RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (Full Version)

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MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 1:43:33 AM)

Supply priority stuff will require modification. Tomorrow.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 2:47:55 PM)

Updated supply priority comments.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 5:00:51 PM)

A quick note about Order Options which we were previously discussing. They are subject to order delays.

This means that as you are playing and your Bde runs into a road block, you are not going to be able to modify the order and instantly tell them to BYPASS. The transition to BYPASS will require the orders to propagate as per delays. Propagation could be 30 minutes to hours ... so, the final result could be some badly mauled lead units.

Myself, I plan to probably set these options based on best intel estimates and planning at the time and then not mess with them.

If your plans are well constructed, then you should be issuing new orders as you see the the leading indicators of success. (For example, an attack going in with the those little info boxes showing green up arrows.) I act on the leading indicators in order to over lap expected results with order delays which will be incurred. In my opinion, the poor player is one who is constantly responding to failure by trying to issue new orders. Given the way the game system works, it is quite possible to exacerbate a poor situation. Remember: planning and spotting the key junctures in a fluid situation is everything.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 5:10:39 PM)

Another aspect of poor play for this type of game is only to plan your next step when your current step has completed.

One thing CmdOps does better than most games is place an emphasis on time. If you can control the pace and time of the battle, then you are far more likely to win.

It is far better that you arrive in the neighborhood while the enemy is still pouring in and deploying than 24 hours later when he is dug-in and waiting for you. Since so much of this game is caught up in the movement of appropriate forces and the processing of orders, it is not the raw speed of your units that knocks the enemy off balance. Rather it is the intellectual and analystical capabilities of the commander that does that. Once you have done that, then the troops are merely the tools towards the ultimately realization. Yes, Sun Tzu meets CmdOps. :)

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 5:15:32 PM)

If those little green arrows and a nice tight formation on the attack is a "leading indicator" of success, then what is a "trailing indicator"? That little message you get that "XYZ is now securing the objective". If your task in the scenario is to gain ground, and only then you are saying, "Now what should I do?". You are too late; probably by about 3-9 hours.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 6:00:04 PM)

Dear Readers,

I don't know what some of you think regarding speculative writings; meaning that there are things I am not sure about but instead speculating. On one hand, this may seem somewhat shoddy of me. On the other hand, this is helping to drive discussion for both refining the manual and reviewing the mechanics of features. I do promise to go back and correct anything I write that is clearly wrong or misleading.

Like many game development efforts PG's cycle goes like this:

* Initial design spec (documents and/or forum posts)

* Coding

* More coding

* Even more coding

* End user documentation

Thus, it may well take quite a bit of questioning and silly speculation to ultimately reach a point where important distinctions are covered in the manual. Only by having a place to throw things up on a wall and see if they stick, do we get more to what needs to be in the manual for you.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 6:22:37 PM)

Alright back to some more thoughts on supply priorities:

(1) I don't think you can cut rear area defender's water rations (BASIC supply) in order to keep front line units fully hydrated in the heat of battle. Why? These priorities seem to only apply to emergency requests. So, it would seem that everyone is guaranteed to get two regular supply requests per day. As I understand it, those requests should be sufficient to keep an unengaged stationary unit adequately supplied.

(2) Some uses for boosting supply:

(2a) When you are heavily engaged (pretty obvious).

(2b) When you have a force which is likely to have its supply intermittently cut. At MAX that force can make a supply request every two hours. Thus, if the roads are only going to be open for 5-7 hours, then this gives you the best chance getting them adequately supplied to hold out when cut off from time to time. NOTE: We are having some discussion as to the coupling of supply priorities and ROF. I will keep you posted when I know more.

(2c) A lot of modern combat come down to the fire power. In theory, a small force with more fire power should be equivalent to a large force with less fire power. I've heard it said that when we speak of "mass", we do not necessarily mean acheiving a concentration of units, but rather a concentration of fires. So, a well stocked side may then use AMMO Priority to compensate for smaller forces with which to engage.

(2c.1) One of the advantages of doing the above is that a smaller force is more nimble. The delays and order processing is quicker. You may be able to strike with the same affect, but faster by boosting AMMO priority.

(2c.2) Disadvantages of such an approach is that a smaller force is less robust when facing returned fire, due to dispersion and relative lethality of fire. The smaller force to achieve the higher ROF sustained engagement will also tire quicker.

(2d) I could see ROF=LOW and AMMO=MAX for various type of bombardments. I believe engaged units do not rest as quickly as those who are not engaged. Thus, even though doing little to attrit an enemy this may add to his general fatigue state. Various locations on the map function as natural choke points: crossings or a road through the woods. By laying down a continuous barrage, you can slow enemy movement even if you cannot see it. (BTW, I've used the bombard a crossing to very good effect to slow an enemy crossing by many hours. Not only is the technique very effective, but it does not require the blatant sacrifice of units to make a desparate stand at the Alamo.)

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 7:03:52 PM)

I will be on reading duty this afternoon.

I think you have already been exposed to much of the new UI features. However, it is important to realize this is only a fraction of the total AI and modeling improvements which have gone into the engine.

I know that Dave is working on documenting these, and he is by far the best one to present them.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 7:39:06 PM)

What follows is an illustration of resupply events occurring at a greatly accelerated rate.


MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 7:39:45 PM)

The events ...


MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 7:44:53 PM)

The manual say that Info Box or Supply Line status may be as much as 24 hours old. (as previously noted in the COTA guide unlike all other Info Box displays, it is not real time)

Personally, I don't see how it would be more than 12 hours old, since regular requests are at 06:00 and 18:00 (except maybe on Day #1). Another implication of the MAX priority setting it that the currency of the Info Box or Supply Line status should be boosted. So, on the average (when a unit is engaged and eating through supplies), that data should not be more than one hour old. That's how I see it.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 7:51:17 PM)

The manual say that Info Box or Supply Line status may be as much as 24 hours old. Alright I now understand this statement, since BFTB adds a scenario design option for night resupply only.

Tzar007 -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 7:54:42 PM)


I've read all your explanations about supply priority and I understand it enables a unit to ask for more than the standard 2 resupply runs per day. In COTA however, when supply level for a unit would run low, the unit would automatically call for an emergency resupply. If I am not mistaken, the unit could call for multiple emergency resupplies during a single day if necessary. Now, what's the difference between this and the new supply priority feature ? The way I see it, why would I want to micromanage resupply frequency for a unit if the unit will ask for emergency resupply by itself whenever required ? If there would be a notion of piling up supplies, I could understand but it does not seem this feature is about stocking up supplies.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 8:04:59 PM)

You cannot stock pile.

In COTA, you could get a maximum of four resupply events/day. Two scheduled and two emergency. In BFTB, you can get up to twelve resupply events/day. Two scheduled and ten emergency (with MAX priority selected). That's a lot more supply than was previously available; a factor of 3X!

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 8:13:49 PM)


Look. This unit is requesting resupply about every two hours (I picked one in combat). This could not happen in COTA.


MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 8:52:57 PM)

Here is my little handy guide on what good leading indicators of a successful attack looks like (cut & pasted from the docs, since I am not in a game at the moment):

Top Left: Unit Info Engagement Status blue (bottom right corner) for firing!

Bottom: Unit Info Box Rout Status (top right corner) green arrow for getting the job done!

Top Right: Unit Info Task Status thick black arrow for assaulting!

Finally, checking the unit side bar and seeing that they are on the move is also good. Of course, some "taking cover" and "deployed" is to expected. Lastly remember when you check this leading indicator stuff, you are looking at the force at large as opposed to any single unit.


MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/18/2009 9:19:48 PM)

Ah, reached page 140 ... about 70% done.

Might wait for the next build and then let the slug fest begin.

Tzar007 -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 3:45:59 PM)

Thanks for the clarification Mark, I was under the impression that emergency resupply could occur more than twice a day in COTA.

My only concern with such lavish resupply possibilities is that this is going to make artillery units very, very strong (too strong ?) and disruptive to any attacker. In COTA, I had a shock in scenarios such as First Clash at Veve as Germans when you try to assault the Kleidi pass and come under heavy Allied artillery barrage in the open ground before the pass. In HTTR, such ruthless bombings could not last long since supply was limited to once a day and there were no emergency resupply.

The first time it happened in COTA I told myself that such a brutal bombing could not last for long since even with emergency resupply I thought the enemy would be out of shells pretty fast at that rhythm. It is with dismay that I saw the bombing continuing uninterrupted for the whole day ! And the problem with this is that your force gets caught in the open and it bunkers down. The din is continuous and they refuse to move. You're being bombed into oblivion, and withdrawal under falling shells is extremely slow and painful.

There were no easy way out of this: either you moved at night so that you could not be spotted moving in, or you multiplied the number of routes so that the enemy barrage would be spread out over a greater area and consequently less effective. Nonetheless, the power of artillery remained a real pain in the neck in the Greece northern mountain range, where going off-road is rarely an option and you have to follow narrow roads where you get very exposed.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 5:45:52 PM)


ORIGINAL: Prince of Eckmühl

This is one of the details of AA that makes me wonder what's going on "under the hood" of the game. What's a little scary is that Markshot doesn't completely understand it!

I use that command to try and coax units into focusing their fire on units that I particularly want to destroy. However, I notice that units which I take control of with a FIRE command will often still fire at targets other than the one which I have targeted. Other times, they do nothing at all.

However, what REALLY undermines FIRE as a game command/function is the ability of a target unit to move out from under it. This may just be a matter of the red tracer graphic not updating to the location of where the unit has moved, but it really appears as though units continue to FIRE at what's now a vacated space, as can similarly occur with INDIRECT FIRE.

And this is yet another example of why I'm not sure about micro-managing units. Apart from placing units, perhaps even individually, in the right place at the right time, I'm not sure that attempting to override some of these game functions actually works. The obvious exception to my diffidence in this regard are massed-artillery barrages that can cause key enemy units to surrender without an enemy in sight.

Darned if I don't feel as though the more that I learn about these games, the less that I know! [;)]

PoE (aka ivanmoe)

I am quoting a comment made by PoE outside of this thread. As the response is instructive.

(1) Unlike other wargames which allow for command directed at enemy units, every CmdOps order is make relative to a location. So, the AI (your subordinates) will perfectly happily Attack an unoccuppied village if so ordered to do so. I am not qualified to speak to whether such formulation of orders was standard practice for WWII. However, it is my guess that at the level of the units on the map, locations were key. At the higher level of a general's intent, plans were made with regards to specific enemy forces, but to the grunts on the ground it was just a hill. (In CmdOps you are playing at the intent level, and your subordinates are playing at the ground level.)

(2) So, the [F]ire command is no different than any other command. As I understand, [F]ire does more damage when you do have LOS to another unit and is more like area fire when you don't. However, you must have LOS to [F]ire as it is direct fire.

(3) I only see a couple of uses for it although I have never tried.

(3a) Suppose I believe (I know) that a given enemy unit is an HQ despite what the game is telling me. As we know, HQ units are critical. If you can wack an HQ unit to rout (panic), then you have crippled it and everything below it. How could I know this if the game tells me something else? Well, it has to do with the engine's FOW modeling. The engine does not really hold onto and track IDed units. Thus, they can dissappear and then reappear as something else. One of our Betas, Bil, who was formerly a SIGINT officer has raised some issue with this; basically that once you have an enemy unit IDed, you are unlikely to lose that ID. So, you may as the player know that you are looking at an HQ that got caught out of position and want to concentrate fire upon it.

(3b) You may be aware of units which you cannot see, but are in range of heavy weapons. An example this might be garrison units that will be fortified. As such, they will also be immobile. Now, usually in a bridge scenario, I will take some screen shots and make note of where those garrison units (coordinates) are. The FOW system will time out their IDs, but since they are immobile, you can be sure that they will be there when you go to take that bridge. Normally, I bombard these units prior to the assault, but I imagine you might try to apply long range direct fire.

(4) There is much I haven't used in this game. It is far deeper than the level at which I play. I am sure if I played human players, I would probably improve my skill level. This is why I say that a good plan is worth a million knobs and buttons. No knobs or buttons will save you from carelessly approaching a key bridge and having it blown out from underneath you. This game punishes stupidity more than it rewards widget wizardry.

(5) Remember that the FOW systems keeps you from having perfect knowledge where the enemy is. Have you ever noticed how sometimes current contacts appear to move at warp speed? Well, I believe this due to the fact even though current, the exact location wasn't 100% fixed and you are watching an update. The FOW system in this game is pretty good.

(5a) I use the various levels of FOW ... Current for immediate assesment and the other two for accessing trends. For example, Current tells where the enemy is attacking, but Recent and All tells you where he is going and massing.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 5:58:52 PM)


Yes with HTTR you could get kind of gamey. Sacrifice a small probe in the morning to arty and then move the main force in the late afternoon after ammo has run down.

There was also another trick that Eddy used to use and I am not sure if Dave has changed things. The AI has a tendency to favor closer targets. So, he would give it a closer target so that the real threat could keep moving. Something like Probe the enemy defenses while further away you move the main body.

In COTA when there was heavy arty or air, I learned to move at night. This would seem highly realistic to me from what arcade understanding gathered by watching the History Channel. You also learned to attack at dawn. The idea being is that you would close under the cover of darkness and hopefully already be in close contact by the time the Sun came up. (Now, I wonder if Dave's new arty Friendly Option will allow the OPFOR to call fire onto their own positions to break an assault. All things being equal the attackers on the move are more vulnerable to arty than the dug-in defenders.)

Well, do remember that despite stocks the guns will not be able to fire non-stop. ROF=HIGH generates a lot of fatigue. Of course, you can stand them down at night, since there is little to shoot at anyway. However, I don't think you'll get ROF=HIGH for 12 hours out of a battery (based on the COTA fatigue modeling; yes, Dave has been tweaking again! So, for BFTB, I cannot say.)

Tzar007 -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 6:38:58 PM)



Well, do remember that despite stocks the guns will not be able to fire non-stop. ROF=HIGH generates a lot of fatigue. Of course, you can stand them down at night, since there is little to shoot at anyway. However, I don't think you'll get ROF=HIGH for 12 hours out of a battery (based on the COTA fatigue modeling; yes, Dave has been tweaking again! So, for BFTB, I cannot say.)

[:)] Glad to know this was tweaked because in COTA I don't think I ever had an artillery unit exhausted even after a long day of bombing (that's why I was afraid that in BFTB you could blast on all day at ROF=HIGH simply by asking for HIGH resupply setting).

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 7:07:15 PM)


Did you have those units individually under your direct command and calling in your own fire missions with ROF=HIGH? I know I burned out my arty unit quite a few times. They were exhausted senseless. Of course, I would rotate fire missions between batteries. Also, sometimes I would not be able to let these guys sleep, since I would move firebases at night (night moves are more tiring than day moves). I somehow suspect that they were not really firing at ROF=HIGH.

If a day move, then usually I would step up the fire base (only 50% in transit at one time). However, at night, they might all put out together.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 7:49:34 PM)


I am going to dive back into the Reference Manual ... Order Delays. If you don't see me for 10 hours, well, I got delayed! ha ha ha ...

Seriously, for those of you who will pour over the manuals, my recommendation is don't so caught up in the minutia, but instead understand the implications. It is this which I am trying to convey to you in these guides.

For example, like Order Delays, the Manual will give you enough information that you could probably work out delays by hand. However, is that what you should try to be doing? IMHO, if you want to be having fun NO ... Instead focus on the implications like:

(1) Too much micromanagement can cause massive paralysis.

(2) Small forces can be more nimble in the time dimension.

(3) Changing force composition in the middle of a critical task (like attack) is suicidal.

(4) Relying on organic structure reduces delays.

(5) Keeping HQs close reduces delays.

The above is not meant to be comprehensive, but just illustrates that it is the rules of thumb that you want to pull out of the manual and not how to use a slide rule to calculate if your weight of armor in the attack meets the necessary 3:1 multiplier to overcome a dug-in defender. If you are playing the game like that, then you have moved from operational gaming to operational research (an entirely different topic).

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 8:10:59 PM)

Seemingly the many varied options for Order Delays at Scenario Start only apply to Scenario Start. Reinforcement delays behave exactly as they did in prior to BFTB.

Note that this can make reinforcement units SUPER-UBER-DUPER valuable for recon if you are trapped in one of those 800% Order Delay for 12 hour startup situations.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 8:35:47 PM)

The manual notes that the differential spotting is supported in the game meaning "I can see you, but you cannot see me".

However, the big implication here is that a well placed, dug-in, and small friendly unit can spot for your guns and do damage well in excess of its own fire power while being unseen. Additionally, you can now further tweak that by turning on the AMBUSH option which cause them to hold fire even when in range. Because even when you set yourself up a couple of kilometers to the side of a road, bombarded enemy units are likely to scatter as they are hit and may stumble right towards your position.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 8:39:49 PM)

You can lose up to 50% of your stocks if your base is forced to move by enemy action. For me, this is saying that bases like fire bases are worthy of micro-management attention.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 9:09:27 PM)

Although the manual documents all keystrokes, it does so in three pages.

As it all seems the same as COTA, I had made an MS Word file available with all keystrokes in two pages for COTA in 2006. If you are looking for a tight reference sheet which you can pin up by your display, you can use that and print it at 2 sheets/page to get a one page reference.

Maybe we can get that turned into a PDF (for those who don't use Word) and once BFTB is released have Erik put that it into the Member Area.

Anyone want to help me turn this into a PDF at 2 pages/sheet?


MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/19/2009 9:13:15 PM)

Yee haw ... I finished the manual!!!

Now, I just need to wait for the next build and it is time rumble!!!

BFTB, you are going down! :)

James Sterrett -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/20/2009 12:18:36 AM)

I confess I have no idea how to print 2 pages per page in Word. But I do have the free-from-MS plugin that exports to PDF, so I could certainly give it a try.

MarkShot -> RE: BFTB (Mini-Guide): Material TBD (5/20/2009 12:32:10 AM)


It's something you set up through the printer driver or in this case the PDF driver.

Let me located the file and I will email it to you.

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