Back to Basics is a full conversion mod for Company of Heroes and its expansions. Along with new units, abilities, upgrades and commander trees, the mod adds a balanced but entirely new weapon damage system. The focus is on improving and expanding gameplay while adding additional tactics to both aggressive and defensive play.

The damage model is more lethal, adding realism and more consequences to mistakes, but at the same time it is as fair as possible with almost all instances of instant squad wipes removed from the game. Those who take the time to understand the depth of all the units and the entirety of the mod's damage model will find that the battles are quite dynamic with a large spectrum of different play styles being viable, whereas the impact of weaponry feels strong and realistic. Combined arms, support weapons, officers and unit positioning are extremely important.

Penetrating vehicle armor can have strong consequences: although vehicles have longer range and strong performance against all targets, there are now more critical hits involved in vehicle combat. No tank can take endless punishment, and taking rear hits is doubly punishing. That said, the element of randomness is made easy to read and play around, there are no one-shot kills, the accuracy of each weapon is redone completely, the penetration values are intuitive. Vehicle role is shifted towards being best when supported by infantry, although some elements of aggressive playstyles and timing pushes remain in tact. Heavy vehicles such as Tiger and Pershing are available in the default tech tree and their command tree counterparts are replaced with sidegrades. Experienced players will have a good understanding of what the outcome of vehicle battles will be and have a large selection of choices available for any situation at hand.

Artillery damage model is completely redone as well. While it is still perfect for accruing damage over long games and flushing out dug in enemies, the splash of artillery damage works very differently. Each impact has a large area of effect, applying damage to squads in larger radius but the lethal radius of the explosion is reduced, reducing instant squad wipes. Infantry in trenches can be shielded from the blast and the same logic applies to armored vehicles - shells have to hit close-by to be most dangerous. Munitions income is very important for sustained barrages as every barrage has a munitions cost associated with it. Artillery play is a concious choice, and its overall exponential strength growth potential that is present in its vanilla design is reduced.

The mod includes a slew of aesthetics improvements. Graphics, sound, UI, unit skins, ground textures, physics all have been improved:

  • New weapon and engine sounds
  • New unit skins for every unit in the game
  • Weapon tracer beams have been completely reworked
  • Improved models and model details for some of the more iconic units
  • Additional "fake" ambient occlusion shadows for infantry added
  • Custom made ground textures with additional detail added
  • Improved crater textures with additional specular maps and fixed crater depths
  • More realistic and less floaty physics. Increased ground friction, modified gravity which allows for more realistic look for those massive explosions where sometimes you see a crew member of a tank flying half way across the map
  • Additional minimap icons for specific unit types allowing for quick reading of the battlefeld
  • New high quality unit icons, symbols and portraits
  • Modified camera controls - increased default zoom, showing a larger portion of the battlefield, faster transitions allowing for lower response times and overall more responsive controls and experience.
  • Improved unit descriptions for each unit providing full information about their features

Back to Basics AI is proudly unique and advanced. All AI systems have been worked on and improved, to the point of creating a completely new AI battle experience. AI oppotents will feel more human-like and cheat less, while the challenge will be greatly increased. AI improvement highlights include:

  • All AI combat behavior is now controlled by a custom script, improving a plethora of its behaviors in combat such as taking cover, ability use, clumping up, getting to optimal engagement distances and quickly assaulting the enemy to overwhelm their positions, retreating, vehicle facing, vehicle repairs
  • A completely new decision making system for units. AI will choose its attack approaches very carefully, flanking constantly and hitting you where you're most vulnerable
  • Improved decision making regarding defensive play. The AI can now make a decision to become defensive, stop attacking and consolidate its forces until it sees a new vulnerability or has enough units to push again. This is also influenced by number of victory points remaining, by the percentage of territory it already has and other factors
  • Vastly improved unit preservation - AI will keep artillery behind the lines, away from harm. The retreat logic is completely redone by a completely custom script that controls it, allowing for proper retreat decisions to be made
  • Improved point capture decisions - AI will try to avoid capturing points under fire, capture key points to break off your territory, capture points in an order which lends to its faster arrival to the frontlines, capture high resource points faster, capture unconnected territory, break enemy supply
  • AI will appear near the frontlines much faster, especially near high resource points, and try to keep the pressure on you from the very start
  • A wide variety of game breaking AI bugs fixed
  • Full support for all the mod's units and abilities
  • Vastly improved logic and targetting of standard game abilities
  • Redone build decisions for all structures
  • A comletely overhauled decision making system for purchasing units. AI should always spend its resources and buy every unit in the game while still trying to counter what you have and make logical decisions in regards to any type of special units
  • Vastly improved defensive structure placement. There are now ~70 markers added to every vanilla map that allow the AI to use additional logic with, including placing defensive structures. AI should always build defensive structures near the front line but not directly in harms way. Decision making for which defensive structures to purchase at which point in the game is vastly improved as well
  • Custom specific script now controls the behavior of mortars, HMGs, snipers and AT guns for AI. This prevents AI from ever running in with these support units into a defensive line of enemy units and instead places them (or attacks moves them on the edge of sight line in the case of snipers) in strategic positions, facing approaches that lead to the enemy
  • Custom script added that controls British HQ placement. The script makes decisions between travel distance, overall danger of the area, whether or not the point is a high resource point and other factors, whereas vanilla HQ behavior was rather broken
  • Officers will now follow and support other units in a logical manner
  • Numerous other improvements such as entering buildings logic, ability avoidance, technology rushes, appropriate callin unit priority calculation, added previously unused abilities, custom barrage unit control, custom engineer control for placing healing stations & repairs and more

Launching the mod

Make a shortcut of the game using steam, go to shortcut's properties and add //-mod BackToBasics to the end of the target line.
The entire target line should look like this:

steam://rungameid/228200//-mod BackToBasics

Alternative method hiding the prompt

Go to your steam install directory (for example: C:\Program Files\Steam) and make a shortcut of Steam.exe
Move the shortcut to your desktop, change its icon if you want
In shortcut properties add -applaunch 228200 -mod BackToBasics to the target line. The result should look something like this:

"C:\Program Files\Steam\Steam.exe" -applaunch 228200 -mod BackToBasics

Additional target line parameters

You can add some additional parameters to the target line which will slightly increase game's performance, unlock all campaign missions without you needing to finish the campaign from the start and skip playing game intro movies

-novsync -unlock_all_missions -nomovies

Download Back to Basics v4.0

Before downloading Back to Basics please make sure that you patched Company of Heroes to v2.700.2.42

Back to Basics v4.0

Does not require a previous installation of Back to Basics. Make sure to
remove any existing mod version before installing.


We really appreciate all kinds of feedback. Let us know here on ModDB or on RelicNews what you think about the mod and we are sure to reply

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Company of Heroes: Back to Basics v4.0

Version 4.0 has finally been released! This update brings massive improvements to both the AI and the core gameplay, including countless rebalances, major redesigns, and many visual improvements. To give an impression, our final changelog counts well over 900 lines of individual changes, though the actual amount lies far beyond that.

To list some highlights of this update:

  • Upon many requests, all the single player campaigns were fixed and improved to work with the mod.
  • An ever-improving balance of the mod has been worked on more than ever, while preserving the realistic feel of combat and impactful feel of weaponry. PvP matches and a whole lot of shots-to-kill, time-to-kill, aura modifier, veterancy modifier, fuel cost timing and unit DPS sheets help us get to where we are, to the point of a very complex hierarchy of tech decisions, counters and unit tactics, bring the strategic aspect of the game to the next level.
  • Infantry combat mechanics were once again enhanced significantly. Cover is now an even more integral part of combat, a lot weapons received updated cover profiles to perform against cover in specific ways. Overall long range time to kill is increased, allowing for additional time to react and combat mobility but the lethality of close range remains high and unforgiving. Infantry hitpoints are chosen carefully to create a fluid tactical spectrum for the infantry combat and a profound feeling of constantly trying to force your squads into a favorable combat position but feeling the risks involved with it. HMG initial burst damage is increased, making them a true force to be reckoned with, assault troops maintain their role of being fragile but incredibly potent flanking unit, unit synergies have been made even more pronounced. Base infantry weapon damage was generally increased while preserving their overall damage output, thus decreasing the amount of bullets to kill without altering the desired time to kill. Weapon clip sizes were reworked to closer match their real life counterparts. Squad behavior has been improved and infantry anti-tank weaponry roles have been enhanced and rebalanced to improve overall unit roles and player interaction.
  • Vehicular combat mechanics were overhauled nearly entirely. A lot of tank roles have been defined much better, their costs refocused, timings improved. A definitive fix has been made to the remaining infamous 5% health bugs on some weapons where it was still present. Scatter and area of effect changes make tank shots feel more realistic and impactful, accuracy changes make tanks shoot close to the enemy soldiers instead of either directly impacting them through cover or missing entirely. Tank shots will now ‘scatter’ towards their targets, hitting debris on the way, and destroying any nearby cover. This also increases the importance of movement, making movement a viable gamble when engaging threats with lighter vehicles.
  • The anti-blob mechanic (stacking penalties to infantry squads moving very close to each other) has seen some rebalances and a much needed increase in readability. Units inside of Halftracks and Buildings are no longer affected by this feature and the radius of the aura has been decreased. Additionally, squads with only a few members remaining will no longer cast the antiblob aura. This effect was also previously entity-based, not squad based, which made a large impact on ingame performance and had unintentionally large modifiers applied to just two squads standing next to each other. An anti-blob penalty level icon has also been added to all squads, clearly indicating when they are being penalized and penalties updated to work as intended.
  • The Commonwealth and Panzer Elite have seen significant redesigns to many of their units, abilities, upgrades and commander trees. In many cases, previous changes and additions didn’t correspond with their core design, resulting in uncomfortable gameplay. This has been addressed considerably, especially with regards to the impact of commander tree choices.
  • An update pass has been made on ground, grass, crater and tracer textures, as well as crater size and depth. Grass blades should look much smoother, craters should blend much better together while utilizing normal maps to a much better degree, making them react to light better and feel deep. Crater depth has been worked on to look much better through prolonged games. Custom ground textures have mostly been toned down in favor of making them look better for all the maps instead of providing large amount of detail that sometimes wouldn’t properly interact with mapper initial vision.
  • The AI has been enhanced immensely. Upwards of 20 new systems have been added to a script that now takes complete control of AI combat situations. New behaviors have been added to snipers, AT guns, mortars, vehicles and mobile artillery. AI will now take cover much better than before, finding directional cover instead of simply running up to walls but standing on the wrong side. AI will also be able to assault positions and get to the optimal engagement distance with its assault troops. This system also includes behavior which forces it to spread out its units when they are too clumped together. Furthermore, it’ll assault positions with any unit that is affected by this system if it thinks it has an overwhelming advantage, giving the player an even shorter time to stall the game and pin it with machine guns. All ability usage of infantry is transferred to this system as well, making AI utilize abilities more efficiently. Additionally, AI will now be able to cancel unfinished structures if there aren’t any engineers constructing them, will now be able to use smoke barrages on mortars, it will also be able to utilize units such as the Priest, nebelwerfer, or stuka to a much better degree, without suiciding them but targeting the barrages much more precisely, and without cheating nearly as much when targeting those barrages. Capture bug has been fixed entirely by catching the capturing squads and controlling their capture process manually. Custom, even more precise and efficient squad reinforcing and retreat functionality has been added.
  • The core AI functionality has been worked on continuously, with multiple complete overhauls to the core features such as defensive structure purchasing, build orders and "targets". Unit prioritization is polished better than ever before, ensuring that AI will utilize its resources better and produce unique compositions every game, while still attempting to counter player’s composition. Large improvements have been made to the way AI rushes tech and purchases upgrades. In a similar vein, British and Panzer Elite AI have been overhauled completely, to finally become competitive and fun to play against.
  • A large amount of improvements have been made to the way AI creates frontlines, allowing it to stay in friendly territory, respond to threats in friendly territory sooner, capture territory that isn’t necessarily connected.
  • A much better randomization to a lot of AI elements has been implemented, which should make it switch its plans in a much more interesting manner than previously.
  • Due to the amount of overall combat improvements to the AI, the resource bonuses have been significantly reduced, making for a much less "spammy" AI that feels like it is being smart rather than cheating its way to victory. Expert AI still has large bonuses, making it truly challenging to beat.
  • A large amount of work has been done on optimizing the mod’s scripts and improving overall game performance when using the mod. Players should notice a considerable reduction in stutter and a large increase in overall frame rate. A lot of script and AI operations have been shifted towards being performed more often and more optimally but on smaller amount of items at a time. A lot of update sequences have been split up to be executed over several "ticks" instead of once every once in a while, which provides a much smoother framerate. Some very expensive systems have been either scrapped or debugged and reworked to prevent stutter and CPU load for every time they are used. Despite all this, the scripts that govern AI behaviors have actually gotten faster in terms of how often they update every unit. There were some situations where units in the late game would not update fast enough, leading to AI losing its units much faster than it should be, or in other words simply "forgetting" about them and letting them engage without "looking" at them, which should now feel much better.

For more details, we encourage you to read our full changelog.

We would like to thank everybody for the provided feedback and apologize for endlessly delaying this update. Hopefully the time we took has allowed us to create the most polished version of the mod that is fun to play and has few bugs. Nevertheless, there is always a chance we have overlooked something, we encourage you to provide feedback about your gameplay experiences, we read and reply to all the comments. We truly hope you enjoy the culmination of over 2 years of our work as much as we do, thank you again!

Download Back to Basics v4.0

Back to Basics v4.0
Back to Basics v4.0 new features spotlight & changelog

Back to Basics v4.0 new features spotlight & changelog

News 19 comments

As version 4.0 nears its final shape, it's time to spotlight the things we've been working on. Today we reveal the full changelog and feature an article...

Back to Basics v3.1 Update

Back to Basics v3.1 Update

News 7 comments

After a pretty smooth release of v3.0, we are releasing a patch to even further polish up the mod. The patch addresses some gameplay bugs and imbalances...

Back to Basics v3.0 Released!

Back to Basics v3.0 Released!

News 4 comments

After more than eight months since the last update, we proudly announce the latest version of Back to Basics which is the most polished, complete and...

News Update #2

News Update #2

News 3 comments

A small update, showing the state of progress on patch v2.2.

RSS feed Downloads
Back to Basics v4.0

Back to Basics v4.0

Full Version 38 comments

The long awaited v4.0 update of Company of Heroes: Back to Basics is now available

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics Update v3.1

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics Update v3.1

Patch 13 comments

[REQUIRES BACK TO BASICS V3.0 AND COMPANY OF HEROES PATCH v2.602] This patch addresses some gameplay bugs and imbalances, fixes some language errors and...

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v3.0 FULL

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v3.0 FULL

Full Version 51 comments

Latest full release. [REQUIRES COMPANY OF HEROES PATCH v2.602] Patch v3.1 available for this release of the mod.

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics patch v2.1

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics patch v2.1

Patch 6 comments


[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v2.0

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v2.0

Full Version 6 comments

[REQUIRES COMPANY OF HEROES PATCH v2.602] Back to Basics v2.0

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v1.2.2

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v1.2.2

Patch 18 comments

A small patch that fixes various gamebreaking stuff.

Post comment Comments  (1040 - 1050 of 1,398)

Hey, I've never played this mode yet, im downloading it! But i saw somthing in the mod summary: (quote) "aswell as that the tracer beams have been removed", keep this in mind, AA guns and heavy machine guns used tracer ammunition, if you've removed it from these weapons, so the realism is gone! But im gonna play the mod and see if it's good, I think it is ;)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote

It is good, it`s one of the best!

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Celution Creator

That intro is really old and lame, still have to write a new one some time. But yes most weapons have no or barely tracers, I'm thinking of adding some again though.

Reply Good karma+1 vote
Celution Creator

@nemo7: Thanks a lot for your kind words, we really apprieciate it! Feedback is also very welcome as we do take that seriously.

Reply Good karma+1 vote

This is one of the best mods for C.O.H, tell me will it work over Hamachi network?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Celution Creator

Glad you like it! Yes this works over hamachi as long as both players got the exact same version installed.

Reply Good karma+1 vote

sweet, then it`s time to introduce all my C.o.H friends to this mod

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote

Impressive. This is the most realistic and brutal mod around guys (along with BotB of course). The glider airborne option is fantastic and historically accurate. Is there an ETA for the next release?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Celution Creator

Thanks for your kind words.

Well, I really hope we can get it out relatively soon.. I know I've said that many times - too many, but life has been busy as hell.

In fact, tomorrow I'm moving to Sweden (from The Netherlands), once I'm there I hope to have more free time again and finaly get this v1.3 out, which is better in any way than v1.2.2!

Reply Good karma+2 votes

Glad to hear it my friend, Btb v1.3 sounds like a nice christmas present ;). Seriously, I have told Halftrack that Botb is a combat sim rather than a COH modification to me. Well, I am to say the same here; anabiosis of tactics, vital need for cover, lethal mg firing, realistic tank combat, accurate historical units like airborne gliders(you could introduce DFS 230 gliders as well), quality (rather than quantity) tech trees and so on. Congrats for your effort mates. Keep up the good work.

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119 votes submitted.

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Highest Rated (4 agree) 9/10

The mod is very realistic and the models are goodlooking.

This is worth trying. I enjoy it, and i'm sure, hundreds of people with me.

Mar 21 2011 by Boogie85

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