Modding Company of Heroes 1 and 2 has been a really interesting journey for me. I learned so much about various things but found my passion along the way in programming. I was in the Air Force at the time and all I could do was think of cool things I could do with Fortress Europe. When I returned to civilian life, I went to college and got a degree in Computer Science. When I wasn't studying or doing homework I was working hard on Fortress Europe. It was such a labor of love and I was so proud of what we were able to accomplish. But then, life happened. I got married. I got my first job as a Software Engineer and had to relocate. Suddenly, it was hard to find the time and motivation to work on the mod when I was already programming at work. I went from being so inspired to come home and work on the mod to being exhausted and unmotivated. As passionate as I was about modding, it was a hobby and not a job.
I had originally started working on a mod for Company of Heroes 1 that I called Operation Overlord or something like that. I had worked briefly on the Europe in Ruins team but wanted more realism, so I set off to try different ideas like using actual Tables of Organization and Equipment to model the squads on. It was at this time that I met Sturmhaubitze (aka Contrivance). We hit it off pretty quickly because of how similar his existing mod, Fortress Europe, was to the ideas I had with Operation Overlord. We decided to merge and keep his name (it was better, anyways). We had the grandest visions for what the mod could be like. I think, for the most part, we achieved a lot of that. However, the game had limits, and we did our best to overcome them. I remember when Company of Heroes 2 was announced how excited we were for new beginnings. We hurriedly switched development over to that and made very quick progress to adapt it. Eventually, we got access to the UI Control API after Relic added it to the game and our wildest dreams were coming true. We had so many different designs and prototypes we went through trying to get it just right.
Unfortunately, that's around when life happened. We were on and off again over the years and then I think we were both pretty demotivated.
Fast forward to today. I asked Contrivance for permission to release a demo we had sent to Relic back in June 2015 and he gave it. It is a very old build compared to our current branch but it is an interesting insight into the development of the mod at that time. We sent them that mod just as we had started looking into the UI Control API, so we didn't have any of that ready. However, it did have an ability-based menu system that Contrivance came up with that worked just fine. It's obviously a little bit rough around the edges and probably has some bugs, but it showcases our armor and penetration system pretty well.
Although I do not have the time I once did, and I believe Contrivance has mostly moved on, I do think there might be a possibility of making Fortress Europe open-source or something like that and getting help from the community in finishing it - if there is enough interest.
If you are interested in being part of the development of Fortress Europe, feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise, enjoy the demo!