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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips!

 
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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 3:10:57 AM   
MarkShot


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Well, this concludes my current plans for this thread.

As I test and play, I'll add tips when things occur to me. Remember the two HTTR guide threads (links appear in the first post). They should still be quite useful for COTA.

Also, there is an HTTR strategy guide for sale which may be of use for COTA. (available via digital download from the Matrix store) At least, one half of the guide will be useful, since it is dedicated to game play. The other half is dedicated to an analysis of the Market Garden operation.

Take care.


By the way, if anyone is interested in how the concerns which were raised by Jim Burns in this thread were ultimately resolved, you can follow along here (as it branched off into a separate topic):

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=985214

< Message edited by MarkShot -- 12/11/2005 10:04:34 PM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 4:21:07 AM   
Deathtreader


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Hi,

Thank you for an excellent AAR!!! And yes -- your answer(s) to my question about movement cleared it up for me.
Thanks again,

Rob.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 9:00:38 AM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot
Well, this concludes my current plans for this thread.


Excellent stuff Mark - just an idea here : why not turn the whole AAR into a pdf-file ? Would make it a bit easier to read & print. I could do that - which would give you more time to do another one :)

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 11:37:20 AM   
Txema

 

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Excellent idea !!!

Yes, please, convert it to a pdf file to make it easy to print and read offline.

Thanks in advance,


Txema

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 1:05:10 PM   
elmo3

 

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Great job Mark. Now get back to work so we can play the game too!

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 3:39:29 PM   
MarkShot


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Well, the Almighty and Powerful Oz aka Dave O'Connor, has fixed another bug. :)

Here you see my same units at Larissa beginning to finally exit.

It's back to testing for all of us. So that, hopefully, you will never have to experience your glorious decisive victory snatched away by a dastardly and insidious line of C++!

:)




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 3:43:27 PM   
MarkShot


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Eddy,

PDF if you want. Include a link back to the Matrix forums in the preamble.

Be advised that I'll probably grow this thread with more stuff as things occur to me similar to the second HTTR tips thread.

When you have it, we can host it at Matrix and put a link to it in the first post.

Thanks.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 3:47:26 PM   
MarkShot


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Eddy,

By the way, do you want to PDF the two HTTR threads also?

I guess these guys want something they can take on the train, bus, or latrine. Although Matrix will not be liable if you are reading this stuff on your steering wheel while driving to work.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 4:23:40 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot
By the way, do you want to PDF the two HTTR threads also?


I could do that - I'll start on the COTA one sometime next week

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 4:54:01 PM   
RayWolfe

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: sterckxe
I'll start on the COTA one sometime next week

Touch of the Dave O'Connor's there!
Ray

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 7:02:38 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RayWolfe

quote:

ORIGINAL: sterckxe
I'll start on the COTA one sometime next week

Touch of the Dave O'Connor's there!
Ray


Next stage : I fixed that already !

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/4/2005 1:12:08 AM   
Arjuna


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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/4/2005 9:29:25 AM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?


By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
--Confucius

You know me, I always take the easiest route :)

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/4/2005 3:57:25 PM   
MarkShot


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I think I'll reproduce this below, since there is more information about COTA improvements, trends, and how the system compares to other games people are familiar with.

quote:


Ray,

Both the HTTR and COTA AARs were relatively small scale both in terms of duration (2 days or less) and number of units involved (around 50) on one side. Both games come with much larger scenarios that go from 8-12 days with with hundreds of units. When I say units, I mean counters here with the smallest in scale being companies, support weapons platoons, or tank squadrons. The highest level HQ on the map would be the corp.

At the moment, the only thing limiting scenarios being even of larger scope are:

(1) CPU cycles ... as you know this results in many more calculations for pathing, LOS, and combat resolution as map size increases and unit counts go up.

(2) The UI might require some more filtering tools and OOB improvements to further reduce clutter. HTTR had added friendly unit filters and a small counter view and enemy intel filter. COTA further refined the filters and added an OOB display along with an ability filter and manage global messages.

---

COTA took a further big step towards a future day of much larger scenarios by adding a realistic supply system. Less of an issue for small scenarios, but as they get larger, realism would be further reduced without supply routes and movement of supply via the road network.

---

So, the system is inherently and highly scalable both from a UI point of view and a game mechanics point of view.

(1) It does not suffer from being unable to scale up like the Combat Mission series due to exponential work load on the player as unit counts go up. With HTTR/COTA, the work load for the player increases gradually despite vastly increasing unit counts.

(2) It does not suffer from having to abstracting low level combat and leave the details to imagination like in Victoria, HOI, and HOI2. You can command at the high level, but can follow the battle at a much lower level of detail; similiar to CWBR.

(3) It does not require a two level game system coupling two disparate levels such as the Total War series, Close Combat 4/5, and the upcoming Combat Mission Campaigns.

(4) Although sometimes, I have to admit wishing I could watch some of this in 3D. 2D and counters is much easier to scale and one could argue more realistic when one contemplates command at higher levels.

---

Back to my AARs ... Well, given how much work it takes to compile notes, do screenshots, and write them, that accounts for why I pick the smallest scenarios to use. Otherwise, everyone would be playing the game before I even completed my AAR! Also, I like small scenarios, they are very easy to illustrate the games flexibility in terms of allowing micro/macro management side by side. Finally, small scenarios are better for writing tutorials. Another one of the testers, Gary, likes to do AARs, but he generally prefers large scenarios for his AARs. His AARs tend to focus more on the battle itself and less on the game play.


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/4/2005 6:36:42 PM   
Skyfire76


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Markshot does it again He's the one responsible for my buying of HttR ( ) Great thread again, Markshot

Unfortunately, this time I won't bite : without any kind of campaign in it (dynamic or not), it's not on my buy list I hope the next one will have this feature ...

Regards.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/4/2005 6:45:59 PM   
MarkShot


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Nice to hear from you! I know at one point this was the game which was supposed to introduce campaign play and not supply.

The nice thing about game development with Dave is that we never know where we are going until we get there. :) It keeps it from getting routine and boring.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/4/2005 7:03:19 PM   
MarkShot


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Here we see another new COTA feature - RUN UNTIL. This will run the game at the maximum speed until the particular time is reached and then pause.

Tip #1: You can speed this up by:

(1) Turning off all message displays.
(2) Having no units selected.
(3) Minimizing the game (it will run in background).

Tip #2: You can know while at the Windows desktop doing other stuff that the game has paused:

(1) {assuming you are running XP} Start the Windows Task Manager and minimize it to the System Tray. The box will show 100% bright green when the CPU is maxed out.

(2) Set RUN UNTIL in the game and minimize it.

(3) When the Windows Task Manager goes dark green in the System Tray, then COTA has paused.

I am sure you can think of various uses for this feature:

(1) Turn off order delays and play in turn oriented fashion with X hour time updates.

(2) Run quickly to the end of a scenario which you have won already and want to claim your victory.

(3) Run through nightime hours which are typically slow due limited LOS and resting.

(4) If you have a marginal PC and want to play through some of the larger scenarios.

(5) Etc ...

I bring this up, since I am going to use this feature to quickly rerun my save game from before with the new build so that I can get my units to exit and collect my decisive victory.




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< Message edited by MarkShot -- 11/4/2005 8:52:05 PM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/4/2005 9:02:00 PM   
MarkShot


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Finally, here is my decisive victory for this AAR as result of Dave fixing the EXIT bug and getting a new build out to us.

You can see the Win Meter at the top left is past the 3/4s mark. Basically, the game awards decisive defeat, marginal defeat, draw, marginal victory, and decisive victory. However, there are cases where the Win Meter will not accurately predict the ultimate outcome at game conclusion. (I forget the reasons for this.)

You'll notice the green objectives and the little white vertical progress bars next to the objectives showing points accumulated against the possible points which were available.

Lastly, you can see the almost 13:1 kill ratio achieved by the Germans which shows just how costly it was for the Allies to get caught on the move, lacking prepared positions, and overrun.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/4/2005 9:09:44 PM   
MarkShot


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Here is a look at the new exit objective introduced with COTA.

I scored 14 out of a possible 25. Details as to how that breaks down are shown further below with actual/possible.

The numbers represent abstract normalized values of combat ability in various categories of anti-personel, armor, and bombardment. (This is explained in the manual.)




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/4/2005 9:51:44 PM   
Skyfire76


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot

Nice to hear from you! I know at one point this was the game which was supposed to introduce campaign play and not supply.

The nice thing about game development with Dave is that we never know where we are going until we get there. :) It keeps it from getting routine and boring.


Yep, too bad it did not make it into this one. Any news of Golf33 by the way (it's a long time since I saw a post from him) ?

Also, I'd like to second what ChristianKnudsen said in a previous post : outstanding answer from Panther Games to the feedback made in this thread (and others)

Regards.


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/4/2005 9:57:21 PM   
MarkShot


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Steve "Golf33" Long took another job. After all, he had young kids to think of. Not everyone is like Dave - fueled by his dreams. :)

But people have come and gone, and it is really one big extended family.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/5/2005 12:18:19 AM   
Skyfire76


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Oh, copy that, thanks for the heads-up

I let you resume this nice thread, sorry for going slightly OT ...

Regards.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/7/2005 12:10:48 AM   
MarkShot


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Here are a few quick tips (new; not covered in my HTTR tips)

(1) Setting a bombard duration down to 1 minute is a quicker way of canceling the barrage than deleting the task, since there is no order delay with changing the duration.

(2) Calling in fire missions manually is faster than waiting for the AI. Although not exactly an order delay, there is some delay for the fire mission to be ordered.

(3) The AI for on-call arty seems to prefer not to call fire missions on contact's that are poor, even though they are current. Of course, you can call them in yourself.

(4) You cannot drop arty on your own troops, the AI has a "friendlies in the way" fail safe mechanism. This can be used to keep the enemy under barrage until the very moment that your troops close with them.

(5) Even when arty has stood down from on-call fire missions due to fatigue, you can push them to give beyond the auto fatigue threshold rest cutoff by manually ordering them to bombard. (Not sure if the same can be done with all units.)

(6) If you have tried to coordinate a plan, but something is running behind schedule and you need to halt other forces, but you don't want to have to re-input the entire plan later, then try switching the force's formation to in-situ. This should get them to pause in their tracks after the order delay has been applied. Later, change the formation back to whatever it was and after the order delay, they should get on the move again.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/7/2005 12:22:55 AM   
Arjuna


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Hey Mark. Does (6) really work like that...amazing. And they say you can't teach an ol' dog new tricks.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/7/2005 12:47:19 AM   
MarkShot


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Earlier in this thread Dave had explained how regular supply is evaluated every 12 hours. It was asked whether, things are constrained by that or can resupply move quicker when it is needed.

Here is an example of supply being pulled as opposed to pushed.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/7/2005 12:49:46 AM   
MarkShot


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The log for my arty bty in urgent need of shells. They ran through their stock of shells in little over an hour. (I was testing Dave's latest tweaks as per our discussions with Jim Burns in this thread.)




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/7/2005 12:51:27 AM   
MarkShot


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Here you can see six emergency resupply requests for the supply depot. It is pretty certain that one or two was from that arty bty.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/7/2005 1:02:56 AM   
MarkShot


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Based on paying attention to this while playing. This unit is getting resupplied at 2X the rate of normal resupply.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/7/2005 1:31:29 AM   
MarkShot


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An example of cut supply lines (red lines = bad; green lines = good); mine unfortunately!

Our base is to the East and the fighting is to the West. And a German unit has managed to block the road (not sure what they are exactly; suspect motorized infantry or engineers).




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/7/2005 1:38:02 AM   
MarkShot


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Here is another view using the unit info box showing that my supply line has been cut.




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