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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD

 
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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/15/2009 10:26:48 PM   
MarkShot


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One thing which occurred to me. For those of you who will be getting BFTB as returning players, you should be able to after going through this thread, to just jump in and play BFTB immediately. Now, doesn't that make you happy! :)

BTW, from what I've seen so far, keyboard mapping (orders, filters, selection, unit info, tasks) is all the same as COTA. So, most of you should be up and playing as soon as you are done with the installer.

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/15/2009 11:14:25 PM   
Deathtreader


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot

---

<snip>

Going back to RDOA, there was an illustration in the manual of how you could use a MOVE order (shortest path) with infantry and a large frontage to conduct a sweep. Suppose you wanted to clear a wooded area. For those of you who have played this game for a while, you know sometimes it can be very hard to really secure a VL in closed terrain when just a few enemy units keep popping up. As I see it, this gives you both the tool to conduct a sweep through closed terrain and when contact is made to maximize your fire power. In the past, this was not possible.

Part of the reason it was not possible is that the retreat/rout behavior of OPFOR AI units is much more spontaneous than you can give new orders. I also see some potential for this when you are trying to finish off and destroy enemy units. In the past, it was very hard to finish off enemy units if you could not pin them against impassable terrain. I suspect that this option might also help with this problem. It is about the closest tool you have to aggressively pursue and destroy enemy survivors. (I've run into a number of cases such as finding an enemy firebase and wanting to do more than simply displace his guns, but to destroy them. Now, maybe I can sweep and attack.)







Hi Markshot,

Great to see you back........I've downloaded every hint you've ever written for HTTR/COTA.

Just to be sure I understand you correctly, in your example above regarding the Move "sweep" attack to take out enemy survivors or the guns wouldn't the "attack" SOP box need to be checked??
Thanks!

Rob.

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/15/2009 11:18:00 PM   
MarkShot


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I just wanted to say that I did confirm Paul's comments about one processor versus two. I saw a noticeable improvement in the clock speed on a test scenario of about total 700 units on the map. (This was with what we call the Release Build. We always get two builds a beta and release. Beta has more debugging code and additional beta tools. I think release code should be fairly clean of extra code.)

If anyone was curious, I was getting about 1 min sim = 1 sec real on an Intel QX6700 Quad Core OC'ed 3.2GHz. That's about an hour every minute. From time to time, there would be a clock pause for 5 seconds when like 18:00 was hit the supply system was kicking in.

This looked to me to be one of the larger BFTB scenarios (having more than double the number of units of COTA's largest). Now, of course, smaller scenarios seem to fly on this machine. However, I was pretty happy with this speed on a two year old PC. With this many units on the map, there were units everywhere and fire fights all about. So, it is not like if it is running a bit slower, I am going to get bored.

This is much better than my old P4 2.53GHz run COTA's 300 unit scenarios.

Actually, I am pretty impressed how well it played on this machine which it is showing its age. So, humongous conflict should be in reasonable grasp.

Memory usage was just under 100K which is nothing these days.

Note while running this, I had email, browser, firewall, AV, ... mainly running on other processors. The game was perfectly smooth and XP's other apps were totally smooth while running in background.

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/15/2009 11:20:34 PM   
MarkShot


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Rob,

Good to see you again.

Yes, it would. The boxes you see in this example are the defaults if the player does not manually select anything.

BTW, this sweep operation and how effective it would be is somewhat conjecture on my part until I've gotten to really to some serious play testing, but I think it looks promising. But throw in a little arty support for good measure. :)

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/15/2009 11:58:09 PM   
MarkShot


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Okay, more tech playing. I don't think there is any way to run BFTB in a window. I was trying to get BFTB to run on a second display, but that wouldn't work either. (most full screen only games tend not to be able to do that)

Don't ask me why one would want to do that. I figure once I got it working, then I would obviously find a use for it. :)

In fact something I had running earlier for COTA might come in handy, MP while running both sides at once. Afterall, how else would I check the Sweep Conjecture among others. :)

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/15/2009 11:58:42 PM   
Llyranor


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Great info. Good read.

< Message edited by Llyranor -- 5/15/2009 11:59:36 PM >

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 12:26:43 AM   
Arjuna


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Mark,

Just for clarification Basing, Ambush, Retake Position, Attacks, Bypass etc these are task options not Standard Operating Procedures ( SOPs ). As such they apply to the specific task.

Re Basing. When this is checked, any supply depot or arty will be "based" or deployed to a good location for them to do their job ( resupply or fire support as appropriate ). When unchecked, any depot or arty unit will move and deploy in formation with the rest of the force. So if you want to ensure that your arty or depot stays with the main body, then uncheck the Basing option.

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 12:49:22 AM   
Tzar007


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MarkShot,

These START and END times definitely look intriguing there...and I also notice there are options regarding AMMO, BASICS and FUEL as there are for Aggro, Losses, and ROF. Hmmm...And what's this "Avoid Friendlies" option ?

Regarding BFTB playing in a window: it would have been nice to have the opportunity to play in windowed mode. Not that it's a big deal, but when you are lucky enough like myself to have two 21 inches HD monitors, it is really a breeze to do an AAR by having the game displayed on one monitor, and MS Word or some editing program opened on the other monitor at the same time. Oh well, perhaps for the next release

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 1:01:59 AM   
MarkShot


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He he he ...

Dave, I guess that's why I am reading the manual, since ... (I will file a report)

quote:


Select Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
You can apply various SOP’s to compliment your orders. These options are available for every order except Bombard.
 Click one of the SOP checkboxes to turn each on or off


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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 1:07:09 AM   
Arjuna


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Mark,

Nice One. I see you agree that one should "always apportion blame as far away from oneself as possible".

I haven't had a chance to read Richard's revised manual yet, so I'm glad you are blazing the trail.

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 1:22:40 AM   
MarkShot


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Folks,

Those are "Task Options" and not "SOP". What can I say ... I am trained parrot, you put something in front of me and I repeat it! :)

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 1:27:57 AM   
MarkShot


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Ugo,

The "Avoid Friendlies" ... was rather recent so I heard this discussed although I haven't gotten up to it in my own readings.

Prior to BFTB if friendlies got too close to a Bombard Target, then the fire was temporarily lifted (countdown clock on the order still running). Now, if you want to do a "Broken Arrow" call in fire on your own troops, you are welcome to do it. It should be noted that the engine did lean on the cautious side and this might come in handy in a night/knife fight. :)

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 2:13:45 AM   
MarkShot


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Oh ... this is good ... this is better than watching Comedy Central ...

Richard just found the thread where Dave named these things SOP, "These are new standard operating procedures ( SOP ) options."

:)

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 7:06:29 AM   
MarkShot


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Folks,

I have been looking at those three plan structure buttons and their behavior that we looked at earlier. I think I understand all three very clearly now:

Note: We are talking about things while playing with Order Delays.

Organic - Just the starting OOB command structure. Not really significant after the game starts except if you want to recover it by reattaching units. In which case, before reattaching, you'll know what you will ultimately get.

Player - This is the command structure which you have ordered. It shows what you commanded, but not necessarily what is. This is similar to Orders where you see white orders on the map. These are what you have commanded, but it is not until it goes from being the straight white line to squiggly line implementation that it is being executed. So, the command structure here is what you have ordered, but it not necessarily what is being executed.

Current - Just like Order Delays cause a lag due to propagation between your commands and units receiving and carrying out the orders ... Well, your commands to form forces are impacted by Order Delays and Propagation. So, it takes time for the new command structures to form. This mode shows what command structure is actually in effect. Just as ultimately your orders are carried out. Ultimately this mode, should reflect the forces which you have formed when viewed in the Player mode.

---

In previous games, it was the Player mode which was displayed all the time. However, the Current mode was actually what dictates the behavior of units. By providing the Current mode, this should clear up some of the confusion as to why your orders do not appear to be carried out or communicated yet. (Before that can happen, the force structure you have ordered if it regroups units, must be formed.)

So, keep it in mind that Order Delays not only affect commands/execution, but it also affects chain of command/communication.

Finally, my last advisement is keep in mind which mode you have selected, since this not only impacts the OB Display Tab, but the drawing of lines/colors on the map. However, except for the OB Tab Display, there is no indicator of which mode is selected ... but things will appear radically different on the map. So, if you don't keep track of which mode is selected or generally remain in a single mode, then you are likely to confuse yourself.

Also, it is my impression that the lines/colors for a unit selected in Current mode may not be updated unless you click something else and then reselect that unit.

---

Previously, I had spoken about the third mode to the right being the Force mode, but I am informed by Dave that this is only the case for beta builds. What you will be getting/seeing is the Current mode.

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 8:31:23 AM   
MarkShot


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Alright, I have been experimenting with the START and END times you saw earlier. Some of this is from reading the manual and quite a bit is from playing with it in the game. (the type of insights which can only be gotten at 3am)

START is the time at which you want the movement portion of an order to begin. So, in COTA, you might have been defending a timed objective which expires and you want to pull your forces out as soon as darkness falls. You may have already reached that conclusion at 08:00, but you'll have to wait to say 14:00 to issue your orders or your force will move out prematurely. Or you may forget in the heat of battle and you will lose some of the cover of darkness. With START in BFTB, you can issue that order at 08:00 such that it will be executed at 19:00.

END is the time at which you want an order to stop dead in its tracks. Effectively the order stands, but movement appears to come to a halt. Why would you use END? Well, here is one reason I can think of. You want to avoid superior arty and airpower during the day time hours. So, you only want to move under the cover of darkness. It is hard to gauge just how much ground you will be able to cover in a particular night. So, basically, before sunrise, say 05:00, you want to halt in place and begin diggin in. You may ask can you adjust the time later to continue the movement? No. The task marker upon END effectively snaps to the current location and ends any further movement.

ASSAULT (only for Attacks and Probes) is the time at which the ASSAULT begins from the FUP.

Before discussing these further, let's talk about the one strange exception to all this. Arty/mortar units. If given a movement style order these parameters will impact arty/mortar units just like has been described. However, if they are given a Bombard order, then these fields are used to specify the START and END time of the barrage. You still have the DURATION field to play with which was in COTA. However, START and END will allow to coordinate a barrage with a larger action ... without having to manually time everything.

So, as you can clearly see, you can use START/END/ASSAULT in a complex environment to:

(1) Coordinate plans between different forces. For example: a two axis simultaneous Attack. For example: a Probe feint followed by the main Attack in three hours. There are a whole host of possibilities besides the games I cited above with movement.

(2) Formulate plans when they come into your mind as opposed to having to remember them until the critical moment.

Here is another trick which I just tried that works rather nicely. You can create pended orders. Suppose for example, you know you want a force to move North 10km. However, you do not want them to do that until you have conducted recon of the route. But if you wait for the recon of the route to issue the order, it could take hours for them to move out. So, you issue the orders with a START way into the future. As soon as you are satisfied that the route is clear, you move the START up. Thus, you can set up orders for forces where they will hold in place and then execute immediately when given the green light.

Finally, there is one more feature of this which I want to discuss and then I got to get some sleep. What is the default START time? How is it derived? From experimentation, I have determined that the default START time is NOW + FORCE DELAY. If you will recall from my previous guides, the FORCE DELAY is not accurate until the FORCE is stable and there has been one complete propagation of orders. (This is one reason I usually group my forces and then keep them at fighting units. After some initial guessing, it gives me very good knowledge of what delays will be.) So, the START time for a newly formed force will actually default to some HQ's UNIT DELAY, since the FORCE DELAY is unavailable. Thus, the START default will be way too optimistic and you will simply miss it.

So, for a newly formed force, you are going to have to guestimate what would be the FORCE DELAY and come up with an earliest START and then pick something later. Of course, if you just want to go ASAP, then don't mess with the defaulted value. The important thing is that that default START value will not be of much utility until the force is stable and there has been one propagation of orders.

---

Well, I hope you guys are paying attention to this Mini-Guide and not just considering it to be a preview copy and paste of the manual. Since START/END/ASSAULT only gets two paragraphs in the manual compared to the depth we have covered them here. In the business of business, this is what we call "value added".

Now, it's time for me to catch some Zs before tomorrow's operations begin! :)

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 12:43:49 PM   
TheWombat

 

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Arrgh, you're killin' me. The more you write, the more I want this. Evil man.

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 2:54:54 PM   
MarkShot


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The fields we have been discussing.






Attachment (1)

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 2:56:10 PM   
MarkShot


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An example of an inaccurate Force Delay, because a set of orders have yet to propagate.






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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 2:57:23 PM   
MarkShot


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An example of fairly accurate Force Delay, since one propagation cycle under Order Delays has taken place for this force. (the same as above)






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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 2:59:58 PM   
MarkShot


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One thing I wanted to add. I was reading the Attack Order section of the Reference Manual last night. I must say of the four games which have been put out, this is by far the most clear and detailed explanation of the mechanics of the set (as best I can recall; meaning I did not go back to recheck the other three).

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 3:03:30 PM   
MarkShot


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An explanation of the Ambush Option by Dave:

quote:


If I want to infiltrate a force through the enemy lines and I plot a route through the edge of the woods, I would check Ambush to prevent them firing at enemy a long way away, thus ensuring they stay concealed. However, if they run into an enemy in the woods closeby they can still let loose.


So, in a way, it can be regarded more as a "stealth" option. Also, you should note, as I understand, this probably does not apply to indirect fire weapons which fire on call in support. So, my guess is that if you want total absolute surprise like for a human opponent, then you will have to manually take control of such units.

< Message edited by MarkShot -- 5/16/2009 4:17:57 PM >


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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 3:15:45 PM   
MarkShot


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MarkShot stops waffling and takes a stand. The thread title has been reset!

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 7:09:36 PM   
Tzar007


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Mark,

Regarding the ASSAULT setting: I guess if you enter a time that is too soon, i.e. before your force reached the FUP, the AI will ignore it and simply start the assault as soon as reorg on the FUP is complete. You have to input realistic START, END or ASSAULT times if you want to make it work I suppose ?

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/16/2009 8:21:05 PM   
MarkShot


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Ugo,

Exactly. And that is why I went into such detail of where the defaults come from and when the player may consider the defaults to be of use for planning purposes. Until there is some history built up in the game, the defaults will be totally unrealistic and if you use them for planning, you'll be sorry.

< Message edited by MarkShot -- 5/16/2009 8:26:53 PM >


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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/17/2009 6:53:38 AM   
emerson

 

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Concerning unit planning delays: in certain situations, Germans especially, it might be better suited if the default delay was accurate right off the bat. From what I've seen of the scenerios for the first couple days, albeit limited, the Germans are already in motion. Most of the units were issued movement and attack orders before the game time starts, and having unrealistic planning delays for units issued orders before the game/scenerio begins is just that, unrealistic. The Germans had plans in place well before 16 December across the entire front; they counted on the subterfuge and surprise. I think that operational planning should be represented, and for right now figure the best way to due that is through varible percent unit delay mentioned earlier and the actual unit/force delays displayed for scenerios in those first few crucial days. From the times shown above 20 to 30 minutes was the differerence between Kampfgruppe Peiper crossing the river and those "damned engineers" blowing bridges and forcing his units rerouting and those associated planning delays.

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/17/2009 5:06:59 PM   
MarkShot


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Emerson,

Those are good questions for Dave and Richard.

I'm the systems guy on the team; not a historian or military expert. The last time I commented on some issue with mortars Bil responded, "Mark, you got the right weapon, but the wrong ammunition!". It's important that a Beta knows his limitations!

Thanks for dropping by.

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/17/2009 7:31:17 PM   
MarkShot


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It's a rainy Sunday afternoon and I have finally cleaned up my INBOX, cleared my desk, completed business paperwork, ... now, it is back to the BFTB manual.

I must say that it is truly a pleasure to have a thick comprehensive manual to read for a game. I really hate it when I buy a game and there are a million widgets and the manual is 10 pages. Then an entire complex game screen with 50 data elements displayed and 20 control elements is simply explained at "this is the Social Services Widget Display where you may view Social Service information and use the many widgets". Aargh!!! I am not going to name any developers/publishers, but I am sure everyone has purchased one of these. For me, PG's doc set has always reflected Old World craftsmenship. I really like that. Personally, I have actually shelved quite a few games with lots of promise, since I wanted the game to be the adventure and not UI to be the adventure.

COTA clocked in with around 500 pages. Did you need to read all of that to play? Nah ... The series has a lot of depth. So, at the highest levels you could just MOVE/ATTACK/DEFEND and you would be playing the game. Then, if you wanted you can go quite a bit deeper and tune the parameters of your orders. You can go even deeper and carefully study the officers who report to you and their men; finding their strengths and weaknesses. It's really all up to you. It's all there and modeled.

For me, I feel a good plan is the most important thing you can do. This is by far more important than understanding the nuances of each and every check box. So, you could know the doc set by heart, but if you decide to FUP for an attack in day light in plain view of a dug-in enemy with heavy arty and air support, well there ain't a check box anywhere in BFTB which is going to save you from such stupidity. So, focus on the big strokes and don't sweat the small stuff. You'll be playing this game for years and will have plenty of time to master the fine details. Most of the defaults are fairly reasonable.

Dave, would it be possible to make my TopTips doc from COTA available to BFTB buyers in the Matrix Members Area? (I think 97% is applicable and may just help the overwhelmed.)

Off to read ...

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/17/2009 7:54:57 PM   
MarkShot


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
Re Basing. When this is checked, any supply depot or arty will be "based" or deployed to a good location for them to do their job ( resupply or fire support as appropriate ). When unchecked, any depot or arty unit will move and deploy in formation with the rest of the force. So if you want to ensure that your arty or depot stays with the main body, then uncheck the Basing option.


I have just been experimenting with the BASING Option. I thought that it might turn out to be an easier way to move a fire base. Perhaps, allowing the player to move the entire fire base with a single order. (See COTA Mini-Guide.) Due to the way arty units move in order to move a fire base, you must still give individual orders to each gun unit. Testing with this option indicates that behavior of all gun forces, fire bases, is not really impacted by this option.

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RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/17/2009 9:18:47 PM   
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Heard from Dave, I will have to update the information here. His implementation is, in fact, doing more than just changing how much it hands out the back end. I'll rewrite this tomorrow after looking more closely at what he has done. The key thing is that, the pipe can be enlarged up to 300% of what it was under the COTA implementation. This is done by upping the frequency of emergency resupply convoys. So, I would imagine that arty fire base could keep firing at ROF=HIGH until they drop from exhaustion. I think ROF=HIGH is 4X. So, the affect of this is some serious increase in fire power if you have the stocks to support it. Nice.

I think I am out here for today. I am now 50% done with the manual.

However, I wanted to touch upon the supply options for orders before calling it a day. Not too much is said in the manual as to how these work.

I have removed incorrect statements.

(7) I would use this in conjunction with the F7 key (Unit Info: Supply) to see what your actually supply requirements are.

(8) There is no way to stock supplies in anticipation of future events like an attack or a defensive situation where it is likely that the force will be cut off.

(9) Currently the PRIORITY settings seem to override the ROF settings and there is some Beta discussion why and should it be?

(10) I do see one other indirect affect of this implementation is that it should smooth out the fire engagement curve. (At MAX PRIORITY, you are getting 12 supply events/days as opposed to 4.) If you with recall under RDOA/HTTR, supply was fixed with no simulation of lines/convoys at 03:00 daily. This often resulted, particularly with arty, of a few hour shoot off of everything they had and the afternoons could be very quiet. Well, if you see what I am saying about BFTB and the way this system works, one could expect a lot of noise throughout the day.




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< Message edited by MarkShot -- 5/18/2009 2:59:54 PM >


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Panther Games (RDOA/HTTR/COTA/BFTB) Beta Tester

(in reply to MarkShot)
Post #: 89
RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD - 5/17/2009 11:31:15 PM   
MarkShot


Posts: 6611
Joined: 3/29/2003
Status: offline
Any side bets being placed? What type of odds am I getting?

Over the last week, me and the AI have been eyeing each other pretty good. I still got some more reading to do and some public appearances to make.

Can a tired old COTA Beta who hasn't fought for three long years go ten rounds with Dave's latest creation? Well, buy your tickets ... I plan to come out swinging ... I may be old, but I still got it ...

BFTB - you are going down!!!

< Message edited by MarkShot -- 5/17/2009 11:38:25 PM >


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Panther Games (RDOA/HTTR/COTA/BFTB) Beta Tester

(in reply to MarkShot)
Post #: 90
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