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Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/25/2019 3:02:22 AM   
Monkie

 

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Just trying out the new campaign Soviets vs Finns and it seems that my forces are fighting ghosts. Since my heavy hitters are T-72A's and they are backed up by infantry in BTR-70's it kinda would be expected to use my infantry to seek out ambushes while the tanks stand off and use range to advantage. However my units are taking multiple hits over and over from unseen and obviously hidden forces unable to even fire back due to lack of localizing the threat.

Visibility is good if not excellent yet my T-72's in open fields take hit after hit from units that remain unseen even after firing multiple times. I am all for ambushes but how do these units remain unseen even by my dismounted infantry in close contact?

Maybe I'm not understanding some game mechanic but I just saw my attacking force destroyed without ever seeing over 80% of the enemy forces that caused it.
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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/25/2019 9:47:44 AM   
Linda_Sheffield

 

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Yep, i can confirm, quite annoying and unrealistic situation. It's okay that it hard to spot soldiers with firearm, but now we canmot reliably spot HMG (in my experience i had problems spotting M113 with M2MG, while i had inf.squad and T-72) and ATGM/RPG teams.

I think it caused by:
Poor weather congitions visibility penalty or night/dusk time.
3 sec. scan period (i think that is too long).
Low "signature" of weapon used by ambushers.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/25/2019 11:34:25 AM   
Veitikka


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There can be many reasons, or combinations of reasons, why a unit is hard to detect. Every case should be studied separately, without generalizing too much.

If you change the LOS tool mode (shift+L) you can see in more detail which areas are easy to see and which are barely visible. More eyes (units) together can spot much more efficiently than a single unit. All smoke is not visible to the player. It may still be there blocking the LOS, even if the UI doesn't tell it.

A HMG has a small firing signature in the game, compared to something like a tank cannon. Weapon teams can be very hard to detect because of their small size.


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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/25/2019 12:12:20 PM   
Monkie

 

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Unfortunately the terrain system is almost too good in the sense that without micro-managing every single unit with the LOS tool you can't decipher every nook and cranny on the scale being played. So I tend to see situations where a platoon of 3 tanks is positioned in what looks like open fields and yet one tank is pounded over and over by an unseen enemy while the other 2 sit in ruts with no LOS. The platoon mates should attempt to move to get eyes on the threat but the AI doesn't seem to have this ability so the player is forced to micro manage which makes for an awkward scale when you have several platoons in combat across a few km's of battle area.

The scenario in question that I was playing had good visibility of 2800m in the day and yet the T-72's were hit over and over without ever seeing what killed them, not even the general yellow circles were showing up. My BTR's all unloaded and tried to clear the flanks of wooded area but they all met the same fate, being killed one by one, squad by squad without ever revealing most of the enemy units they were receiving fire from.

From a players standpoint it's frustrating because there wasn't much else I could do to localize the enemy and no artillery was available to at least suppress possible locations of enemy troops.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/25/2019 12:49:20 PM   
Veitikka


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I think one issue is that if you're advancing in closed terrain, for example in the forests of Finland, it's your leading unit that comes into contact with the enemy. Your unit is suppressed, reducing its spotting capability, and no other units there can spot the firing enemy unit because there's no LOS. In the other extreme, if you are advancing on an open desert map, you can have even dozens of your units doing spotting, because they all have a LOS to the enemy unit when it starts firing. In many such cases the enemy is spotted almost instantly.


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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/25/2019 9:11:41 PM   
Monkie

 

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Is there an order or tactic I can use say to have a Russian BTR platoon dismount and clear a dug in wooded area of Finnish infantry? I have limited mortars to suppress with and they seem pretty ineffective in doing much. I've been using contact orders for the dismounts but again one squad gets destroyed and the other two see nothing and give no support. I try to move them all within 100m of each other in hopes they can spot whatever is engaging us.

I feel like the Sheriff's poise in the movie Rambo, one by one my guys are taken out by an invisible green beret.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/26/2019 11:02:21 AM   
Linda_Sheffield

 

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Mortars in AB is higly effective, especially soviet, tanks and mortars are main combat assets.

As for your situation: keep in mind, that in general, against fortified fixed positions you have to use superior number of infantry. If you have no choise but to attack, dismount whole platoon, keep'em as close as possible and advance, use mortar to suppress OR lay smokescreen at enemy positions. If you have airsupport - just burn area with napalm :)

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/26/2019 1:27:26 PM   
kevinkins


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With a 2D map of such detail and granularity, the use of the LOS tool is a must and does result in a feeling of over micro managing. With a 3D view, determining LOS is more natural. Given the speed at which defenders can acquire and engage even moving targets, the friendly side must find fix and destroy the enemy much faster than say in WW2 games. Perhaps players can practice getting grip on LOS by playing scenarios with the oldest equipment that will somewhat simulate a slower pace aka WW2 armoured warfare.

Kevin

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/26/2019 5:01:16 PM   
Linda_Sheffield

 

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Yep, that is why devs added ISOmetric and HGT modes.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/26/2019 9:41:25 PM   
exsonic01

 

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Because of this reason, I usually play this game really slow.

Depending on the map, sometimes I purchase infantry (not mech infantry) with tanks in assault/offense game. Infantry in this game is painfully slow but better safe than sorry. Infantry detect hidden enemy vehicle or infantry way better than vehicles. I think vehicles in this game have lower chance of detection than infantry, it gets worse when they are suppressed and buttoned down. Infantry also lose detection ability when being suppressed, but vehicle suffers worse effect.

One thing I wish to check in this game is the thermal sight and detection ability relation. I think units with thermal sights should have bonus to detection ability. It is confirmed fact via many tests (and real operations), that the even poor quality 1st generation thermals provide better chance of early detection and early warning over normal eyesight. But in current AB, I feel like units with thermal & without thermal have same degree of detection. I wish my feeling is wrong.

Anyway, for meeting engagement / assault case:
a) I usually purchase a lot of dismounted recon team + one or two recon vehicles to counter AI recon vehicle.
b) Purchase artillery and spread TRP over VP or any bottleneck or possible major route.
c) Infiltrate and spread out recon teams as much as possible.
d) Try to detect enemy ATGM, tanks, and IFV on enemy defense line. Then call artillery (or airstrike) and mortar to "snipe" tanks and other vehicles or atgm teams, hiding in dug-in position. When assault, I prefer to buy artillery than airstrike or gunship, because that way I have more control for the target. But if friendly artillery have no DPICM then sometimes I bring airstrike.
e) While advancing, if I meet town or forest, dismount mech infantry from the position out of enemy LoS, and sweep the area.
f) If the map is full of forest or middle of big city, then I mix mech infantry and infantry, or just purchase infantry. This makes game really really slow, but I found no better alternatives.
g) Advance tanks or IFVs only after the route is clear, or at least after I have enough knowledge of where enemy infantry or tanks are located.

If pre-designed campaign or mission doesn't offer good enough amount of recon team, then I use infantry like recon team. If scenario doesn't introduce artillery neither mortar, then I try to use tanks or any vehicle to give direct fire support, because that is the only way to suppress enemy in this game under such condition. But I try by best for my bois to detect enemy first, because vehicles have poor detection ability in this game.




This is the one of the reason why this game really needs attack-on-command or 'forced attack', the ability for players to command unit to shoot empty tile. Suppressive fire is kinda 101 of all infantry / combined arms tactic, but prohibiting such important option from players due to balancing is totally not tactical IMO. I wish devs introduce fire against muzzle flash, at least.

Plus, in the future, how about introducing graphical representation of where enemy shot came from? In reality, while it is really hard to find the exact location of enemy, it is possible to locate general direction of where the fire came from, and it became relatively easier if it is machine gun fire, RPG, or ATGM. (Except it is sniper shot) More and more enemy fire, rough guess become more and more accurate.

Introduce 4 (or 8) arcs around the unit, direction of front, left, right, and rear (8 arc should have 4 more direction calls), not visible during normal condition. But when being shot, make those arcs flash from possible hitting direction, just like FPS games do. And allow AI to shoot a suppressive fire (short burst, or only use secondary armament) to treeline or building within effective range at that direction.

For the balance, accuracy of arc direction can be tweaked for this feature. Or, it would be possible to modify the chance to flash the arc & react when being attacked based on weapon type and distance of enemy. Or, it would be possible to activate "flash arc" feature only when the same enemy attacked more than 3 times. Introduce carefully considered RNG to them, then this "counter fire" feature will be more realistic. Those are rough idea, but if this process is nicely designed, then this might be AI's way to give suppressive fire when being attacked.

It would be possible to list such feature in SOP, so that player and AI can turn on or off the counter fire. Also, it would be possible to give bonus to units with higher morale and experience, while estimate the possible fire direction.

And introduction of resupply vehicle or resupply station would help player and AI to manage the ammo.


< Message edited by exsonic01 -- 5/26/2019 10:44:35 PM >

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/27/2019 9:15:26 AM   
Lowlaner2012

 

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Recon is Paramount in AB,always recon routes you plan to travel on, dismounted scouts should try infiltrate to a position where they overlook any planned approach routes or objectives and set there SOP to hold fire so they don't get fired at or spotted...

Smoke and suppressive arty fire are essential when attacking, especially if your units have thermal sights...

Also don't forget the added pause on contact and other pause on options, they make the game way easier to handle and allow the player to react to new situations faster..

As I have spent more time playing I have been using the defend command more and more,I have found that it does helps eliminate some of the need for LOS micro-management and works surprisingly well...

One thing this game taught me was that if you go into a scenario without a combined arms integrated plan you are gonna have a really hard time and are probably going to lose...

I'm not saying the game is perfect and some of the above ideas would make the game even better, but next to the combat mission games this is one of my favorite war/strategy games...



< Message edited by Lowlaner2012 -- 5/27/2019 9:19:46 AM >

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/27/2019 9:15:03 PM   
thewood1

 

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That is excellent advice. Many games don'y appreciate or use recon or scouting properly. Ambushes can be big failures for your enemy if you recon at the operational level and scout at the tactical level. Of course, a good enemy is screening at those levels also. Many larger battles are won or lost in the recon/scout battle against a screen.

Its one of the things I really like AB. For all its foils and inflexibilities in scenario building, it drives the point home that recon and scouting play a significant role by collecting information for an advance.

Instead of players trying to get some bizarre rewrite of the code and more menu items, learn to use the tools you have first.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/27/2019 9:47:18 PM   
Monkie

 

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In the campaign using the Soviets vs Finns you really have limited resources and I'm finding that the recon troops really are needed to root out all the entrenched Finns. Unfortunately that makes for some slow progress and I tend to use the T-72's in wooded close range which is against all the rules but I have little else to work with.

I'm guessing the recon troops have a better ability to actually spot and point out enemy positions to friendly forces?

My last two battles in the campaign have been night combat with vis as low as 240 meters, not sure I'd even try to mount any offensive in that weather but I guess I have little choice, orders is orders.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/27/2019 9:59:03 PM   
nikolas93TS


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I use Scout command a lot, particularly with infantry or recon foot units, and it is really beneficial as chance of disclosing enemy units is higher. Recently added "proximity spotting" feature was introduced particularly for reason to help out with close terrain and low visibility combat, as well with dug-in units, and I think it really improved the game.

Also, maybe some of the players are not aware that if you dismount your mech units and issue them any movement command, infantry will move in front of the vehicles, which really help out with reducing AFVs casualties.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/27/2019 10:35:11 PM   
nikolas93TS


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It would be great if somebody could experiment a bit with gradually increasing muzzle signatures in database.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/27/2019 11:54:32 PM   
22sec

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: nikolas93TS

It would be great if somebody could experiment a bit with gradually increasing muzzle signatures in database.


I’ve done this and I am a big proponent. I’ve always used the square root of the gun’s caliber as the muzzle signature and it increases units’ being spotted.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 5/28/2019 1:31:52 PM   
wodin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Monkie

Unfortunately the terrain system is almost too good in the sense that without micro-managing every single unit with the LOS tool you can't decipher every nook and cranny on the scale being played. So I tend to see situations where a platoon of 3 tanks is positioned in what looks like open fields and yet one tank is pounded over and over by an unseen enemy while the other 2 sit in ruts with no LOS. The platoon mates should attempt to move to get eyes on the threat but the AI doesn't seem to have this ability so the player is forced to micro manage which makes for an awkward scale when you have several platoons in combat across a few km's of battle a



I agree. A game like this needs great tacai that helps the player out reducing the need for micro managing units to do something that's commonsense\obvious. For instance in Graviteam Tactics a squad will automatically use bounding covering fire.Something I loved to watch when I first noticed it. It was that moment I knew Graviteam was something special.

< Message edited by wodin -- 5/28/2019 1:35:04 PM >


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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 7/2/2019 12:13:06 PM   
Redmarkus5


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

I agree. A game like this needs great tacai that helps the player out reducing the need for micro managing units to do something that's commonsense\obvious. For instance in Graviteam Tactics a squad will automatically use bounding covering fire.Something I loved to watch when I first noticed it. It was that moment I knew Graviteam was something special.


Yes, Graviteam is extremely well designed and highly addictive. I own the entire series and I have very few complaints. IMHO AB is not. It needs A LOT more work to make it so. I bought it, installed it, played it for about two hours, uninstalled it and decided to occasionally check the forum for signs of major improvements.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 7/2/2019 4:06:42 PM   
nikolas93TS


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This might sound very rude, but I don't think 2 hours are sufficient to grasp all the fine details that make Armored Brigade game as it is.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 7/2/2019 6:03:10 PM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: nikolas93TS
This might sound very rude, but I don't think 2 hours are sufficient to grasp all the fine details that make Armored Brigade game as it is.

Actually, I can tell that most games are not for me without playing them at all. Even when I buy a game after looking at it closely, it usually only takes me one or two play-throughs to determine if a game "clicks" for me or not. Most do not. I don't think that I spend more than a few hours with 90% of the games I buy.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 7/2/2019 6:05:46 PM   
jwarrenw13

 

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I just finished playing through Das Tactics's Two Bridges AAR (http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4605905). I used his setup and initial pre-planned moves and then winged it from there, after watching his AAR. It is a Finn vs Russians scenario with the Finns using a mech force to attack a dug in Russian mech force. Both forces are using 1983 Russian vehicles. Finns have to cross two parallel bridges in moving to contact and then take four objectives once across the river. It was my first fully played out Armored Brigade scenario. The objectives were roughly where Das Tactic's objectives were, but the situation was slightly different, the Russians ended up setting up differently, as I expected they would, and I had different challenges to face, including more Russians on my side of the river than he had. Just as Das Tactic did, and as mentioned here, I encountered the ghost units killing my vehicles. It irritated me at first, but then it became a challenge to use my recon units better, to move more carefully, to use mortars and artillery better, and just take my time. One thing I would note about the ghost units. The game is literally real time (unless you speed it up). So if one of your units gets killed and you stop the game or have it set to stop, then you are looking for the enemy unit that took your vehicle out at the instant it happened. And if you are stopping the game a lot, you are taking minutes to play seconds. I tended to forget that at first. That is one problem with the ghost units. Is the game playing realistically? I don't really know. But I could see the game adding another level of interest if there were more clues as to where the fire is coming from and the ability to fire suppressive fire at suspected enemy positions, muzzle flashes if nothing else, as suggested above. In most cases I was able to pick out fairly quickly, in game time, where the fire came from, but there was one case where I moved a tank platoon behind a tree line and rapidly had two tanks destroyed and never figured out where the fire came from until the end of the game. That was frustrating. But was it realistic? Again, I'm not sure. But I do think some more clues would make things more interesting gamewise. In the end I won a tactical victory. I took three of four objectives, and the last one was left contested (I think 'controversial' in game terms), but it was in the middle of an open field, and anything that tried to move into the objective died.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 7/2/2019 8:35:10 PM   
exsonic01

 

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quote:


That is one problem with the ghost units. Is the game playing realistically? I don't really know. But I could see the game adding another level of interest if there were more clues as to where the fire is coming from and the ability to fire suppressive fire at suspected enemy positions, muzzle flashes if nothing else, as suggested above.


I also sometimes feel that current AB engine makes units too blindish. This gets worse in bad weather or night condition, but still some similar events occur in nice day condition as well. Sometimes vehicles miss the infantry team or heavy weapon team, who were hiding 50~100m in front of them. I guess model for the spotting of vehicle looks good, but the problem is infantry.

Is this realistic? I'm also not sure. But when you think about it, such "blindish" moment might be doable or possible situation. Assuming assaulting forces have no thermal sight, and assuming you are just hiding to observe and report as a recon, or just hiding and waiting for good ambush as a AT guy with RPG. Assuming your training level is good, and you are just hiding as deep as possible in the bush or under the pile of fallen leaves or pile of snow. In this case, vehicles would 100% miss you, passing right in front of you. Fast moving infantry would very likely to fail to spot you. Infantry with normal speed might have a good chance to see something strange or even spot you and engage. For any scenario of early ~ mid cold war, there were no thermal sights, no millimeter wave radar, no UAVs, only reliable source of gathering information is human eye and ear. In this sense, incredible difficulty of finding infantry in this game maybe realistic. But still, I'm not sure how much real.

Also, I think veterans and well trained units would spot enemy much faster than noobs or poorly trained units. I'm not sure if this feature is included in AB.

But this makes the game very slow. I always start with recon, infiltrate infantry recons and spread them as wide as possible. I found that this might be the only way to prevent ambush in this game. Even then, sometimes thermal sight units and infantry miss the hidden enemy ATGM team or HMG team.

Make muzzle flash more visible or detectable might be a solution. In above post, I also suggested an arc around the units to visualize the direction of where the fire came from. AB already have engine to show "arc" to show unit in hull-down position or etc. I think it might be possible to use this feature for 4/8 arc system to represent possible direction of fire for each units, after 3~5 shots.



< Message edited by exsonic01 -- 7/2/2019 11:40:00 PM >

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 7/2/2019 10:21:23 PM   
jwarrenw13

 

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I remember 11B (infantryman) basic training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, USA, in 1973. (For any US military, it was combined basic and AIT, called Throughput at that time, 15 weeks, just entering the post-Vietnam era. They kept telling us how we were now training for war with the Soviets in Europe and not for Vietnam.) In one exercise our platoon attacked and secured and objective and formed a circular perimeter. Just as we were settling in, several 'enemy' soldiers just rose up out of the ground we had just walked over and secured and lit us up with M16 blanks. Of course we were raw, clueless trainees, but I learned a lesson that day I never forgot.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 7/3/2019 1:12:49 AM   
22sec

 

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I’ve always felt AB rewards the use of real world tactics, but that also means you face real world problems. If you are not looking directly at a muzzle flash, it’s over in an instance. Combine that with the lethal modern weapons, and you can kiss a platoon of vehicles good bye in the blink of an eye. You’ve got to use terrain and cover to conceal movement as much as possible. If you roll out in to open ground, where the sight lines exceed 1000m you better have some eyes over watching your advance. If it is pre-thermal days use smoke, and lots of it.

This is not directed at anyone who posted in this thread or the comments made, because I do think the muzzlesignatures need to be tweaked, but a general observation based on years of playing AB.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 7/3/2019 3:11:19 PM   
jwarrenw13

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 22sec

I’ve always felt AB rewards the use of real world tactics, but that also means you face real world problems. If you are not looking directly at a muzzle flash, it’s over in an instance. Combine that with the lethal modern weapons, and you can kiss a platoon of vehicles good bye in the blink of an eye. You’ve got to use terrain and cover to conceal movement as much as possible. If you roll out in to open ground, where the sight lines exceed 1000m you better have some eyes over watching your advance. If it is pre-thermal days use smoke, and lots of it.

This is not directed at anyone who posted in this thread or the comments made, because I do think the muzzlesignatures need to be tweaked, but a general observation based on years of playing AB.


The blink of an eye thing is what I was trying to say earlier, and I agree. I tend to forget the game is playing out in real time. One of my tanks is destroyed. I stop the game and wonder why I can't see who killed it. And in the game world I'm looking around the map one second after it got taken out. I play five more seconds of game time, stop, look around, still can't see who killed it, get frustrated. Stupid game. Maybe not stupid game. Maybe realistic game. And I start thinking about what the unit would be doing in real life in this situation besides just sitting there trying to figure out where the fire came from. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the scenario I played above once I got past the initial frustration.

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RE: Am I fighting ghosts? - 7/4/2019 12:58:03 PM   
nikolas93TS


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What I forgot to say is that we increased muzzle signatures, so now it should be easier to spot enemy units engaging your units. It will come with the next patch.

However, as 22sec mentioned, Armored Brigade rewards the use of real world tactics and particularly combined arms approach. That means that for example tanks should be always closely accompanied with infantry (foot or dismounted mechanized, depending on tempo of operations), because they are very vulnerable otherwise, and supported by over-watch positions, artillery, scouts etc.

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