor quality, at maximum regular) so choicing at example "poor" this indicate to AI not the set all the soft factors to poor but the overall quality (the maximum numbers of soft factors the AI is permitted to low); second if the soft factor are lowered the QB point are increased as consequence (exactly like in the old CMx1) so the number of unit and the quality the AI can purchase raise also if with soft factor reduced, the contrary in case of soft factor raising. (in a situation syrian against syrian, same force type, one maximum quality the other poor, the excelletn force had higher soft factor but 2 T62 and two btr60, the poor force had low soft factors but 2 T72 and 2 BMP.)Equipment quality is secondary for me in this parameters respec the soft factors

- I think also the fit parameter work at the same way

- THe force adjustment raise\lower the number of battle points

So I can deduce from this that each unit has a point value associated (which depend also from the soft factors setting level and the rarity) which permit to AI to purchase them just to the limit set for the battle of player (battle dimension+battle type+quality+fit+force adjustment).

Cases like the canadian with too many troops on tiny battles for me is related too unit type with low point values associated which permit to AI to purchase too many of them.

Knowing the QB system of CMx1 and seeing the QB of CMBN, I don't think the internal logic of QB of CMSF work very differently from my analysis (it is also the more logic to do the whole thing). If I'm worng can you explain better the logic applied by the AI in CMSF QB?

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