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RE: Formations - Progress

 
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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/6/2013 10:38:45 PM   
Arjuna


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What I think would address your concerns are control graphics such as an opArea - usually defined in real life by left and right boundaries, line of departure and limit of exploitation. An opArea would constrain the area in which a force could move and fight. It would apply a bias to any route favouring locations within the opArea. You cannot make it a total inclusion zone as you would end up with all sorts of problems if the only way from the south to the north was via a bridge just outside the right boundary.

This is on the wish list already. It will require some UI and AI changes. The way I would see it working for the AI is that it would automatically create an OpArea so many metres wide centred around the mission route. Eg for a Bn it may only be 2km left and right of the route. FOr a Bde it may be 5kms etc. Of course we would need to provide the human player with the UI to adjust the automatically generated one by selecting the OpArea polygon and inseting points to extend it.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 3:33:35 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

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.


If the lead element has eaten all the waypoints - or more precisely, has completed the execution of the plan you assigned to the force in question - then it will be adopting a "Defense" stance. That is, it will be waiting for further orders. What Dave is telling you is that the AI will try to comply to your orders in a way which is consistent with (1) the preservation/aggression/ammo conservation policies you set for it, (2) the abilities of the commanding officers of the force - they're not all geniuses, (3) the situation of the enemy forces and how much of a threat they do convey - and this threat assessment it also does by those commanding officers and (4) an assessment of feasibility - you won't get in this game a force to engage the enemy at crazy odds.

quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix
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).


You can't 'edit' order like that at the moment. You need to replot your orders. Or, alternatively, you should (1) plot a move waypoint into an area where the force can't be engaged by the enemy (which may mean to fall back), (2) plot an attack order on the obstacle, using the previous waypoint as the FUP for the attack.

quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix
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?


On the contrary, you should be placing less waypoints or revise the existing set of waypoints and consider - honestly - if they make sense given the new situation.

The AI hasn't human powers of reasoning, it's circumscribed to its knowledge and your instructions (although its behaviour can indeed look very human ). To draw an analogy, imagine you have one of these nifty Roomba robots with the added feature that you can tell it where to clean and also what places it should be avoiding (say you want it to avoid one specific room for some reason). It also has an accurate map of your house - so it knows how to find a path between any two different places in your house. The robot can't open closed doors, but can push doors which are left ajar.

Now, you tell the robot to clean room X, avoiding room Z. Let's say that your house layout is such that there are two possible paths from the current location of the robot, Y, and X. One of the paths goes through Z and the other is a crazy detour which involves the robot getting out through the dog hole in the front door, across the front yard - and possibly over the flower pads there - into the backyard, then through the kitchen until it gets to Z. Possibly it will get muddy wheels in the backyard and make a mess of the kitchen.

But it will get eventually into X, and clean it. You'll be probably be quite mad at it nonetheless

Now imagine that the kitchen door is closed. You come back home in the evening and you that X is dirty, and the robot is nowhere in the house. You then check the backyard, and you see that the poor thing has run out of power trying to push the kitchen door (and probably has scratched the paint). Again, you'll be probably quite mad at it.

The robot knows how to move around, knows how to clean a room but it doesn't have the possibility to reason about the meaningfulness of what it's doing. A more human-like robot, would have been programmed with the knowledge that if it goes through the front yard the flowers might get trampled over, that if it goes through the backyard it will get muddy wheels and make a mess of any places it goes through afterwards, and ready to recognize when a door is open. Then it would use this information to consider the possible scenarios and tell you that the task you set may well have undesirable side effects (or not feasible at all).

There exists indeed the algorithms to do this, for any house you can imagine and for a substantial number of conditions. But the robot would need a quite good CPU, a few Gigabytes of memory and a few minutes having that CPU engaged at 100% capacity.

Extrapolate the house to a really huge building, with several hundred rooms. Be ready to get your robot "thinking" for several hours before it being even able to tell you about the task being sound or not.

Let's say we make the problem more complex: doors can open and close themselves randomly, there's a dog roaming the house - so its location is not known - that might get startled if it sees the robot and topple it. This - to tell you beforehand whether your orders make sense in any conceivable situation - is not computationally tractable (and if it is, probably there's no definite answer, it might or might not be possible). You'll be stuck with a robot which won't be able to find that conclusion, will have to try its luck (and possibly fail), very much as we humans do This is actually a famous open problem in AI taken from this game: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunt_the_Wumpus

Wrapping up: in Command Ops you can see an extremely flexible and powerful AI assistant that helps you getting the show to move on but needs regular supervision.

quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix
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.


Clausewitz equated war to a game of cards. Sometimes you get good cards dealt, sometimes you don't.

< Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 2/7/2013 3:46:12 AM >


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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 3:52:33 AM   
Lieste

 

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I'm not entirely certain, but I think the complaint was rather that the van moves according to the task, but 'removes' the waypoints as it goes.

Rather than following and concentrating on the destination, the main body and rear guard then 'break new ground' ~ which does kind of defeat the purpose of the advanced guard, particularly when the enemy is no longer on the intended route but infests the alternatives...

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 4:52:44 AM   
Arjuna


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This issue is more pronounced with larger forces as the hub/subject is likely to be some distance from the van. Thus when it replans its route there is more likely to have been original waypoints between the van and the hub, which have now been removed. If the area in question is good going and relatively free of enemy then the redetermined route is still likely to go straight from the hub to the first active waypoint. It's only is an issue where the going is difficult and the route finding code determines that a better way is along an indirect approach.

So until we implement opAreas and control lines I suggest that if you specify a string of waypoints through covered terrain or an area that is difficult/costly to move through then also specify that the route is "shortest". This will mean that they won't take advantage of roads per se unless they happen to coincide with the direct approach, but it will have the force move directly through the bad terrain.

< Message edited by Arjuna -- 2/7/2013 5:10:00 AM >


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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 5:35:26 AM   
Arjuna


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Ok I have sorted out Vee formation incorporating the changes I made for Arrowhead. Here is a shot of a Bde deployed into Vee.




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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 5:41:43 AM   
Arjuna


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Here's a screen shot of a Bn deployed in Vee. Note the centre guard and its co-located line support unit.




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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 5:49:02 AM   
Arjuna


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In this screen shot we have two recon and one tank company deployed in vee with one of the recon companies being the line hub. Note the smaller right guard tank coy has been offset to aligh its forward edge with that of the left guard. The alignment is not always perfect as units can be moved to find ground of tactical importance (GTI).




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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 5:58:09 AM   
Arjuna


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And here is another depicting a HQ hub with a single line units as the centre guard. This is what will happen if you don't have enough line units.




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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 7:35:57 AM   
phoenix

 

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Formations look beautiful.

Thanks Bletchley. The problem isn't as bad as that robot, thankfully. Lieste is right as to what it is. But Dave knows what the issue is, I think. The lead element crosses my last waypoint (before the destination) and runs into a contact. The position is that there is now no intermediate waypoint between the HQ and the destination I've set, because the last waypoint has disappeared as the lead goes through it. The HQ, some way behind (and presumably reacting to the contact), plots an alternative route to the destination, but through country infested with the enemy (and, in fact, quite a long route too). It's not the dubious nature of the alternative route I'm taking issue with, it's that it replots it at all. It's great it does this if you WANT it to, but I had assumed that it would only do this if you had given it some options to do this (like 'bypass', or even 'avoidance', or 'safest' etc - I have in fact, already been using 'shortest' to try to prevent it). If, for example, I had selected 'fastest' and 'shortest' and ticked no options (niether 'Ambush', 'Attacks' nor 'Bypass') I had assumed what would happen is that the Bn would simply try to edge past the contact, or would get stuck (as before, it would 'halt' until the contact was removed). Either would be good for my plan, because I want to deal with the contact by other means (arty, for example) and push on asap (instead of having the BN re-route via the VERY long way round). If I'd ticked 'bypass' I'd expect it would have replotted around the contact. If I'd ticked 'attacks' I'd have expected it to attack the contact. So, niether being ticked I assumed it would do nothing much. But it remains active and it re-routes itself, and not very well. It's great that we have AI like this, of course, but it means I haven't the options I thought I had for dealing with the situation. (I haven't got an option to get it to just stop and wait for ME to deal with the contact). (And the reason I want to do this, manually, is so that it doesn't route through enemy held territory, for example). And it leaves me wondering what would happen differently if I HAD ticked 'bypass'?

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< Message edited by phoenix -- 2/7/2013 2:25:00 PM >

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 2:28:55 PM   
phoenix

 

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A pictorial example does better, maybe. This is a less extreme version. The 560 is headed for the spot you can see. 2 elements have already reached (plus it's slipped the task) so it has no waypoints anymore. The waypoints actually plotted a route that did NOT go straight through Butgenbach, because I know they will not get through Butgenbach, because it's occupied. I wanrt themt o take up a position where the lead elements have already reached so I can then plan a proper attack on Butgenbach. But because there are some contacts on the route I planned (which appeared after those lead elements got through) the HQ has replanned the route. As you can see it was on 'shortest' to stop it doing this and I hadn't ticked 'bypass'.




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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 8:08:43 PM   
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Hmmm...personally as I don't micro manage and prefer the thought a commander is in control following my orders so this isn't an issue for me. I just put it down to how the game plays...i.e you give orders and your sub ordinates try and follow it through sometimes well sometimes not so well. yes they don't always do what I'd want them to do, but hey thats part of the beauty of the game to me.

maybe you need to let go of the total control mentality and play it as a commander role where your orders will not always be carried out the way you want them to..role play it abit. I certainly don't get hung up over total control with this game..for me thats not what it's about. Other games yes I find it important but not this game.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 9:52:14 PM   
phoenix

 

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Well, we've been through this response a few times, I think, Wodin - not with me, necessarilly, but in this forum. It's not much use, in my very humble opinion, telling someone to relax and put up with whatever as part of the game, when what we're trying to discover is whether some thing is an intentional part of the game or something that should be improved, or even fixed. Why don't you relax about the casualty issue (to pick the last issue you did seem to care about), the close combat detail? Stop micromanaging it. Sometimes people get killed, sometimes they don't - it's all part of the game. Right?

I don't micromanage. Very far from it. The beauty of this game is that it allows the user to pick the level of involvement they choose. Asking a Bn to move to a certain part of the map with a certain set of given options that are part of the interface of the game is hardly micromanaging.....

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 10:01:17 PM   
wodin


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fair enough..I just think the other issues are issues where the engine isn't working right..where as the issue of full control of a unit isn't what this game is about. Trying to pick the exact route one unit moves is for me abit to much control. Maybe commander stats come into play here..a poor commander might take the wrong route for instance. Where as casualty issue has nothing to do with subordinate commander AI but to do with the combat engine.

Anyway I obviously hit a sore spot here. Personally I don't see such a major issue myself.

< Message edited by wodin -- 2/7/2013 10:06:15 PM >


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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 10:04:15 PM   
Arjuna


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phoenix,

Thanks fo an actual example. The screenshot speaks volumes. Do you have a save taken before the waypoints disappeared and it re-routed through Butgenbach?

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 10:06:51 PM   
phoenix

 

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No. Sorry, Dave. I wiped it and started again, in fact, (not because of that). But it seems to happen often enough in that scenario (which I'm playing at the moment) so I can get you one easily enough. Will send when I have.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 10:07:45 PM   
wodin


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Whoops..OK I'm wrong as usually it seems on this forum..sorry..whenever I seem to say something it appears I've got it wrong when Dave steps in.

I think I'm to quick at times defending the game. Every time I step in and Dave says the opposite I promise myself not to speak up again. I'm going to step back I think on commenting on CO from now on.

I'll get my coat;)

< Message edited by wodin -- 2/7/2013 10:10:21 PM >


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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 10:14:33 PM   
phoenix

 

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No sore spot, Wodin. And no offence intended by me. It's not about 'full control' of the units though. Note, the order is to a Bn, not a company. And whilst you might like to simply click on the map and select the destination (as might I, in some circumstances, but not always) the option to do it differently (with waypoints put in) is there in the game, as part of the interface, so people (me included, sometimes) will use it, and then you get the chance to look at the results and say to Dave 'Hey, hang on a minute - is it meant to happen like this?'. That's no diff to what you're doing complaining about how close combat casualties are implemented.

We're all just trying to play the thing and see how it works.

< Message edited by phoenix -- 2/7/2013 10:25:31 PM >

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/7/2013 11:19:59 PM   
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Now I totally see what you mean phoenix. I think here we're seeing an interesting thing about the interaction of enemy positions and the terrain. Below there is an screenshot of the area around Butgenbach taken on the Map Maker. The white areas in the grayscale image are impassable to motorized formations.

I think that the route we're seeing is indeed the shortest one indeed: avoiding enemy units and impassable terrain.




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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/8/2013 2:09:50 AM   
Arjuna


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Excellent point Miquel. I should have picked up on that myself. Phoenix, if you go back to your screen shot you will see a black outline south of the Butgenbach. The pathing routine is going to avoid this but as Miquel points out the option to flank right is not there because of the impassable terrain. I suspect that when you originally started you did not have that enemy intel and hence the original route probably drove straight though its location.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/8/2013 8:50:48 AM   
phoenix

 

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A-ha. Thanks Bletch. This is possible - arrival of enemy units, mid-column, as it were, shuts off only passable route that follows closely to my desired waypoints. I hadn't, in fact, noticed that patch of impassable terrain at all.... My original route would have went perilously close to it. The lead elements got through on my original route, ish, because the contact wasn't there blocking it. I understand. I'll keep an eye out for what exactly is going on, with the terrain, if I see this again. Thanks Dave and Bletch.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/8/2013 2:48:13 PM   
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I'm glad thats settled......now on to the casualty issue.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/9/2013 1:05:20 AM   
Arjuna


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Late last night, well early this morning I revisited the cas issue. In fact it is more than just a cas issue. Just tweaking various factors within the fire event code will certainly increase casualties but if that's all that's changed then units will be bled dry before the end of the scenario. In short we will end up with ahistorical cas rates. So other changes must be made in conjunction with the fire event.

What I think we need to get to is a case where an inf Bn assaults an inf coy the inf coy is forced out and suffers some casualties. This at the moment is not happening within a reasonable time. The inf coy stands far too long in the face of significant fire. This can be valid where the enemy coy is dug in or in urban terrain, but not in general.

A standard inf coy deploys on a 300m frontage with a depth of 200m. An inf force with a 3 to 1 superiority in firepower should be able to advance 100m in 15 minutes. In other words it should take about an hour to clear the objective once the forces are in direct contact. If the force is entrenched or fortified then it can take significantly longer to clear them.

So what we want is to increase the cas from APerFP to a point where the enemy coy suffers some casualties. This would probably be in the order of 5 to 10 percent for such an engagement. Patton used to say that he would never trust cas reports stating that more than 20% casualties were inflicted in an engagement. We also want that enemy coy to consider retreating once it has taken some of its cas rather than standing and dying to the man or finally routing when it is too late. That happened on a few occassions but not in general.

So I have tweaked the cas rates and reduced the rout threshold from 30% to 20%. This means that the unit is now 10% more likely to retreat instead. I stepped through the code as I was running the tutorial as a test. One thing I noticed was the frequency of times when a unit would convert a retreat to a retreat in place ( ie cower where it was rather than pulling back ). This was primarily due to it being suppressed. This is a by product of an earlier change we made in one of the more recent builds to reduce cas and increase suppression. So you see how making a change for a good reason in one place can sometimes have adverse consequences in another.

As I ran through the first 24 hours of the tutorial there was certainly more movement and more casualties. Probably too many. I will need to ease off on the fire effectiveness. I will also revise the suppression code and see if I can add some smarts to this cowering code that make it a variable rather than an absolute choice.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/9/2013 7:46:29 AM   
navwarcol

 

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Hi Dave.. great job here, great game!
The formation work here is truly a thing to behold as well. As for the casualties, is this perhaps somehow already able to tweak just by playing around some with things such as "determination" and "aggressiveness" in the unit and commander stats, in editing scenarios at large and using the "loss tolerance" button on the attack or defend orders if the side in question is player commanded?

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/9/2013 11:27:30 AM   
Arjuna


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No the solution to the cas issue lies in tweaking the code I'm afraid. It may take several iterations.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/9/2013 4:17:26 PM   
wodin


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Dave sounds good to me. Looks like your on it and will get a sweet spot.

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RE: Formations - Progress - 2/10/2013 12:42:43 AM   
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Thanks for letting us know, Dave!

My main concerns with casualty rates so far, are actually more specific. It´s about that defending units in good cover, particularly when dug in or entrneched, keep as good as unharmed, when the attacker is almost on top of them. I´d also assume that at this point, also some bloody hand to hand combat (hand grenade range and below) would start to occur, or any other sorts of combat to be assumed at point blanc range.

Note: There´s different terms/definitions floating around that are confused oftenly. The german term "Nahkampf" is very oftenly translated to "close combat", which is differently defined in english literature and linguistic usage.

Here´s the main differences:

German: Nahkampf = (hand to hand combat) Edit: "Close quarters combat"
German: Kampf auf nächste Entfernung (100m and below) = close combat
German: Kampf auf nahe Entfernung (300m and below) = no idea about english definitions...

German terminology is well defined and normally leaves no doubt, whether a "close (range) combat" or actually "hand to hand combat/close quarters combat" is described or credited.

The german Nahkampfspange (close combat badge) thus is credited for ("hand to hand combat") Close quarters combat and not "close combat" (combat at short yet not clearly defined range).

This all lead to the wrong believes, that actual "hand to hand combat/close quarters combat" was a very rare occurance during WW2 and thus is little worth to be considered properly modelled in wargames.

I know, that something like a "grenade bonus" is used in BftB, obviously to take into account that very close range combat, when both sides unit footprints start to overlap. In fact, I do not see any such "effects" happening at all, beside that there´s no ingame feedback about that (or I´m not aware that there is any).

From my observations that leads frequently to situations, that the closer infantry units get to each other, the less bloody the results will be, particularly for the defending unit. I´ve seen occurances, where units are completely sitting on top of each other (complete overlap of footprints), exchange a tremendous amount of fire, without taking any personnel losses (sure for defender when human played, not sure for AI attacker).

As said in another thread, I spiced up accuracy ratings of small arms for ranges 100m and below 3 times above original values. So the usual 0,9... something, now reads 2,9....and this produces usually 1 casulty per fire exchange, but oftenly enough still 0. (defender dug in in good cover terrain).

At least with this values, a defending unit does not start to retreat in completely unharmed state, as one would normally expect. Too oftenly I see units retreat from pure presence of enemy (FP indication and TLOS) nearby, without having noticable suppression, cohesion loss or morale drops, not to speak of not having taken a single presonnel loss beforehand.

This leads to the oftenly seen situation, that defending units are "scared" out of their foxholes, just to take their first personnel losses, when retreating back and getting hammered by the allmighty enemy artillery outside the original defensive position.

AI artillery usage is a different issue, so I do not work that out here.



< Message edited by RockinHarry -- 2/10/2013 8:01:54 AM >


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Post #: 56
RE: Formations - Progress - 2/10/2013 2:21:29 AM   
Lieste

 

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Are those German terms the correct way around?
Not a speaker, but I interpreted the meaning as 'Close combat' 'Fight at "next" range' and 'Fight at close range'. Where, my guess is next is ordinal:
Close, next, middle, long, extreme (say).

Of course it might be "next" as in adjacent ~ but leads to 'Close' being split by another term.

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Post #: 57
RE: Formations - Progress - 2/10/2013 6:19:44 AM   
RockinHarry


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lieste

Are those German terms the correct way around?
Not a speaker, but I interpreted the meaning as 'Close combat' 'Fight at "next" range' and 'Fight at close range'. Where, my guess is next is ordinal:
Close, next, middle, long, extreme (say).

Of course it might be "next" as in adjacent ~ but leads to 'Close' being split by another term.


These are the definitions, taken from WW2 german FM:

Nahkampf = Edit: likely "close quarters combat"
Nächste Entfernung = (<=100m) nearest range
Nahe Entfernung = (100-400m) = close range
Mittlere Entfernung (400-800m) = middle range
Weite Entfernung (>800m) = far range

Einbruchsentfernung = (200-300m) = break in range

Approximate range at that an infantry force prepares for the final break in to the enemy position.

Fixing bayonets, preparing hand grenades, awaiting last mortar and artillery falling on enemy positions before storming and initiating "Nahkampf" assault.

Can´t tell what comparable definitions from US/UK manuals are, but with reference to "Close combat", it´s oftenly misinterpreted as non "hand to hand combat", when german sources are referred to or translated. Thus the "Nahkampfspangen" Example:

http://www.ww2awards.com/award/99

Edit: Had a look at Wiki for english definitition of "Nahkampf", so "close combat" is not wrong, although "close qurters combat CQC" fits the german definition better:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_quarters_combat

< Message edited by RockinHarry -- 2/10/2013 7:56:56 AM >


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Post #: 58
RE: Formations - Progress - 2/10/2013 6:24:12 AM   
Arjuna


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RockinHarry,

Thanks for the detailed explanations and feedback. After the tweaks I have made I am certainly seeing higher cas and especially when units close. Perhaps the best thing is to review this after I put out a new build in the coming week.

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Post #: 59
RE: Formations - Progress - 2/10/2013 3:13:19 PM   
dazkaz15


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I'm not sure if the problem I see when the footprints overlap is just about casualties.

I think the surrender mechanics might be a bit out as well.

I usually try to get a complete encirclement with a lot of the isolated units entrenched in forests, or other high cover areas, and not only are they not taking casualties, there not surrendering either.

I know you are trying to get a realistic casualty figure, but does this include realistic surrendering figures.

If my tactics are a lot different than those used historically, like I said I like to surround my enemy so when they are routed they can't get away, would there not be a lot different figures than those used historically.

What I'm trying to say is I hope you're not forfeiting a plausible a historical outcome for the sake of historical figures, because It won't work in a game like this that allows you to do tactics that were not used historically.

I would much rather the results where plausible than historical.

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Post #: 60
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