Sunday, December 25, 2016

Combat Mission Game Engine 4

I didn't see this one coming, but it arrived yesterday and I am so excited to see two particular improvements to the virtual tactical combat world of Combat Mission.

Russian infantry treating a building corner with great respect and appreciation: the new update features an automatic "peeking around corners" which allows a careful recon in the unforgiving urban environment. From Combat Mission Black Sea.
It is a paid update ($10.00) for each of the most recent titles (Fortress Italy, Red Thunder, Battle for Normandy, Black Sea and The Last Blitzkrieg). You can bundle all five for $25. 

Another new command is "hull down". This command works along a target area: the armored vehicle will deploy in a hull down position as seen from the target.
Both these tanks needed no micromanagement to assume their hull down positions. Yeah! From Combat Mission Final Blitzkrieg.

An overhead view of a US infantry squad peeking around a corner. Gone are the days in which you would loose an entire squad moving out of the near side of a building. From Combat Mission Battle for Normandy.

The new "peeking around corner" feature will automatically deploy the squad's automatic weapon to deal with any enemy ambush. In this case, it was a German MG42. From Combat Mission Battle for Normandy.

Cheers,



33 comments:

Mike said...

Peeking around corners and hull down? Wow! Someone call the underwhelming police! How is this worthy of $10? Or being called an engine update?

Wake me up when this game gets an actual engine update to a real game engine, like unity.

Anonymous said...

Yup. Gonna pass on this patch.

Unknown said...

Nobody is forcing you to get the update if you don't want it. But for all of us that really enjoy this series it's more than worth the price.

Also, the features mentioned in this post are just the most important ones in the 4.0 update, it's not a complete list.

/Johan

Unknown said...

By the way, the addition of new features to the engine, not just bug fixes, is why this is an update, not a patch. Most game developers abandon older titles when they release new ones. But Battlefront is offering these updates to the older titles, so that we can keep playing them without missing out on the new engine features.

This updating work is not free of course, especially for a small developer, which is why nobody should mind paying a few dollars for them.

/Johan

JC said...

Mike and company,
I don't know if you are pissed at Battlefront, me being excited about the new features or just the entire world. In all cases mentioned, Happy Holidays?

Peter Scarrott said...

Guess Mike & anonymous don't know anything about this game! Imagine running this in Unity indeed!! I guess he thinks the only games worth playing are Unity games.

Anyways back on subject - thanks for the Heads-up on this. It's a great developement and credit to Battlefront for keeping this game going.

IMNSHO 1. Combat Mission is THE wargame I was dreaming off back when I was a lead pusher in the 70's.
IMNSHO 2. Battlefront are amazing for spending so much time upgrading and improving this engine (And ALL it's versions) for so many years.

Mike said...

@Pete. Yeah, I guess I know nothing about it. CM is probably more geared toward gamers from the 70s who don't care at all about having a decent UI, smooth performancence, appearance, maybe a physics model, or multiplayer (more than 1v1 exists! It's 2016!)

Here's what I DO know about this game. It's running on an outdated engine from the 90s. It has no physics model or inertia model for vehicles or soldiers, it is EXTREMELY limited in map size, as in, the game cannot handle maps that arearger than a few KM wode...seriously, trying to replicate modern battlefields with maps that are 2km x 2km is a joke.

Yeah..I don't know what I'm talking about.

Mike said...

Not pissed at you, JC. I've been reading the blog for years.

I think Battlefront is really putting forth minimal effort on a product that has more potential than they are capable of delivering.

Fred M said...

Hi
Is this upgrade still compatible with windows xp sp3 ? (As engine3.12 was)

Fred M said...

I think so too,but I must admit that CM is the best simulation game I ve never tried. Realistic and endless enjoying.
Just play Wittmans demise and compare the game scenario and maps and aar of 1944 is areal pleasure.
definitely,CM is a real good game.

Fred M said...

I mean is upgrade 4 stI'll compatible with Windows XP sp3 ?

Fred M said...

OK, Cm may be old fashioned, but it is the more realistic game on the markey. I don't speak from real time games like tank at war or fsp game. It is not comparable with this kind of game.
sorry but inertia is taken in account : just have a look at deceleration path and distance of vehicles depending on move order slow/normal/fast...
or the effect of bullets depending of target distance and nozzle velocity.or even the bullet curve trajectory...

Anonymous said...

I see yet more people on here who want something for nothing. and dont have a clue as to the nature of the their supposed hobby. Go bitch about a car manufacturer charging you extra for mats - not about a small company providing the best wargame hands down and trying to keep on doing that. they can have my $25 with my blessing. So So So depressing to see the breathtqaking ingnorance on display here.

Mike said...

It's not about the dollar amount. It's about being nickel and dimed to death over small subtle changes in the AI that shouldn't qualify as an "engine update".

What's really depressing is the fan boys who call others "ignorant" because they don't want to pay for bug fixes for a game that is hardly supported by it's developers.

I'll be happy to pay whatever fee that Battlefront charges when they can add REAL engine updates to this already antiquated game engine. Maybe when the game can support maps that are larger than the max effective range of a 120mm smoothbore cannon, or they finally figure out how to apply shading or dynamic lighting.

Nercon said...

I'm curious on your thought about Scourge of War, it as a graphic dated back in the late 80s and hasn't change its core mechanics in years with multiple titles. Yet it is the best musket era simulation game you may ever find.

Unknown said...

Fred, I'm not sure that you will get an answer to your question, because nobody uses Win XP any more. Microsoft has long since abandoned all support for it, which means that it is now extremely vulnerable to security threats. You really need to move on to a newer OS.

/Johan

Anonymous said...

And here we have the usual paradox of the hater. You come here and say nothing but bad things about the game and the company that produces it. The which begs the question why ? Why waste your time. Answer me this... do you go to other forums and beat on other games you don't like ? No. It is always the case the haters have some kind of agenda. A slight from Steve on the board over some pet peeve that they have been told to drop or something else. I am a fan boy and whilst you used it in a derogatory way as you people are want to do, I am ok with it as this is simply the best tactical wargame ever made.

Anonymous said...

Well maps recommended largest size is 4k by 4k so no I guess you don't know what you are talking about. And this is a tactical wargame that imho best simulates company level actions. So map size is just fine.

Erich said...

Rather than focus on motivations (which is really just an ad hominem attack), why not focus on whether his complaints have merit? While I enjoy CM2x, it is very antiquated. The interface is clunky and the optimization is indeed quite horrible (sub-60 fps at times on a GTX 1080 and an i7-6700k@4.4ghz) for a game whose graphics look like 2006. It's certainly better than nothing, and I'm happy it's around, but to sit here and act like the guy doesn't have a point is simply specious. A "hater" is someone who complains about someone or something without a reason other than animosity. Who, then, is the "hater" here? You, with your baseless speculation about his motivation? Or this guy with some valid criticisms?

Bly said...

I love the Combat Mission series and I am glad that they are improving the game engine. Sadly this purchasable patch just isn't worth it to me. I just feel that they are not pushing it far enough. For 10 dollars or 25 you get some slight engine upgrades. No new missions. No reworked mission. No large graphics, ui, or gameplay upgrades. These are things that you would see in a substantial free patch for a game. I understand that they need money to continue development. I understand that it is a niche product, but sadly I feel wargame companies are hindering their own growth. Battlefront is in its own echo chamber on the web. It doesn't have its main games on any other digital marketplace such as Steam or GOG. So to a majority of gamers they don't exist. Thankfully Matrix is getting better but sadly they still have a pricing problem. I love wargames so much. I would love others to enjoy them as well. I would love to see wargame developers prosper as well and with these practices I worry they are just being self destructive.

Anonymous said...

This has to be the most action I've seen on a post here. most of us are just lurkers. I love the back and forth. both points are valid. I love me some BF, and I do feel the same way when I've upgraded my system but the interface is a bit sluggish. But, it is still great that they are indie and have their own way of doing things. So I'm torn on the issue.

-franz

Jack B. said...

I've bought the patch and noticed a TREMENDOUS increase in performance/optimization... I've had a bit of trouble with all of the CM's since I upgraded to win10 and this patch not only fixed it, but has given me the best performance I've seen.

oc'd 970ftw, 3570k at 4.4 ghz.

Mike said...

@Bly

"sadly I feel wargame companies are hindering their own growth. Battlefront is in its own echo chamber on the web. It doesn't have its main games on any other digital marketplace such as Steam or GOG. So to a majority of gamers they don't exist. Thankfully Matrix is getting better but sadly they still have a pricing problem. I love wargames so much. I would love others to enjoy them as well. I would love to see wargame developers prosper as well and with these practices I worry they are just being self destructive."

Man, this comment couldn't be more true.

@Erich

"Rather than focus on motivations (which is really just an ad hominem attack), why not focus on whether his complaints have merit?"

Thanks for that. Combat Mission is an interesting game. You are normally attacked for any criticism. I actually purchased the 4.0 patch and my initial comments hold true. I just don't see what 4.0 is all about. I dont see any major improvements....any that the game NEEDS. As Bly said....

"Sadly this purchasable patch just isn't worth it to me. I just feel that they are not pushing it far enough. For 10 dollars or 25 you get some slight engine upgrades. No new missions. No reworked mission. No large graphics, ui, or gameplay upgrades. These are things that you would see in a substantial free patch for a game"

RockinHarry said...

It still runs fine on WinXP SP3, like before the V4.0 upgrade. Just the inherent limits of XP (addressable RAM) might prevent loading the biggest maps (>=3x3k), particularly those filled with lots of objects (forests or urban areas). Upgrading graphics card might help (I still use a 512MB one, so I have to check that out).

Beside that the upgrade is worth the 10$ in any case.

Kevin Kinscherf said...

Hull down is a slight engine upgrade? That's just silly. The corner thing must have been very tricky to code and changes the way urban combat is played across the board. The price is very fair for those who play CM a lot. The engine is a must for H2H players. I read somewhere a 4.0 demo might be coming out. But I am not sure a short demo will do the new engine justice. Maybe infrequent players can wait to check out a demo. But a heavy user should really get 4.0.

Bly said...

Kevin, so you are saying that I am not a true fan if I don't want to pay for no new content besides new control methods and slight engine upgrades. I have probably several hundred hours in the Combat Mission series, dating all the way back into the first game. I am a simulation programmer of about 6 years experience. And a hull down command does not have to be that big of an engine improvement. Since the simulation is rendered either in real time or in a time based simulation you can have a position on the object that constitutes where the barrel is. They should already have this since they spawn projectiles from it. You then ray trace from that point in space to the terrain. You move forward. You check to see if the ray has hit terrain within a certain range. You continually pulse every rendered frame until that ray either doesn't hit anything or goes vastly beyond where it was before, thus showing that you are spotting over the hill. There are many ways to do this, but this is one that I thought up in about a minute.

Jason Rimmer said...

I have no problem paying the small price of $10 to see the CMx2 engine get updated. Very little these days you can buy for $10, it hardly breaks the bank.

Also I've been more than happy with each $10 upgrade.

Finally if this keeps the one development company that is developing excellent tactical wargames going for the foreseeable future it's a small price to pay. I'd like to see what else is out there that's so much better than CM at this scale. Nothing that's WEGO or turn based that's for sure. SO if they went what a desolate field the PC tactical wargame would become..

Oh and peaking round corners alone is worth the price of admission.

M.Dorosh said...

Corners and hull down are very incremental updates. Price isn't an object. I have money. I can afford these upgrades. Just seem to be getting less signficant each time.

Anonymous said...

"Corners and hull down are very incremental updates. Price isn't an object. I have money. I can afford these upgrades. Just seem to be getting less signficant each time."

Of course. Because there are people who pay for them they'll make them less and less significant. I mean those guys are selling patch for CM2 to work better with Vista!
I really like this series, but have not bought anything after Normandy and will not buy as long as they treat customers like drug dealer would.
They seriously make me sick.

Johan said...

I really don't understand why so many people have a problem with this. Instead of abandoning the old games, they give you the opportunity to keep playing your old games, and still get access to the latest features.

If these upgrades were not available, you'd have to buy the latest game to get the latest engine upgrade features, now you can get them by paying much less. I wish more developers would offer us this choice.

Anonymous said...

For CM Normandy you now need to pay 15$ for two engine updates today. When bought as they were released it would be 20$. If I want an expansion, like Commonwealth, I must update the engine. To buy Battle pack, you must buy (as it states on the product page) engine update and all other expansions including vehicle pack.
You seriously don't see anything wrong with this?
And 5$ patch to run one of older games on Vista is just on top of that. I noticed it only yesterday and it simply blew my mind.

I don't mind paying for content and I appreciate the position of small game company, but this practice is simply wrong in my book.

Anonymous said...

Took me a long time to realize why i wasn't enjoying the gameplay in all of the CMx2 titles, just kept telling myself it was fun but it wasnt, it had become more like a chore to play them. Tried ignoring the scripted campaigns,dumb tac ai, and kept buying all the patches expansions etc. no matter the price. Till it dawned on me, that they've really lost the spark that made the old CMx1 so amazing.

The games really seem like a bland vitrual table top now, that may suit some but to the rest of us when you have stuff like graviteam that actually makes you sit back back and say "wow i feel like i just watched a true battle on the eastern front" then it becomes harder to ignore it showing its age.


This latest update seems to have finally been the last straw for many long time loyal fans in the community. Steve and bfc seem to know they have a fair amount of die hards around that they know will take anything they say or do as golden an pony up the cash.

The rest of us who are noticing the diminshing returns for our money and the silencing of the slightest criticism on the forums are fed up and probably not coming back. I hate to say it but they might find out finally that telling the community "this is the way its going to be and your going to like it give me your money or screw off" has its consequences.

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog. Interesting how some like to down the game but totally fail to offer anything of real value. All they offer is their opinion, which is always about things they seem to know very little to nothing about. They talk like new game engines are developed every week and each new development is the latest, greatest thing to ever happen. Please go back to your Xbox Barbie game and quite whining. As someone pointed out you obviously don't have a clue, and your little posture isn't fooling anyone but you. If click gaming is what you want then go to click game blogs and blog away. By the way, when was the last time your Barbie game engine updated?