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First impressions - disappointment - 1/13/2019 12:19:17 PM   
Bivoj_MatrixForum

 

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After finishing first few small custom scenarios to get into the game (which was quite fun, but they were simple scenarios with a few units on rather simple terrain), I jumped into the pre-made scenarios provided by the game.

I tried "Who Will Stop the Rain" first (third scenario), where you have a column of Bundeswehr units parallel with major river and only few crossings (bridge on north, where most of your units start and 2 bridges + frod? at south, where your recon units starts). I gave orders to whole platoons - most of the units were ordered to cross the northern bridge and one platoon was ordered to go south and join the recon platoon.
What happened was a total mess - as the first APC entered at the bridge, the tile become "blocked" and other units (instead of waiting in a "traffic jam") planned their path via southern bridges and the frod; even after the bridge was abandoned by the first unit, the other units stubbornly continued marching south, making their path longer and more dangerous.
So the units were completely disordered, disobeying any formation in total mess. I just quit the scenario.

Maybe it is just a bad scenario, so I tried the Winter Desolation (second scenario), where most of your force starts isolated north behind a river with two bridges. Again - I gave orders to platoons to cross the river and assemble on the other bank to counterattack the soviets.
It was the same as in the previous scenario - as the first two APCs "blocked" the bridge, the rest just cancelled all orders and I received a notice, that they "Cannot reach the destination" (or similar excuse), so the platoon was "split" - first unit (a squad in APC) on the other bank, following all pre-arranged orders, but the rest of the platoon (2 squads in APCs) just sitting idle even after the bridge was cleared and open. Horrible.
I tried the mission again, fiddling with every single squad, babysitting it to get it across the bloody bridges and re-assemble the platoons on the other bank. I spent more than 30mins of this horrible fiddling without any feel of actually commanding a battalion of competent soldiers.
OK - this game cannot simulate rivers (and I may avoid any scenario with major river in future), but as I spent some time and effort, I will now execute the counterattack south. I gave orders to (now re-established) platoons and... horrible again.

It is not only rivers: as several platoons wanted to find a way through the difficult terrain of forests in Finland, it become very similar to the "bridge" issue. The first units "blocked" the viable roads through heavy forests and the poor late-comers arranged a path beyond my imagination. Instead of expected traffic jam, where units would be going slow and waiting for a clear path, they try to get into the waypoint via any other long/difficult/dangerous way possible, acting like retards.

This game cannot handle river crossing on platoon level, it cannot handle traffic jams in difficult terrain on platoon level and it forces you to do squad level fiddling.

I know, that it may be difficult to implement proper AI and pathfinding, but when it is so half-finished:
Why the very first pre-made scenarios include river crossing?
Why there is a map of high-terrain-density Finlad? Even Germany has too difficult terrain for this game...
The game as-is would work very well on low-terrain-density theatres like Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sinai etc.

Also, I hate the design decision to have the "tiles" and limit the number of units per tile to just 1. Increasing the limit to at least 2 would make it little bit easier (for example unloading infantry from transport is pain as well), while getting rid of the tiles would be best.
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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/13/2019 1:57:00 PM   
Veitikka


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I just tried the 'Winter Desolation' scenario, while waiting for the pizza in the oven to warm up, and it took less than 5 minutes of real-life time (less than 10 minutes of game time) to get the units arranged like this. If you understand how the system works then it's possible. I did zero micro-management, I did it all by issuing orders to the formation flags.





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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/13/2019 4:18:09 PM   
Bivoj_MatrixForum

 

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Thank you for quick response. I just tried again right now.
I have ordered to all platoons to get accross the bridge in column formation by series of waypoints (I had to wait until the gamne starts as formation cannot be ordered during deployment phase, so I had to wait for order delay), stance set to "quick" and after a few SECONDs these messages started to pop out:
"APC cannot find path"
After third such message I save&quit and return to type the message.
What else should I do?

Maybe the game is too complicated and counterintuitive, but I have no clue how to order them to cross the bridges... (or move through forests - they behave the same way)
The squad leaders (or APC drivers) do not act as real soldiers - they would cross the bridge with the commands I gave them, not needing any additional input, not being "blocked" by distant moving vehicle on the bridge.




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< Message edited by Bivoj_MatrixForum -- 1/13/2019 4:24:52 PM >

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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/13/2019 6:19:43 PM   
22sec

 

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If you want units to move along a road place them in March formation.

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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/13/2019 7:03:14 PM   
Bivoj_MatrixForum

 

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Thanks 22sec - March formation actually helps - the units are not that prone to lose their way and at first it seemed working, BUT:
as you see in the picture, even units in "March" order may be confused (see the warning "APC cannot find path").

Anyway, using "March" formation may be kind of workaround remedy to move units on roads in road column. It is quite counterintuitive to use this formation in close proximity to enemy or to attack enemy positions in this formation, but it may work. (I would be more happy when the other formations work as they should and as they are expected...)

And another complain:
See the selected APC:
I have set the SOP to "short" and you can see what path the APC (originally coming from the northern bridge) have chosen - longer (!!!), slower and more dangerous (in case we are in close proximity to enemy).

I am still not convinced the pathfinding and unit AI work properly in this game. I hope it will be fixed in future patches (hopefully in short to mid-term).




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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/13/2019 8:14:40 PM   
Phoenix100

 

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Well, I think it would be helpful if Vietikka had told us WHICH orders he gave to achieve the desired result, no? Just saying you know how to do it whilst waiting for the pizza (lol) isn't very helpful, really - after all, you are the designer, so you would know.

I have managed to get all the units smoothly across the bridge in this Finnish scenario only by staggering the orders in time, otherwise I too always getting the pathfinding error messages.

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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/14/2019 11:38:19 AM   
Veitikka


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The programmer's main function is to convert pizza to code.

Most of the pathfinding issues are caused be the stacking limit. Currently there can be only one unit in a map cell. The plan is to increase the limit, but it's a profound change in the system so we must find a proper time for stepping into this unknown territory.

I recommend to not use the 'narrow' formation spacing when moving. It can cause the units to 'collide' with each other, and can result in a mess.

In the scenario, the mech platoons are in 'march formation' already. You can tell this from the 'M' symbol above the flag, when it's selected. The simplest way to cross the bridges is to give waypoints to the leading platoons, wait for the road to clear and then move the following platoons. See the attached image. A more advanced approach would be to pre-plan by using the 'disabled' waypoints. By holding down the control key when placing waypoints they will be disabled, until the player activates them by holding down the control key again and clicking on the waypoint.





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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/14/2019 12:22:45 PM   
Phoenix100

 

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But was the pizza a Finnish special - did it have pineapple on it?

Thanks for the tips. Indeed, staggering the march order is how I have been doing it.

Look forward to the tile density changes.

< Message edited by Phoenix100 -- 1/14/2019 2:54:43 PM >

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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/14/2019 3:46:27 PM   
Bivoj_MatrixForum

 

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Thank you for the answer. Definitely looking forward to increasing the stacking limit per tile. Currently, the pathfinding and stacking issues are breaking the immersion for me...

What about the issue of selected APC in my last picture - pathfinding of "short" way? It has nothing to do with stacking limit - the APC could drive forward, but it has chosen the long, slow and dangerous way...

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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/14/2019 5:08:32 PM   
Veitikka


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Phoenix100

But was the pizza a Finnish special - did it have pineapple on it?



It was imported from Norway. Mozzarella and Edam cheese with beef.


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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/14/2019 5:21:40 PM   
Veitikka


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bivoj_MatrixForum

What about the issue of selected APC in my last picture - pathfinding of "short" way? It has nothing to do with stacking limit - the APC could drive forward, but it has chosen the long, slow and dangerous way...


I'm not sure what's going on in the picture. Is that formation movement, or is the unit moving on its own? It looks more like the 'quickest' than the 'shortest' path. You can see which cells are blocked by units when setting waypoints and zooming in.

Overall, the current system is certainly not 'half-finished', even if some may not like certain design decisions that have been made in the long history of this game. It works as designed. The trick is to know how it works and then use it as a tool for your benefit.


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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/14/2019 6:15:00 PM   
Bivoj_MatrixForum

 

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The picture shows a platoon order. The platoon originated on the northern bridge and this is the very first waypoint for the platoon. SOP set to short. I would expect the units going directly straight towards the waypoint through the difficult terrain, they are not - the path chosen is not even the "quickest" (they have to cross a large piece of difficult terrain - the forest - anyway), so I would not expect the pathfinding to act so stupid. It is just bad AI doing wrong decisions - such silliness is causing casualties when close to enemy... And I experienced several occasions of such bad pathfinding during my gaming experience on Finland map.

My conclusion: it is half finished. It may work for you as you know it perfectly, but I did expect a game with very good UI (as is seen on screenshots and as is advertised) - easy to controll, with focus on command decisions, but I have to learn the hidden, internal and counterintuitive rules of the game instead. Playing the rules, not the period (I like vice versa).
It is crucial in RTS not to have misleading controll and bad pathfinding, because you do decisions in realtime (you can pause, but you have to focus on several areas of the map simultaneously). So, it is not working for me - sorry:(
I hope you will fix the pathfinding issue soon and increase stacking limit to tiles in mid-term. Then I may resume playing the game...

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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/14/2019 6:43:36 PM   
Veitikka


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bivoj_MatrixForum

The picture shows a platoon order. The platoon originated on the northern bridge and this is the very first waypoint for the platoon. SOP set to short. I would expect the units going directly straight towards the waypoint through the difficult terrain, they are not - the path chosen is not even the "quickest" (they have to cross a large piece of difficult terrain - the forest - anyway), so I would not expect the pathfinding to act so stupid. It is just bad AI doing wrong decisions - such silliness is causing casualties when close to enemy... And I experienced several occasions of such bad pathfinding during my gaming experience on Finland map.


If you use the 'march' formation then the SOP pathfind option is ignored. I'm not sure if you used the 'march' formation, but it is for road movement, not for going through woods or such.


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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/14/2019 7:46:40 PM   
Bivoj_MatrixForum

 

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Indeed, the platoon has March order - as I was advised to put them into March order to cross the bridge without "APC cannot find path" message. How shall I know, that March order is neglecting SOP? SOP is still active in March order and there is no warning anywhere, that it behaves like that (not even in the manual - as I did check right now); even in the unit status it states "short" and not "march" or "quick". Anyway, the path chosen by the APC is not even on the road (because of stacking limit and because AI does not perceive the road will be clear before the APC reaches the tile as the "blockers" are moving as well)...

Btw. Is there a possibility to change the SOP at some waypoint (like in Command Ops)? (i.e. crossing the bridge in March formation and after that: line formation and move to the woods)

Honestly, this is quite frustrating. I was expecting smart, intuitive UI as it seemed from pictures and I am now learning hidden rules how to control simple movement of units in friendly area. I cannot imagine what else do I miss in terms of controlling the combat and units in hostile territory...

I really want to like the game, as it seemed to be something between Command Ops and Close Combat with bit of Combat Mission. But each of these 3 old games has better UI (or at least less misleading). I am sorry to sound rude, I was expecting something like "We know about the issues, there will be patches to fix it." or something like that, but your answer "It works as designed." is huge disappointment for me.

< Message edited by Bivoj_MatrixForum -- 1/14/2019 7:47:53 PM >

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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/14/2019 8:32:59 PM   
Veitikka


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bivoj_MatrixForum

How shall I know, that March order is neglecting SOP? SOP is still active in March order and there is no warning anywhere, that it behaves like that (not even in the manual - as I did check right now); even in the unit status it states "short" and not "march" or "quick".


Currently the formation path mode is shown above the flag when you select it: (S)hortest, (Q)uickest, (C)overed, (M)arch. So far there hasn't been any better ideas for showing it.

What you see in the individual unit's status window is for that unit only, when it's moving without the formation. The formation path mode is separate from it.

quote:



Btw. Is there a possibility to change the SOP at some waypoint (like in Command Ops)? (i.e. crossing the bridge in March formation and after that: line formation and move to the woods)


Currently it's not possible.


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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/14/2019 10:45:34 PM   
kevinkins


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Might be best to take the learnings from the Forum the past several months and update the game manual by providing more detail on all aspects of game play. This would be quick to do and require no programing. While pretty to look at, the manual could be more detailed.

Kevin

< Message edited by kevinkin -- 1/15/2019 7:32:55 AM >


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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/15/2019 8:58:06 PM   
Bivoj_MatrixForum

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Veitikka

Currently the formation path mode is shown above the flag when you select it: (S)hortest, (Q)uickest, (C)overed, (M)arch. So far there hasn't been any better ideas for showing it.



Hereby some ideas/suggestions, making the UI more informative and less misleading:

Option 1) As far as I understand, March is in fact a stance rather then formation. So, make it the fourth stance in SOP menu (March / Quick / Short / Cover) and when March is selected in SOP, make the formation selection unavailable (like you have it in pre-made scenarios in deployment phase), because formation for March stance is always column.

Option 2) If you want to keep the March as "Formation", than disable the Quick / Short / Cover selection in SOP menu as it does not make any sense AND make the info about March appear in unit status description (i.e. "Pathfind: March").

In any case, make the formation highlighted (as is the SOP selection), so it is clear what actual formation is active for the unit.

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RE: First impressions - disappointment - 1/18/2019 4:09:19 PM   
Lowlaner2012

 

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Hi....

I initially played the game when I first go it but I couldn't get into it, so I put it down..

Then about a week later went back for another try and things just seeing seemed to click..

One thing I be learnt that helped me a lot with road travel was after you get them formation is to stagger there movement times, say give a movement order to one platoon let them get under way then give the next unit movement orders and so on....

This works for me most of the time...

< Message edited by Lowlaner2012 -- 1/18/2019 4:10:20 PM >

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