Eastern Front

Changes for the next version!

March 17, 2014, 03:53:20 PM by Enrique 'Blackbishop' E.

Hello comrades,

It is time to talk about some of the upcoming changes for the Soviet and Ostheer factions in Eastern Front. Since we couldn't release our previous patch due to the issues with Company of Heroes updates, we continued working and improving the build, so we have now what we think it is more balanced and enjoyable to play rather than in previous versions. We will start talking about Soviets.

One of the big changes of the Soviet army, is the removal of the upgrades in the Support Barracks used to unlock the units, now they require additional buildings to be unlocked. We also replaced the ZiS-2 anti tank gun with the ZiS-3, because the latter was more common and the ZiS-2 is a much stronger AT gun and having the most powerful AT gun (zis-2) available so early in the game just looks/feels strange... so the ZiS-3 was a better choice. However, would that mean the end of the appereance of the ZiS-2 in Eastern Front mod? We don't think so.


ZiS-3 will be the regular anti tank gun that you can recruit from the Support Barracks. ZiS-2 now is a special unit for the Propaganda War Strategy Command Tree. You can get it unlocking the second right-hand side upgrade on that tree, and it will replace the ZiS-3. If you have several ZiS-3 units on the field, they will remain as it, but you can pay some resources to convert them into ZiS-2. If you recrew a lost ZiS-3 as Soviet player, you can upgrade it as well.

The Tank Hall also got some tweaks, being the most important ones: getting a third upgrade in order to unlock the mighty IS-2 and you can now use T-34/85 and SU-100 in the same match. We are still working to get the new models onboard, we hope to get the T-60 and the T-70 to replace the old models when this new patch rolls out.

Conscripts also got a boost, they now can recrew heavy weapons, although you surely know how delicate they are, so it is up to you how to use it in your favor. The Commissar call-in was also removed, in it's place you now get an ability that let you select a Conscript squad and convert it into the Shtrafnie squad(whose squad leader is equipped with a PPD-34 submachine gun).


And now, the last change to report about the Soviet Army... is that they now can use Heavy Machine guns. Yes, you are not dreaming nor drunk.

We tried several workarounds for blob suppression weapons based off vehicles, but all of them are gimmicky and do not work right.
  • First try was the Ford GPA, which doesnt work because it's destroyed by frontal assault with SMGs, fausts, schreck hits and Hafthohlladung as it's immobile while in suppression mode.
  • Second was T90 with lockdown, also doesnt work properly because it's also suffering the same problems as above.
  • Third is suppression with Red banner Strelky with DP28. Also doesn't work because it limits strategy. Always Red Banners + DP28 or you'll loose to lategame Axis blobs - without suppression they can just run through your army, much like the old USA rangerspam when they had no exhaust effect after "Fire Up", just that Axis do not even need it because Soviets can't suppress.
This is something that soviets already suffer from since a very long time. Only chance to fix this seems to be by adding a hmg type weapon to them... and so we did.


However, this weapon, the SG-43 Goryunov, it is just a temporal replacement as a heavy machine gun team. Our real goal is to finish this one:


Meanwhile, we will remain using the placeholder(Credits to DMz). There are more subtle changes for Soviets, but that will be for another time. For now let's talk about Ostheer...


The Sturmpioniers now get Gewehrs 41 when purchasing their combat upgrade.



Landser squads can now get three MP40 instead of a MKB42(W)



Or two Panzerbüchse 39 anti tank rifles.



Ostheer can now produce mortar teams when selecting the Support pool.



Panzerfusiliers no longer get MP40/IIs, they can get now MG-34s.



Jägers no longer have Gewehr 43 as upgrade; they don't have MP44s,
 but they use something similar...



The Support Army Troops tree no longer gives you either Wespe or Panzer 38t,
you now get a Panzerjager squad with a Luchs light tank for support.
(Wespe is it's own call-in at the end of the tree
and Panzerjagers are no longer available as regular unit)



First new unit: the Skirmish Commander, only one available at the field,
 just like the Soviet Command Squad... however both use different abilities.



Second new unit: Bombardier Team, composed of one soldier equipped
 with a Granatbüchse 39 and two more using MP40s. Replaces the LMG Team.


Thanks for your support,

Archaic Entertainment Team

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Eastern Front Patch 2.2.2.0

March 12, 2014, 11:46:57 AM by Enrique 'Blackbishop' E.


Hello comrades,

It has a while since the last announcement happened, and we have been literally offline since last year Christmas week... but now we have returned! Thanks to Cope who had fixed our FactionFix.dll, he really did an outstanding job; thanks to Relic and Smoking Gun Interactive as well because they have been supporting us since that patch released around Christmas!

If someone wonders what was the problem and what was needed to do every time Cope updates our DLL, you can read it here:

As requested, here are some details on what is actually causing crashes. This may be somewhat technical.

As you may be aware, in the past EF had problems with recrewing weapons. This is because CoH is hardcoded to only read capture squads for the 4 basic factions from team weapon entities. If you try to capture a team weapon with a Soviet squad, the game will crash because it cannot find the appropriate entry in the RGD (and subsequently runs into invalid memory sooner or later).

What I did back then was writing a custom DLL FactionFix.dll which for all purposes acts like the original game DLL (WW2Mod.dll; in fact it just forwards any calls to that DLL) but does some in memory patching, i.e. it changes some parts of the code in the original DLL. The code that is changed is the code that controls which squads are spawned when a team weapon is picked up. Whenever a non-standard faction tries to pick up such a weapon, my code jumps in and calls a certain ScaR function that returns the RGD-path of the appropriate squad. (To get the actual Lua-state of the ScaR-instance, I make use of Corsix' LuaExtCore.dll.).

Everytime a patch containing more than just balance changes is released, there is a chance that the address of the code that is to be patched has been changed. If parts of the DLL have been recompiled, it is even possible that parts of the fix have to be rewritten: Because we only have the binary files (i.e. the compiled code), my code needs to seamlessly interface with x86 assembler (which I very much like). Unfortunately that means, that if the compiler thinks it is better to put some value that was in some register EAX last time around into EBX this time, I have to rewrite parts of the code and spend sometime reverse engineering the data flow. These are all things that can be done rather quickly (even if some engineer at Relic decides that what has been an __stdcall up to v2.601 should be a __thiscall in 2.700).

The ugly part is if things do not work out immediately: This stuff is impossible to debug; without proper debug symbols even the stack traces of DMP-files are bogus and most applications totally don't like being debugged. Furthermore, debugging without any source code is tedious and not fruitful (especially when you are working with a system where you do not even have the faintest idea what most of the functions actually do!).

So what I currently have is the following:
I have updated the DLL accordingly and I have noted that besides some changes in the offsets, WW2Mod.dll has not been changed in the parts relevant to this patch. Still, the patch is not working as intended: Sometimes it works, sometimes it crashes, and sometimes it does not even allow a weapon to be recrewed (the cursor does not change into the right symbol and no action is possible). This (in a way) is the worst case scenario: My code seems fine (it is the same as for the last version and it worked for that one), but the behavior is somewhat non-deterministic. Sometimes you can capture a weapon, yet other times it won't work (using the same squad type and weapon type). If the game was crashing consistently, I could just look at where it is crashing and backtrace from there. But it does not.

I am not sure what causes this behavior. I have already witnessed similar behavior when I only patched an irrelevant part of the code (swapping two independent opcodes). This could indicate that some kind of memory protection mechanism is employed, yet I am not willing to believe this (why would it show that specific behavior? Why wouldn't it just crash all the time?). Non-determinism in behavior may also be indicative of multiple threads using the same code with non-thread-local data, but I highly doubt that because my testing setup was fairly isolated and it seems unreasonable to distribute the game logic to different threads, at least for this specific case. Another possibility is that I am missing a new piece of code that was inserted, but I was unable to find anything.

As you can clearly see, this problem is specific to mods that have additional factions.

To clarify another thing: I am not getting paid for this. Nobody here is getting paid for anything. And even if you did, you would not be entitled to anything because quite obviously, you did not pay for anything ;).

We released a small patch containing the new compiled DLL that will fix the crashes when playing with the New Steam version of Company of Heroes. Also, due to popular demand, we will release a patch that will make the mod compatible with 2.602 (Old Steam version or Retail). But remember, while this is a small assistance for those who don't want to play it in the new version, we don't offer support for it so, play it under your own risk.

We intended to release more content and balance changes, but we still need to finish the new models and to test more the balance changes, so we expect to release a new patch in the next two weeks, three at most, featuring all the content we have shown in pictures in the past weeks. But we certainly have changes that no one expects for Ostheer and Soviets.

So, the plan right now is:

1) To release the new DLL so everyone can enjoy Eastern Front. Changelog here.

2) To finish the pending models and balance changes and release the big patch.

3) Start working on the reward Command trees for Soviets and Ostheer.

Problems with the download? Look here.

Want the compatibility fix for 2.602? Look here. Mirrors: SpeedyShare MediaFire.

This Weekend we will talk about what you will see in the next patch so, stay tunned because we are back in business!


Thanks for downloading and continue to enjoy,

Archaic Entertainment Team

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Eastern Front not working on Steam (update)

January 06, 2014, 11:59:40 AM by Enrique 'Blackbishop' E.

Hello comrades,

We have talked with Relic, and they said they were unaware of the changes made and they are going to look at it.

I know you are waiting for the new release to check the latest announced stuff, but it is better to wait for the right people to fix this issue.

So, I hope you can bear with us the situation. And don't worry, we will be back soon!

Thanks for your support,
Archaic Entertainment Team

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Eastern Front not working on Steam (right now)

December 26, 2013, 03:38:20 PM by Enrique 'Blackbishop' E.

Hello guys,

Sorry for the silence occurred last week about the mod. Since the last couple of weeks Relic released a patch that broke the use of custom DLLs and custom factions, so Eastern Front no longer works with the Steam version.

We have planned to make a new version compatible with 2.602, but we have been waiting for Relic's answer about our current issues, because, as everyone know, we have been greenlit and this would mean we cannot release it on Steam at all. Since Relic no longer makes the patches for Company of Heroes, but a company named Smoking Gun Interactive, we think there was some sort of miscomunication. So, we will take a decision after we have Relic's answer.

Anyway, when we have Relic's answer, we will update this announcement. But Eastern Front is not going to be stopped, at worse case scenario, we would just release it for the last retail version (or the "regular" Steam version).

Thanks for your support,

Archaic Entertainment Team

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Future contents for the mod!

December 16, 2013, 07:32:20 PM by Enrique 'Blackbishop' E.

Hello Eastern Front fans!

In this third update you will take a look at our latest additions in the mod. Feel free to ask about the details of each model.


1 - New building models and assets!
Walki and Burro were busy these last weeks making the new buildings for the Soviet faction. Good bye to the old ones and thanks for serving us well during all this time, let's welcome the new ones!

This is the new Soviet Support Barracks building:

 

This is the new armoury. Every time you purchase an upgrade, something is added to the building.
 

This is the new Mustering Tent, it still needs to be animated though.
 

The Tank Hall hasn't being started, so that will be covered in further updates.

Walki also made a different anti-tank mine, due to players being deceived by the strength of the former Teller Mine. Players were surprised that Ostheer Teller Mine was weaker than Panzer Elite's one, but the difference is that PE one is doctrinal, so it better is strong or no one would use it and adding something as strong as that as non-doctrinal is too much. So, the best way to make players aware of the difference of the strength was making a new AT mine, and this is how the Riegelmine 43 was born in EF.


We also intended to give the Brandenburger squad a special mine since the alpha version of the Ostheer, and now they have it, this is the Bentonmine M43, also known as Stock Mine M43:


It is an anti-personnel stake mine, made of concrete and definitely suits the theme of the unit.


2 - New team members!
Not only we have new models, but we also have new team members! Let's give a warm welcome to our new modeler, our three new balancers and our new Russian translators:
* The Soldier(The Soldier) - Modeler
* chaosval3 (Warhammerchaosgod) - Balancer
* Tom (Zenith) - Balancer
* Yappir (Yappir) - Balancer
* ComradeRazor - Translator
* vadklop - Translator


3 - About our future content
Since we are working on full Steam to get a better balanced "base" version to commit into Steam, anything else planned for Eastern Front, such like Campaigns, Reward Doctrines, etc. will have to wait more time. This means we will spend the time improving models, gameplay and we cannot add experimental "changes" into the equation, otherwise the end product will appear like an alpha version.


4 - Mod of the Year 2013 (aka MOTY 2013)
Remember we are still on competition, every vote counts! Help us to reach the first place this year! Remember you can vote for any number of mods you like and you are not limited to one; you can vote for us here.




Thanks for your support,

Archaic Entertainment Team

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