Why $55 BILLION knocked off the game market will mean BF2 will return

I think we have over generalised music, games, art, tv, movies, and everything uploadable and postable as “content”,which has become a disservice to our culture.

A comment by Tawny Graf on the “Video Game Industry Stalls, Stocks Plunge. What’s Going On?” article.

Battlefield 2 was last on sale on Steam and Origin in 2014. Then it was mysteriously removed. The inability to obtain a legal copy is hurting various mods and communities. Yes, there are “stand alone” versions of some mods but legally its a grey area. Some projects have tried to restore BF2 servers but have been shut down by Electronic Arts. This is entirely within EA’s legal rights. They are just protecting their “IP” (Intellectual Property), however the criticisms of them are justified. In fact we’re talking “$55 billion knocked off the market” justified. Yes you read that correctly …


Source: Video Game Industry Stalls, Stocks Plunge. What’s Going On?

As the article describes, (also see here, and here1 and here) the video game industry is paying dearly for business practices that spectacularly missed the point of what exactly games mean to people. They are part of peoples life and culture. Think of your local baker, garage, cafe or pub. Is the business all about “selling product”. Of course not. People interact. The businesses are part of the community. Events happen. Culture happens. Yet the game industry has lamely been calling all of this “content”.

With Battlefield 2 the game was taken off the market as EA decided to pursue developing Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield Play4Free business models with micropayments systems and other approaches that are part of the reason for the enormous stock market losses. Ironically EA already had a “pay for free” system setup with Battlefield 2, before they took it off the market, with its modding system that has produced so much quality releases by the likes of AIX2 (and AIX2 Minimod), Forgotten Hope, Project Reality and countless other “mods” (and EA did not even have to make any of it themselves apart from the original modding tools !). Members and communities are still active even if they have dwindled a little due to the non-availability of BF2.

So this is where I can see things heading. Both EA’s Battlefield Heroes and Play4Free failed. Along with this spectacular failure of the video games industry approach, everything is coming back down to earth again with a big bump. EA executives and advisers will realise they they were being silly taking BF2 off the market. They had already created a successful business model, as well as a service to the communities of model makers, artists and texture artists, that was driving sales of BF2. This is why Relic re-released Company of Heroes 1 with Steam Workshop support. We have seen a succession of quality mods for COH1, that were languishing in obscurity, released on Steam. This is a good service for the community and our culture, as well as being a way to drive sales of classic/retro games. People see the enormous amount of free, quality creativity and innovation by mod teams and are drawn into buying the game.

It will also make Modern Combat accessible to the entire Steam community (and hopefully give the mod’s dwindling playerbase a shot in the arm).

An example of this approach.

After all is that not what EA/DICE intended to do in the first place ? Encourage development of mods and then market the game on the basis of free mods being available ?

So I predict that EA will release BF2 again on Origin, Steam or both. If they really get it they will provide mod support either though Steam Workshop or some system of their own on Origin. This is what their market research will tell them. That products they own that are now at the “classic” and/or “retro” end of the market make money by leveraging the huge ecosystems such as Steam. The realisation that the blind pursuit of “top $$$” just alienates gamer’s will also sink in. There’s a lot of talent out there that expresses itself through the modding scene and I’l like to see Forgotten Hope or Project Reality (or whatever mod) on Steam where people who would otherwise probably never discover it will find it. Plus the ability to actually purchase the base game brings more people into modding communities that that have been established for years and have a lot of history behind them.

1. ^ That article covers the wider tech market. I’d suggest the fall there is for similar reasons such as politicising an approach to social media content as well as being dishonest about discriminating against certain viewpoints as exposed by Project Veritas.

First it was smoke grenades that can blind bots, now it’s suppressive fire !

Even to this day the Battlefield 2 bots remain some of the most advanced artificial intelligence in the video gaming world. They may not be quite as sneaky as some games AI such as taking cover or flanking, but in Battlefield 2 the bots show off by exploiting as much of the open world as possible. They jump in vehicles and aircraft and can quickly bring an entire Battlefield 2 map to life, even if they are never able to match the antics of human players.

In Coop and Single Player1, even though the bots were a welcome addition to BF2 and an advance on the Battlefield 1942 bots, their weak spot has sometimes been the inability to reproduce the tactical elements of PvP such as using smoke screens and heavy fire to suppress an enemy. In BF2 the human player experiences a suppression effect in game when under heavy fire as a distortion of their vision in the game. Bots cannot experience that … until now …

On the Battlefieldsingleplayer.com forum “SERPIKO” initially started inquiring about some AI modifications … “Make infantry bots keep away from heavy armored vehicles, A possible workaround?“. That turned into a discovery about how to duplicate human suppression by enemy fire in the AI. Weapons can be altered in a such a way that the weapon will alter the bots behaviour to create a form of suppression that acts on the bots. 

QUOTE (Fastj@ck @ Feb 18 2019, 09:43 AM) *
I made also many experiments with this and i came to the conclussion that the ThrownFireComp triggers the AI to run away.

Holy crap!! It actually works! Now when I shoot an enemy or the ground near an enemy, they stop firing and sprint away from where I shot! This makes them more annoying to kill, but on the flip side, they won’t fire back when they are sprinting away – exactly simulating the real-world effect of suppressive fire! This is game-changing!

Comment by phale on Battlefieldsingleplayer.com forum.

So along with smoke grenades that can block bots vision (see the video above) it looks like we now have a way of making bots react to suppression. This provides some quite exciting possibilities for Coop and solo game play, as well as potentially adding a lot to mods that retain Coop/Solo primarily for training scenarios such as Project Reality. 

It would also be nice to see the AI friendly smoke grenade and this suppression effect implemented in the Forgotten Hope mod. However they do not have a dedicated Coop/SP developer at the moment so please apply if you are interested.

So there you go. Now anything seems possible. Maybe the bots can be trained to canvas EA/DICE employee’s to actually release a digital download version of BF2 one day.

Stay tuned.

1. Single Player in BF2 is usually a reference to Coop with one human player and not the official Single Player mode in BF2. If Battlefield 2 were released today playing solo in Coop would be called “PvE” as it is in Tom Clancy’s The Division.

Python plugin released to restore AI commander artillery/supplies/vehicle drop

Advanced AI commander plugin in action.

DICE updated Battlefield 2 with their 1.5 patch on September the 1st 2009. However one issue that has got missed to this day is the breaking (or deliberate removal for some reason?) of the ability of the AI commander to respond to artillery, supplies, vehicle drop and UAV requests. This all works if the commander happens to be human, but requests fail if the commander is AI (a bot). Over the years there has been much talk about how to fix this. Python was mentioned. Decompiling the Battlefield 2 executable was also a possibility as that is where the bug lies; replacing the 1.5 “AIDLL.dll” and “AIDLL_w32ded.dll” with the equivalent patch 1.41 versions does not work (in version 1.41 these features were still working).

Advanced AI commander plugin in action.

But in 2017 a solution to the problem suddenly appeared on GameFront titled “Auto Artillery(AI commander) plugin” at a version of 2.0.1. It was updated on Feb 1st, 2019 to a version 3.0.2 now titled “Advanced AI commander plugin”.

The author “worldlife123” has solved a major problem ! This is especially prevalent in solo and coop game play. Because there are not legions of human players around you to provide medical and vehicle repair assistance. relying on a supply drop becomes even more important … at least it did until the 1.5 patch broke it. That arguably made solo/coop less fun although the lack of artillery strikes mitigated the problem a bit as there was a bit less to damage to the player going on. But now these features, that were always part of standard Battlefield game play, are back !

Advanced AI commander plugin in action.

The ability for the commander to use artillery across the map is the most obvious feature, as well as your ability to request it. However there is also the supplies and vehicle drop. But worldlife123 has gone further by restoring the ability to disrupt the commanders ability to use “satellite scan” by allowing the player to destroy the enemy satellite dish. The artillery pieces themselves can also be destroyed.

Installation can be tricky and is not yet as simple for the average player as running an installer. Most players will probably get to the use the plugin as modding teams slowly take it into their mods.

Installation is simpler if you are installing into vanilla (default) Battlefield 2 or a mod that does not have modified python files (see the “readme.txt” in the download). I installed into the AIX2 Minimod

1. Backup your python folder ( Battlefield 2\mods\aix2ex_mm\python)

2. I edited “gpm_coop.py” as recommended in the custom install guide in the download, “Battlefield 2\mods\aix2ex_mm\python\game\gamemodes\gpm_coop.py” to give the following. Please note this is not the full file as I had to cut off the end as it was very long. However that part has no new edits. The added code is highlighted …

# co-op



Top = 0
Middle = 1
Bottom = 2

import host
import bf2
import math

from game.scoringCommon import addScore, RPL
from bf2 import g_debug
import aiArty

g_controlPoints = [] # cache, as this map won't change

def init():
	# events hook
	if host.sgl_getIsAIGame() == 1:
	host.registerHandler('TimeLimitReached', onTimeLimitReached, 1)	
	host.registerHandler('RemoteCommand', remotecommand, 1)

	if g_debug: print "gpm_coop.py initialized"
def deinit():
	global g_controlPoints
	g_controlPoints = []
	if g_debug: print "gpm_coop.py uninitialized"

# Rest of Python file truncated for brevity

3. Run “mapinstall.bat” as described in the readme. This adds some files to each map which allows the plugin to operate properly.

4. Make sure the “scripts” folder and its contents is added to the top of the mod folder … “Battlefield 2\mods\aix2ex_mm\Scripts” as this is not made very clear in the installation guide.

Now you should have a fully working AI commander !

It might take a bit of getting used to. It’s not perfect. The commander will often refuse requests but then give them to you. Also the supplies and vehicle drops come down at your position not where you are pointing to. The plugin could also do with some tweaks such as the coloured smoke removing and the timeout increasing. I’m looking into that.

So that’s it for today. All these years later Battlefield 2 proves itself once again. Modders are still producing enhancements such as this and many other add-on’s and mods.

Stay tuned !