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 Eastern Front

Eastern Front ver.

September 07, 2014, 06:04:00 PM by Enrique 'Blackbishop' E.

Hello comrades,

It has been a long time since the last announcement we posted. After several months of silence, yet working non-stop in the shadows, we prepare the release of the new version. A lot of things have happened so let's begin with the bad news so we save all the good stuff for the end...

Steam Greenlight
At the moment we are still working on bringing Eastern Front on Steam. So far we have some build to test, but unfortunately Eastern Front cannot run as a Steam game at the moment. Thankfully Relic is helping us with this and they have supported us during all the Greenlight process. Let's hope they bring good news to us soon :).

New Models
We are still working on some of the missing models for Ostheer and Soviets, hopefully we will have them for the Steam version. Which new models we are talking about? The new T-70, T-60, T-34/76, T-34/85, SU-85, SU-100, SU-76, Katyusha. We have other models to fix but these ones have priority.

Now let's focus on the rest of the announcement on the good news!

Changes for this version
As we said in our previous announcement, the Soviet and Ostheer armies got several changes for balance's sake, in our internal test the gameplay was improved, so we hope you can agree with us. We decided to call this version internally the "Pre-Steam" version, because it will be the last version we release only in ModDB. As such, it is intended to be like a beta of what the Steam version will be, and you shold expect some stuff not properly finished so, please report anything odd you find so we can fix it for the Steam version. This version already works with the latest version on Steam.

The ZiS-3 field gun will be added in the Support Barracks replacing the ZiS-2, while the former will be unlocked when picking up the Propaganda Strategy Tactics Tree second upgrade in the right hand side.

The Commissar call-in was replaced by a "Commissar" upgrade. When you unlock it on your Propaganda Strategy tree, it will enable an ability that allows you to select and instantly upgrade a conscript squad into a Shtrafnie squad. This new squad gets three PPD-38 submachine guns, increasing their firepower in close combat. Regular Conscripts also got an improvement so early game combat against enemy units is better. The most easily things to spot in this new version are:

  • The Soviet army now has a SG-43 Goryunov as heavy machine gun and anti-blob asset. It can be recruited from the Support Barracks. Thanks to DMz for the new model!
  • The Mortar team also got a new mortar model, courtesy of The Soldier and DMz.
  • The new Mustering Tent, Armoury and Support Barracks models are completely done, thanks to Burro and Walki.
  • The T-34 series now have an additional upgrade: you can replace it's hull mounted machine gun with an ATO-42 flamethrower.

And for the Ostheer army, they also had several improvements, first of all some units were reallocated to another tier and some Command Tree abilities were modified. There is no medic halftrack for Ostheer (at least in this version) and the veterancy has been tweaked according to the feedback received and our internal tests as well. We have changed some infantry squad upgrades to other type of infantry units to create a better gameplay as well, in example: No more light MG 34 team, but Panzerfusiliers can now purchase these ones instead of the submachine upgrade and Landsers now use the MP40/II and at the moment they get the squad leader after they get the MP 40 upgrade(that will change for the Steam version to "when they get Seargant Promotion"); Jagers no longer get the MP 44(or StG 44 as it is known as well) or Gewehr rifles, but now they get a Mkb42(H) that is customized to do both weapon's job.

The Support Army Troops command tree received several changes: the first ability available at the left hand side is a medic kit airdrop. These will be airdropped just like paratrooper units are and you need to "capture" them before using them and they have a fixed time of use before they are depleted and "die"; they can be targeted by the enemy to avoid giving a break to some injured infantry troops or can be captured if the opponent manages to get to the landing zone first and then it will heal the enemy infantry until it is depleted or destroyed. Wespe now comes in it's own call-in at the end of the Support Army Tree, and the Luchs was removed from the Schutzen War Camp along with the Panzerjägers from the Infantry Gefechts Kommand and are now available as group call-in in the second upgrade in this very tree in the right hand side. The Ostheer Halftrack also got some visual improvements and we have a new Elefant model(which still needs to be scaled up btw), but you will see this by yourself soon. Now, we also present a small gallery of screenshots with some visible changes they got:

About the incoming models, we have some pictures of the new T-60:

Once we have more to show, I'll post them here.

Hopefully, they will be finished before we sort out everything on Steam.

Download here! | Mirror 1 | Mirror 2 | Changelog

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Compatibility Patch for 2.602 (READ INSTRUCTIONS)

At the moment we only have a full installer version and it is waiting authorization in ModDB so, to some of you it will appear as unavailable for a little while. Since it is a full version, the launcher is not going to detect it. We will add the mirrors as soon as we can.

Thanks for downloading and continue to enjoy,

Archaic Entertainment Team

63 comments | Write Comment

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

131 comments | Write Comment

Eastern Front Patch

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

92 comments | Write Comment

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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