Back to Basics is a full conversion mod for Company of Heroes and its expansions. The aim of the mod is to create an environment that respects the nature of the original Company of Heroes gameplay, while enhancing its core features that put focus on tactics, proper decision making, and player skill.
Along with new units, abilities, upgrades, and commander trees, the mod features an entirely new weapon damage model as well as brand new gameplay mechanics. The damage model is generally more lethal with a lower time-to-kill than the base game. At the same time it is as fair, balanced, and consistent as possible with almost all instances of instant squad wipes removed from the game. New gameplay mechanics featured in Back to Basics include “Enfilading fire”; squads receiving fire from multiple directions are prone to take more damage, and “Anti-blob”; squads clumped up together receive penalties to their overall combat effectiveness.
Those who take the time to understand the depth of all the units and the entirety of the mod's damage model and mechanics will find that the battles are quite dynamic with a large spectrum of different play styles being viable. The impact of utilising different types of weaponry is strong and worthwhile, as each weapon has a unique role and performance. This in turn creates an overall dynamic that makes proper army composition and unit positioning essential to change the outcome of battles.
Back to Basics features over 30 brand new units spread across the four factions, while revamping existing ones. Each unit was carefully selected and designed, offering diversity while retaining clear unit roles and purposes without unnecessary unit overlap.
Vehicle dynamics include many of the enjoyable aspects that the base game offers, while enhancing the overall depth and feeling of each feature. The element of randomness is forgiving, the accuracy of each weapon is redone completely, and the damage and penetration values are intuitive. Critical hits are more incorporated into vehicle combat and give a sense of deterioration as damage is received, without being a straight up death-sentence. In essence, both the visual appeal and overall feeling of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infantry battles were boosted through an increased quality-of-life by reducing randomness, and removing the age-old critical-no-damage bug.
Vehicle roles are shifted towards offering complementary synergy with infantry, although some elements of aggressive vehicle orientated playstyles and timed pushes remain intact. 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.
Area of effect damage models of artillery and high-explosive weaponry is completely revamped. While it is still perfect for accruing damage and flushing out dug in enemies, the splash of artillery damage works very differently. Individual impacts have a large area of effect, applying damage and suppression to squads in larger radius but the lethal radius of the explosion is reduced, reducing instant squad wipes. Infantry in trenches and cover can be shielded from the blast and the same logic applies to vehicles - shells have to hit close-by to be most dangerous. Resource management is very important for sustained barrages as every barrage has a munitions cost associated with it. All forms of artillery play is a conscious choice, and its overall exponential strength growth potential that is present in its vanilla design is reduced.
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. The result is an AI opponent that can be challenging and unpredictable, while also being both fair and enjoyable to play against. AI improvement highlights include:
The mod includes a slew of aesthetics improvements. Graphics, sound, UI, unit skins, ground textures, physics all have been improved, with the aim to improve the visual appeal and overall game quality:
Join our Discord! This discord server is where we keep our on-going changelogs, and offers the opportunity to be in direct contact with us concerning the mod. The platform is also the entrance to gaining access to the Back to Basics 5.0 Sandbox.
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:
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
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
Before downloading Back to Basics please make sure that you patched Company of Heroes to v2.700.2.42
Does not require a previous installation of Back to Basics. Make sure to
remove any existing mod version before installing.
An on-going development version of Back to Basics 5.0 can be cloned from Gitlab. To gain access to the Sandbox, you will have to join our discord server. Installation instructions are provided, and we are available to help troubleshoot.
Install this version at your own discretion as it is a work in progress and might be periodically broken by commits straight to the master branch.
This means that everything showcased is subject to change as we are still in the process of testing and refining features. It also means that some features included in these builds may be scrapped altogether for the final release.
Back to Basics 5.0 Sandbox will not interfere with previous releases of Back to Basics.
We really appreciate all kinds of feedback. Let us know on Discord or here on ModDB what you think about the mod and we are sure to reply and answer questions.
The next topic we are covering are the design changes for the Americans that are part of the upcoming Company of Heroes: Back to Basics 5.0 update.
The American tech tree is non-linear, featuring a broad range of units available in the base arsenal. The faction was heavily orientated around utilising Commander Tree specific units to complement the capabilities of the main infantry unit: Riflemen. This resulted in a limited amount of viable strategies which in turn led to repetitive army compositions.
While Riflemen were a capable infantry unit, they lacked efficient anti-vehicle capabilities. This resulted in the Americans having to resort to using Anti-Tank Guns or expensive infantry units such as Rangers and Paratroopers. These options forced certain tech progression or Commander Tree choices, which constrained the possible strategies players were able to choose.
A further reliance on Commander Tree specific abilities and tools was forced as the base faction arsenal lacked efficient indirect fire support. This made the faction perform inadequate against defensive playstyles, while also lacking a proper counter to indirect fire support of other factions.
The dependence on Commander Tree specific units left the Motorpool (T3) often in the shadow of the Tank Depot (T4) during later stages of the game. Players would often favour Supply Yard upgrades in conjunction with elite infantry to potentially transfer into T4, over the tools available in T3.
Our goal was to reduce the overall forced Commander Tree choices by increasing the versatility and flexibility of the base arsenal. Additionally, we aimed to permit a broader range of strategies and increase the general appeal of T3.
To summarise addressed items:
The tech tree remains as follows:
Engineers (3) (210 mp)
A small but adaptable engineer unit equipped with M3 Submachine Guns. Decent at supporting mainline infantry in close ranged combat. Can perform repairs to structures and vehicles, and when trained to Assault Engineers, throw Grenades. Can be upgraded with a Flamethrower for increased firepower, or a minesweeper to counter minefields. Engineers construct basic defensive structures as well as all base structures.
Jeep (180 mp, 5 fuel)
An agile reconnaissance vehicle capable of capturing territory, strong spotting capabilities and providing early game fire support. Jeeps offer additional utility in the form of Mark Target. Marked units will temporarily suffer from increased received accuracy and damage.
Assault Engineers (150 mp, 15 fuel)
Increase the combat effectiveness of Engineers by equipping them with Mk.II 'Pineapple' Grenades, Demolition Charges and M1 Thompson Submachine Guns. This upgrade will also make them more resistant to suppression.
Assault Engineers synergize well with the suppressive capabilities of Heavy Machine Gun Teams and the bonuses and utilities provided by Command Squads and Staff Sergeants.
Riflemen (6) (280 mp)
The iconic 6 man infantry unit. Equipped with M1 Garand Rifles and Grenades by default, Riflemen are one of the most versatile backbone infantry squads available. Received an overall boost in squad survivability, and a higher cost.
Riflemen are a competent force at any range, but thrive best in medium ranged combat. Their combat efficiency can be further strengthened by equipping squads with M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles for greatly increased firepower, or an M9 Bazooka for anti-vehicle capabilities.
While capable on their own, Riflemen synergize well together with officer units such as the Sergeant and Command Squad, especially when fighting at longer ranges or when facing specialised assault infantry.
Staff Sergeant (1) (210 mp)
Offers an overall boost in combat efficiency to all infantry in vicinity, whilst also able to use Inspire; temporarily increasing the firepower of singular squads. Captures territory twice the default rate, especially useful for early game map dominance. Gains veterancy through shared veterancy from nearby infantry squads. Can throw Smoke Grenades to screen units from fire.
Staff Sergeants are great at scaling infantry capabilities throughout the course of the game. While synergizing well with mainline infantry, the provided bonuses also boost the combat performance of specialised units such as Sniper Teams, HMG teams, and Mortar Teams.
Sniper Team (2) (300 mp)
Specialised anti-infantry unit. Equipped with M1903 Springfield Sniper Rifles, Sniper Teams excel at dealing consistent damage at long range. The one-shot-kill mechanic was removed because it was deemed oppressive. Instead, Sniper Teams feature a combination of high damage and perfect accuracy, especially useful against defensive positions and team weapons.
Sniper Teams offer a way to efficiently soften up infantry targets, and are great for initiating attacks or effective fire-support while screened by other units.
Sticky Bombs (100 mp, 15 fuel)
Equip Riflemen and Armored Infantry with improvised Anti-Tank weapons.
Command Squad (3) (240 mp)
Offers an overall boost in survivability to all infantry within a circular radius. The Command Squad offers additional utility in the form of Observed Fire; an off-map mortar barrage, and Mark Target; marked enemy units will temporarily suffer from increased received accuracy and damage.
Captures territory twice the default rate, especially useful for early game map dominance. Gains veterancy through shared veterancy from nearby infantry squads.
The squad received an overall boost in squad survivability and combat capabilities by gaining an extra squad member that wields an additional M1 Carbine. This permits the Command Squad to provide decent fire-support to team weapons, in addition to the shared bonuses and overall utility it provides.
Heavy Machine Gun Team (4) (280 mp)
A typical Heavy Machine Gun Team, capable of using AP rounds to deal with light vehicles. Great at dealing area suppression and supporting advancing infantry. The .30 cal M1917 is devastating on mid and long ranges, synergizing well with fire support from Mortar Teams, or the offensive capabilities of infantry such as Riflemen and Assault Engineers.
Mortar Team (4) (270 mp)
Mortar Teams offer effective indirect fire support with the M2 60 mm Mortar. Besides the default mortar barrage, Mortar Teams can also barrage areas with smoke to screen units from fire.
M1 57 mm Anti-Tank Gun (4) (260 mp)
Anti-Tank Gun capable of tackling vehicles with great precision at long range. Can use HVAP shells for temporary guaranteed armour penetration capabilities.
Anti-Tank Gun mechanics have seen a series of quality of life improvements, including more responsive crew behavior for easier and more comfortable setup and relocations, and the HVAP ability can now be activated while on the move.
M3 Halftrack (260 mp, 25 fuel)
Lightly armored troop transport mounting a .50 cal M2Hb Heavy Machine Gun that can provide reasonably efficient fire-support. Up to 12 infantrymen, or two squads in total, can be loaded into the halftrack. Loaded infantry will visibly occupy the truck's open-top compartment, and can independently target enemy units with their own weapons. May capture territory with infantry loaded, and can Set-Up in friendly territory to offer a small reinforce radius. The M3 Halftrack offers great mid-game synergy with infantry orientated tactics, though countered heavily by anti-tank weaponry and may also be damaged by small arms fire.
The M3 may be upgraded to an M16 MGMC, equipping the Halftrack with the Maxson M45 Quadmount. The M45 features quad-mounted .50 cal M2Hb Heavy Machine Guns, capable of laying down devastating suppressive fire.
M8 Armored Car (280 mp, 35 fuel)
Alternative: T17 Armored Car (280 mp, 35 fuel)
The M8 “Greyhound” and T17 “Staghound” fill out the same role of fast and agile reconnaissance vehicles suitable for offensive endeavours against infantry and light vehicles. These vehicles are excellent at clearing flanks not covered by anti-tank weaponry.
The Greyhound can be upgraded with a .50 cal M2Hb Heavy Machine Gun for increased firepower and has the ability to lay down mines. In contrast, the Staghound can be upgraded with a Tank Commander for increased sight range, and can fire canister shells. Both vehicles can be globally upgraded with Armor Skirts or Sandbags for an increased hitpoint pool.
M3 GMC (300 mp, 50 fuel)
The M3 Gun Motor Carriage (GMC) features a powerful 75 mm M1897A4 Field Gun mounted on the lightly armored but mobile M3 Halftrack chassis, capable of both direct and indirect fire. Supercharged high-explosive shells permit for effective barrages at long range, mending the faction's missing mobile indirect fire support.
The GMC lacks the dynamics to lead offensive attacks and is vulnerable to any form of anti-tank weaponry, and should therefore be kept at long range and in the fire support role.
Armor Skirts (120 mp, 20 fuel)
Equip all M8 Greyhounds with Armor Skirts or all T17 Armored Cars with Sandbags, making them more resistant to hits by increasing the maximum hitpoint pool of the vehicle.
M36 Jackson (360 mp, 55 fuel)
Alternative: M18 Hellcat (340 mp, 50 fuel)
The M36 Jackson is a tank destroyer mounting the M3 90 mm tank gun. Whilst being a highly capable and accessible counter to light vehicles and tanks, the Jackson performs adequately against infantry targets, and is vulnerable to any form of anti-tank weaponry.
M18 Hellcat is a highly agile, but lightly armored tank destroyer that mounts the M1A2 76 mm tank gun. Though not packing quite the same punch as the Jackson, the Hellcat is vastly more mobile and benefits from a .50 cal M2Hb Machine Gun for increased anti-infantry capabilities.
M4 Sherman (420 mp, 80 fuel)
The M4 Sherman is a flexible tank, forming the backbone of the armored forces. The featured 75 mm tank gun is capable of tackling both infantry and most vehicle threats. The Sherman can be upgraded with a .50 cal M2Hb Heavy Machine Gun for increased firepower against infantry and light vehicles.
Additional utility upgrades are available in the form of the Crab Mine Flail to clear out minefields, or a Bulldozer blade to clear impassable obstacles.
Shermans can be converted to Crocodile Tanks through the Mechanized Strategies Commander Tree, enabling a unique ability to toggle between the main gun and the secondary Flamethrower.
M4A3(76)W Sherman (440 mp, 90 fuel)
Mounting the powerful 76 mm M1A1C main gun, the M4A3 specialises in the anti-vehicle role. The M4A3 is capable of effectively engaging armoured threats at range, and can be upgraded with a .50 cal M2Hb Heavy Machine Gun for increased firepower against infantry and light vehicles.
M26 Pershing (680 mp, 150 fuel)
A formidable heavy tank that combines strong frontal armor with the devastating 90 mm M3 tank gun. The adequate agility and reliable survivability make the Pershing suitable as a spearhead unit, capable of handling any threat type with great efficiency. However, its lack of secondary armaments leave it vulnerable to flanking infantry attacks equipped with anti-tank weaponry. Can be upgraded with a Tank Commander for increased sight range.
Advanced Tank Depot (150 mp, 35 fuel)
Enables the deployment of the M4A3(76)W Sherman and M26 Pershing.
Smoke Dischargers (100 mp, 10 fuel)
Equip the all M4 Shermans with Smoke Dischargers. Smoke dischargers are mounted on the turret, next to the gun mantlet, and can be fired in a sequence of four shells onto a designated area to form a smoke screen. Smoke is excellent for screening units from fire.
The Supply Yard decreases unit upkeep costs by 15% by default.
Level 1 Production (150 mp, 50 fuel)
Decrease unit upkeep costs by another 10%.
Level 2 Production (200 mp, 90 fuel)
Decrease the unit upkeep costs further by another 10%.
Level 3 Production
Level 3 Production is a toggled ability that further reduces unit upkeep by an additional 15%, while lowering fuel income by 50%. The general concept behind this ability is to permit strategies that are heavily orientated around infantry, without letting the player bank large amounts of fuel.
Level 1 Quartermaster Corps (350 mp, 10 fuel)
Expand operations by increasing the maximum population cap by 20 population.
Level 2 Quartermaster Corps (350 mp, 10 fuel)
Expand operations further by increasing the maximum population cap by an additional 20 population.
Thank you for reading this article! We hope you continue to stay safe and take care of one another during these times. If we've piqued your interest, please consider joining our Discord.
This discord server is where we keep our on-going changelogs, and offers the opportunity to be in direct contact with us concerning the mod. The platform is also the entrance to gaining access to the Back to Basics 5.0 Sandbox.
AGameAnx and Celution
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