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

 
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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/9/2005 4:15:39 PM   
MarkShot


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Bob,

See post #227 of this thread discussion items 6a-c. It shows how this technique can be woven into a larger plan to slow and hurt a much larger enemy force than one's own as they advance towards and beyond your initial position.

Also, see post #122 in the HTTR thread:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=554121&mpage=5&key=

Please be advised that beyond the tutorial AAR which opened the thread, I am intentionally not providing an excessive amount of contextual information and big picture examples. As with my HTTR threads before, I want this to be a thread of tips and not one of scenario spoilers. The idea is that the reader will be introduced to a collection of techniques which he/she may then use as building blocks in constructing his/her own strategies while playing the game.

Now, if those don't help you see how differential sighting can play a pivotal role in a particular battle. Then, please come back with some more precise questions as to what part you are having trouble with. Like:

(1) Does this technique buy you anything on the attack?

(2) How much lead time does that company need to get situated?

(3) What good is this at night?

(4) How can I get them set up there without them exposing themselves unnecessarily to enemy observation?

(5) Must it be a company on foot or will a motorized infantry company do?

That would be helpful, since it's hard for me to know where to begin when you simply say "I don't get it". I am not trying to be troublesome. Rest assured when I got RDOA (HTTR's predecessor) in 2002, I was well beyond hopelessly lost. In fact, I was still in such a state of command confusion when I joined the beta team. Luckily while on a couple of month trip to China, I found the time to play/beta-test the game quite a bit. Only then, did things start to become clear to me. However, even now, it seems that I am still picking up things almost every time I play.

Thanks, Bob.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/9/2005 7:13:02 PM   
BK6583

 

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Markshot,


Point very well taken. I guess was I was trying to ask is since I can't switch sides and see what the bad guys see, how can I ascertain what terrain features will actually afford me this LOS "protection"? If I really can't ascertain this, then my dumb question was how can I plan a defense bsaed upon this seeming lack of knowledge. I hope this is maybe a tad less mudier than my earlier post.

Respectfully,

Bob

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/9/2005 8:50:08 PM   
MarkShot


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Bob,

Thanks. What you are asking is now much clearer to me.

First, a little bit about how I play. I always pause when giving orders. Except for bombard orders/changes, I always create a save game before and after. I started doing that a long time ago when I was trying to learn the game, since I could then try something different without having to replay from scratch. In any case, I have maintained that habit until today (I rarely ever back track and try something different) for two reasons. First, it is invaluable when beta testing, since when issue arise I have reproducible examples I can turn over to Dave. Second, it allows me to go back to completed games later and cull out examples for tips.

quote:

ORIGINAL: BK6583
... I guess was I was trying to ask is since I can't switch sides and see what the bad guys see ...


So, getting back to your question. That entire game was completed playing it just as you would when you purchase it. The planning and execution was done without any beta cheat tools. However, after completing the game, I thought their usage would help to better illustrate my point. Thus, the presentation using the beta cheat tools. You should have no problem achieving the same results that I did.

quote:

ORIGINAL: BK6583
... ascertain what terrain features will actually afford me this LOS "protection"? ...


Okay, I went to the back of the HTTR manual to view the various tables of terrain affects to see if I could get you some documentation on this. However, the tables are really presented with symmetric LOS in mind as opposed to differential sighting. Thus, they only address the theoretical maximum LOS through the particular terrain type. There is a little note below one of the tables that says "Units moving and firing are easier to see.". So much, for providing you with hard numbers.

So, let me tell you what I believe to be true and probably is (both of HTTR and COTA):

(1) Open terrain meaning lacking buildings and/or trees will tend facilitate spotting of a unit present in it.

(2) Closed terrain such as woods and towns will tend to diminish spotting of a unit present in it.

(3) The lower the deploment status (halted units always start to go through the deploment cycle) the easier units are to spot. Undeployed -> Taking Cover -> Deployed -> Dug-in -> Entrenched -> Fortified Represent increased difficulty in spotting a unit.

(4) In conjunction with #3 movement makes units easier to spot.

(5) Firing makes units easier to spot.

(6) Units with AFVs or motorised units have a higher profile and therefore are easier to spot.

(7) Foot infantry has a small profile and is relatively harder to spot.

(8) Increased distance within the range of maximum LOS reduces spotting.

(9) Relative unit size impacts how easy it is to spot.

Now, that is what I believe and needless to say there are many questions as to how those things interact with each other. Also, there are whole host of other questions like:

(1) Is spotting ability reduced when a unit is in motion?

(2) Does firing at night make a unit easier to be spotted?

(3) Will overcast (dim lighting) reduce spotting capability in an assymetric fashion?

(4) Will weather such as rain as opposed to dry still conditions reduce spotting as it generates noise in the environment?

So, going back to your question of what did I know and how did I use it to create the desired affect:

(1) I chose a point of observation with a view to a major road that provided the enemy a way to travel along their axis of advance. With the severe movement restrictions that exist in COTA compared to HTTR, this is critical.

(2) The position picked was itself unlikely to directly along the enemy's path but rather adjacent to it. Making it less likely that the enemy would stumble upon the position.

(3) I chose an elevated position, since it would afford the greatest field of view over the area of interest. The proverbial "high ground".

(4) I chose woods (not an orchard or light woods) as it would offer the best cover to hide my presence.

(5) I didn't really have motorized infantry available to me, but if I did I would have still chosen an infantry company on foot. Why? In COTA, woods are impassable to motorized infantry. Also, infantry on foot should have a lower profile. (You could do the same technique with motorized infantry along the outskirts of a town.)

(6) I chose a position set back from the road by about 2-5km. This will tend to discourage unit from getting involved in a fire fight with small arms. However, if your intention was to block instead of observe, then you should be between 0.0-2.0km.

(7) I made sure there would be at least six hours or so before the enemy were in the area so that they would have time to dig-in.

(8) I made sure that their orders would have them take internal trails through the woods to get into position as opposed in front of the tree line along the ridge which might skylight them for the enemy.

There you have it in as much detail that I can give you.

Is it guaranteed that they won't be spotted? No, nothing is guaranteed. In fact a unit in the same tree line 3km to the North-West with the same mission was spotted and pounded without mercy by German arty.

You'll know it worked, as I did, if you see everything that is going on, but you are not taking any significant fire or arty.

Remember differential sighting also means you see them before they see you. So, if you had them spotted for six hours before they spotted you that means for six hours your guns could be hammering them. That's worth a lot.

Also, remember that even though your unit is spotted, a dug-in unit in a tree line is not that easy to dislodge without an actual assault. If the enemy doesn't assault their location, then they can continue to fulfill their mission. If the enemy does assault their position, then it means he has ceased making progress towards where he was really intending to go. Either way that company will make a significant contribution towards delaying the enemy's progress.

---

Well, that was quite a discussion. I hope that makes it all clear.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/9/2005 9:19:11 PM   
BK6583

 

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Markshot,

Very, very clear!! I'm definitely impressed - I've been floating in and out of this forum and HTTR and you ALWAYS seem to take the time to provide timely and accurate answers. I salute you!

Respectfully,

Bob

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/10/2005 12:30:59 AM   
MarkShot


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Major Disaster (from the new features thread)
...
9. Msg finder. When a msg says (for example) 6 Coy retreating it would be nice to be able to click on the msg and istantly find 6 Coy.
...


I just found out that if you click on a message in the message tab, it will select the corresponding unit on the map. If you double click, it will center that unit on the map as well and bring up the general tab.

Note: This only works from the message tab and not the scrolling messages on the top.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/10/2005 1:19:23 AM   
Arjuna


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Re using the on map messages. Just hit the End key to select the last one and thgen the Page Up and Page Down keys to navigate up and down the list of on-map messages. Hit the Home button to select the sending unit. Too easy.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/10/2005 1:48:42 AM   
MarkShot


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Re using the on map messages. Just hit the End key to select the last one and thgen the Page Up and Page Down keys to navigate up and down the list of on-map messages. Hit the Home button to select the sending unit. Too easy.


Yep. Folks were aware of that, but they were wanting to be able to mouse click those messages too. Well, at least, they can do it from the message log.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/10/2005 4:38:48 AM   
MarkShot


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Regarding: Airstrikes

I only just realized this today, since I usually just hit the "S" key to target and pretty much use it as soon as it is announced.

Here is another little improvement that probably Paul slipped in. A count down timer for airstrikes. Although I don't know what min/max do, since they appear to always be the same. Perhaps when you have more than one strike pending they are different.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/10/2005 9:35:00 AM   
Golf33

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot


quote:

ORIGINAL: BK6583
... ascertain what terrain features will actually afford me this LOS "protection"? ...


Okay, I went to the back of the HTTR manual to view the various tables of terrain affects to see if I could get you some documentation on this. However, the tables are really presented with symmetric LOS in mind as opposed to differential sighting. Thus, they only address the theoretical maximum LOS through the particular terrain type. There is a little note below one of the tables that says "Units moving and firing are easier to see.". So much, for providing you with hard numbers.

Actually, the numbers in the manual indicate how close the enemy needs to get before they can see one of your units when it's in that type of terrain.

I don't have the manual to hand right now so I am making the numbers up but to roughly illustrate what I mean:

Let's say Woods have visibility of 500m. You have an infantry company deployed in the edge of some woods. This means the enemy has to come within 500m of your infantry company in order to have any chance of spotting them. Meanwhile, the enemy is in open ground so your infantry company can see them while they are much further away.

Remember that the visibility numbers in the HTTR manual refer to a deployed infantry company in perfect weather conditions. If your unit is moving or firing, or it is composed of guns and vehicles, then it will be easier to spot (the enemy may see it from further away). If the weather is less than perfect, it will be harder to spot (the enemy will have to get closer to have a chance to spot it).

Regards
Steve

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/10/2005 9:36:04 AM   
Golf33

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot
Here is another little improvement that probably Paul slipped in. A count down timer for airstrikes. Although I don't know what min/max do, since they appear to always be the same. Perhaps when you have more than one strike pending they are different.
Yes. One shows the time until the first airstrike turns into a pumpkin, the other shows the time until the last airstrikes disappears.

Regards
Steve

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/10/2005 5:05:31 PM   
MarkShot


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Thanks, Steve.

So, going back to Bob's question and using what Steve said and flipping to the back of the HTTR manual (Dave is still working on the COTA docs), we have the following:

(1) The enemy was in clear terrain moving as a mixed force of infantry, motorized infantry, etc...

(2) My infantry company was on foot dug-in to heavy woods.

According to the following section of tables, my unit could spot the enemy out to 10km, and the enemy would have had to approach to within 0.2km to spot my unit. Of course, personal experience tells me that well before 0.2km, my unit would have given away their position due to laying down fire upon the enemy.

Now, it is possible that setting ROF=LOW and AGGRO=MIN may diminish the chance of my unit revealing their position by firing upon the enemy, but I haven't really played around with that in this context. Dave, would that have mattered?




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 7:42:43 PM   
MarkShot


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Outside, it is a gloomy and overcast Sunday afternoon in the North East of the USA. Inside, I am sitting in my office surrounded by piles of paperwork which has accumulated over the last few months.

I am left with a tough decision. I could either clean up these piles by 12/31/05 or work on this thread some more.

I'll have to mull this over a bit ...

:)

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 7:47:09 PM   
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When I had started this thread and presented my AAR, I had stated that one of my goals was to "Point out some the new features/changes since HTTR". I had also stated that one of the most significant improvements in the game engine, supply, would not be addressed by my AAR due to the nature of that particular battle.

Well, I am now ready to talk a little bit about supply. I am by no means a supply expert. Hopefully, Eddy and Ray will pop by later to give some of their insights.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 8:23:46 PM   
MarkShot


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Here you see a section of the coastline of Crete.

I will playing as the Germans. Where you see the red highlight is where I will be having para drops. Where you see the purple X will be the location of my supply base.

The scenario will run for a little over three days with everyone being on the ground within the first few hours.

I have decided to concentrate my efforts on the town of Iraklion to the West and the Airfield to the East. Also, observe that the location of my supply base is to the extreme East.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 8:28:42 PM   
MarkShot


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We are about 3+ hours into the scenario and everyone is on the ground.

I have turned off the display of enemy units and I am using small counters on the moment. (The actual battle is not really of interest for what I want to demonstrate.)

The highlighted unit is my one and only supply base.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 8:34:37 PM   
MarkShot


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It's about 8-9 hours later and 10-11 hours into the scenario.

Here we see a typical company that is part of the West Force.

Notice, their stocks of ammunition and basics (food and water).




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< Message edited by MarkShot -- 12/11/2005 8:35:02 PM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 8:38:36 PM   
MarkShot


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Another screen shot taken at the same time as the last.

Here we see a typical company that is part of the East Force.

Notice, their stocks of ammunition and basics (food and water).




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 8:50:25 PM   
MarkShot


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We advance the clock by about 24 hours to the following morning; about 1.5 days into the scenario. Here is the same typical company from the West Force.

You'll observe that although they still retain about 75% of their strength, their supply situation ammunition, food, and water situation has gone critical. In fact, there are companies that are in much worse shape with little left to do but fix bayonets. (Now, I have to admit that I excerbated this situation by not instituting a policy of strict ammo conservation; mean ROF=LOW.)

The West Force has cease to be an effective fighting force due to being cutoff from supply. Later, I will make a desparate attempt to disengage them and make a forced flanking march to the East to get them resupplied. (It will fail.)




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 8:56:11 PM   
MarkShot


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Another screen shot taken at the same time as the last.

Here is the same typical company from the East Force.

You will observe that they are not lacking any the tools of the their trade. As such, they and their fellow companies are still very much in the fight.




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< Message edited by MarkShot -- 12/12/2005 9:26:26 PM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 8:59:17 PM   
MarkShot


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And just so you don't think that they have been sitting in the rear letting others do the fighting, here is their unit log. As you can see, they have been giving a very good accounting of themselves.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 9:04:35 PM   
MarkShot


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This represents a vast improvement (and change) over HTTR that has been made with COTA. In HTTR, despite all the para drop scenarios which it offered, this simply could have never happened. In HTTR, every unit received their full allotment of supply at 03:00 everyday of the scenario regardless of their location or situation on the map. But not in COTA. In COTA, you have to protect your bases and keep your supply lines open. Or in the worst case (cutoff), as I had failed to do here, enforce ammo conservation and pull back assuming a defensive posture.

< Message edited by MarkShot -- 12/11/2005 9:52:02 PM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 9:24:15 PM   
MarkShot


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In this next screenshot, we will look at the graphic representation of supply line status which is in the game. First, be advised that this graphic representation may or may not appear in the final game as you see it here (and have seen in other screenshots presented by Dave). There has been some discussion about the presentation and utility of these features.

What you see here are two features which I have turned on. One is the supply line connector feature. It shows where units are drawing or trying to draw their supplies from. The other is the unit info box showing supply status. For both features RED = bad (out of supply) and GREEN = good (in supply).

However, this is what I want to point out to you of how this feature works (and why I don't make too much use of it myself). Unlike all the other information displayed in the game, this information (meaning the colors) is not updated in realtime. The color is relative to the last time supply connectivity was checked. Additionally, the computation for each unit's supply connectivity is computed at different points in time.

So, if you display this stuff, then take it as a sketchy summation. I think in the larger scenarios, the supply line connector display may be useful for you to check where various units are drawing their supplies. I personally don't have much experience with that yet.

Here is what I have been doing to follow supply (everything below is complete real-time information):

(1) It is pretty intuitive. The supplies go by trucks. Thus, if you can look at the map and trace an unthreatened motorized route from the base to the unit, then the supplies probably can get through. If not, then you got problems.

(2) There are a number of ways to check on supply status.

(2a) You can display the equipment tab for the unit and check the exact stocks. Line items that are dim and at zero are bad news.

(2b) You can display the unit log and see if it shows being resupplied. Units actively in combat will show roughly 4 resupplies/day.

(2c) Depending on what message filtering options you have display for top of the screen display and/or the global message tab in the left side panel, you will get supply related messages. These will tell you when supplies are getting delivered, not getting delivered, and when loss among the transport column occur.

(2d) F7 gives you at a glance in the unit info box supply status by cycling through multiple presses. You get: ammo (not arty), arty ammo, basic supply, and fuel. Working from that, you can easily drill down deeper to find out if a unit or force is in trouble and out of supply.




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< Message edited by MarkShot -- 12/11/2005 9:43:54 PM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 9:30:26 PM   
MarkShot


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Now, besides avoiding the situation where your units or a force gets cutoff from supply, you also want to avoid the dreaded base under threat situation. Yes, a base can dig-in and protect themselves, but you really want to avoid that. Since it means that everyone grabs a rifle and stops loading up trucks.

Here is what the warning looks like.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 9:32:49 PM   
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Here is what Dave had to say about protecting your bases on the Beta Testing Forum.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

If the enemy has firepower influence over the base's occupied area. There doesn't have to be actual fire. You need to secure the perimeter around the base such that the enemy cannot project fire onto them - as a rough rule of thumb allow 2500m, less if blocking terrain between the base and enemy. In the above picture you have enemy within 1500 - 2000m with a demonstrable LOS.


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/11/2005 9:44:08 PM   
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My final insight and warning to those of you who will venture into the world of COTA MP.

Currently, the AI is not programmed to go after supply lines or explicitly protect them. For SP, in practice, I have not noticed this being a big issue. As it turns out, the messy nature of battle if you are not careful (and the aggressive amoeboid nature of the AI) can easily result in your units/forces being out of supply. Additionally, many attacking or defending or withdrawing scenarios have objectives situated at key road junctions or have objectives laid out in a linear fashion along a line of advance. Thus, the AI simply being driven by the scenario designer will implicitly protect its supply lines and/or go after yours.

With all that said, if I was playing MP, I would not be complacent. I would be very careful to make sure that my supply lines are protected in a lengthy scenario and maintain a fast reaction security force in case your opponent should manage to threaten them. Be warned, "Yakstock" one of my fellow beta testers is just waiting for Dave to release COTA. He has been cutting circles through the water for months waiting for fresh meat thrashing about in the surf. :)

---

Okay, that's it for me. I have to get back to those stacks of paperwork.

< Message edited by MarkShot -- 12/12/2005 9:27:41 PM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/17/2005 5:13:21 PM   
MarkShot


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Even though questions may arise in the HTTR forum if I deem them worthy of a COTA tip, I will add them here.

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(in reply to MarkShot)
Post #: 266
RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/17/2005 5:15:27 PM   
MarkShot


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Tzar007

2) Let's say you detach some arty units and put them under your own command to move them in a safe and strategic spot. After they're finished moving and are setup, you are satisfied with their position, want to reduce your unit load on your HQ and so you reattach them back to their parent unit. But in doing so, the parent unit decides it does not like their positions and have them move somewhere else, and that screws up the coverage you wanted to have with these arty units. Is there anyway to prevent that, or once a unit is reattached, tough luck, it's the parent unit that decides what's happening with these units ?



quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot

(2) You have to move all your gun units individually to create your firebase. However, once they have all arrived at the firebase, then you could group them together as a force and give them an in-situ defend order. This should reduce command load while leaving the force still under your command and in place. Myself, I don't do that since I like the fine control that keeping them separate gives.


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(in reply to MarkShot)
Post #: 267
RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/18/2005 4:14:25 AM   
MarkShot


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From the Beta Forum tonight:

quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot

I have just knocked back the enemy's attack. I want to counter-attack and push to the next objective. I can:

(A) Order a regular attack with a single waypoint (hopefully FUP in place) and then attack.

or

(B) Order a move with a line a formation and shortest path (infantry).

Option-A will carry more punch, but take longer. Option-B will have less punch, but perhaps better exploit the enemy's retreat after his failed attack.

So, which would you do and why?

Thanks.



quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

The two predominant facotrs here are the depth and state of the enemy forces ( are there enemy force dug in behind the attacking ones that are now falling back and are all enemy routing ). If the enemy is routing and there's not much behind them I would do a Move in Line with Aggro set to Max. Otherwise I would mount an attack with the FUP in-situ ( ie first waypoint where the Subject is ).

Another factor to consider is the moveType of your forces. Mot forces have reduced orders delay and hence can launch an attack quicker. but they can also start a Move quicker as well. Foot will take more time and this may mean that the enemy will have time to regroup before you get to him.



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(in reply to MarkShot)
Post #: 268
RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 12/18/2005 4:26:27 AM   
MarkShot


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Some more supply thoughts ...

Unlike HTTR where your axis of advance could mainly be chosen based on your force, the opposing force, and terrain ... in COTA, one should always consider making their axis of advance coincide with their supply line.

This can constrain what you do quite a bit.

Of course, if you are fully stocked and you are sure that you can take the objective in a single day, then you might risk going out of supply. But if your attack should bog down even if you are winning, you may not be able to see it through to a successful conclusion.

In any case, unlike HTTR, you must be careful to cover the rear and its flanks. Although you may not be vulnerable to a weak probe in a contest of arms, the weak probe could well deny you your supply and have a much greater impact then its strength would suggest. (Consider this similar to how a small enemy unit holding the high ground with a lot of arty on-call can lay down a lot of fire power.) Well, a small enemy unit to the rear can effectively deny you a lot of fire power if you are not careful.

Another way to know if a unit is out of supply even if its stocks seem fine, if you go to the unit log and do not see "resupply requested", "resupply on the way", and "resupply arrived" messages over a 6-12 hour period, then you are probably out of supply. You should have supply even when no combat takes place, since the troops need basics (food and water).

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(in reply to MarkShot)
Post #: 269
RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 1/13/2006 12:20:50 AM   
MarkShot


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--- Public service announcement ---

See first post of this thread in green text.


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