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BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap

 
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BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/26/2008 3:59:54 PM   
simovitch


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Having the need to set up some screenshots for the Reference Manual, I figured I would take the opportunity to provide an AAR that will showcase some of the new features for BFTB using the last build that was released in October. It should be fairly stable and has most of the features that will make it into the final build. I will try to post at least one update every day.

I've selected one of my favorite situations from the Ardennes Battles; The envelopment of the Schnee Eifel and the advance to the Our River Bridges at Schönberg, Steinebrück, and Andler. If all goes well I will attempt to secure or at least contest St. Vith by the time the scenario ends on December 20.

Below you see the general plan of attack. To begin, I will more or less follow the historical advance routes of the 62nd and 18th VGD and deviate as necessary to achieve my goals. The scenario begins at 6 a.m. on December 16 - after the initial bombardment. After some playtesting we decided that it would be best to do this to preclude the ahistorical use of the German Corps and Army artillery by the player during the opening bombardment. So most of the large caliber artillery begins the scenario depleted of it's ammo stocks (modifying at start supply levels is a new feature.) There is not much stock available at the Corps Base either, so the German is advised to use his artillery wisely.

The bulk of the 62nd VGD will arrive along the south edge of the board throughout the morning and attempt to sieze the crossing at Steinebrück. The 18th VGD will attempt a drive for the bridge at Schönberg from the south and Andler from the east, and in the process isolating the 2 American regiments dug in on the Schnee Eifel.




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/26/2008 4:08:09 PM   
elmo3

 

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<Sets up cooler and bags of munchies by the computer> OK, I'm ready now; let the battle begin.

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/26/2008 9:03:10 PM   
simovitch


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Around 9 a.m. December 16:
The northern pincer has started to move into place. I/294 of the 18th VGD is bypassing Roth to the north, headed toward Auw. Meanwhile the US defenses in Roth itself are disintigrating under pressure from II/295 and advance elements of I/295 have entered the first houses in Kobscheid.

The weather is light fog and the ground is normal (meaning too close to freezing to qualify as muddy.) I may change this setting to "Ice" for December 16th since there was patches of snow on the ground and the temperatures were near freezing. Using historical weather patterns, mud will set in from December 17th-20th.




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/26/2008 9:11:08 PM   
simovitch


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Around 9 a.m. December 16:
The southern pincer has made progress as well. II/190 from the 62nd VGD is forming up for it's assault on Grosslangenfeld, while II/293 from the 18th VGD has grabbed a fairly strong foothold in Bleialf. More reinforcements are being thrown in from both the 62nd and 18th VGD and Generalmajor Lucht is confident that the crossings over the Our will be secured by nightfall.




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/27/2008 9:22:54 PM   
simovitch


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Just before sunset (3:59 p.m.) on December 16:
In the south, elements of all 3 Regiments of the 62nd VGD have entered the fray and are pushing Northwest. I/164 will hopefully push aside the scant US resistance and grab the bridge intact at Steinebrück during the evening.




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/27/2008 9:28:01 PM   
simovitch


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The hetzers of the 162nd pzjg Bn overwatch the valley of the Ihren creek nowrthwest of Grosslangenfeld:




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/27/2008 9:33:11 PM   
simovitch


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In the north, the 244th StuG Bde breaks loose along the Auw-Bleialf road to close the pincers behind the Schnee Eifel, while II/295 closes in on the bridge at Andler. This group will push on to the west and hopefully secure the bridge at Schönberg later in the evening.




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/28/2008 2:28:43 AM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: BftB - Hetzer's unit description (general tab)

The unit description of the Hetzer tank translates Hetzer with the word "troublemaker".

The German verb "hetzen" has 2 meanings:

1) to agitate (against enemies or minorities or other races)

2) as in a dog hunting/chasing a rabbit, for example. "Hetzen" then refers to the dog exhausting the rabbit by keeping him on the move, pretty much like the dogs hunting foxes in Britain. "Jemanden zu Tode hetzen" would translate to "fatally exhausting someone", i guess.

I am not sure about the english translation for Hetzer, it may be "baiter" ??, in case you could say "to bait a fox or a bear" in English. Or maybe "badger", as I think "to badge" refers to hunting/pushing someone as well?

The native speakers in here should be able to come up with a proper word. That tank's designation deals with 2) at least, and it really doesn't mean "troublemaker".

2 more things - regarding the Hetzer's gun and origin:


  • 1) The (t) stands for "tschechisch" (czech), as it was based on the Czech LT-38, which was employed by the Wehrmacht 1939, before the war started. After taking over Czecheslovakia, the Germans figured that the LT-38 outclassed their Pz II and III. After conducting field tests (starting in May 1939) with nine LT-38 tanks, they demanded the Czech factory to resume production, the LT-38 was then incorporated into the Wehrmacht carrying the designation Pz38 (t). The Wehrmacht received 90 Pz 38(t) before the Invasion of Poland started. The chassis was then used for several types of tanks later on, including the Hetzer, way after the Pz 38(t) was obsolete. It would be neat if you could add a short version of this additional info .



  • 2) The Hetzer did not employ a modified Pz IV 75 mm gun (KwK 40 L/48), but the 75 mm PaK 39 L/48, a really powerful AT gun, which had at least the same power as the KwK L/48, as its projectiles (using PzGr40rounds) had a velocity of 930 meters/second. This gun was manufactured by the company Rheinmetall and was employed in the "Sturmgeschütz n.A." (n.A = neue Art -> new kind/type), which was redesignated Jadgpanzer IV and really suffered of a bad chassis design, and it was employed in the extremely successful Hetzer. The PaK 39 was redesignated "Panzerjägerkanone 40" later on. Some common publications on the net seem to mix up these guns.


< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 11/28/2008 5:59:39 AM >


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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/28/2008 4:46:58 AM   
Prince of Eckmühl


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Very Cool. Really looking forward to the game. I still play CotA, most recently a lot of "Sidi Rezegh."

PoE (aka ivanmoe)


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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/28/2008 5:29:07 PM   
06 Maestro


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quote:

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy

I am not sure about the english translation for Hetzer, it may be "baiter" ??, in case you could say "to bait a fox or a bear" in English. Or maybe "badger", as I think "to badge" refers to hunting/pushing someone as well?

The native speakers in here should be able to come up with a proper word. That tank's designation deals with 2) at least, and it really doesn't mean "troublemaker".




To "hound", which is to engage in "hounding'' seems like the equivalent to Hetzer. Hounding is to follow, chase, or pester somebody in a persistent or relentless manner-as a dog would hound a rabbit. A hound is actually a type of hunting dog-(so, the hound could hound). Synonyms would be; harassment, discrimination, harrying, single out for ill special treatment, chase, hunt, pursue, and bullying.

Hounder is not a word, but it would make a good name for a military vehicle. This would be the closest to Hetzer.

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/28/2008 7:11:58 PM   
simovitch


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12:30 p.m. December 17th:
I have managed to secure all 3 of the major crossing sites over the Our in this sector without a single bridge being blown. However I'm starting to feel some pressure from the 2 trapped regiments who now seem to have left their positions along the Schnee Eifel and are trying to make their way westward out of the trap (the likely path of the 423rd and 422nd Regiments is shown as dashed lines on the map.)

I think I will concentrate on holding the bridges and containing the trapped regiments, but send some screening forces from the 18th VGD west from Andler and the 62nd VGD north from Burg Reuland toward St. Vith. The Führer Begleit Brigade is due to show up on the 19th and I will most likely send them west to invest St. Vith while the remainder of the Volksgrenadiers mop up east of the Our.




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/28/2008 7:19:28 PM   
simovitch


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Here's a good example of the new feature where the map textures have changed now that mud has set in on the 17th. You can compare the texture below with the sceenshots from December 16th:




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/28/2008 9:07:18 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 06 Maestro

Hounder is not a word, but it would make a good name for a military vehicle. This would be the closest to Hetzer.

Hounding rather translates to "hunting" (jagen) in German, maybe it's "to rush someone"? While in multiplayer RTS games the word Rusher refers to someone storming the enemy base with "loads" of low quality troops or light vehicles, where the opponent still tries to enhance the production tree to produce/field heavy equipment, i'd say "Rusher" might fit, as it would describe a situation where a victim is being exhausted by chasing him/it across the territory, too. No?

Sorry for interrupting your AAR, Simo, pls go ahead.

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 11/28/2008 9:09:39 PM >


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"Aw Nuts"
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December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/28/2008 10:34:57 PM   
simovitch


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According to Wiki (which I am usually loath to reference) the name "Hetzer" was proliferated by post war historians and was not even used by the German troops. But we will leave the name in since it is a popular contemporary reference.

I have always heard "agitator" was the English translation. I'm tempted to just take out the translation though.

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/28/2008 11:44:54 PM   
06 Maestro


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simovitch

Can you give us a shot of the AO wth the map grid on?

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/29/2008 12:02:12 AM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: simovitch

According to Wiki (which I am usually loath to reference) the name "Hetzer" was proliferated by post war historians and was not even used by the German troops. But we will leave the name in since it is a popular contemporary reference.

I have always heard "agitator" was the English translation. I'm tempted to just take out the translation though.


No, sorry, agitator is as wrong as troublemaker.
And why would a tank destroyer be called (i.e. racist or political) agitator, if it belonged to that set of weapons whose role was to pursue tanks or at least fend them off?

An agitator is a rabble-rouser: Quote from Merriam-Webster online dictionary explaining the word rabble-rouser: "one who stirs up the masses of the people (as to hatred or violence) : Demagogue".
German communists and Nationalsocialists (Nazis) alike used the term "agitate" (same word in german) when they were referring to win over the masses for their (violent) course.

This term doesn't even come close to the original meaning of the word Hetzer.

Few publications point out that it's still disputed whether Hetzer was an officially used designation or just an inofficial nickname. Guderian claimed before Hitler that the troops would call this tank "Hetzer".
It's possible that Guderian just made it up, especially since the troops in the field invented names and abbreviations for ineffective or cheesy weapons, nicknames which kind of undermined the morale - so he might have searched for an impressive/aggressive nickname for the Jagdpanzer 38(t) to make sure it wouldn't end up with a derogative nickname: as it was a low cost tank with confined space for the crew and really thin side armor - rather disliked by the troops, although this tiny vehicle had a firepower similar to the Jadgpanzer IV and the Pz IV and a really good kill ratio, if operated by well trained crews.

A good example for derogative nicknames invented by the troops in the field would be "Panzer-Anklopfgerät" (tank door knocker or tank door knocking device) for the "small" calibre PaKs (ie. Pak 38) used early in the Russian campaign and the nickname "Guderian-Ente" (Guderian-"duck") for the Jadgpanzer IV, a tank that was very top-heavy and slow, due to the weight of the gun and the design of the glacis/gun mantlet.

Wiki isn't the best source here, really. Still, in the german Wiki discussion of the German Hetzer article, a user states that his grandfather commanded a Hetzer and that he and his crew were using that nickname. The term had been used, question is whether it was an official tag or just a nickname used by the troops.
I haven't seen anyone coming up with proof on the net (original field manual, written Wehrmacht orders, etc) that it was an official tag, yet.
Also, the english Hetzer article doesn't even have a discussion, nor does it provide a list of sources (books, data tables). A wiki-entry without reference to proper source material is 1.) useless 2.) not very trustworthy.

The french and the dutch articles are pretty much copies or excerpts of the English article.
The German article didn't take over the alleged nickname-history and mentions that it's still disputed who invented it and whether it has been used officially or not, due to the state (or lack) of source material.

Common literature covering the Hetzer keeps taking over "Hetzer" as official tag from earlier publications, so this really doesn't prove that Hetzer was an official tag, true, but the fanbois insisting on it to be a pure post-war thing totally ignore the veteran accounts - and there are quite some, on- and offline (tv).

Anyway, I guess you should take out the current translation.

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 11/29/2008 7:43:57 PM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/29/2008 12:03:54 AM   
simovitch


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Sure:




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/29/2008 1:18:41 AM   
06 Maestro


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Thanks for the grid shot-it puts it into perspective. The terrain looks tough, but there are a lot of paths for the Americans to cover.
I imagine that German (game) losses were small at this point.

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/29/2008 11:11:44 PM   
Deathtreader


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quote:

ORIGINAL: simovitch

Here's a good example of the new feature where the map textures have changed now that mud has set in on the 17th. You can compare the texture below with the sceenshots from December 16th:





Hi all,

I like this feature as it adds some immersion -- for me at least. Will it also change from mud to snow?? And back again??
Can't wait for this puppy.......
Thanks.

Rob.

Rob.


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So we're at war with the Russkies eh?? I suppose we really ought to invade or something. (Lonnnng pause while studying the map)
Hmmmm... big place ain't it??
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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/30/2008 2:09:43 AM   
Arjuna


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Yep, sure does.

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/30/2008 2:14:54 AM   
VictorInThePacific

 

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quote:

2) as in a dog hunting/chasing a rabbit, for example. "Hetzen" then refers to the dog exhausting the rabbit by keeping him on the move, pretty much like the dogs hunting foxes in Britain. "Jemanden zu Tode hetzen" would translate to "fatally exhausting someone", i guess.


Really excellent and accurate details about this vehicle provided by GoodGuy.

May I suggest translating "Hetzer" as "Harrier". First, it is technically correct. Second, it is a good name for a TD. The other suggested translations do not meet both criteria.

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/30/2008 4:44:39 AM   
simovitch


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Situation just before midnight on December 17th:
I've consolidated my gains at the crossings and made contact with some US blocking forces as I pushed down the roads toward St. Vith. The Corps artillery are running out of large caliber ammo. They will recieve a few shells here and there, but nothing like the abundance on the first day.

Note the rogue company (well, 3 AFV's to be exact) of King Tigers plodding on toward St Vith. They arrived earlier in the day and are just about out of gas and in need of a rest. Historically (by most accounts) these Tigers from schwere Panzer Abteilung 506 were part of the piecemeal employment of this unit and were reported near Andler on the 17th and later on the night of the 21st in front of St. Vith.




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/30/2008 5:01:48 AM   
simovitch


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I've run into a good opportunity to use one of the new "on the fly" maneuver options. "Basing" and "Stragglers" are set by default. I've selected "Attacks" in this case because the I/190 has run into some unexpected opposition while marching along (at night) in road column.

Instead of cancelling the move and ordering an attack task, the "Attacks" selection will direct the battalion to immediately assault any enemy they have recently encountered. Usually this is not a coordinated assault and each company can and will act independantly of the battalion structure.

I found that "attacks" should really be used when you are already in close contact with the enemy, otherwise your close formation battalion will be running off in all directions assaulting recent contacts. These guys need to be monitored closely or it will take several hours to reorganize them back into formation.




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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/30/2008 10:26:42 PM   
Arjuna


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Clarification. The "Attacks" SOP option does not guarantee that a force will start attacking immediatley. What it does , however, is allow subordinate AI commanders to launch attacks if they see fit. Using the above example, this means that the Bn or one of its companies could launch an attack on a nearby enemy threat. If a company sees an enemy and thinks it can deal with it, then odds are it will launch an attack. Being a company sized attack these are put in pretty quickly. If it reckons the enemy is too big for it to handle then it will leave it to his boss to decide. Now if the Bn HQ decides to attack, then it will take a little longer to mount.

I appreciate Richard's desire to avoid having his force distracted by enemy on the flanks. So for BFTB I tweaked the code that filters the nearby enemy threats. If a force is Moving along a route then it will ignore enemy that are more than 500m from that route. It should also ignore the enemy if it reckons they cannot see the route. 

I tend to check this option whenever I want to send an force on a long range mission into enemy territory, especially if it's in a sector I'm not going to be focussing on all the time. That way the force can initiate its won attacks, without me having to closely monitor it. 

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 11/30/2008 11:41:53 PM   
Deathtreader


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Another great feature.......very cool.

Rob.

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So we're at war with the Russkies eh?? I suppose we really ought to invade or something. (Lonnnng pause while studying the map)
Hmmmm... big place ain't it??
- Sir Harry Flashman (1854)

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 12/1/2008 12:55:47 AM   
SeaMonkey

 

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Amazing, the mechanics of this genre continue to evolve.  "The point" is yours Dave, now some eventual metamorphosis in the eyecandy arena to reduce the impediment of the estabs would be in order for future releases.

Something about the Sand, Foxes, and Rats.....I heard mentioned?

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 12/1/2008 1:03:11 AM   
oldspec4

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: SeaMonkey

Amazing, the mechanics of this genre continue to evolve.  "The point" is yours Dave, now some eventual metamorphosis in the eyecandy arena to reduce the impediment of the estabs would be in order for future releases.

Something about the Sand, Foxes, and Rats.....I heard mentioned?


I was thinkin' the same thing...so many great additional game features and options since the RDOA days.

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 12/1/2008 5:27:17 AM   
Arjuna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SeaMonkey

...now some eventual metamorphosis in the eyecandy arena to reduce the impediment of the estabs would be in order for future releases.


Would you care to elaborate?


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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 12/2/2008 4:02:07 AM   
SeaMonkey

 

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You bet Dave, but it seems your attention is a bit diverted, ie BftB. Get this one out first and we'll fine tune some ideas later. The patrons of AA, I'm sure will have much imput. I won't pretend to be in possession of all the answers, perhaps just a catalyst.

I've stated some ideas before, lost I assume in the entrails of posting. So of course I'm a bit hesitant to reiterate. I detest walking on ground that displays my footprints, again, but I understand priorities, I know the losses of "good intentions".

Ok, some fuel, imagine a lot of historical maps displaying the participating forces orientations in the many reference materials we use for learning about history....situation maps. The front lines, defining the deployments, ebbing and flowing with the many dispositions and actions, a loose definition of a unit's footprint.

See the picture? A blob pulsating, oozing into the enemies' territory with a border and the border has different protrusions representing actions like a weather cold front with its teeth, a warm with its semicircles. Getting ideas?

Now in that blob containing that unit and its sub formations imagine mousing over the periphery, the outer....and for that matter its inner deployments and seeing the units' specifics displayed. See the units icons in a unique distinguishing color enhancement and see its light intensify as you mouse over it and the display erupts with its characteristics of strength, action, ...etc.

Are you getting a picture?

There is more!



< Message edited by SeaMonkey -- 12/2/2008 4:07:50 AM >

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RE: BFTB AAR: The Losheim Gap - 12/2/2008 5:28:42 AM   
Arjuna


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So you want more information about a unit when you move the cursor over its location on the map. Eg popup or rollover displaying estab and other unit characteristics. Am I heading in the right direction?

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