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 v4.1

Before downloading Back to Basics please make sure that you patched Company of Heroes to v2.700.2.42
Back to Basics v4.1

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 v4.1

Today we're releasing a large update for Back to Basics.
The update focuses on all aspects of the mod, update highlights include:

  • Improved performance
  • A plethora of balance tweaks to bring certain units more towards their intended roles
  • Some changes to core gameplay to further improve the flow of the game
  • Unit veterancy tweaks
  • Overhauled casualty clearing station balance
  • Complete mortar overhaul
  • Further tank aoe and scatter improvements
  • Squad handling improvements (CoH2 style squad AI)
  • A plethora of bug fixes
  • Updated AI resource bonuses
  • Reduced AI cheating (now works even more like a human would in regards to seeing into fog of war)
  • Updated and added brand new AI funcitonality
  • Campaign bug fixes
  • Tweaks to Rails and Metal map
Back to Basics v4.1

For the full list of changes we encourage you to read our full changelog here.

Company of Heroes: Back to Basics v4.0

Company of Heroes: Back to Basics v4.0

News 2 comments

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

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...

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Back to Basics v4.1

Back to Basics v4.1

Full Version 7 comments

The v4.1 update of Company of Heroes: Back to Basics is now available!

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v4.0

[OUTDATED]Back to Basics v4.0

Full Version 39 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

Post comment Comments  (70 - 80 of 1,455)

Nice mod. Hotfix for 4.0 coming up soon? Mainly interested in seeing the mortar units fix that was mentioned somewhere in here. Thanks.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
AGameAnx Creator

Hello, thank you! It's coming very soon.
Actually I've added quite a lot of new AI functionality and reworked half of the values in the script due to an optimization which required that to be done. This extended the testing required quite a bit, but we're very motivated right now and doing a lot of games every day :) We've also adjusted a plethora of weapon related stuff, actually some relatively big changes towards area of effect again, we finally managed to get it working with full accuracy area of effect, which we thought to be impossible due to engine flaws. So now tank aoe (especially tigers/pershing/ostwind) feels even better than before, but is also much more powerful in some cases than before, which is what also needs to be tested and adjusted. Here's a changelog preview for you guys (everything in this can still change of course):

Reply Good karma+4 votes

Nice. I play COH almost exclusively in skirmish mode and having a mod which such extensive AI improvement is great.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes

Hallo, after a long time, me and my mate wants to take a look in this great mod. But everey Time we try Annihilation Game stops with Fatal SCAR ERROR.

4 Player Achelous River (Our Standart Testmap for first rounds)
1 USA Normal AI Pos 1
1 GB normal AI Pos 2
1 Whemacht (me) Pos 3
1 Panzerelite (friend) Pos 4

Everytime he try to capture a Point, game stops.
Same Map Same Positions Victory Control System = Game runs fin, but AI seems a bit slow.
We can take middle Island and right one without a fight.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes


Coincidence. I played about the same thing, expect 3 was PE and me in 4 as WH. I had no problem.

I had fatal errors, but on specific fan made maps. ^First exemple could be maps made for eastern front, with probably as none compatible decoration, JU 87 and JU 52 on grounded.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
AGameAnx Creator

Hey, thanks for the report. I've fixed a number of scar errors already for the upcoming path, but can you please screenshot the console (ctrl+shift+`) when the error happens? It would help me out a ton in determining what is wrong.

Otherwise don't expect AI to do well on bridge maps.

Reply Good karma+2 votes

So a few annoyances came up after several matches with this mod most of the matches I did were 1v1's though I did through in a few 2v2's. These are the biggies.

1) The AI is notoriously passive with its armor. There will be cases where I dont have any AT and the AI is still afraid to push into my line of infantry and just leaves it way back or even in its own base. An extreme example was at one point as PE the US AI had an M10 and 2 shermans and was terrified of my single PZ IV long barrel which was my only AT. I had absolutely no other way of dealing with armor, no AT grenades, no Panzershrecks no nothing. The AI just kept its tanks way back and did nothing with it. I ended up killing all 3 armored tanks cause they kept backing into the buildings in their base trying to desperately avoid my my single tank.

2) Is it just me or is MG's terrible vs infantry in this version? I have yet to see my MG's actually pin anything much less kill anything. They keep getting overran by riflemen blobs of death or massed volksgrens/grens cause it takes them a long while to suppress and they seem to do very little damage. In my last match I had 3 MG42's all converge on one rifleman squad and still failed to pin him, only suppressed. This seems a bit extreme and makes it very difficult to deal with infantry. I found that a roving blob of BAR's or MP40's is the only way to deal with inf cause of this.

3) Vehicles that are suppose to hard counter infantry like the Puma with 20mm, 20mm armored car, croc sherman etc etc etc, they are seem woefully poor at doing so. I once had a merry band of 4 ostwinds due to riflemen overload and they got absolutely trashed by a handful of bazooka's

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
AGameAnx Creator

1) Yeah I monitor this as much as possible and obviously there are instances of it working quite badly right now. It's extremely hard to balance it, there's no easy way to assess if enemy units do in fact have AT capability or not, not unless I dump this information using a complex macro and then cache it in yet another heat map. Lots of work... I've been considering it for a while but so far I found other things more compelling to add. I will tune it a bit to make them somewhat more aggressive but this is an extremely delicate balance. Considering how lethal and volatile our tank damage system is, you can't fault me for not getting it perfectly. It's damn near impossible to.

2) MGs aren't terrible, they have a much decreased unsetup&setup; time for players to utilize and the speed at which they suppress increases vs blobs considerably (this is actually relic's system, but our antiblob stuff adds even more to that). We wanted to remove 1st burst suppression, and vs cover they don't suppress quite as effectively, whereas new AI is much better at utilizing cover, unblobbing and assaulting MGs now. The functionality of straight up overrunning MG positions using the new assault functionality really makes you think twice about where to put the MGs and requires you to constantly monitor if they aren't getting overrun.

If we buff MGs further they will become a large problem in pvp games. We buffed the american MG right before the release and I was personally getting my *** handed to me by a single MG42 just a few days ago. I don't think MGs require additional buffs to their dps, a suppression redesign might be needed, but honestly suppression is a hard mechanic to make fun. MGs are supposed to be a force multiplier, I'm not sure if they perform in this way right now, but they are still a great defensive tool though, and adding further functionality to them might seriously screw with the balance. In terms of weapon dps MGs are really amazing, MG42 also has extremely fast rate of fire so it is exceptional at killing off a bunch of soldiers from a squad quickly, whereas vickers and 30cal are great for sustained damage - overall slightly higher dps but harder to utilize that statistic due to it being distributed more evenly and axis soldiers also usually have larget hitpoint pools.

3) We worked extremely hard on balancing these vehicles. Crocodile is insanely strong if you can actually get it into a right position. Pumas and armored cars don't scale their dps quite as well towards close range, so they're very good for sustained damage output, free kills, but require hard amount of micro and repairs - best for pvp games. We can't buff them any further, they are good units, but might simply not be very strong vs hordes of AI units.

Ostwind was actually the one exception that got overlooked. It is already buffed for the upcoming patch. Here's the current Ostwind changelist, it might still change before we release the patch:

- Ostwind Flakpanzer:
* Area of effect damage increased across all ranges within the radius.
* Fixed rate of fire and increased burst duration.
* Reduced scatter but decreased accuracy; the weapon is now much more dependent on splash damage instead of direct hits.
* Increased overall effectiveness of the main gun vs infantry.

Thanks for the feedback and happy new year!

Reply Good karma+3 votes

Thanks for spending your time looking and responding at my feedback!

1) I understand now. Yea like one panzershreck rocket to the face even gets me to back off and repair like a mad man and rushing in blindly usually ends in death. I swore I remember 3.0's AI with armor being much more aggressive and reckless but sometimes it paid off really well.

2) Yea when I toss MG's in the fray its more about breaking up and slowing down advances with rapid suppression and pins at all ranges, more so then damage. If suppression is slow I'd atleast expect some decent damage but that might be the new accuracy and weapon stats causing that issue for longer range engagements which leaves a lot of living troops that reach mid range which is close enough for a deadly grenade toss.

3) Hmm i'll try again in a few matches in the near future and give it another shot. Its just natural when playing vCoH and CoH2 that closing distance will improve lethality with any unit so its only natural to do it in BtB.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes

I gave the mod a shot - I love a lot of the changes. But it seems the Ai cheats heavily as in they can see enemies without fog of war. I had troops on my side of the map being hit by artillery strikes when it is impossible for the Ai to know where my troops are.

As in they didn't fly in recon planes, or have any troops nearby. Yet with pin point accuracy hit every one of my guys.

This can probably be fixed by having Ai not fire unless it has direct LoS.
To be more specific the unit which does this is the Small Artillery gun which makes a noise when it fires its rockets.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
AGameAnx Creator

This is something AI can't avoid doing, any AI in any game will do this and saying that it should only fire at visible units is unfair and not viable. Vanilla AI does this to a much larger extent than the mod AI, too. Obviously the implementation of this can be changed, but honestly, AI needs any edge it can get in lategame. I am not saying that I'll just let it know exactly where your units are though, of course, I tried making it as fair as possible. But you have to be prepared for the fact that it's not brain dead and will use the tools it has against you.

The way it works in the mod is as follows:

It searches for the highest "value" area of the map in a radius around the barrage vehicle. This area will only be picked if its value is above a certain threshold that I said. It has a 50% chance to not consider targets in fog of war AT ALL.

Targets that are hidden in FOW also have a much reduced overall unit value associated with them. The value of different areas that are invisible to the AI player grows with time and will reach numbers that are above the threshold only if you keep your units there for a while.

Historic value of areas grows with time and falls slowly all across the map where there aren't any units. This historic value is added to the reduced value of units in FOW to get the value of an area. The highest potential of it cheating is if you move a large group of your units into a an area you previously had occupied, in this case it'll instantly know that you are there and might barrage you if it has a barrage available, but this situation is somewhat uncommon.

So in other words, it really doesn't cheat in a dumb way, and there's only so much I can do to make it smart about it. These operations are extremely CPU expensive, too. AI is of course still allowed to utilize relic's designed clump scanner along with this, the implementation of which is pretty much a complete mystery, but other than that, this is actually something I worked pretty hard on.

One other thing is that it'll never barrage where your units AREN'T. This is something I had to do because the calculations were too CPU expensive (all this implementation might change further after the next patch, as I have reworked all these calculations to be temporal to improve optimization). It'll try to barrage but sometimes it'll wait for a bit because it fails to find an immediate target.

This whole thing is actually a feature that I scripted specifically into the AI control script and am proud of. It forces AI to use its barrage more often and more intelligently. It is also important to note that barrages are AI's best tool for lategame to break the camping players. Camping is the best strategy against AI, even after the changes, but I'm glad to add any systems that counteract it.

Either way, as long as you spread out it should not be an issue. We can win against it on hardest difficulty even with all this "cheating". Cheating and AI are basically inseparable concepts anyway. Just try a lower difficulty if it's beating you. If you're already playing on low difficulties, we have a patch coming in the very near future that will adjust some of its bonuses.

Thanks for the feedback though. I may consider toning back the barrages if this is really something that isn't enjoyable to play against.

Oh, and happy new year!

Reply Good karma+2 votes

Thanks for the reply,
But for the 2 games I tested the Ai was just cheating non stop. Anytime I moved my units to a location they were just attacked by artillery barrages. Maybe increase the speed it "forgets" the location of an enemy position after the area has gone dark.

Because even in the Vanilla game it wasn't this bad. I can't move any infantry in the map without an artillery strike hitting them. I mean its fine on fixed position targets like defensive structures. You know those will be there - when the place goes dark. But after you move infantry units to a new location and be able to hit them with 100% precision without even knowing where they moved to - just feels wrong.

Maybe if you really want to keep your cheat mechanic - in easy and normal difficulties only allow it to fire artillery barrages at a 25% distance from its location. On hard 50% of its invisible distance, and 100% on expert mode where you expect the computer to cheat normally.

Happy new your to you too.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
AGameAnx Creator

Wanted to let you know that I've spend the entire day today tuning this. Hopefully the result is worth the effort

Reply Good karma+1 vote
AGameAnx Creator

In vanilla it barely used nebelwerfers, didn't use stukas at all. You might see one or two barrages per game in vanilla in total. You can't compare my AI to that **** of an implementation, it is simply unfair. And yes, I know from looking at the code that vanilla nebelwerfers could target you in FOW just fine, I just don't know if there's hidden logic in the engine for doing it less frequently or something.

It would also run those units straight into your defensive line, to either gift them to you or repeatedly recrew that decrewed weapon right in that same spot for more free kills...

Anyway... I get a bit upset when people praise vanilla AI because it was UNBELIEVABLY bad and straight up broken.

It's fair enough though, I understand why playing against it can be annoying. Actually I've already adjusted how this functionality works to improve performance, I'll also adjust the thresholds to make it wait slightly longer before barraging. Unfortunately I can't make it forget faster because the history values are used for other systems in the script.

I might also consider introducing some additional logic in terms of how often AI actually purchases indirect fire units. It's actually something I worked pretty hard on making consistent because in our games we always felt like it would be great if AI would actually utilized its full arsenal to break our positions properly, instead of sending hordes of brainless troops at us. But right now it gets indirect fire pretty much every game, perhaps it can be tuned a bit. No promises though, that stuff is extremely volatile and we enjoy the way it works now.

Unfortunately right now the scar script can't easily distinguish between AI difficulties, but obviously having this function differently for harder AI difficulties would be a great solution. The script is also shared, one script runs per human player, on all AIs at once, no matter how many AIs are running on that player's PC. So yeah separating it would be a bit complex, probably not worth it.

Again though, it's not really straight up cheating, it's just the way it works in all games. Making it have an actual perception system for predicting unit movement and kinda making educated guesses for where to target its barrages would be like a whole another project to complete, basically a pattern recognition AI, which would probably require machine learning. Not in the scope of a ****** little mod, is it? Simply put, you are frustrated because you lose to it, not because our mod does this in an specifically egregious way. But that said, I will still tune it down because actual player experience should be more important than me knowing that I'm not "breaking the rules". If you feel it's frustrating, then it's not done correctly. You're also not the first person to complain about it.

Thanks again for your feedback

Reply Good karma+2 votes
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122 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

Lowest Rated (2 agree) 2/10

You can see the rifleman squad harder to beat a Volk squad , even with BAR in any range , The early game become a damn grenade war . Then the AI side group more and more . The balance is fucking crap AGAIN .
Friendly unit won't give enemy a finish because they are establish a goddamn line ! And friendly also give half territory to the enemy there they are too strong in nunmbers . AI works stupied and just know how to spam .
I give up this mod and back to play the vCoH .

Dec 19 2015 by siemens33c

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