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East Front Game - 12/14/2011 1:52:42 AM   
Arjuna


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Hi all,

Since a number of people are asking I will try and provide a little more information about our East Front game we are now working on.

Scale = same as BFTB - ie company sized line units with platoon support units.
Period = late 1942/early 1943
Battles = post Stalingrad Soviet offensives along the Chir river and the German counter-attacks that followed.
Map Area = see picture below.




Attachment (1)

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www.panthergames.com
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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 3:21:31 AM   
SeinfeldRules

 

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This is great! Are there any new features confirmed that you can tell us about?

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 3:47:37 AM   
benpark


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Interesting. I foresee alarmeinheiten unit OOB nightmares in your future.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 4:53:29 AM   
Arjuna


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There will be some new features. At this stage all I can say is that we will be focussing on doctrinal features. For instance we do plan to model the Soviet Ledge formation and use it in the Soviet attacks to simulate their practice of stacking one sector of the assault line. We need to do something to model some of the terrain perculiar to southern Russia - eg the balkas.

I'm mulling over a number of other options. These include modelling "attack by fire" and "fix", two tasks often used in offensive operations. Another option is to provide the user with the means of sequencing tasks and combining that with triggers so that the user can develop richer plans. Another option is to provide the user with the ability to develop multiple operational plans. At the moment they onl;y have the one op plan. The way I see this working is that you would first hide the current op plan, create a new contingency op plan and seed it with various order tasks. These would not take affect until the op plan is activated. Activation would change the status of the current op plan to "old" and set the selected contingency plan ( from a list in the sidebar ) to be the new current one. There are a lot of cases to cover, like what if the forceGroup for an order is no longer the same ( becasue a unit has exited or been destroyed ), but I do beleive it would add another dimension to the game. Effectively it would allow you to model the Future Ops function performed by the staff. It would certainly allow the player the option to work harder.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 8:13:15 AM   
wodin


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Superb! That means the OOB will suit Stalingrad user made scenarios aswell. I think I remember you saying it will be around Chir awhile ago.

Your now going to be inundated with requests about how far you are etc etc etc.

If you need any help with regards to research then I'm here if needed.

Loving your ideas especially the contigency plan, though I imagine I will be hours getting them down, it can take me awhile just working out one! I also see alot of complicated coding around this issue.

The biggest request which I'm sure you know you will be hounded for is a campaign system, though I'm OK wihtout one. However I love the new AAR, please ,please can we at the end of a game click on a unit and see what kills in inflicted and took like a mini AAR for a unit same as we have for the whole game. This way I can imagine giving out iron crosses to top performing units and send others to a penal battalion...all in my imagination obviously. This one feature for me would add alot of immersion to the game, the new AAR already has, which funny enough is my favourite feature from the latest patch.

Is this around the area of the breakthrough through the Italian forces? trying to work it out.

Silly me it's WInterstorm! So will we have any scenarios of Hoths attempt to breakthrough? Maybe a ahistorical scenario of a beleagured unit from Stalingrad and Hoth on the other side trying to breakthrough aswell...would be interesting.

< Message edited by wodin -- 12/14/2011 8:27:17 AM >

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 10:37:54 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
I'm mulling over a number of other options. These include modelling "attack by fire" and "fix", two tasks often used in offensive operations. Another option is to provide the user with the means of sequencing tasks and combining that with triggers so that the user can develop richer plans. Another option is to provide the user with the ability to develop multiple operational plans. At the moment they onl;y have the one op plan. The way I see this working is that you would first hide the current op plan, create a new contingency op plan and seed it with various order tasks. These would not take affect until the op plan is activated. Activation would change the status of the current op plan to "old" and set the selected contingency plan ( from a list in the sidebar ) to be the new current one. There are a lot of cases to cover, like what if the forceGroup for an order is no longer the same ( becasue a unit has exited or been destroyed ), but I do beleive it would add another dimension to the game. Effectively it would allow you to model the Future Ops function performed by the staff. It would certainly allow the player the option to work harder.


These would be awesome new features, Arjuna, especially if we're going to see action at the Army level (very likely being the Red Army one of the contenders here). The ability to design contingent plans would be awesome, truly bring Command Ops to the "next level". However, why not linking the multiple plans feature with the triggers feature?

Some of these triggers might be dependant on what's happening on the map, and other more like a "switch" (the player pulls the trigger himself ). One question: do you think it's feasible that the AI would come up - without a significant overall performance hit - with these kind of contingent plans? As long as one doesn't allow loops in the plan, this should be feasible, shouldn't it?

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 11:52:36 AM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
At this stage all I can say is that we will be focussing on doctrinal features.


That's good to know - Day 1 purchase of course. Just having realistically moving & fighting Ruskies will be enough new features for this puppy.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 11:59:42 AM   
wodin


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I think at coy size units your machine would grind to a halt with a whole Army on there!!

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 6:07:24 PM   
kipanderson

 

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Superb...!

Hi,

Just a quick note to say how much I am now enjoying Bulge after the patch.

I go back many years with the engine in an “no off” way and always thought it a very high quality engine but being hyper critical, the fault no doubt being with me, never quite got addicted.

Now all that has changed.

The patch has fixed very successfully the tendency of the company units to gyrate, move around as I would expect platoons or squad to do. Now they hold their position as operational units may be imagined to.

I have also put the effort in to try and learn the game, actually read some of the manual, watched the tutorial moves ;), and as a result now appreciate the true nature of the “space, time”....thing in Bulge.

Really is outstanding. BFTB has no equals as an operational game, nothing else comes close. Is to operational games what Combat Mission is to tactical games. Others in the field need not even bother to turn-up.... :).

Looking forward to many more titles.....

All the best,
Kip.
PS. Each to their own but with this patch I feel the engine has hit full maturity so am keen to see only small changes between titles so as to allow new titles to be cranked out as quickly as possible. Minimum changes needed to convert to Eastern Front then crank them out... !!!

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 6:27:32 PM   
wodin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: kipanderson

Superb...!

Hi,

Just a quick note to say how much I am now enjoying Bulge after the patch.

I go back many years with the engine in an “no off” way and always thought it a very high quality engine but being hyper critical, the fault no doubt being with me, never quite got addicted.

Now all that has changed.

The patch has fixed very successfully the tendency of the company units to gyrate, move around as I would expect platoons or squad to do. Now they hold their position as operational units may be imagined to.

I have also put the effort in to try and learn the game, actually read some of the manual, watched the tutorial moves ;), and as a result now appreciate the true nature of the “space, time”....thing in Bulge.

Really is outstanding. BFTB has no equals as an operational game, nothing else comes close. Is to operational games what Combat Mission is to tactical games. Others in the field need not even bother to turn-up.... :).

Looking forward to many more titles.....

All the best,
Kip.
PS. Each to their own but with this patch I feel the engine has hit full maturity so am keen to see only small changes between titles so as to allow new titles to be cranked out as quickly as possible. Minimum changes needed to convert to Eastern Front then crank them out... !!!




Well combat doctrine has to eb different for an east front tile. SO I'm not really into the idea of just throwing East Front scenarios abd OOB's into the BftB engine with no other improvements. A sit wouldn't truely play like the east front. Thats why Dave really needs to do the combat doctrine at least. Also I think dave gave a shudder at the thought of just cranking out new games quickly, he is a perfectionist who wants to keep on improving. I'm happy to wait for the next game as I know it will be even better than BftB which is going some, plus it's the East front!

Apart from that I agree with everything else you said. To get the most out of BftB you HAVE to read the manual and read it more than once aswell. Once you do that and understand the mechanics you really start to appreciate the game. It is the grand tactical (I see it more at that scale, however it beats all operational games aswell) No 1 game with no competion, same as CM is for tactical.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 9:22:21 PM   
kipanderson

 

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Hi,

I am not suggesting that there should be no changes. I.e. I am not suggesting that the coming title should be no more than an Eastern Front series of scenarios produced in the editors provided in BFTB.

However great care will be needed in coding doctrine changes for the Soviets.

Remember the player plays the part of the battalion, regiment/brigade, divisional and corps commander in these simulations. Or you can do if you wish. Thus doctrinal changes that “force...” the Soviet player to play in a foolish way are problematic.

All that would happen is that those playing the role of the Soviet commanders would micro-manage his units to overcome the more foolish coded doctrine within larger formations.

A better approach would be to code all the manoeuvre units with their historical capabilities but only give minor changes to doctrine. Allowing players to use the manoeuvre units much as they wish within their capabilities.

Within coming CM Eastern Front titles the Soviet player will not be “forced...” to launch his Soviet squads in frontal attacks over open ground.

Of course I cannot know for sure what Dave means by doctrinal changes but hopefully you will understand what I am getting at.

Greatly looking forward to the coming title...
All the best,
Kip.


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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 9:37:46 PM   
springel

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: kipanderson
Remember the player plays the part of the battalion, regiment/brigade, divisional and corps commander in these simulations. Or you can do if you wish. Thus doctrinal changes that “force...” the Soviet player to play in a foolish way are problematic.


Why do you think the Soviet tactics were stupid?

They were adapted to the general situation of the Soviet army, and they beat the Germans using those tactics.

They may well be optimal with the specific characteristics of the Soviet units.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 10:07:47 PM   
Blond_Knight


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quote:

ORIGINAL: benpark

Interesting. I foresee alarmeinheiten unit OOB nightmares in your future.


Haha funny, I was thinking the same thing. As appropriate as the Chir river battles sound Its going to create/force a very fluid OOB model if done historically.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/14/2011 11:33:28 PM   
wodin


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Erm, the doctrine changes will be going in at coy level I presume sort of under the hood, something we wont actually see I expect. Also like as Dave said he will be adding Soviet formations and I suppose taking others away. It's always been said that the first thing needed for the east front game is a Russain combat doctrine by players and more importantly Dave, so it is going to happen. It wont take away control, you may have to change your tactics which isn't bad thing as it gives variation between the two sides.

Without this change as I said you may aswell have the US vs germans on the russian steppe with the US with russian weapons. So it will be more or less like BftB then. I want to have to change my style of play and tactical thinking when I play different nations in games.

We play as the US using their combat doctrine in BFTB and you still have the control you need.

Wahst the point of playing against or as the Soviets if they are going to fight like the US? May aswell be the US with different weapons. Thats why I love the idea of different combat doctrines in this game. Not many wargames go down this route and I think it will be superb. It will feel and hopefully play far more realistically then any other eats front game out I'm. I expect the Russians will have alot more forces but take more casualties yet still manage to win as their Objectives will probably ignore any allied losses.

< Message edited by wodin -- 12/14/2011 11:38:01 PM >

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RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 8:49:01 AM   
phoenix

 

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Wow - can all this excitement be maintained for the five years it will take to develop the game?

:)

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RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 9:28:39 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

Erm, the doctrine changes will be going in at coy level I presume sort of under the hood, something we wont actually see I expect. Also like as Dave said he will be adding Soviet formations and I suppose taking others away. It's always been said that the first thing needed for the east front game is a Russain combat doctrine by players and more importantly Dave, so it is going to happen. It wont take away control, you may have to change your tactics which isn't bad thing as it gives variation between the two sides.

Without this change as I said you may aswell have the US vs germans on the russian steppe with the US with russian weapons. So it will be more or less like BftB then. I want to have to change my style of play and tactical thinking when I play different nations in games.

We play as the US using their combat doctrine in BFTB and you still have the control you need.

Wahst the point of playing against or as the Soviets if they are going to fight like the US? May aswell be the US with different weapons. Thats why I love the idea of different combat doctrines in this game. Not many wargames go down this route and I think it will be superb. It will feel and hopefully play far more realistically then any other eats front game out I'm. I expect the Russians will have alot more forces but take more casualties yet still manage to win as their Objectives will probably ignore any allied losses.


Regarding doctrine for the period - which from what I understand from the map is actually covering Star, Gallop and the Kharkov see-saw March-April battles - some stuff indeed needs to be accounted for. For instance, that of the Soviets intensive use of tanks to transport infantry. Or that of Soviet Cavalry divisions, which I'm not sure what do they entail. Arjuna already commented on certain formations which are specific of the Red Army.

Other than that, the actual differences we'll see between German and Soviet units and commands will be regarding command efficiency - the Soviets are notorious for their centralized planning of operations, which I guess could be modeled by higher Command and Force delays overall -, and lower average initiative and experience for their commanders. Regarding the troops themselves, I also expect to see an average lower experience for Soviet tank, infantry and cavalry, with Guards units having better stats, comparable with German Line units.

So far, I think these differences are minor nor should be deemed very polemic.

The actual major differences are in how German and Soviet forces are organized and equipped. This one I think it's what really makes the Eastern Front quite different, and entails the most work. Things that come to my mind are for instance how Soviet artillery tends to be massed in pretty big and relatively speaking unwieldly formations. Other is that of Tank, Mechanized and Cavalry Corps, extremely flexible - yet somewhat uncapable due to poor command and training - combined arms formations.

Yet another big difference is that of the environment... the extreme cold doesn't really cater for men to get a rest while in the open. Towns and cities can become extremely important (or vital).

Last, and probably the hardest thing to get right, and that will provide one of the key difference, is how Red Army logistics are modelled. Should the Red Army formations have less supply bases - comparatively speaking - than the Germans with similar capabilities. Or the same number, but much less capable?

Regarding the new features. I think that some of them - such as the notion of triggers and contingency plans - would be a great addition and something that will add something really valuable to us.

Consider the example of a German infantry regiment having to do fighting withdrawal. Off-road movement is very difficult because of deep, soft snow, and they're confined to roads. Two Soviet Cavalry divisions and a Tank Brigade are in pursuit. The Cavalry can flank the hapless Germans, since horses can negotiate better than men the snow.

With the current features, we would be using a combination of withdraw / delay orders while falling back. You have to choose the route to escape, and there are two possible options, as the road forks passing through two different towns. With current features you'd have to either: a) divide your force and send each group one way or another, b) cast your lot with one of the options.

As expected, the Soviet cavalry gets first to one of those towns. If you chose a) probably you can kiss goodbye to the group going through that town. If you chose b) you have 50%-50% chances of either making your escape good or not. If you were unlucky, we would have to force a replan - inducing probably a considerable delay - to navigate around those pesky Soviet cavalrymen. With contingency plans, our force would just switch its course, without that delay.

That can make quite a big difference, I think.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 10:13:23 AM   
Arjuna


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I have already ruled out tank riders as this will take too long to model. I have advised the scenario designers to simply make these motorised infantry. I know it isn't exactly realistic but it's a reasonable compromise if we are to see this out in the first half of next year.

As to Cav, well I'm still pondering that one. I am reluctant to add yet another move class and consequent sets of move tables. But the worst of it is the code changes I will need to make to implement them. Stay tuned....

Re contingency planning. What makes you think there will be no delay? It may be reduced but there will still be a delay. Orders have to come from the top down. Remember the contingency plans are operation plans for the on map boss not for all levels of force. That would become unmanageable. However with the use of triggers within an op plan you can and should be able to reduce delays significantly. Eg. You order a tank Bn to defend with a subsequent task to attack town X and a trigger to end the defend and start the attack based on if the enemy enters zone Y. Now it would be justifiable to assume that the Bn would have received orders to this effect and therefore able to implement them at short notice.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 10:18:52 AM   
phoenix

 

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First half of next year! Amazing. That will be super quick.



< Message edited by phoenix -- 12/15/2011 10:22:35 AM >

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RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 10:43:48 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

I have already ruled out tank riders as this will take too long to model. I have advised the scenario designers to simply make these motorised infantry. I know it isn't exactly realistic but it's a reasonable compromise if we are to see this out in the first half of next year.


Indeed, that's reasonable.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
As to Cav, well I'm still pondering that one. I am reluctant to add yet another move class and consequent sets of move tables. But the worst of it is the code changes I will need to make to implement them. Stay tuned....


Cavalry movement ability was a major factor, I think and it's a very peculiar ability of the Red Army. The ability to move cross-county an infantry force with "all weather" capabilities, was a premium especially considering the conditions of the theater. I'd refer to Tiller's Kharkov'43 game, where while I hate the micromanagement, they get this topic and its implications particularly right.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
Re contingency planning. What makes you think there will be no delay?


Nothing :) I was thinking in "less" Force delay, but failed to write that.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
It may be reduced but there will still be a delay. Orders have to come from the top down. Remember the contingency plans are operation plans for the on map boss not for all levels of force. That would become unmanageable. However with the use of triggers within an op plan you can and should be able to reduce delays significantly. Eg. You order a tank Bn to defend with a subsequent task to attack town X and a trigger to end the defend and start the attack based on if the enemy enters zone Y. Now it would be justifiable to assume that the Bn would have received orders to this effect and therefore able to implement them at short notice.


That's a really nice feature, very much what I had imagined. It would allow us to maneuver forces in a much more efficient - less micromanagement - and flexible way (one little pet peeve of mine, though it's not apparent in the scenarios we currently have). For the western front, the utility of this would certainly become apparent when covering the breakout from Normandy, both for the attacker and the defender.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 10:56:32 AM   
wodin


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First half of next year!!! My god thats the best news I've heard.

Where Ski tropps involved and will they be in the game?

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RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 3:07:32 PM   
elmo3

 

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Really looking forward to "Battles from the Chir".  

Now if you could just expand the engine so we could fight the whole Eastern Front at the company level...


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RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 3:24:20 PM   
GBS

 

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Will there be other module games in the East such as Barbarosa around AGN and its move on Leningrad? What about AGC and its drive to Kiev, Smolinsk and Moscow.

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Post #: 22
RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 5:11:34 PM   
kipanderson

 

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Hi,

First half of next year sounds great... Just the job!

I agree with others that much of the character of the Soviets comes anyway from their organisation.

Looking good....
All the best,
Kip.

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Post #: 23
RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 5:13:54 PM   
wodin


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Still like the sound of the Soviet formations in game.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 8:39:24 PM   
Blond_Knight


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Wow I was afraid this would be delayed for years like Bftb was. I remember hoping for three years every Dec16th that it would be released. :(

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RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 10:34:19 PM   
Arjuna


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Just a sobering note re the release time. First half of next year is what we are aiming for but that depends on a lot of factors like the amount of time I and Paul have available to spend on development work, the amount of new dev work, the degree of difficulty involved in that work, the impact it has on the rest of the engine etc. There is a big Defence project that is about to go into the definition stage early next year and we are hoping to be part of it. If this comes off, then this will probably impact on the release date for the East Front game. But it may not. The bottom line is that first half of next year is nothing more than a target date. It is not set in concrete. Do not go off half cocked and then be bitterly dissappointed if we can't make it.

_____________________________

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www.panthergames.com

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Post #: 26
RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 11:11:30 PM   
wodin


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Well even if it's out for next Xams I'm happy, blimey if we see I the year after next it would still be quicker than I thought it would be.

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Post #: 27
RE: East Front Game - 12/15/2011 11:49:28 PM   
JudgeDredd


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Just to pull things back abit - my money is on 2013. I know you want it out as quick as can be Dave - but I know that you know that your (not just you - everyone in the programming world) best estimates in the programming world are quite normally wildly off...because as soon as you start the plan - it goes awry.

So - I'm putting my stake in at 2013...no way we'll see it 2012 (though I'd love you to prove me wrong)

< Message edited by JudgeDredd -- 12/15/2011 11:55:10 PM >


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Post #: 28
RE: East Front Game - 12/16/2011 2:19:43 AM   
Blond_Knight


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True, I remember how long Bftb was delayed just for the bridge rebuilding subroutines.

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RE: East Front Game - 12/16/2011 9:43:35 AM   
wodin


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Also those defence contracts delay things aswell. Hey thats really where the monies at though so who can blame them. That coupled with Daves perfectionist traits add up to me hoping it hits our shelves 1st Qtr 2013, possibly summer.

I'm not sure but I think the game has been worked on for abit already though.

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