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Soviet gameplay - 2/22/2006 8:03:10 PM   
junk2drive


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Since the game is named Panzer Command how slanted is it toward one side or the other?
My opinion of CMBB has been of that game being slanted toward the German player.
Will this game be fun and challenging from the Soviet side?
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RE: Soviet gameplay - 2/22/2006 8:46:49 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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I am able to "kick butt" as either Soviets or Germans. The scenarios are balanced based on points and deployments. The Soviets had some tactical deficiencies in this time period, but operationally they were doing quite well. They are somewhat less flexible than the German forces, but their point cost takes that into account and they are definitely effective. With T-34s and KV-1s, you have some very nice tanks to give you some margin for tactical error as well. Anyway, the game was designed to give players who prefer to play the Soviet side just as much fun as those who prefer to play the Germans.

Regards,

- Erik

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 2/23/2006 12:54:45 AM   
Becket


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Erik,

What are we going to get in terms of Soviet troop quality, and what is the game's overall approach to troop quality? I don't want to use CMBB terms, so I'll use conscript/recruit/trained. I would assume that the bulk of Soviet infantry would be mostly recruit, with some conscript. Not being an expert on OOBs I have no idea if the Soviet force chosen for this game had any Guards divisions - will we get any trained troops from the Guards divisions?

What is the basic on-map manuever element for Soviet infantry? Single soldier, squad, platoon? Apologies if this is covered elsewhere. It's been a long day.

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 2/23/2006 1:25:50 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Becket,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Becket
What are we going to get in terms of Soviet troop quality, and what is the game's overall approach to troop quality? I don't want to use CMBB terms, so I'll use conscript/recruit/trained. I would assume that the bulk of Soviet infantry would be mostly recruit, with some conscript. Not being an expert on OOBs I have no idea if the Soviet force chosen for this game had any Guards divisions - will we get any trained troops from the Guards divisions?


For the campaign, they start out mostly Green and can improve relatively easily to Veterans, but if they take losses replacements can pretty quickly bump them back down to Green. I'd say the Soviet campaign player should aim to get all his core units to be Veterans and keep them there, hoping for one to become Elite.

The Germans start out as mostly Veterans and have less chance of decreasing to Green with replacements. The German campaign player will not have too much trouble keeping his troops Veteran and should end up with a few Elites provided his losses aren't severe.

quote:

What is the basic on-map manuever element for Soviet infantry? Single soldier, squad, platoon? Apologies if this is covered elsewhere. It's been a long day.


Right now, everything is at platoon level for command, in other words your formations are platooons on both sides. Individual units are vehicles and squads.

We felt this would be the most fun for experience tracking and flexibility for players. We considered keeping the Soviets in companies as the base formation for command/control modeling reasons but decided not to for fun/gameplay in the default campaign. With that said, it would be very easy to reorganize them based on the command level you prefer and I may even do that myself if time allows. It would just take some XML editing and some redeployment.

Regards,

- Erik


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RE: Soviet gameplay - 2/23/2006 3:32:07 PM   
Becket


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Thanks, Erik. I like the sound of it!

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 2/23/2006 6:52:51 PM   
James Crowley

 

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Eric

You stated.... "With that said, it would be very easy to reorganize them based on the command level you prefer and I may even do that myself if time allows. It would just take some XML editing and some redeployment."

What does that mean exactly? Can I add another command layer, i.e. Company, with platoons in it? Or will platoons be rolled up into Companies?

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 2/23/2006 6:57:18 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
You stated.... "With that said, it would be very easy to reorganize them based on the command level you prefer and I may even do that myself if time allows. It would just take some XML editing and some redeployment."

What does that mean exactly? Can I add another command layer, i.e. Company, with platoons in it? Or will platoons be rolled up into Companies?


Rolling up platoons into companies is easy, was what I meant. Adding a command "layer" is not possible, that's something we may get to when we do an editor. Right now, each side is basically a reinforced company (or battalion for Soviets), perhaps up to a bit over two companies in a some scenarios.

Regards,

- Erik


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RE: Soviet gameplay - 2/23/2006 7:26:48 PM   
James Crowley

 

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Erik

I'll just float this idea, which was resoudingly shot down in the CM forums.

Player control of individual units or platoons based on C&C restrictions.

Assuming another layer (preferably two) of command is added at some time in the future, a player who has, say, a three platoon company can only give orders to those platoons within his Company C&C "range". Those platoons not in this range, for whatever reason, will have to fend for themselves by relying on previously given orders.

So, a platoon that is sent off on a flanking maneouver may be out of C&C for many turns. However if the move has been well planned in advance that may not be too much of a problem for the owning player. If not well planned or intercepted by previously unseen enemy units the isolated platoon will have to do it's own thing until C&C is re-established somehow by the owning player. And so on.

Just a pet plan.

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 2/23/2006 7:30:46 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
Assuming another layer (preferably two) of command is added at some time in the future, a player who has, say, a three platoon company can only give orders to those platoons within his Company C&C "range". Those platoons not in this range, for whatever reason, will have to fend for themselves by relying on previously given orders.

So, a platoon that is sent off on a flanking maneouver may be out of C&C for many turns. However if the move has been well planned in advance that may not be too much of a problem for the owning player. If not well planned or intercepted by previously unseen enemy units the isolated platoon will have to do it's own thing until C&C is re-established somehow by the owning player. And so on.


Well, that would make the most sense for the Soviets, but given distance and no LOS between them also for the Germans. I would have nothing against something like that. We'll have to decide how much C&C we want to add on in the future and how to make sure something like that is clear to the player, since that could cause a lot of frustration for non-grognards otherwise. We do already track the distance of vehicles from their platoon command and impose some modifiers there so it's not that much of a stretch.

Regards,

- Erik


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Post #: 9
RE: Soviet gameplay - 2/23/2006 11:03:27 PM   
James Crowley

 

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Erik - I do realise that this level of C&C would not be to everyones taste but I am pleased that you are open-minded to it.

With the type of spotting system you have in place - Relative spotting in CM speak - the God like perspective that tends to predominate in tactical wargames is certainly reduced.

But the tactical battlefield is a very confusing place and having the abilty to give orders to all units, irrespective of condition or location from higher HQ's, is not particularly realistic. By imposing the type of restriction I have advocated, the player will be forced to adopt a plan and, by and large, stick to it.

Probably this type of severe C&C would need to be available to players on an optional basis so that those who prefer to be able to order every one of their units can still do so.

The more I read about this game and it's possible successors, the more interested I am becoming.



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RE: Soviet gameplay - 3/5/2006 6:48:30 AM   
Yoozername

 

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I spent the day reading 'The Longest Winter' by Alex Kershaw.

The book describes the stand of an 18 man US platoon at the start of the Battle of the Bulge.

The action of this small unit is a testimony to the lethality of small arms in a defensive position and the C&C of the attacking unit.

The attacking unit is a German para unit that incredibly just attacks without armor, indirect fire or even suppresion fire or flanking attempts. They repeatably performed suicidal tactics.

I bring this up because the attacking teens were repetably ordered to get up and assault but were repteably shot down and pinned. A good game might allow this insane C&C behaviour but it should reflect that shot up units rapidly disregard the orders.

I hope this game admonishes poor leaders and even rewards risk taking.

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 3/5/2006 12:22:36 PM   
Panzer76


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quote:

ORIGINAL: junk2drive
My opinion of CMBB has been of that game being slanted toward the German player.


The Soviets might have been harder to learn how to use effectivly, but when you had, the Soviets were the "easiest" side to play in CMBB.


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RE: Soviet gameplay - 3/5/2006 6:55:16 PM   
ravinhood


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quote:

I am able to "kick butt" as either Soviets or Germans


That statement sort of bothers me Erik. Is the AI that easy to earn the term "kicked butt"? I'd rather see statements like "I barely won by the seat of my pants or the AI kicked MY butt repeatedly". ;)

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 3/5/2006 9:36:29 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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ravinhood,

The first 100 times I played, I barely won by the seat of my pants. Given my experience and knowledge of the scenarios, at this point I'm generally "kicking butt", just as I can in Alexander and Caesar or any other game I've played enough. With that said, we are still balancing scenarios and working on the AI, so it's premature to really have a handle on the final play experience. Our goal though is to make it plenty challenging for folks who want that.

Regards,

- Erik

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 3/5/2006 9:56:00 PM   
Yoozername

 

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I have always wondered how AI can be developed without having humans do extensive human-human play first.

A good AI, in my opinion, is actually human-emulation. The AI in CM seems to have been made by someone that can't play very well.

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 3/5/2006 10:11:27 PM   
benpark


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Good AI can also be a product of the way objectives are secured.

A game where grabbing "flags" is the objective seems to create an AI that reacts in non-human(predictable) ways. If a game's objective was to "cross (x number) of units into a certain zone, then the results of AI pathing can be a bit more unpredictable.

The objectives also need to mean something to the player. If an objective is a random point in the center of a field, I immediately question how the AI is to take something with no cover. It also goes against real world tactics. Objectives should be as they are in historical fact-bridges, crossroads(but not a flag in the center of a road at this scale!), etc.

I hope there is more of an area objective in this game. Fighting for "flags" is gamey.

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 3/5/2006 10:20:58 PM   
Yoozername

 

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Agreed.

A flag in the middle of a field is ahistorical. But if the 'flag' could be something that a quantity is measured to, then it would not be so gamey. An example is calculating LOS to that spot from all units at the end of a game. Or firepower that could be delivered to that spot weighted with ammo/leadership/etc.

Now the 'flag' has real meaning. Just plopping heinies on the flag location is not the goal. Its control that is the goal.

In certain circumstances taking a strategic building with physical presence does make sense of course.

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 3/5/2006 10:22:36 PM   
Hertston


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Yoozername
A good AI, in my opinion, is actually human-emulation.


Not sure about that at all. Quite apart from the fact that nobody has ever managed 'human-emulation' in any meaningful way, I don't think that's a no-brainer even if they had. Think about one game where computer AI pretty much can compete with the best human players - chess. The algorithms used bare little recognition to the way a grandmaster 'thinks' chess... intuition and experience are replaced by what amounts to repeated calculations measuring each possible sequence of moves against predetermined pluses and minuses (material advantage, number of controlled squares, and so on). A human player will do that to to a limited extent, but the inability to make the required number of computations is compensated for by the ability to discard many lines almost instinctively.


quote:

The AI in CM seems to have been made by someone that can't play very well.


Isn't that true of most wargames? And as Erik said the more you play against a wargame AI, the easier it gets - no matter how tough it seemed when you started. That's why PBEM was invented! Koios have a decent record - the Tin Soldiers AI was excellent, but as always that's relative - excellent compared to other wargame AI's; not to an experienced human opponent.

< Message edited by Hertston -- 3/5/2006 10:23:07 PM >

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 3/5/2006 10:36:05 PM   
Yoozername

 

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I think the chess analogy is always a bad road to go down in these discussions.

Wargames, and war, has the element of luck and chance.

Human emulation does not need to be such a hoity toidy deal. Just following proper tactics (just like a real military person would) would have made the CM AI much better.

My basic premise with the CM game is that it is actually a platoon level game. Not sure if the designers agree with that but I think they have taken off into another world anyway.

By platoon level game, I mean I always think in terms of platoons. I develop my aproach to any situation in terms of what platoons will do what. It isn't rocket science, ist just the way to play in my opinion. And I am good.

So given a infantry company, I decide what platoon will be able to give covering fire, act as a reserve and act as a manuver ubit, etc.

CM AI, no matter what battlefront claims, is squad based in nature. Each unit acts as if its on its own mission. my snickering theory is that the designers have no real military experience and it is reflective in the actual product they made.

So I believe any AI that uses this human emulation would develop 'drills' for actual platoon tactics. Again, its nothing more than emulating how a real platoon might do something. But grand AI decisions should direct those platoons to do those drills. The Grand AI is just Battalion/Company command in my opinion. I would actually like to see a wargame that had settable Grand AI and Platoon AI. You could set the Grand AI to something like reckless/aggressive/cautious/etc and the platoon AI could be set to something that effects its drills. It might be conscript/trained/experienced/hardened/etc. The drills it could perform would be effected by this status.

An example is a infantry company that must take a flag in the center of a farm. Its an attack. The 'Grand' AI decides that its going to send one platoon forward with a 'make contact' mission. Its given a route through which it should travel. The other two platoons are to 'provide covering fire'. Each of these platoons then follows a drill. The manuver unit might split a squad, give one section an agressive movement order, another section a less agressive movement order, one squad a short assault type order and the remaining squad just a covered arc order.

The covering platoons give mostly covered arc orders but might also determine that one or two squads should reposition so that they can fire ahead of the manuver platoon.

< Message edited by Yoozername -- 3/5/2006 11:18:54 PM >

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RE: Soviet gameplay - 3/6/2006 3:57:43 AM   
kawaiku


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I have been keeping an eye on this game for a while and it looks good. My question is, in the future will there be a commnad that allows the infantry to dig in during the battle instead of having them pre-dug in or taking enemy foxholes that they had in the beginning of the battle. Say if you just captured a hill overlooking a town that has an objective in it and you know that your opponent will counterattack as soon as he mustered enough forces for it,so you tell your men to dig in on the hill and await the attack which does come and is easy to beat off due to the fact you got your guys dug in in time. It would take about one turns worth to get your guys dug in but is worth it as long as your not attacked while in the process. And where there be a tank follow&support infantry option and infantry support tank option? It could really help with telling which units to go where.

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