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Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible?

 
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Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 1:45:59 PM   
genehaynes

 

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Quick question,

While playing A Time to Dance (As NATO) is there any way to order the HUmvee units to "hold fire" and just act as forward observers? I gave all of the HUMVEES screen orders in high cover (i.e. Woods or towns). However one of them opened fire at about 2k yards (4 hexes) at a unit that posed no threst. Needless to say the Humvee was immediately destroyed. Right now now it looks like the best you can do is give them screen orders. Is this correct.

BTW, I'm having a heck of a time even getting close to a victory in this scenario. I'll keep trying though.

Great game, reallying enjoying it.
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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 2:31:04 PM   
cbelva


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Unfortunately no, there is no hold fire order. It is high on our wish list of things we would like to add to the next version of the game.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 5:00:48 PM   
mikeCK

 

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Agreed. Hard to have an OP set up when your infantry platoon opens up on passing tank companies.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 5:07:23 PM   
budd


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yea would be nice to have an ambush order with an ability to set a range or highlight the hexes you want the unit to ambush.Maybe even set a unit type to ambush...we can dream cant we

< Message edited by **budd** -- 12/6/2014 6:08:30 PM >


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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 5:36:55 PM   
raventhefuhrer

 

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This would be something that would go great for SOPs. Tell a unit to hold fire unless: 'Enemy gets within x number of Hexes' or 'Enemy spots and fires upon you' or something like that.

Just a button that toggles fire at will on and off wouldn't be very useful, since you don't have quick enough input to micromanage that. 30 minutes (on average) between two command windows is too long to have someone hold fire - opportunities will be missed. So you need to be able to give your units the authority to contextually make those decisions on their own.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 5:41:45 PM   
budd


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good point.....a strict hold fire wouldn't work well.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 5:54:11 PM   
Max 86


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Setting the engagement conditions for each unit would be very nice indeed. IIRC, Campaign Series had a pop up screen where you could set the conditions and range for opportunity fire for units. Can't remember if you could select target types but something like that would be nice too, a pop up menu setting engagement options.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 6:24:32 PM   
Mad Russian


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quote:

ORIGINAL: raventhefuhrer

This would be something that would go great for SOPs. Tell a unit to hold fire unless: '...or 'Enemy spots and fires upon you' or something like that.



Anytime an enemy unit fires on you they will have the capacity to return fire. At that point you are identified there is no reason to hold your fire any longer.

Remember, you are the Brigade Commander not a Platoon Commander. There are some orders you may never see in FPC. We are going through that list of orders and what is plausible and what is not. How to change the order selections and the responses.

Good Hunting.

MR



< Message edited by Mad Russian -- 12/6/2014 7:27:32 PM >


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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 8:57:58 PM   
Jakerson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
Anytime an enemy unit fires on you they will have the capacity to return fire. At that point you are identified there is no reason to hold your fire any longer.

Remember, you are the Brigade Commander not a Platoon Commander. There are some orders you may never see in FPC. We are going through that list of orders and what is plausible and what is not. How to change the order selections and the responses.

Good Hunting.

MR


This is kind of why I love this game as it gives you feeling that you are high level commander that focus on high level planning and coordination of troops instead of micromanaging how every individual unit behaves. Adding more ways to micromanage units kind of destroys why I love this game.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 9:04:04 PM   
Mad Russian


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I expect me to do my job, which is to give my forces the overall positioning and fire support to complete their mission.

Then I actually expect the rest of the people to do their job. I expect a platoon leader to lead his platoon, so I don't have to. I expect the tank gunner to pick his target and the correct type of ammunition to take out the target. I expect the vehicle driver to put the vehicle in the best location to allow it to engage or defend.



Good Hunting.

MR

< Message edited by Mad Russian -- 12/6/2014 10:04:43 PM >


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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 9:23:38 PM   
mikeCK

 

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I just want to be able to keep my units from firing first. If they are discovered or fired upon then whatever they have to do is fine. But if I have an infantryman in the wood line who starts opening fire on passing tanks, it makes it difficult to conduct light recce. Maybe some type of "don't fire unless fired upon or spotted"?

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 10:37:25 PM   
Werewolf13

 

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1st off let me just say FPC is a great game. Good AI, fun, does a very good job of putting the player in the top commanders place (but only if staff rules are in place with limited command capability on). I'm not ragging on the game but I do take issue with Mad Russian's post #7 above.

A Humvee recce unit with M2 machineguns as their primary weapon system firing on tanks is just plain stupid. If the recce unit is seen and starts taking fire it needs to at least unass the area and retire to another prepared position with cover and if possible call in smoke that blocks thermal sights.

A platoon leader absolutely must obey orders and if the Brigade/Bn/Co SOP says light recce units don't take on tanks then they don't take on tanks. They follow SOP.

Here's a true story (kind'a funny) that illustrates SOP and how it must be followed.

While serving in M-60A1's in Germany on maneuvers at Grafenwoehr the Company I was in (C/4/64A/3Bde/3ID) was cross posted to an infantry brigade. The Brigade commander showed up on an inspection tour of the defensive positions we had set up in a tree line. We had followed Bn SOP and used local foliage to hide our tanks in dug in engineer built emplacements - WE DIDN'T DIG FOXHOLES! This grunt asked me where were our foxholes? I told him bluntly we carried our foxhole around on our back (probably not smart to crack wise with a bird Colonel). He was none too pleased with that answer and asked what we'd do if our tank got knocked out. I told him that if the tank was no longer capable of resisting and unless the enemy was about to over run us the crew would head to the Co or Bn CP and be made available as replacement crew because a live tanker was worth a helluva lot more than a dead grunt (stupid, stupid thing to say)- but that was Bn and Co SOP - I probably could have told him all that with a bit more detail/explanation and way more diplomacy but we'd been up all night and were freezing our behinds off.

Needless to say that Brigade Commander was none too pleased. Wanted to relieve me right then and there on the spot - he didn't but he had a long talk with my Bn Commander. I was very, VERY lucky that day. Colonel Mosler calmed the Brigade Commander down and said he'd take care of the situation. I did get my ass reamed but not for what I told the Infantry puke but how I told him.

Platoon leaders follow SOP - period. Initiative is used when and if appropriate and necessary. If you deviate from SOP you better have a darned good reason. Maybe things are different now than in the early 70's but I kind'a doubt it.

In game terms that means if a player has the option to setup game unit SOP the units follow it. There may be programmed exceptions of course - which makes the GAME even more realistic. But the idea of a light recce unit firing on enemy tanks (especially at 2K yards) is inane. No sane recon unit commander would sacrifice his unit unless it was absolutely necessary. And if I was the commander of the platoon leader who chose such an action and there weren't some really, really convincing extenuating circumstances I'd relieve him.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/6/2014 11:52:57 PM   
Mad Russian


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Werewolf1326

1st off let me just say FPC is a great game. Good AI, fun, does a very good job of putting the player in the top commanders place (but only if staff rules are in place with limited command capability on). I'm not ragging on the game but I do take issue with Mad Russian's post #7 above.



Discussion is the root of all progress.

quote:


A Humvee recce unit with M2 machineguns as their primary weapon system firing on tanks is just plain stupid. If the recce unit is seen and starts taking fire it needs to at least unass the area and retire to another prepared position with cover and if possible call in smoke that blocks thermal sights.

A platoon leader absolutely must obey orders and if the Brigade/Bn/Co SOP says light recce units don't take on tanks then they don't take on tanks. They follow SOP.


Again, I expect the leader, gunner, etc. to do their job.

I don't expect the Platoon Leader or the Humvee gunner to engage a Soviet tank with an M2HB 50cal. That's not smart and they will want to live longer than that. As the Brigade Commander I shouldn't have to tell them that and in real life wouldn't. Try that order in reverse. Tell that Platoon Leader to engage tanks with MG's and see what happens. Even if you gave them that order they would probably not follow it without a really good reason.

We are currently discussing orders and SOP and how the two of those will mesh for game play.

The premise is still what I stated earlier. Everybody is expected to do their job. They trained for it, they know what it is, they are good at it. I shouldn't have to tell them what it is with every mouse click. And we won't go that direction.

Good Hunting.

MR


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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/7/2014 12:36:36 AM   
IronMikeGolf

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
Remember, you are the Brigade Commander not a Platoon Commander.


Well, that all depends.

I see thins game as having the player simultaneously act as multiple levels of command. What levels depends on the scenario. Take the smallest element in the OB and go up two levels. That's the level of command that plans the maneuver (usually in gross terms). Go up on level from the smallest unit and that's the level of command that executes the plan.

So, I think it's entirely fair to say that we play NATO as Company/Troop, Battalion/Squadron, and Brigade/Regimental commanders. Moreover, the state of the game engine does not presently have the capability for the player to act as a brigade commander. In fact, the game engine often requires me to act as a platoon leader in order to avoid the AI maneuvering imprudently.

What do I mean by all that above? I can't tell order a company to defend a battle position of tell it to cover an engagement area. I have to do LOS checks to determine where to put platoons. I have to fiddle with waypoints to cajole platoons to do perform basic doctrine like move using cover and concealed routes instead of finding the closest road. I have to pull helos off station before they run out of ammo, so they don't fly the more hazardous routes to the FARP.

Remember, the shortcomings of the game engine force us to act as platoon leaders.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/7/2014 1:41:30 PM   
Mad Russian


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Agreed Jeff. The emphasis is on Brigade, or higher level command, but this is not a simulator. So, you do manage other positions down the Chain of Command.

What I was trying to get across is that the main emphasis is up the CoC and not down it. So, for the most part, the changes you will see with the system involve higher level options not lower level ones. We don't intend on you giving orders to a tank or a squad unless they are the sole remaining element of the original unit.

For those of you that have served in any nations military this is is obvious. For those of you that haven't it's not so obvious. We are trying to keep our focus on where we started and not move away from that and trying to explain why we aren't.

Good Hunting.

MR

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/7/2014 6:18:48 PM   
mikeCK

 

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Either way, it's a relief to have a game that is so good and so polished that we are discussing minor issues like this.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 4:34:38 AM   
76mm


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Be able to order units to hold fire is particularly important for recon units that you'd like to use for arty spotting...

A couple of Hummv mounted scouts will last minutes once they open fire on the massive column of Sov armor rolling past them, but think if the damage they could do if they bring down some accurate ICM barrages by hiding rather than firing on the enemy...


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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 5:46:17 AM   
wodin


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Mad Russian I do think SOP's would come in handy for those who want to use them..also games being games SOP's can give the friendly AI a helping hand. I see setting the SOP's not as if you have sent an order to the unit from a higher commnader but more as the unit itself working out his plan and following it.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 6:07:24 AM   
IronMikeGolf

 

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An alternative to ripping apart the game engine might be this:

1. Edit the country data spreadsheet. Make some "short range" weapons (400 meters) that are otherwise identical to the .50 cal, etc. Add units that use those weapons
2. Edit scenarios to use these new recce units.

I could see doing that for HMMWVs and M113 equipped recon elements. Not sure I'd want to go that route for cannon or missile carrying recce vehicles.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 6:34:22 AM   
genehaynes

 

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OK, since I was (and still am) getting my butt kicked playing the NATO side in the "Time to Dance" scenario, I decided to try the Soviet side ( WS_ AS scenario). I ordered one of my recon units to move adjacent to the southern blow bridge. About 1500 meters away (3 hexes) it spotted two NATO tank units across the river, adjacent to the bridge. Both tank units began firing at the recon unit. Instead of stopping and seeking some cover (at least stop for pete's sake) they continued on their merry way until they got to their objective (which was adjacent to both tank units). Naturally they were destroyed in short order. Would it be possible to some way incorporate some logic for recon units so they don't fire on tanks from cover with machine guns or, after spotting them 3 or 4 hexes away continue to move adjacent to them? BTW, I did win a decisive victory, but writing those condolence letters for my recon guys was depressing:)


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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 8:52:26 AM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
I don't expect the Platoon Leader or the Humvee gunner to engage a Soviet tank with an M2HB 50cal. That's not smart and they will want to live longer than that. As the Brigade Commander I shouldn't have to tell them that and in real life wouldn't.

Well, while in game they might not be engaging with a 50cal, but I often see hummvees equipped with TOWs take on entire tank columns or flights of Hinds, which isn't much smarter. And morever, sometimes I would want them to take pot shots at a Sov column, and other times I'd want them to stay hidden to spot for artillery or airstrikes. As far as I know, as brigade commander I'd be telling my recon elements what I wanted them to do...

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
The premise is still what I stated earlier. Everybody is expected to do their job. They trained for it, they know what it is, they are good at it. I shouldn't have to tell them what it is with every mouse click. And we won't go that direction.

I'll be curious to see if you come with an AI with much greater situational awareness than others I've seen. What a platoon or tank should do in one situation is very different from what it should do in other situations. Most games recognize the near impossibility of asking the computer to make this determination and therefore allow the player to do so.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 12:01:18 PM   
CapnDarwin


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We are looking a simple or overarching SOPs for a number of orders to help refine the AI for units. Right now a recon unit can be two grunts to a main battle tank so having a perfect AI response gets hard and you end up with some jeeps shooting at tanks when pressed instead of pulling out. .we need to give you as the commander a way to say you hide and scoot versus you stay and fight for certain orders and unit types. Now that won't stop the occasional units panic firing or scooting when you want them to hold. That's war and some troops do get creative at times.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 12:43:15 PM   
Mad Russian


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

Mad Russian I do think SOP's would come in handy for those who want to use them..also games being games SOP's can give the friendly AI a helping hand. I see setting the SOP's not as if you have sent an order to the unit from a higher commnader but more as the unit itself working out his plan and following it.



The game currently allows for orders and SOP. (Quickly move here and then hold)

We intend on expanding on that system to include more options for the player.

Good Hunting.

MR

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 12:50:22 PM   
Mad Russian


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quote:



OK, since I was (and still am) getting my butt kicked playing the NATO side in the "Time to Dance" scenario, I decided to try the Soviet side ( WS_ AS scenario). I ordered one of my recon units to move adjacent to the southern blow bridge. About 1500 meters away (3 hexes) it spotted two NATO tank units across the river, adjacent to the bridge. Both tank units began firing at the recon unit. Instead of stopping and seeking some cover (at least stop for pete's sake) they continued on their merry way until they got to their objective (which was adjacent to both tank units). Naturally they were destroyed in short order. Would it be possible to some way incorporate some logic for recon units so they don't fire on tanks from cover with machine guns or, after spotting them 3 or 4 hexes away continue to move adjacent to them? BTW, I did win a decisive victory, but writing those condolence letters for my recon guys was depressing:)



Have you ever watched Greatest Tank Battles #10 - 73 Easting, where a Bradley engages a T-72, on front armor, with his 25mm chaingun? I know that's bigger than a M2HB machinegun but the results were the same. Just because it doesn't make absolute sense doesn't mean it's not done.

quote:


I'll be curious to see if you come with an AI with much greater situational awareness than others I've seen. What a platoon or tank should do in one situation is very different from what it should do in other situations. Most games recognize the near impossibility of asking the computer to make this determination and therefore allow the player to do so.


Now, about where we want to go, we are still tweaking the orders/SOP listings. So, all your comments are very valid and could get things added to the list. I would say that being gamers that have been in the service we see most of these issues long before you guys do and they have our red flags up too. Not to say we are perfect and catch everything and the more discussion something gets the more weight it has as an issue that could get changed.

This AI already does a tremendous job. It handles both your forces and the enemy forces and plays well enough to at least make you THINK before you beat it. I would put this AI up against any on the market. Having said that, there are more tweaks being made to it all the time.

So, again, thanks for all the comments and discussion. While there are tradeoffs, justifications, abstractions for everything in FPC there are few things that are written in stone. And right now especially, we have hammer and chisel out reworking some of that stone.

Good Hunting.

MR

< Message edited by Mad Russian -- 12/9/2014 1:54:34 PM >


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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 1:44:47 PM   
genehaynes

 

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MR,
Thanks for your reply. Make no mistake, you guys have created an outstanding game. It's challenging, addictive, and a lot of fun. In a way you're a victim the excellent job you've done designing this game. In other words there aren't many things to complain about. But as you said "there's always room for improvement". IMO, because the game is so good, things like bizarre Recon (I know bizarre behavior is subjective)tend to stand out. You guys know a lot more about real world combat tactics / behavior than I do. I just think there should be some way to order Recon type units to do recon and basically avoid combat unless absolutely necessary. During the WS_AS scenario it was really cool to see my recon guys reveal NATO units across the river. I'd just like to see them scoot / reverse to cover when they come under fire. I would think if you're the driver of one of these vehicles you wouldn't need an order from HQ to get out of harms way. Anyway, back to "A Time to Dance" as NATO. I WILL win this scenario somehow:)

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 2:56:10 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
The game currently allows for orders and SOP. (Quickly move here and then hold)
We intend on expanding on that system to include more options for the player.


Until a more robust SOP feature is implemented, perhaps a couple more options besides the Screen order will suffice. Yeah, we leave it to the platoon leaders to perform their missions, but we (player/commander) should still get to decide what missions they are to do. So a more aggressive Ambush order (take a good shot, then scoot) and a more passive LP/OP order (observe only, then scoot) would help span the current Screen order, which has a certain combat engagement implication. And for that Screen order, yes the platoon leader(s) on the ground would execute as they thought best, which may or may not be exactly as the commander really expected. So be it; that's fine. But something more along the lines of an Ambush and LP/OP order is needed.

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RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 6:36:04 PM   
IronMikeGolf

 

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I think part of our challenge is the need to abstract and simplify to make the game "runnable". For example, there's orders, then there's orders. ANd then again there's orders. What do I mean?

First you have what in the US Army we call OPORDs (Operation Order). These are detailed and rehearsed. They take time to craft, reproduce (in this timeframe, by a private first class with a hand crank mimeograph machine). It takes time to assemble leaders from subordinate elements to brief and rehearse. These are what is simulated in the game when you give a unit a movement order and posture to assume upon completion of the move. The current engine lets you do operations of a single phase. You can not currently do a single order that says "road march to that bridge, then assault that town".

Then you have FRAGOs (Fragmentary Orders). These are much like an audible in football. The most often adjustments to the OPORD, given while executing the OPORD. But not always. In the game, this might be adjusting a waypoint. What we can't do is FRAGO a road march to one destination to morph to a tactical move to another destination, nor can we change the posture to be assumed at completion of the move.

The last category I am talking about is maneuver control orders. This is things like "hold what you got, mortars are not in position yet" or "push further left". We can do this in a limited fashion by adjusting waypoints. I need to do some testing, but it feels like if you mess with waypoint delay on a moving unit, it kicks in oreder delay. Along with these types of orders is the sort that tells a unit to execute something they are prepared to do already. So, a battalion OPORD might say something like "On order, A Co secures bridge at grid NB123456." The A Co Cdr decides how to do that and his OPORD to his company has those details. Might be a platoon, might be more. It take two radio calls to set that in motion: Bn to Co and Co to Plt(s).

Our challenge is differentiating among these types of orders. Right now, the AI can't realistically model leaders below Bn level. Players have to handle that. The challenge come with orders delay. If you have a Scout section performing a Screen (the mission, not the posture in the game), there's going to be movement orders. A goodly amount of them, given only 3 waypoints and the need/desire to properly use cover and concealment.

Forgive my wordiness here. I think resolving these issues would be a huge step for this game.


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(in reply to pzgndr)
Post #: 27
RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 6:51:53 PM   
IronMikeGolf

 

Posts: 899
Joined: 3/19/2010
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: pzgndr
Until a more robust SOP feature is implemented, perhaps a couple more options besides the Screen order will suffice. Yeah, we leave it to the platoon leaders to perform their missions, but we (player/commander) should still get to decide what missions they are to do. So a more aggressive Ambush order (take a good shot, then scoot) and a more passive LP/OP order (observe only, then scoot) would help span the current Screen order, which has a certain combat engagement implication. And for that Screen order, yes the platoon leader(s) on the ground would execute as they thought best, which may or may not be exactly as the commander really expected. So be it; that's fine. But something more along the lines of an Ambush and LP/OP order is needed.


Maybe something like this:

1. Rename "Screen" to "Occupy", with current behavior.
2. Add "Observe" posture. Does not initiate fire. Breaks contact (move to no LOS terrain) upon being shot at.
3. Add "Delay". Has normal movement waypoints. Begin moving after firing. No delay to the movement, once the normal order delay passes upon issueing the order. Moves like an Assault order, not a Hasty Move order. Maybe have a casualty trigger for moving if receiving indirect, but not having direct fire targets. This would enable units to displace before routing. This could also be used for survivability moves: last waypoint of the Delay order is the original position. You can dance all over the BP that way.


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Jeff
Sua Sponte

(in reply to pzgndr)
Post #: 28
RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 7:19:37 PM   
Mad Russian


Posts: 13256
Joined: 3/16/2008
From: Texas
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: genehaynes

During the WS_AS scenario it was really cool to see my recon guys reveal NATO units across the river.


The WS_AS is Warsaw Pact/Small_American/Soviet. Which means it's best played as the Warsaw Pact, is a small scenario and pits Soviet against American forces. The name of the scenario comes after that.

Good Hunting.

MR


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Founder of HSG scenario design group for Combat Mission.
Panzer Command Ostfront Development Team.
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Development Team.

(in reply to genehaynes)
Post #: 29
RE: Ordering a unit not to fire...is it possible? - 12/9/2014 7:21:53 PM   
Mad Russian


Posts: 13256
Joined: 3/16/2008
From: Texas
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: pzgndr


quote:

ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
The game currently allows for orders and SOP. (Quickly move here and then hold)
We intend on expanding on that system to include more options for the player.


Until a more robust SOP feature is implemented, perhaps a couple more options besides the Screen order will suffice. Yeah, we leave it to the platoon leaders to perform their missions, but we (player/commander) should still get to decide what missions they are to do. So a more aggressive Ambush order (take a good shot, then scoot) and a more passive LP/OP order (observe only, then scoot) would help span the current Screen order, which has a certain combat engagement implication. And for that Screen order, yes the platoon leader(s) on the ground would execute as they thought best, which may or may not be exactly as the commander really expected. So be it; that's fine. But something more along the lines of an Ambush and LP/OP order is needed.


The longer we stay in Red Storm the longer it will be before you guys get the reworked Order-SOP system that comes out with Southern Storm. It's why we are continually trying to move forward.

Good Hunting.

MR

_____________________________

The most expensive thing in the world is free time.

Founder of HSG scenario design group for Combat Mission.
Panzer Command Ostfront Development Team.
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Development Team.

(in reply to pzgndr)
Post #: 30
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