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Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 6:37:41 AM   
Arjuna


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Hi all,

I have been beavering away overhauling the formation code. I have been concentrating on getting the Arrowhead formation working right. I think it is now working for the three prime catoegories, namely where we have a HQ hub with sub HQs, a HQ hub with line guards and a line hub with line guards. Here are a few screen shots illustrating the deployments.




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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 6:38:20 AM   
Arjuna


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Here's a Bn HQ with line guards.




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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 6:39:12 AM   
Arjuna


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And here is a line hub with line guards.




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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 6:40:34 AM   
Arjuna


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Note that getting this right should fix a lot of those reported issues where only part of a foprce seemed to be attacking. This was because the case where we have a line hub wasn't working correctly.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 10:04:27 AM   
Ramses


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Thanks for the update. Do you mean that this is would fix the socalled 'casualty issue' ? Where one unit is able to stop a very superior attacking force and takes almost no casualties? Would be most welcome.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 12:17:13 PM   
Renato

 

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Excellent!

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 2:32:32 PM   
vandorenp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Here's a Bn HQ with line guards.

This looks correct. Location of tank company suggests this is an echelon left or there is a threat to the left? Did the AI use such reasoning to put the tank company there?

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 2:52:03 PM   
vandorenp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Hi all,
I have been concentrating on getting the Arrowhead formation working right. I think it is now working for the three prime categories, namely where we have a HQ hub with sub HQs,

Regarding the Advance Guard - what is driving the tank and AG companies to the left? If the situation is vague the two companies would be centrally located or bounding from and to good over-watch positions within the battalion zone.

Regarding the Flank guards- The Recon companies would all be to the respective exteriors and the tank and/or AG companies to the interior. You might envision the three recon companies/troops as in echelon or the side of a diamond - a point, a left guard and a trail guard. Again, the tank and/or AG companies might be bounding in the battalion zone from and to good over-watch positions.

More important is knowing the AI doctrine for managing the formation as threats are encountered or anticipated (old intel reports).

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 3:21:37 PM   
wodin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ramses

Thanks for the update. Do you mean that this is would fix the socalled 'casualty issue' ? Where one unit is able to stop a very superior attacking force and takes almost no casualties? Would be most welcome.



No thats a separate issue I believe..

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 5:01:08 PM   
Alchenar

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin


quote:

ORIGINAL: Ramses

Thanks for the update. Do you mean that this is would fix the socalled 'casualty issue' ? Where one unit is able to stop a very superior attacking force and takes almost no casualties? Would be most welcome.



No thats a separate issue I believe..


Yeah I don't know how you could confuse a post about formation logic for one about combat lethality.

But this issue is one I'd like to hear about progress on (if there is any). Formations are something that expands the game. Watching a static flak group of 2 88's and 20 riflemen hold up an entire assaulting battalion for an entire evening (ie. Joe's bridge if you don't get your fire support missions just right) is the kind of behaviour that can essentially make it impossible to play a game that's based on being able to achieve offensive momentum.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 5:40:10 PM   
phoenix

 

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Since I never used the formation buttons much, I never noticed what they were or were not doing before. Was this a feature that didn't work at all before?

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 5:45:56 PM   
phoenix

 

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+1 re the comment above. The casualty thing seems urgent and important to me.

I have also noticed a few times that units log as 'bypassing' even though I have not ticked that box, and have seen (and sent Dave saves about) whole formations deciding to re-route despite me not wanting that, and not having ticked either bypass or avoidance. That worries me more too. Sounds good, in a way - the unit meets an obstruction so rather than 'halting' forever it bypasses. But it's no good it doing this if you don't want it to (if you want it to deal with the obstruction) and you haven't ticked the options to allow it.

All that said, I have to say that I think it is all working bettter now. So far attacks go in ok, haven't noticed much crazy routing behaviour (others have, I know), but there's certainly welcome progress. For which, thanks, Dave!!

Have saves been sent covering the ineffective close combat situation? By those that have noticed it most?

< Message edited by phoenix -- 2/5/2013 5:46:47 PM >

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 5:48:32 PM   
wodin


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Mr P there was a big discussion between Dave and Rockin harry and Myself about the casualty issue..Dave then tested and also saw the issue..so I think it's in hand.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 6:12:43 PM   
Ramses


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alchenar


quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin


quote:

ORIGINAL: Ramses

Thanks for the update. Do you mean that this is would fix the socalled 'casualty issue' ? Where one unit is able to stop a very superior attacking force and takes almost no casualties? Would be most welcome.



No thats a separate issue I believe..


Yeah I don't know how you could confuse a post about formation logic for one about combat lethality.



If you order a formation to attack, but only a couple of units actually do so, it reduces the volume of fire on the defenders; result is less casualties. This is exactly what Arjuna said: 'only a part of the force attacking'. Anyway: i'm glad it is being investigated.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 6:39:16 PM   
vandorenp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix
I have also noticed a few times that units log as 'bypassing' even though I have not ticked that box, and have seen (and sent Dave saves about) whole formations deciding to re-route despite me not wanting that, and not having ticked either bypass or avoidance. That worries me more too. Sounds good, in a way - the unit meets an obstruction so rather than 'halting' forever it bypasses. But it's no good it doing this if you don't want it to (if you want it to deal with the obstruction) and you haven't ticked the options to allow it.

I have had this happen in a way that I can't explain away or rather excuse the AI for. (odd things that happen in BftB are a nice, if unintended, replication of friction in real war - ie Pz Lehr commander routes the whole division down a farm track on the word of a farmer and without a recon report)

To avoid just this problem having given an Exit order I set way points for a Panzer regiment along the desired route. (Commanders intent is to deny the route to the enemy.) As the advance guard passes a waypoint the waypoint is removed from the regiments order. Consequently after the last waypoint is removed by the advance guards passing the regiment sees only the end objective location and reroutes all the sub-elements to a "better route". Even to the point of backtracking many units already progressed along the original route. Bypass was not selected.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 7:14:16 PM   
phoenix

 

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That's exactly it Vandorenp. I've sent saves to Dave concerning this. The vanishing waypoints followed by unsanctioned re-route along 'better' route. Exactly.

And thanks Wodin - re the casualty thing - glad that's in hand.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 7:55:39 PM   
Alchenar

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ramses
If you order a formation to attack, but only a couple of units actually do so, it reduces the volume of fire on the defenders; result is less casualties. This is exactly what Arjuna said: 'only a part of the force attacking'. Anyway: i'm glad it is being investigated.


No this is a different thing. Attacks getting bogged down in certain circumstances is fine, that's what the game's about.

What you can quite regularly see are properly allocated full battalion attacks spending 8 hours trying to kill a 20 man flak unit. Even in the dark and assuming a high tendency of Allied troops to go to ground, it just strains credibility. When 20 men find themselves getting swarmed by 800 enemy soldiers and tanks then unless they're seriously fanatical and have the firepower to back it up they should be either surrendering or shot down in the first minutes of combat.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 10:20:03 PM   
Arjuna


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The casualty issue I will deal with after I finish the current work on formations. Please be patient. Imagine this is a car and I have just taken off the head to replace the gasket. It is going to be impossible for me to test the electrics while in this state. So too I don't dare start chaninging code that is not related to what I am working on. Please remember that there is just me working on these AI issues.

Re the so called bypass issue. First off, this is not a bypass issue. Rather it is a case of the force replanning its route. This can happen for a number of reasons but often happens after a reassessment or routing. The engine doesn't allow for you to set a route for the force to follow. Rather it allows you to set a series of waypoints. We kill off waypoints as they are passed. If we don't do this then when it comes time to replan you would all complain when the force goes back ten kms to the first waypoint even though it was now on the eight waypoint. We had all those complaionts when BFTB was first released...remember. So, when the AI replans it uses whatever waypoints remain. So if if you are on the eight of ten then it will replan with just the remaining three waypoints and this may well mean that it uses an avoidance route to get to the first remaining waypoint and that this route differs from what you had originally marked out. That is a feature of the engine and I don't envisage changing this for the forseeable future as there are far more significant issues to attend to.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/5/2013 10:25:46 PM   
Arjuna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: vandorenp
Regarding the Advance Guard - what is driving the tank and AG companies to the left? If the situation is vague the two companies would be centrally located or bounding from and to good over-watch positions within the battalion zone.

Regarding the Flank guards- The Recon companies would all be to the respective exteriors and the tank and/or AG companies to the interior. You might envision the three recon companies/troops as in echelon or the side of a diamond - a point, a left guard and a trail guard. Again, the tank and/or AG companies might be bounding in the battalion zone from and to good over-watch positions.

More important is knowing the AI doctrine for managing the formation as threats are encountered or anticipated (old intel reports).


In this case the advance Guard consited of a Recon company and an attached armoured unit. So there are just two units. It is therefore impossible to fill three guard poistions which normally flesh out an arrowhead - ie advance, left and right guards. So the AI will place the line hub in the advance guard and randomly choose either the left or right guard to place the attached armoured unit. It's that simple.

BTW this is for Arrowhead formation. We currently do not model a diamond formation.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 11:15:30 AM   
Alchenar

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

The casualty issue I will deal with after I finish the current work on formations. Please be patient. Imagine this is a car and I have just taken off the head to replace the gasket. It is going to be impossible for me to test the electrics while in this state. So too I don't dare start chaninging code that is not related to what I am working on. Please remember that there is just me working on these AI issues.



Didn't mean to come off as impatient, just providing feedback on what my priorities as a consumer are.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 11:36:19 AM   
phoenix

 

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Arjuna said

Re the so called bypass issue. First off, this is not a bypass issue. Rather it is a case of the force replanning its route. This can happen for a number of reasons but often happens after a reassessment or routing. The engine doesn't allow for you to set a route for the force to follow. Rather it allows you to set a series of waypoints. We kill off waypoints as they are passed. If we don't do this then when it comes time to replan you would all complain when the force goes back ten kms to the first waypoint even though it was now on the eight waypoint. We had all those complaionts when BFTB was first released...remember. So, when the AI replans it uses whatever waypoints remain. So if if you are on the eight of ten then it will replan with just the remaining three waypoints and this may well mean that it uses an avoidance route to get to the first remaining waypoint and that this route differs from what you had originally marked out. That is a feature of the engine and I don't envisage changing this for the forseeable future as there are far more significant issues to attend to.

You think it's not significant, Dave? Why? The force meets an obstacle and, if the lead element has already eaten up all the waypoints, it replans around the obstacle. Are you saying that if we want it to do otherwise (for instance, attack the obstacle) we should tick 'attack' (and hence this is not a very significant issue). And you say it's not a 'bypass' but what's the diff? (I assume there is one, from what you say). And why bother with a box titled 'avoidance' or 'quickest' if it will just go round anyway? But what about if I just want it to go past on that very route I have planned? Are you saying I should place lots more waypoints to ensure this?

It's not a killer issue in one sense - I can watch out for it and incur an orders delay and issue new orders (though that's far from ideal). But in the examples I sent you the AI planned a route right through what I KNEW was the heart of enemy occupied trerritory. That's as irritating as any of the other little issues that hurt the gameplay (or the realism). No? It can certainly make or break a tight, time-constrained scenario if you are planning around this enough, with all the consequent delays.

Not asking you to change the waypoint thing. But why does the HQ re-plan the route? That's the prob, surely.

I can get other saves easily enough, by the way, with other variations of this.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 11:36:56 AM   
Arjuna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alchenar


quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

The casualty issue I will deal with after I finish the current work on formations. Please be patient. Imagine this is a car and I have just taken off the head to replace the gasket. It is going to be impossible for me to test the electrics while in this state. So too I don't dare start chaninging code that is not related to what I am working on. Please remember that there is just me working on these AI issues.



Didn't mean to come off as impatient, just providing feedback on what my priorities as a consumer are.


Thanks I appreciate your feedback.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 2:19:10 PM   
jimcarravallah

 

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What it amounts to is the engine allows one to micromanage the battlefield and control each working unit or manage the battlefield as a commander would, and trust the units to address the commander's goals within the constraints of available resources, and sub-commander capabilities.

If one is prone to micromanage to the unit level, ignore the "cmd" attributes assigned a commander and move each unit as one would were they in charge to eliminate the influence of AI.

If one is prone to manage at a higher command level, pick unit assignments based on "cmd" attributes for the commander at the level being managed and live with the results right wrong or indifferent.

In the first instance, one can enjoy the game by taking months to accomplish a three day mission by addressing each individual detail.

In the second instance, one may enjoy the game by managing the battlefield at a scope and within the time constraints given the original commander when ordered to accomplish the mission.

Personally, when I want to micromanage the battlefield, I open Opart and have at it.

When I choose to act as a commander would, I go to BFtB / HttR and manage the command structure assigned me.

It's kind of like the difference between being the architect or the carpenter.

Architects don't count nails used, but estimate how many should be available to assure the carpenter can secure the structure to the assigned design criteria.

Carpenters use the nails to meet the criteria.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 3:10:50 PM   
dazkaz15


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The problem is Jim the game is not giving you a real life experience in rerouting the Battalion through the enemy held locations.

A real life commander would likely know that enemy are in the locations, that the AI has chosen as its new route because you as the commander would have told him during your orders.

That's what the order delay is for. For you to give your subordinates detail orders of the enemy situation as you see it.

So after telling him the axes of advance you want him to use, imagine how you would feel as commander if he decided to totally ignore it and march the whole Battalion through the enemy locations you told him where there in your briefing.

I don't think he would be a Battalion commander for much longer after that kind of manoeuvre.

I'm afraid this is a gaming/computer/path finding problem, not something that you should have to endure as a commander.

If on the other hand its all that can be done at this present time then advice on work around are our best hope for now.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 3:21:10 PM   
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I may be way out of my depth here, but for future projects on sequels, to the game would it not be possible for you to draw where you suspect enemy units to be, to give the AI some awareness as to the location that you as commander think the enemy may be?

Just as a real commander would keep is tactical map up to date with not just the current sitreps but also his impression of what he expects the enemy to do next.

I already mentioned in another post about how useful the overlay map in Hearts of Iron 3 is, now imagine if you had a drop down, with enemy symbols for enemy units, that you could paste onto your battle map that would tell the AI that is where you think there may be enemy, and the AI would take this into account when planning.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 3:42:22 PM   
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Blimey dazkaz..I could imagine that being a nightmare to code..good idea..but I doubt feasible.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 6:26:40 PM   
dazkaz15


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

Blimey dazkaz..I could imagine that being a nightmare to code..good idea..but I doubt feasible.


Well maybe the AI would not need to know every detail it does now about the units you suspect to be there.

You may have a nice selection of icons to place on your overlay battle planner like the FLOT, Divisional/ Battalion areas, lines of advance, and even detailed unit Icons for known enemy forces in the area. They just need to be a graphical representation for you so you can keep abreast of your own plans but all the AI would need to know is that you suspect the enemy has a zone of control there, which can be adjusted in accordance to what symbol you place. For example armour would have a larger zone of control than infantry.

Now when you give it way points for a move task, you have another box to tick that says "avoid enemy zones of control" AKA a smarter Avoidance route.

It has to be mentioned that I have absolutely no knowledge of computer programming. Intact I can hardly find my way around a computer at all, and I am totally in awe of people like Dave that have made all this "Modern Magic" possible.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 6:50:19 PM   
jimcarravallah

 

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In World War II, the real life commander only knew in real time what his scouts fed back to him as they moved through the battlefield. Determining how much the forward unit scouts can feed back based on the terrain and weather conditions is handled by the LOS tools.

Using the game's terms, Orders Delay is the administrative lead time between when the commander issues an order and the time a unit can react to that order. It takes into account the time necessary to transmit the commander's decision to the affected units and the time it takes to distribute the details among the various components of the unit (in effect, down to individual soldiers). In World War II, the most effective means for transmitting orders from static command posts was via wire. In the phase of the war modeled, there were also various forms of radio communication at the smaller unit level, but those were affected by weather and LOS considerations for transmitting between two tactical radio communications nodes.

There is a game delay utility that allows a commander to pause units and issue orders, but again, that modification to existing orders is subject to the orders delay, and the commander is still dependent on the information the units on the ground have fed back for evaluation.

If a commander knows that a bit of terrain is more likely to contain enemy troops even though the form of intelligence he has fed back to him to him has not confirmed it, he can define a route with way points to avoid that terrain, or issue an order for the immediate commander to pick a route which avoids fire (covered route) or detection (avoidance route)to avoid being slaughtered by marching directly through it.

If the commander's "cmd" measures for things like leadership, aggressiveness, efficiency and the like coupled with unit health measures like supply, fatigue, cohesion and the like mean anything, the rear commander should have a reasonable idea about how effectively the unit commander will follow the details of his orders, and how effective the unit will be in meeting his expectations based on what he knew and felt at the time of issuing those orders.

Again, it's like ordering the appropriate amount of nails for a house, or using those nails effectively to build the house.

A commander can order at either extreme, but if he starts ordering the quantity of nails, he'd better make sure that the carpenter he's asked to build the house will be efficient in using them, or build the thing himself and leave the carpenter out of the loop.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 7:40:02 PM   
navwarcol

 

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I know that the game "Harpoon" does have zones much like this, at least effect-wise. Called nav-zones, you can draw them on the map, and make each one (a,b,c, etc) then you can order some groups to "ignore nav zone a" for example, allowing them to navigate through it, while other groups will avoid it in their route planning.
In the case here, could do roughly the same, drawing a "threat area" on the map, and assuming that if you have ordered "safe" routes, your subordinate commanders will avoid these zones, while perhaps they will still pass through them, if you order "quick" routes.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 7:55:00 PM   
dazkaz15


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jimcarravallah

In World War II, the real life commander only knew in real time what his scouts fed back to him as they moved through the battlefield. Determining how much the forward unit scouts can feed back based on the terrain and weather conditions is handled by the LOS tools.

Using the game's terms, Orders Delay is the administrative lead time between when the commander issues an order and the time a unit can react to that order. It takes into account the time necessary to transmit the commander's decision to the affected units and the time it takes to distribute the details among the various components of the unit (in effect, down to individual soldiers). In World War II, the most effective means for transmitting orders from static command posts was via wire. In the phase of the war modeled, there were also various forms of radio communication at the smaller unit level, but those were affected by weather and LOS considerations for transmitting between two tactical radio communications nodes.

There is a game delay utility that allows a commander to pause units and issue orders, but again, that modification to existing orders is subject to the orders delay, and the commander is still dependent on the information the units on the ground have fed back for evaluation.

If a commander knows that a bit of terrain is more likely to contain enemy troops even though the form of intelligence he has fed back to him to him has not confirmed it, he can define a route with way points to avoid that terrain, or issue an order for the immediate commander to pick a route which avoids fire (covered route) or detection (avoidance route)to avoid being slaughtered by marching directly through it.

If the commander's "cmd" measures for things like leadership, aggressiveness, efficiency and the like coupled with unit health measures like supply, fatigue, cohesion and the like mean anything, the rear commander should have a reasonable idea about how effectively the unit commander will follow the details of his orders, and how effective the unit will be in meeting his expectations based on what he knew and felt at the time of issuing those orders.

Again, it's like ordering the appropriate amount of nails for a house, or using those nails effectively to build the house.

A commander can order at either extreme, but if he starts ordering the quantity of nails, he'd better make sure that the carpenter he's asked to build the house will be efficient in using them, or build the thing himself and leave the carpenter out of the loop.


Well I for one would be happy for the carpenter to sort out his own logistics, based on my plan, but if I give him a plan, detailed or otherwise, to build a block of flats, I would be mighty p****d if he then went and build a bungalow!

Edit: Its a very strange adage to use in this situation. Im not quite sure it fits lol

< Message edited by dazkaz15 -- 2/6/2013 8:01:26 PM >

(in reply to jimcarravallah)
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