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Vision on Engineering Capabilities? - 5/1/2017 2:12:41 PM   
calgar


Posts: 64
Joined: 1/5/2012
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Cheers Everyone,

Long time no see here on the Matrix Forum.

I always followed Armored Brigade along with great interest. Even the free version is probably what was closest to the Simulation Software we are using in the German Army, and the time period is certainly to me the most interesting one.

One of the major aspects of 80s era warfare that I find incredibly interesting and fascinating, are the various engineering tasks that could be executed extremely fast and shaped the operation massively.

Would you, Veitikka, like to share with us your vision on engineering features? What would you like to see in the release version? What is out of the question? What will we certainly not see?

In particular, I would be interested in hearing about:

- Point Minefields
- Minefield configuration (Density, camouflages Vs not camouflaged)
- Bridging equipment
- AT-Ditches/Abatis
- MRLS delivered Fields.
- Mine Clearing Equipment (i.e. rollers/ploughs)

Never played the free version much, but I am glad to see that this is moving to another level. Good luck with this project.

Regards,

A



< Message edited by calgar -- 5/1/2017 2:13:52 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Vision on Engineering Capabilities? - 5/3/2017 9:37:39 PM   
Veitikka


Posts: 46
Joined: 6/25/2007
From: Finland
Status: online
Thanks calgar. Using your list items to answer the question:

quote:

ORIGINAL: calgar

- Point Minefields



We have minefields, that represent a mixed minefield with anti-personnel and anti-tank mines.

quote:



- Minefield configuration (Density, camouflages Vs not camouflaged)



There are only two types of minefields: standard and scatterable (see below). The scatterable mines can be detected from farther away. It shouldn't be hard to add minefields of different density and level of camouflage, but since AB has the dynamic AI it must be taught to place all the different obstacle types, taking into account an infinite number of variables, and that's the real challenge. The AI obstacle placement could be better than it currently is, and hopefully it will be improved when we'll get more player feedback.

quote:



- Bridging equipment



Currently there's no bridging equipment of any sort. Again, the dynamic AI opponent is the limitation. I would really like to add bridge layer vehicles, but so far there hasn't been a workable solution, because adding equipment that the AI cannot use is against the design philosophy of this project. River crossing can easily became a turkey shoot.

quote:



- AT-Ditches/Abatis



We have "AT obstacles" that hinder vehicle movement. Also, there are wire obstacles that slow down infantry and may cause casualties.

quote:



- MRLS delivered Fields.



Scatterable minefields are in the game. You place a dedicated target reference point (TRP) in the setup phase, and then you can plan a fire mission within its radius. We do have a form of MLRS in the game, but it's used for HE and DPICM. I wonder how rocket delivered minefields differ from other scatterable mines?

quote:



- Mine Clearing Equipment (i.e. rollers/ploughs)



The NATO units have very limited engineering capabilities. In the game, most NATO tanks don't have mine plows, just like they didn't have in real life. The Soviet tanks have about one mine plow per platoon. The plows can be used to clear any type of obstacle. Currently there are no plans for mine rollers, but they're not out of the question.

So basically, every feature listed here is possible to have in the game, but I believe that features such as bridging equipment would require a scripted AI opponent. In the future I may be working on it, especially if there will be military customers interested in AB.


_____________________________

Know thyself!

(in reply to calgar)
Post #: 2
RE: Vision on Engineering Capabilities? - 5/3/2017 11:23:48 PM   
calgar


Posts: 64
Joined: 1/5/2012
Status: offline
Thank you for taking time to answer the questions.

I fully understand the challange of making the AI capable enough of using these features.

quote:

I wonder how rocket delivered minefields differ from other scatterable mines?


The answer is speed and volume.

For a Gun-delivered minefield of 400x400m it takes about 40 min to be placed. If no authorized and pre-planned even longer. And for that time, the battery is committed and is easy prey for counter-battery fire.

MRLS has a better time/outcome ratio. pre-planned and authorized, a minefield takes about 15 minutes, most often is a bit faster even, after being ordered to execute. And that is a 1500x500m Minefield.

In fact, it would be interesting to see the player having to pre-plan and request authorization by higher echelon before placing mines

I will see and try to find a free version of the old AB. Otherwise, I just keep asking questions that can be answered by just having a look at the current version. Hope we can place single mines on roads, to simulate point minefields.

Will we see ScattMineSystems in the game, (i.e. Vulcan) so we can place Minefields in ongoing operations?

Cheers

(in reply to Veitikka)
Post #: 3
RE: Vision on Engineering Capabilities? - 5/5/2017 12:21:56 PM   
Veitikka


Posts: 46
Joined: 6/25/2007
From: Finland
Status: online
quote:

ORIGINAL: calgar

In fact, it would be interesting to see the player having to pre-plan and request authorization by higher echelon before placing mines



There's sort of pre-planning involved, because the minefield TRP must be placed first, and only a certain amount of mine shells can be fired per TRP.

quote:



Hope we can place single mines on roads, to simulate point minefields.



The map cell size in the game is 30x30 meters. If the minimum amount of mines per cell would be one, what should be the maximum? How the number of mines would affect the chance of detecting the minefield and the probability of stepping into a mine in the cell?

quote:



Will we see ScattMineSystems in the game, (i.e. Vulcan) so we can place Minefields in ongoing operations?



Mine delivery systems could make interesting tactical dilemmas. What systems were used in the 1965-1991 era, and how common were they?


_____________________________

Know thyself!

(in reply to calgar)
Post #: 4
RE: Vision on Engineering Capabilities? - 5/5/2017 10:40:52 PM   
calgar


Posts: 64
Joined: 1/5/2012
Status: offline
quote:

There's sort of pre-planning involved, because the minefield TRP must be placed first, and only a certain amount of mine shells can be fired per TRP.


I was thinking of all minefields, even the type that is placed by ground systems. That would just penalize anyone who is not thinking ahead. Than again: Just thinking out loud. I can see how much of a niche that is.

quote:

The map cell size in the game is 30x30 meters. If the minimum amount of mines per cell would be one, what should be the maximum? How the number of mines would affect the chance of detecting the minefield and the probability of stepping into a mine in the cell?


I see. I was just thinking how to represent point minefields. Independent of number of mines per "placement", I was hoping we could deny crossing points, bridges, intersections etc.

quote:

Mine delivery systems could make interesting tactical dilemmas. What systems were used in the 1965-1991 era, and how common were they?


They make for the most interesting tactical situations IMO. I can only speak for 80s Soviet and German Doctrine, for other services other experts have to jump in, but those made plenty of use of these systems.

Will we pull of blocking that breakthrough with the blocking minefield before soviet advanced units reach that area? will the reserve be in blocking position quick enough to destroy the enemie's lead units in conjunction with the new field? will we deploy the minefield with an in-build gap so that forward units can redeploy through it before we complete it? or will enemy recon elements discover the gap and keep it open until they can pass through it? If we are attacking, do we discover that counterattack in our flank early enough to start placing mines? Did we think ahead and pre-plan that field early enough?
- So yes, it can really make for the most exciting experiences.

Soviets used mine placing systems with a similar intent. I assume you did loads of research already, so terms like "mobile obstacle detachment" are no stranger to you.

Really, I think this game will be great anyway. No intend to "talk down" on any of the features. Just genuine excitement for the (probably first proper) modern warfare title with my personal favourite scope.

Cheers

(in reply to Veitikka)
Post #: 5
RE: Vision on Engineering Capabilities? - 5/20/2017 4:34:07 PM   
nikolas93TS


Posts: 3
Joined: 2/24/2017
Status: offline
For Soviets, every third sapper platoon in the regiment's engineer company was also performing minelaying activities. These could be equipped with certain models of APCs or trucks towing PMR-3 or PMZ-4 mine laying systems or truck-based UMZ scatterable mine system. GMZ tracked mine-laying vehicles were also common. All of them were used with intent to mechanise and speed up otherwise labour-intensive, time-consuming minelaying process. With an exception of UMZ, adopted by the Soviet Army in the early 1980s and consisting of six individual launcher units each containing 30 tubes on truck chassis, all other systems are abstractly represented with existing minefields: speed of minelaying is irrelevant as it is something pre-planned.

US had GEMSS mine system (Ground Emplaced Mine Scattering System), replaced in US service by the Volcano mine system. The mines were deployed from either the towed M128 "Frisbee Flinger" (first fielded in June 1985 but production problems led to numerous delays, so it entered service around 1986) and the M138 "Flipper" portable mine layer (entered service around 1991). They were not such a common sight (69 deployed?) and were soon replaced by Volcano system, which however is out of current Armored brigade timeframe.

British introduced Ranger scatterable mine system in 1976, which was a mix of both methods. While it could be mounted on a variety of platforms, usually an FV432 would be fitted with a plough through which bar anti-tank mines would be laid. On top, the fully rotatable launcher would be installed with 1296 plastic anti-personal scatterable mines. As each section of the anti-tank minefield completed, several "barrels" of scatterable mines would be fired as cover.

In my personal opinion, such vehicles at the moment are not worth the delay necessary to implement them at this stage of game development. But you raised some interesting points. There used to be engineer class as a proposal, but it was never well defined as an idea and eventually dropped. I think the idea was to have infantry units dismantling mines and obstacles. Now, sappers could also deploy mines. Protective minefields are usually employed and emplaced at the small-unit level (platoon or company/team). The authority to emplace hasty protective minefields is normally delegated to the company/team commander, laid on short notice by units that use mines from their basic load or local stock. The mines are laid so that they are easy to detect and recover by the laying unit. Above that level, authority to emplace mines goes to higher echelons, at least in US documents I was able to read. But even hasty protective minefields would require some considerable time to deploy, which doesn't fit well with average "skirmish" type scenarios in this game, where the enemy is very near etc. so mines placed in a setup phase can handle the same job.

Another scatterable minefield delivery method, more widely available (effectively through whole Cold War), is by aircraft and helicopters. But, the issue of minefield deployment authority remains. I also wouldn't like to burden the player with micromanaging (unless necessary), and even more importantly we don't want to introduce systems dynamic AI is unable to use effectively without scripting.

But if you (or anybody else) have some engineering experience, feel free to share it. Many of the game cardinal mechanisms were built upon input and experience provided by people who served (or still do) and that is something hard to obtain from simply reading books or manuals.

(in reply to calgar)
Post #: 6
RE: Vision on Engineering Capabilities? - 5/20/2017 10:47:34 PM   
calgar


Posts: 64
Joined: 1/5/2012
Status: offline
Hi,

quote:

In my personal opinion, such vehicles at the moment are not worth the delay necessary to implement them at this stage of game development.


I Agree

quote:

and were soon replaced by Volcano system, which however is out of current Armored brigade timeframe.


Isn't the time frame including the 80s?

quote:

Above that level, authority to emplace mines goes to higher echelons, at least in US documents I was able to read.


The way you discribed it, is correct. at least from a German perspective. Protective is (as per default) Company authority under certain restrictions (i.e. single mine, must be observable from own positions). Bn requests clearance for other minefields with Bde.

quote:

Above that level, authority to emplace mines goes to higher echelons, at least in US documents I was able to read.


As for the protective ones, yes. I would disagree with the "proper" minefields. Creating new ones during ongoing Ops is something that happens frequently. If they are pre-planned and authorized, you are looking at 15 Mins for laying, excluding moving from the Engineer's Assembly Area and to the field to be placed, if we take Vulcan and a 3 Km long field as a reference.

quote:

I also wouldn't like to burden the player with micromanaging (unless necessary), and even more importantly we don't want to introduce systems dynamic AI is unable to use effectively without scripting.


I Agree. I was just thinking that, if you would want to implement sth like that, the player can't just start with deploying mines, but just has to wait for about 30 min. Or think ahead and request authorization in advance, but without placing the field itself.

quote:

But if you...


I am not an engineer, but I picked up some tricks by working with them ;-)

quote:

(or anybody else) have some engineering experience


always eager to hear from others as well!

Cheers,

A


(in reply to nikolas93TS)
Post #: 7
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