The way I see it there are several differences between PCO and CMBB.
Although PC is always referred to as a CM clone that's not accurate. Unless silver is a clone of gold. They are related in the same way.
CM and PC are both games that are at the lower tactical level. The same as ASL and a myriad of other board wargames went before CM. They are in the same genre.
If you are happy with CMBB and IT STILL PLAYS FOR YOU then there may be little reason for you to buy PCO. CMBB doesn't play on my new machine. It might if I were to invest the time to research the fixes.
But I'm not going to and here are my reasons for supporting PCO with my playing time instead of CMBB.
*CMBB won't play on my new machine. PCO does. That's only one reason. Where is any ongoing support for CMBB? Has it been back coded to allow it to play on my machine like all of the PC series? Has it been upgraded like CMAK for Vista? If it has I haven't seen it. There is a total lack of support for CMBB, at the current time, that I'm aware of.
*PCO is the third installment in an ongoing series of games. CMBB is in a series, seemingly, no longer supported by it's parent company.
*PCO was made by wargamers with no limits on what we could make changes to. The original project was to be a simple patch. I would say it's anything but that. Matrix supported us even when the ride wasn't all that smooth. We are all gamers with CM backgrounds so we know what we liked from CM and what we didn't like. We also know what we like from CC and ASL, Panzer 44 and Fireteam Leader, and....well you get the picture. We are wargamers. We want the best of them all rolled into one. We couldn't do everything we wanted in a free update but we went so far as to be offering you an entirely new gaming experience. I don't see CMBB doing any of those things.
Each gamer has their own likes and dislikes. This forum absolutely shows that. Our group is pretty diverse. From those wanting mostly a game to those wanting mostly a sim and those that want a blend. PCO is the result of our efforts. I think we did a really good job. The game plays great and has as much history and factual data as we could get under the hood in this amount of time. My own personal preference is to have all the historical data under the hood, to be there but to be hidden away and let the game play be as smooth as possible. PCO does that for me.
This is the game we wanted to make and play! We made it and we play it!
*PCO can be made to do anything tactical. PCO was developed to be as wide open as possible. You can add any vehicle you like, we added the Maus so we know you can too, weapons system, squad, fireteam, nationality, gun, blast area, animation, texture, structure....ANYTHING.
You could do any time period with the engine if you wanted. We could add Centurions or T-72's and it would simply be a matter of doing the mod and fixing the data files. We know that because we tried it already.
These are not just different skins over a set data base. The data base can be modded to support the new data for new weapons systems.
*Game play doesn't have holes in it. All units respond the same. There is no such thing as a JS-2m refusing to fire at a King Tiger from ambush with flanking shot. There is no Dance of Death while entire platoons of tanks reverse into each other and then are shot to junk by the enemy.
*Game turns can be made to play however you like. Whether that is with or without a reaction phase. Whether you want 40/60/80 second turns.
*The map maker is quick and easy. For those that want it to be it can also make actual pieces of ground associated with battles. Actual height and terrain maps can be generated from satellite mapping or you can use whatever other sources you like.
* A full editor which can include the ability to use any structure ever made. You can make the Reichstag and put it in a scenario if you like. Water, both still and moving is differentiated, weather, fog, time of day, lighting conditions, shadows, etc. is all under your control.
Okay then, enough about the box credential differences.
Let's move on to game play.
CMBB and PCO play fairly similar with some very important distinctions.
*PCO has had the entire orders structure reworked. The orders structure is leader based with the ability to micro manage if that's what you want. I normally go through an entire Bn OOB to give orders in about 10 minutes. Even if I have to give specific orders to someone that is quick and easy. I can click on the unit and then move anywhere on the map and give the orders I want. I don't have to start at the unit and go outward from there losing my way and starting over. This is a very handy item and saves lots of time when you are issuing orders.
PCO has formations in the orders selections such as bounding overwatch and charge. These are nationality specific.
* PCO has unit ID coins that are fully functional. I get tremendously more information from a PCO ID coin that I do from a CMBB ID label.
In PCO the ID coins can be modded to look like anything you want. You want NATO symbols to show on them you can do that. You want Red Star/Black Cross you can do that too.
The ID coins are fully functional in regards to issuing orders as well. Click on the ID coin and the orders menu comes up. You can the issue orders without ever having seen the actual unit.
The ID coins for enemy units can be targeted. Again, without ever actually seeing the enemy unit.
The ID coins show if a vehicle is buttoned or unbuttoned.
They show if the unit is a leader, a replacement leader or a normal unit member.
*Combat resolution is based on ballistics and accuracy. Not much that you would notice different in game play between the two. As much actual known data for the weaponry we could get went into the combat engine.
* Camera angles and moving around the map is much easier in PCO.
* There is a hot key for everything in PCO. The interface is fast and easy.
* You can turn a tremendous number of options on or off in PCO. In all areas. That includes the map maker, scenario editor, random scenario/campaign editors and game play.
* PCO has all the same immersion factors that CMBB did. The fighting can be extremely intense.
*Artillery has been redone and is a more accurate model now. It doesn't just fire non stop as it does in CMBB until you run out of ammo. It fires for a period until the mission is over and you retarget. Artillery requires a communication link between a leader and the artillery unit. Each leader with a working radio is displayed in the HUD and highlighted for easy identification of who can call in fire when.
*PCO has had each unit in the game researched to supply a time line for the type of ammunition it can use. If APCR wasn't available in a particular time frame it's not in the game for you. Some are more accurate at longer ranges than others. You can find all that in the unit ID that is available during game play if you need it.
* Something I didn't think was going to make much difference to me when we started is the graphics of the game. We have actual aircraft and not just shadows in the game. It makes a tremendous difference to see them doing the attack and watch the bombs falling away and hitting. But not just aircraft. Other areas as well, such as the infantry being flat on their faces when suppressed and dust kicking up around tanks that are under fire but the rounds are missing them.
* Sound has been completely redone. It's all size and distance appropriate.
* Where is the Borg? There is not much Borg spotting in PCO. No computer game is going to do away with some form of Borg spotting at a squad level model. What PCO does is limit what can be seen from each unit. If you physically can't see it then it's not represented on the map at all when you give orders to your unit. You can see all units that your forces can see when you click on the map to determine units in contact and what would be reported to you as the commander but each unit can only physically see what they have an LOS to.
*Each unit/vehicle was researched so that they are as accurate to original as possible. There are no holes in the OOB that we are aware of. No Super Stug's that can't be killed. Even if there are and we didn't find them any modder can fix that issue by redoing the data table for that vehicle.
Before we go there, all data for all aspects of the game must match up or the scenario won't play. Sorry, I just knew where you were going with your next rant mode turned on.....
* Campaigns actually work as advertised. Complete with core units that go forward with each battle, a force pool you can pick from each battle, medals, advances in experience and abilities. This is the way a campaign should work.
*PBEM - TCP/IP. Using Drop Box you can play PCO as a combination of PBEM and TCP/IP without any connections through your ISP or any server. This is quick and easy and the turns can be done either back to back as in TCP/IP or saved for later as in PBEM. This is how I play most often and this is great!
Wrap it all up together and I much prefer to play PCO. I have CMBB on an old XP machine. I haven't played CMBB since before thanksgiving of last year. I've been a pretty active member of the CM community to that point. Now I'm not. I much prefer the gameplay of PCO to CMBB.
I could still be doing things with CMAK and wondering when BFC will update CMBB so my new machine will play it. Instead I've joined this team. I can't imagine anyone seeing that list of changes we made and not realize just how much work we put into this.
If you have your doubts, then wait. There will be those that will buy it and reviews will come out. There will be ladders and tournaments started using PCO. You can watch those and see if you find the same kind of support and enthusiasm you're looking for.
I waited until PCK before becoming a part of the team, because I wanted to see some things, before I went any further myself. So, I fully understand. Very soon you won't have to take our word for it. Others will be telling you as well.
Only you will know if PCO is for you. I just know it's for me.
< Message edited by Mad Russian -- 8/24/2010 1:45:33 AM >
The most expensive thing in the world is free time.
Founder of HSG scenario design group for Combat Mission.
Panzer Command Ostfront Development Team.
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Development Team.