Welcome to Company of Heroes: Back to Basics!

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.

Overall, the damage model is much more lethal than vanilla Company of Heroes, adding realism and more consequences to mistakes, but at the same time it is also 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 less static with a huge spectrum of different play styles being viable. Combined arms, support weapons, officers and unit positioning are extremely important.

Penetrating vehicle armor can have strong consequences - there are much more critical hits involved in vehicle combat. No tank can take endless punishment. That said, the element of randomness is minimized as much as possible, there are practically no one-shot kills, the accuracy of each weapon is redone completely, the penetration values are intuitive and fair. Experienced players can have a good understanding of what the outcome of vehicle battles will be.

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 to vanilla. Each impact has a large area of effect, applying a lot of damage to squads nearby but the lethal radius of the explosion is not very large, minimizing instant squad wipes. Infantry in trenches can actually be shielded from the blast and the same logic applies to armor - only the shells that hit very close-by are most dangerous. Artillery as a tool is extremely powerful but comes at high cost of all three resources in the game. Munitions income is very important in order to use it consistently as every barrage has a munitions cost associated with it. Munitions denial can be a good method of stopping the damage from coming in.

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
  • Weapon tracer beams have been completely reworked
  • Additional "fake" ambient occlusion shadows for infantry added
  • Custom made ground textures with additional detail added
  • New unit skins for every unit in the game
  • Improved models and model details for some of the more iconic units
  • 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

The AI in Back to Basics receives almost as much attention as the rest of the features. AI features and improvements include:

  • 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 actually make a decision to become defensive, stop attacking you 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 minor 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
  • Improved game start for AI. 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 usage of standard game abilities
  • A custom script controlling where AI targets its offmap abilities
  • Improved 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 scripts added which control the behavior of mortars and MGs for AI. This prevents AI from ever running in with these support units into your defensive line and instead places them 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
  • Officers will now follow and support other units in a logical manner
  • Improved other unit behaviors, such as tank flanking and entering buildings

Launching the mod

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

steam://rungameid/228200//-mod Improved -dev

Note, that LaunchBtB.bat shortcut that comes with v3 release of the mod does not work with steam

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 Improved -dev to the target line. The result should look something like this:

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

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 v3.0

Before downloading Back to Basics, please make sure that you patched Company of Heroes to v2.602
Back to Basics v3.0 FULL
Mirrors: Mega, StrategyInformer
Does not require a previous installation of Back to Basics. Make sure to
remove any existing Back to Basics version before installing.

Download Back to Basics Update v3.1

Back to Basics Update v3.1
Requires a v3.0 installation of Back to Basics.


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

A special thank you to everyone who helped us make this mod possible

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Henschel 'Panzerknacker' Overwatch Gameplay Changes Commonwealth Canadian Infantry

As version 4.0 nears its final shape, it's time to spotlight the things we've been working on. For the enthusiasts who really like to delve into the nitty-gritty details and stats of the update, you can find the full changelog linked right here. The changelog is 665 lines in total, so that is a lengthy read! We've also prepared a more focused feature for you today highlighting and explaining the most important changes in an easy to read article.

Gameplay changes

First of all, we decided to redo infantry combat, allowing for smoother and more consistent firefights. Range tables have seen large reworks, the damage on each weapon is generally increased, the new weapons take 3-5 hits to kill an entity instead of the previous 4-8, while overall damage output is slightly lowered on range and kept the same upclose. On top of all this, all small arms, including heavy machine guns, now have historically accurate magazine sizes. Small arms have thus seen changes in their damage model, range tables, accuracy, rate of fire, reload time, cooldown time and scatter.

We already fixed the infamous 5% health bug in v3, but this turned out to be incomplete, where for example rear armor hits could still endlessly stack critical hits without destroying the target. All of this is fixed now, vastly improving the consistency of vehicle combat. Besides this, we experienced that certain critical hits happened way too often or too early during combat and some were overpowered.

The new vehicle critical system works as follows:

  • Frontal Armor Hits:
    • 100-40% hitpoints: 100% none
    • 40-5% hitpoints: 40% none 42% engine damage 10% detrack 8% gun damage
    • 5-0% hitpoints: 75% vehicle destroyed 25% out of control
  • Rear Armor Hits:
    • 100-40% hitpoints: 90% none 10% engine damage
    • 40-5% hitpoints: 20% none 50% engine damage 15% engine destroyed 15% detrack
    • 5-0% hitpoints: 75% vehicle destroyed 25% out of control

Another important gameplay change is the complete rework of ballistic weapon scatter angles. What we wanted to achieve is that tank damage output would be more reliable and be dealt more through splash damage when engaging infantry rather than having it kill infantry mostly by direct impacts. The old scatter values were quite disproportionately large, resulting in shells sometimes firing completely off target, or, due to high accuracy, flying through cover and terrain. Changing this results in tanks hitting much closer to their target thus applying the area of effect damage more consistently, as well as respecting cover and terrain more, destroying cover around infantry when they miss. Attack ground can be important now as well, allowing you to maximize the effects of the splash damage as best as possible. Tank battles also become more consistent and more reliant on the size of the target as well as their movement.

Talking about vehicle combat, we felt that light and even some medium vehicles underperformed in all situations. They were neither effective against infantry nor against other vehicles. We sought a design where they are viable to get throughout the entirety of a game. So expect a massive performance increase to vehicles such as the M8 Greyhound, T17 Armored Car, Staghound, Stuart, Puma, Anti-Tank Halftrack and Hotchkiss.

Area of Effect weaponry has been overhauled for nearly all ballistic weapons. We noticed that there were massive inconsistencies to the performance of artillery and mortars. Regardless of our efforts, these weapons would still at times wipe entire squads of infantry while at other instances barely deal damage to units even in the inner blast radius. This had to do with a before unknown bug where splash damage wasn't a homogeneous area but had certain ‘accuracy' tests. On failure of this pass, no damage would be dealt. This of course leads to high performance inconsistencies, thus significantly decreasing the reliability of artillery and mortars. Other ballistic weapons have also seen similar changes in area of effect, which tied with the mentioned scatter changes, allow for more consistent performances.

The income has been reworked completely. You will now receive a slightly larger amount of manpower early on, meaning your first core squads come out faster to the battlefield, however there have been large adjustments made to upkeep and on-map resources resulting in a much more fluid tech progression and feeling for unit recruitment decisions.

Last but not least, we tweaked some of core gameplay parameters. Back to Basics, like vanilla Company of Heroes, is primarily balanced around the Victory Point Control game mode. We changed the possible choices from 250/500/1000 to 500/650/800, as these amounts correspond better with Back to Basics gameplay. Capture rates of all strategic points have been significantly increased:

  • Manpower strategic point revert time reduced from 15s to 10s.
  • Fuel and Munition strategic point capture time redone:
    • High 40s/35s -> 25s/20s
    • Medium 30s/25s -> 20s/15s
    • Low 20s/15s -> 15s/10s

New/Redesigned units

Sturmpioneers are tough combat troops equipped with Kar98k rifles, bundled grenades, wire cutters, repair packs and have the ability to salvage wrecks. They can be upgraded with STG44 Assault Rifles.

Panzerfüsiliers are heavy assault infantry capable of dealing with any threat type. They can be equipped with MG42 Light Machine Guns or Panzerschrecks.

Combat Pioneers and trained Marksmen armed with Gewehr 43 rifles, capable of constructing advanced field defenses. Utilize Sprint and Vital Shot to effectively take down Infantry at range. Jägers camouflage in cover.

Combat engineers armed with M1 Carbines, trained to protect vehicles from infantry attacks. They are equipped with wire cutters, grenades, sticky bombs and Advanced Repair packs.

Improvements to the AI

Continuous improvements are being made to AI, spanning all across its functionality spectrum. The highlights of AI improvements include:

  • Completely reworked AI targets file, once again improving its ability to flank and create frontlines. This rework was focused on making AI much more versatile for different types of maps, utilizing corners of the map much more and creating much stronger frontlines, utilizing all the information for defense as well as attack calculations.
  • A completely new pathfinding and tank control script, making AI retreat its damaged tanks, face its armor towards the enemy, and stay away from danger.
  • Completely redone old scripts of British HQ setup and Team weapon setup scripts, improving performance and decision making. MGs should be much better at always pointing towards the enemy rather than taking fire to the back.
  • Large improvements done to AI capture priorities and fixed issues of AI capturing under fire. AI can now make decisions to capture unconnected territory.
  • Continuous improvements to AI unit purchase priorities.
  • Significantly improved weapon pick up and team weapon capture logic.
  • Across the board small improvements to most of other AI functionality such as retreating, build orders, tech purchase logic, ability use and more.

Graphical changes

When it comes to graphics, we always strive for the highest quality while still allowing for good framerates. In this version, we significantly improved several graphical aspects of the game, most importantly all craters and tracers. Craters now look much better when stacked and once again have more depth to them, while having a much better rate at which it'll seem that the map gets covered in craters completely. Battlefield destruction is much more progressive and late game battlefields should feel much more realistic.

Some terrain textures have also been changed; some HD textures were removed as they made certain maps look worse than before, while decreasing framerate on low-end systems.

Back to Basics v3.1 Update

Back to Basics v3.1 Update

2 years ago 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!

2 years ago 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

3 years ago News 3 comments

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

Back to Basics Patch v2.1

Back to Basics Patch v2.1

3 years ago News 0 comments

A small patch created to fix various reported bugs, imbalances and added improvements to already included content.

Back to Basics is a total conversion mod, that not only adds units and abilities but also a new weapon damage and penetration system. This improves gameplay and requires more tactical assaults and defenses. Weapon ranges are also greatly increased and...
RSS Feed Downloads
Back to Basics Update v3.1

Back to Basics Update v3.1

2 years ago 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...

Back to Basics v3.0 FULL

Back to Basics v3.0 FULL

2 years ago Full Version 50 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

3 years ago Patch 6 comments


[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v2.0

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v2.0

3 years ago Full Version 8 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

4 years ago Patch 18 comments

A small patch that fixes various gamebreaking stuff.

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v1.13

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v1.13

4 years ago Full Version 14 comments

After a long delay, we are proud to annouce the release of version 1.13 of Back to Basics. We have been working very hard on this, perfectionizing things...

Post comment Comments  (60 - 70 of 1,307)
gigiilmatto Apr 28 2015 says:

How much longer before we see the version 4.0?

+3 votes     reply to comment
AGameAnx Creator
AGameAnx Apr 29 2015 replied:

Sometime between now and year 2050, friend.

Believe me, we want to release it ourselves as much as you do, but circumstances keep screwing us over.

So far the plan is next week, but there's still quite a few things on our todo list which means that it may very well not happen again.

I don't know if it's a good idea to be this honest about this, heh, we keep promising to release but we keep delaying it for months at a time. It's becoming somewhat embarrassing. Such is the nature of large projects, I suppose. And add to that the developers that are busy with other things in their lives. Whenever people rage about all those released broken large games and such, I can feel the pain of the developers, being in somewhat of a similar position :P I really hope what the release ends up being well polished and enjoyable. Of course we'll patch it if there are issues but still we'd like it to be a good release where people will really enjoy themselves and keep playing for a while before they starting to get bored of it.

+3 votes   reply to comment
gigiilmatto Apr 29 2015 replied:

OK. Thank you for having responded to me. For your future plans I send you a "GOOD LUCK".

+2 votes     reply to comment
Blitzkriegrekrut Apr 28 2015 replied:

I ask mee too no much time before the work begin again at me.

+2 votes     reply to comment
EasyCompanyofFrance Apr 25 2015 says:


I post this little message to give you the links from my youtube channe, I now CoH ( campaigns ) with mod "Back To Basics Battle Of The Hedges"


and I'm sorry but.. I'm french

+2 votes     reply to comment
butiswrong Apr 21 2015 says:

found another bug, i can build the hellcat and the pershing with airborne doctrine.

+1 vote     reply to comment
AGameAnx Creator
AGameAnx Apr 22 2015 replied:

Pershing is buildable by default and armor doctrine gets m36 jackson tank destroyer call in in its place. Hellcat is a reward unit that replaces M10

+1 vote   reply to comment
butiswrong Apr 22 2015 replied:

i didn't know that sorry.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Celution Creator
Celution Apr 22 2015 replied:

Thus, you can turn the Hellcat on and off. Its pros and cons are described in the reward units menu :).

+1 vote   reply to comment
Skjold Apr 17 2015 says:

I've played SVN version in AI Annihilation skirmish for a while and I have noticed that Normal American AI is acting kind of weird; it first spams a lot of Riflemen and Mortar teams and little else, then it rapidly transitions to Shermans. I haven't seen any Armored Cars or AT cannons from it, and very few MGs and Snipers if any. Should I ramp up the difficulty level, play with fewer AIs on the map, or is it playing as it should?

+2 votes     reply to comment
butiswrong Apr 21 2015 replied:

i think the problem is that the Tank Depot has no required building, you can build the Tank Depot after you built the motor pool, maybe if the Tank Depot has the supply yard has requirement to be build maybe it can slow the sherman rush. also it's possible to add more armor to the bunker?

+1 vote     reply to comment
AGameAnx Creator
AGameAnx Apr 22 2015 replied:

We've opened up only one additional way to get to t4 faster than normal. Previously SY was always required but now having barracks and WCS unlocks t3, and having t3 unlocks t4. This is usually a pretty cheesy strategy, supply yard and its upgrades are quite vital due to our increased upkeep values for most squads. However, this tech route helps armor doctrine a bit, as it actually allows you to rush out quick armor, even if at a penalty of manpower income. We thought this makes for an interesting addition and of course we tested these rush strategies in our games - they almost never pay off. I'm more concerned that this is a pointless addition rather than a game breaking one.

I don't think AI uses this tech route very often, and if it does then I'm ok with it. The reason it always goes Shermans is, as I explained in my reply to the original comment, because I wanted to make it go Shermans more often than it goes for t3. The numbers might need some tuning but I'm mostly happy with how it plays out.

We're happy with bunker health right now, it's actually something we worked on quite a bit and I don't think we'll change anything about bunkers as they are now.

+1 vote   reply to comment
AGameAnx Creator
AGameAnx Apr 17 2015 replied:

Hey, thanks for the feedback.

This is yet another thing that is really hard for me to get right. I think the T3 purchase decision got its likelihood lowered a while back, probably making it a bit too unlikely to happen. I'll have another look at that, it should be fixable. It's a conscious decision to make it rush Shermans though - it does much better with T4 than with T3.

In my play tests it gets snipers and HMGs all the time, the effect that you're experiencing must be an issue with the difficulty. Worth a look though, I might increase the priority of those units a little bit. Mortar priority is calculated in a rather special way - it gets mortars vs defensive play styles - if you have emplacements or defensive units, which most players absolutely have to get vs AI - but this probably means that the priority function is returning values that are higher than intended, making AI always decide to buy mortars first.

All of these things require ridiculous precision and the more you report inconsistencies that you notice in your games the easier for me to know which things to focus on, heh. Thanks again.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Skjold Apr 18 2015 replied:

Well yes, I pretty much had to set up a strong defensive position ASAP at the beginning of the game, or else the friendly AI wouldn't be able to hold the frontline as both it and the enemy AI tend to blob their infantry and alternate sending it up front or flanks, and they don't always even meet LOL
Actually, I remember the American AI tended to get a lot of MGs on urban maps as opposed to open ones, but used them exclusively in support of their attacks, and it was somewhat clumsy as I always managed to get into grenade range before the AI tried to pack it up.
In general, Normal AI just doens't make any decent attempts at fortifying the perimeter, something I exploited all the time. It builds bunkers at the right locations, but these can easily be bypassed. And, conversely, neither is it able to breach well-positioned defenses.

+2 votes     reply to comment
AGameAnx Creator
AGameAnx Apr 18 2015 replied:

Unfortunately, I pretty much can't make AI units interact with its other units, execute complex tactics or create complex defensive positions. I'm limited to fixing what Relic has had in place. I did add a few completely new systems, but those have to rely on gathering information with quite unorthodox methods, which impacts performance and is hard to code.

When I say it creates a frontline, I mean that its probability spectrum for where to send its units is spread out in a cohesive line that would somewhat resemble the way a human would think of it. Unfortunately that is still a very simplistic level of control and having anything more than this would likely impact performance in very bad ways, besides the need to create a hugely complex code for it.

When we play we often gravitate to certain AI setups that favor AI by quite a bit and that have a potential to defeat defensive play (such as the british because they get artillery, or wehrmacht because they have individually strong units and tools that are good for punching holes in your defenses).

It's all well figured out by now and I have stated in other places that I in fact almost completely switched to pvp and company of heroes 2 at this point. There just isn't much to do about AI being dumb in this game, unfortunately. I don't even want to try to play vs coh1 vanilla AI for nostalgia or something, I think it would make me quite sad, it's absolutely broken. Mostly the AI in the mod is good because we figured out glaring bugs and made it actually attack in a somewhat smart manner, but I never claim that it's revolutionary or something. I can't wait for them to unlock AI in coh2 modding, see if it can be modded better there.

+1 vote   reply to comment
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Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts Icon
Synthax Studios
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Release Date
Released 2008
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114 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

Real Time Strategy
Single & Multiplayer
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6 months ago
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