Battle for Normandy Beta AAR 3

Scott Tortorice

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I'm sure you guys saw this already, but just in case:

[video=youtube;Z98fZXJZSRY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z98fZXJZSRY[/video]

I have to admit: this vid almost sold me on the game. The gameplay seems very reminiscent of CMBO. Now I'm not as worried that CMBN will turn out to just be a re-skinned CMSF.

I am eager to try the demo. I hope GWJ is right about that coming next week.
 

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Until a few minutes ago, I have been largely ignoring most of the hype and speculation about CMBN, preferring to let the demo do most of the "talking". But having watched the first 40 + minutes of this video (and being a WeGo player), I was left very unimpressed. My primary thought was: "Is this the quantum level jump for which we have waited for 11 years since CMBO?" I just didn't see it after watching most of the video.

That said, I'm sticking with my plan of trying the demo and doing a first hand assessment. I'm getting a free version of PC:O, so I suspect the CMBN demo better be good for me to buy the game anytime soon--which would be a necessary first step to considering any of the modules.

That inclination, or lack thereof, of gamers to buy the modules may be where CMBN runs into competition from PC:O and its future offspring. If a community like the old CM x 1 community comes to life, there will soon will be two major choices and probably not enough time for many gamers to go all in for both. One advantage that PC:O will have is that there appears to be a lot more in its first offering than will come in the CMBN steel box.
 
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vulture

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Until a few minutes ago, I have been largely ignoring most of the hype and speculation about CMBN, preferring to let the demo do most of the "talking". But having watched the first 40 + minutes of this video (and being a WeGo player), I was left very unimpressed. My primary thought was: "Is this the quantum level jump for which we have waited for 11 years since CMBO?" I just didn't see it after watching most of the video.

OTOH here is a video that does show a slight improvement in the 11 years between CMBO and CMBN.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhBRze6z7S8

And in the interests of pedantry, a quantum leap isn't a major improvement: it is in fact the smallest change physically possible without there being no change at all... :)
 

mOBIUS

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OTOH here is a video that does show a slight improvement in the 11 years between CMBO and CMBN.
I'd say there is a lot of graphical improvement. Seeing that early vid I started to look for Cartman and the rest of the South Park kids.
 

Michael Dorosh

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Here I thought maybe the BFC boys were competing with the royal wedding and were going to release the game today. Now I log on breathless on the last day of April to see the big news is just another AAR!
 

KG_Jag

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My point was not limited to the "look" of the game, although my CMBO with hi-res mods from 2000 to 2002, narrows the decade long gap between the upcoming game and the one that was designed for video cards in the single digets. That said, I prefer the original CMBO fox holes to those gopher mounds with sand bags shown in the video.

Except for engineers/pioneers blasting a hole in the bocage, I did not see much that you could not do in CM x 1. The Panthers seemed to suffer from path finding problems (even on a road)--an issue in all CM games to date. The infantry was bunched/clumped at times and robotic when moving--not much changed from CMSF.

Still, it's just an example of one and in a pre-release version. The demo should tell the tale.
 

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My two pennies FWIW on the vid:

* What was that persistent day-glo lime green big splodge on the grass in the middle of the map all about.
* Why were the German soldiers shouting 'Russki Soldat'.
* The vehicle pathfinding on the road was a shambles in true CM style. Zero progress since CMBO.
* What happened to command delays . Retro progress since CMBO.

That's where I'd got to with it when I got about 10 mins in and the beta boy's ignorance made me switch off.

He seemed to be a typical Whermacht fanboy. Not only was he possibly wishful thinking that Panzer Lehr were Waffen SS, but at one stage he said that they were 'unfortunately decimated' - which is wrong on all levels. Yeah it's real unfortunate that the Lehr didn't drive the Allies back to the sea isn't it. Oh, and decimation is a pet peeve. A decimated unit is ninety-percent intact. Barely scratched really.

He also went on to say that the vast majority of Normandy was hedgerow terrain, which was total twaddle.

Anyways, as you can see he wound me up well before I could get even half-way through his over-long nauseating zoom-fest video. I'm not sure that the game has progressed at all in 10 years, and the quality of the BFC testers certainly hasn't (IMO of course).
 

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My two pennies FWIW on the vid:

* What was that persistent day-glo lime green big splodge on the grass in the middle of the map all about.
That's the colouring to show the terrain objective (much like the flags in CMx1). It can be turned on and off. Off is good...

* Why were the German soldiers shouting 'Russki Soldat'.
In that build there were apparently still some old CMx1 wav files being used. It is said that the new sound files were finished and put in since then. I have no idea if that is true or not, but that is the claim.

* The vehicle pathfinding on the road was a shambles in true CM style. Zero progress since CMBO.
The pathfinding wasn't too bad. The big issue that cropped up with the stuttering panthers was collision avoidance. What it looks like was going on was both tanks starting to move at the same time, and then the collision avoidance routine for tank A spots that if they both keep moving, it is going to run in to tank B in a few seconds. So it stops to let tank B past. But the arrangement of tanks is such that tank B comes to the same conclusion and stops to let tank A past. So they both stop at the same time. And pause for the same time to avoid the potential collisions. And start moving again. And come to the same conclusion again. And so on, until they have edged forwards and changed position enough that one of them finally gets right of way.

Real time players wouldn't normally come across problems like that, since the orders wouldn't be given simultaneously much of the time. And CMx1 players have learned from long experience the importance of pauses and micromanagement of traffic to avoid tac AI traffic snarl ups.

That particular issue would be quite easy to fix (chuck in a small random variation in reaction times or pause times), but yeah, the collision avoidance (and hence traffic management) logic isn't noticably changed from CMx1.

* What happened to command delays . Retro progress since CMBO.
They decided to get rid of them, on the basis that they didn't really do the job they were meant to do (largely because the conceptual complexity of an order has little to do with how many waypoints it requires, which is what the delay depended on). I think it is a good decision personally, having got used to playing without command delays. I originally thought it was a bad move; now I prefer it. But that is a rather subjective opinion, and might just be because it is undeniably easier not having to worry about it.
 

Michael Dorosh

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My two pennies FWIW on the vid:

* What was that persistent day-glo lime green big splodge on the grass in the middle of the map all about.
Objective area.


* What happened to command delays . Retro progress since CMBO.
I was led to believe that they have in fact done some work on this - I haven't watched the whole video though. Like you, I only wathced a few minutes. I would rather form my own impressions, and my reaction to these hour long videos is already on record.

He seemed to be a typical Whermacht fanboy. Not only was he possibly wishful thinking that Panzer Lehr were Waffen SS, but at one stage he said that they were 'unfortunately decimated' - which is wrong on all levels. Yeah it's real unfortunate that the Lehr didn't drive the Allies back to the sea isn't it. Oh, and decimation is a pet peeve. A decimated unit is ninety-percent intact. Barely scratched really.
It's a peeve of mine also. Our regimental bard (yes, bard) pointed it out in one of his poems about our unit, when he said words to the effect "decimated...every tenth man lay dead...the battalion would have happily settled for that and gone home..."

He also went on to say that the vast majority of Normandy was hedgerow terrain, which was total twaddle.
He may be closer to correct than that - aerial photos do show a lot of it, and if you look at the map in my video preview (it's also in the green books), the bocage country was extensive, and ran through most of the U.S. area of operations for June and July 1944.
 

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* The vehicle pathfinding on the road was a shambles in true CM style. Zero progress since CMBO.
In addition to what Vulture said,
Throughout that game he gave commands that I would hope any wego player would cringe at. He definitely was playing wego like he would real-time.

* What happened to command delays . Retro progress since CMBO.
IIRC they were removed because as Vulture said they didn't work like they wanted them to. Although I think they may be an optional element.
 

Scott Tortorice

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Until a few minutes ago, I have been largely ignoring most of the hype and speculation about CMBN, preferring to let the demo do most of the "talking". But having watched the first 40 + minutes of this video (and being a WeGo player), I was left very unimpressed. My primary thought was: "Is this the quantum level jump for which we have waited for 11 years since CMBO?" I just didn't see it after watching most of the video.
I think you are spot on. Like I said, it reminded me of CMBO - which is both good and bad. It is good because the gameplay should please the old CM hands who've been pining away for a return to the good ol' days of CMx1. But it is bad because, like you said, there is nothing here that represents a significant jump over the original, with the obvious exception of graphics (nice detail for the units, but the terrain is blah at times and lacks the dynamic destruction found in games such as Men of War), the 1:1 combat ratio and the tracer fire. Considering the time between CMBO and CMBN, that is a remarkably meager list of enhancements - and really, those enhancements properly belong to CMSF.

I suspect this was deliberate. BF is playing a very conservative game. They need to win back those fans they lost with SF, so I doubt they were looking to do anything too drastic with the gameplay in BN.

The demo will be the final arbiter for me. I miss the WWII WEGO magic of CMx1, so I am hoping that even if BN proves a bit too conservative in design, it will come close to fitting the bill.
 

Scott Tortorice

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My two pennies FWIW on the vid:

* What was that persistent day-glo lime green big splodge on the grass in the middle of the map all about.
I was wondering about that too. Turns out he had the map objectives highlighted.

* The vehicle pathfinding on the road was a shambles in true CM style. Zero progress since CMBO.
Yes! :D I was laughing to myself when I saw the Panther drive into the midst of enemy soldiers, get confused, and start turning in circles. Vehicles used to do that all the time in CMBO much to my annoyance! Then there was that last scene where the Panther and a M10 (?) were turret to turret...again, been there done that. Sigh. Somethings don't change, I guess.

Anyways, as you can see he wound me up well before I could get even half-way through his over-long nauseating zoom-fest video. I'm not sure that the game has progressed at all in 10 years, and the quality of the BFC testers certainly hasn't (IMO of course).
In one of the other vids, he made it clear that he never played any of the CMx1 titles, so this was his first experience with CM. I guess if I never experienced the glory of the original, I would be over-enthusiastic about CMBN, too. :) That says something good about the formula behinds the series, even after all these years. All in all, I think he did a good job and helped the community out by making these vids while we await the demo.
 

Michael Dorosh

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I was wondering about that too. Turns out he had the map objectives highlighted.

Yes! :D I was laughing to myself when I saw the Panther drive into the midst of enemy soldiers, get confused, and start turning in circles. Vehicles used to do that all the time in CMBO much to my annoyance! Then there was that last scene where the Panther and a M10 (?) were turret to turret...again, been there done that. Sigh. Somethings don't change, I guess.
I wonder if those weren't tricks of the relative spotting. I'm not making apologies for the game, just asking.

In one of the other vids, he made it clear that he never played any of the CMx1 titles, so this was his first experience with CM. I guess if I never experienced the glory of the original, I would be over-enthusiastic about CMBN, too. :) That says something good about the formula behinds the series, even after all these years. All in all, I think he did a good job and helped the community out by making these vids while we await the demo.
I really have to say that based on the comments and the few minutes I've watched, I have to question whether he is the one to be producing pre-release material.
 

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I think you are spot on. Like I said, it reminded me of CMBO - which is both good and bad. It is good because the gameplay should please the old CM hands who've been pining away for a return to the good ol' days of CMx1. But it is bad because, like you said, there is nothing here that represents a significant jump over the original, with the obvious exception of graphics (nice detail for the units, but the terrain is blah at times and lacks the dynamic destruction found in games such as Men of War), the 1:1 combat ratio and the tracer fire. Considering the time between CMBO and CMBN, that is a remarkably meager list of enhancements - and really, those enhancements properly belong to CMSF.

I suspect this was deliberate. BF is playing a very conservative game. They need to win back those fans they lost with SF, so I doubt they were looking to do anything too drastic with the gameplay in BN.

The demo will be the final arbiter for me. I miss the WWII WEGO magic of CMx1, so I am hoping that even if BN proves a bit too conservative in design, it will come close to fitting the bill.
Hiya Scott,

While there are a few features that CMBO had that CMBN doesn't there is are large number of features that have been added that CMBO does not have, beyond the ones you've mentioned. As you mention, many were added when CMSF was made and others have been added specifically for CMBN. With a little time I could put together a more comprehensive list. Maybe if I mention a few others can chime in for me. Feature like the ability to play real time, recover ammo and weapons for a down soldier, the ability to re-man an abandoned vehicle, the ability for a vehicle and squad to fire at 2 different targets at once, resupplying units, ammo sharing, finer terrain definition, PBEM files now allow you have both a plot and a movie in each turn, much better indirect fire modeling, more detailed C2 system, no "borg sighting", far more flexible victory conditions, preview maps for QBs, on map field infantry guns can be used for indirect fire, passengers can fire out of open vehicles...... That is a far cry from a complete list. As I said, maybe some others will add some of the ones I haven't mentioned. Not doubt some will mention features that CMBN does not have (my pet peeve one is WeGo TCP) but that is a much smaller list and many, in balance, would not trade lost features for added features. YMMV.
 

Michael Dorosh

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The reviewer may have not played CMBO but he has been playing CMSF - back in 2009 he posted these reviews of scenarios I had designed for the release disc:

Lock N' Chase

Objective NORMANDY

I hate to say it, but even though I designed the scenarios, I find the playthroughs stultifying.
 

Scott Tortorice

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Hiya Scott,

While there are a few features that CMBO had that CMBN doesn't there is are large number of features that have been added that CMBO does not have, beyond the ones you've mentioned. As you mention, many were added when CMSF was made and others have been added specifically for CMBN. With a little time I could put together a more comprehensive list. Maybe if I mention a few others can chime in for me. Feature like the ability to play real time, recover ammo and weapons for a down soldier, the ability to re-man an abandoned vehicle, the ability for a vehicle and squad to fire at 2 different targets at once, resupplying units, ammo sharing, finer terrain definition, PBEM files now allow you have both a plot and a movie in each turn, much better indirect fire modeling, more detailed C2 system, no "borg sighting", far more flexible victory conditions, preview maps for QBs, on map field infantry guns can be used for indirect fire, passengers can fire out of open vehicles...... That is a far cry from a complete list. As I said, maybe some others will add some of the ones I haven't mentioned. Not doubt some will mention features that CMBN does not have (my pet peeve one is WeGo TCP) but that is a much smaller list and many, in balance, would not trade lost features for added features. YMMV.
Those are good points! I wasn't even aware you could recover weapons and ammo, which seems like a neat feature. My superficial observations were just that...superficial, as I haven't had a chance to play the game yet. :) Come on demo, where are you? :D

However, the point I was trying to make was about...I guess you could call it "larger" features. For example, when Starcraft II came out after a nearly as long a hiatus as CMBN had :), there were all sorts of tweaks to the gameplay and graphics, too, but it also came packaged with a much more advanced set of "surrounding" features that the original never had, such as incredibly powerful mod tools that literally allows you to create entirely new games using the core engine, an enhanced ranking and matchmaking system, game replay and sharing tools, etc. Now, of course, I don't expect BF to have the resources of the giant that is Blizzard, but I would have liked to see some additional features outside of the gameplay itself. For example, it would have been neat to have a dedicated PBEM server with matchmaking features as Battlefield Academy has. Things like that.

Still, all things considered, I am bullish on what I have seen so far.
 

Scott Tortorice

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This seems pertinent to our discussion :):

[video=youtube;WhBRze6z7S8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhBRze6z7S8[/video]

I miss snow. :upset: I hope we get a Bulge module before Winter 2011. I loved winter fights.
 
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