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Lt Bull

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  1. **********SCENARIO SPOILERS INCLUDED BELOW IN AAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!******************* Hey Fuser, I've returned to CM after a bit of a hiatus, and this scenario was the first SP scenario I've chosen to play. Just happens however that in my first PBEM back in another scenario, I thought I noticed in it what may have been the "evade towards enemy" bug that has been discussed. Turns out, after a forum post discussion and an interrogation of the scenario file parameters, I discovered that the Allied (and Axis) Friendly Direction scenario parameter was incorrectly set to be West and East rather than North and South which explained why I was noticing my US infantry tending to evade west (rather than north). I knew such a setting must have been defined somehow in scenario files but up until this investigation I had no idea how or where so it was all kind of new to me. The scenario designer apparently wasn't even aware the parameter existed. Anyway, when I was at the setup of his scenario, with the US setup in the south attacking north, I just happened to notice one US platoon was curiously facing east. Now that I know (from experimentation) that the facing of units when placed on a map is determined by the respective Friendly Direction setting of the scenario, and given my recent experience of playing a scenario where the Friendly Direction setting was not correctly set, for good measure and a level of curiosity, I thought I should quit the scenario and just check with the Scenario Editor before starting that the Friendly Direction setting was as I would think it should be for this scenario, Allied south, German north.....just in case! Well, lucky I did, because I couldn't believe it when I saw the Allied setting was in fact set to north and the Axis to south! I of course changed it, saved and played the game without issue, which I will talk about below. Before I do, I just have to say that unless it has been discussed elsewhere , I am absolutely surprised that I may be the first to have picked up on the fact that the Allied and Axis Friendly Direction settings were 180deg out of whack, and I had not even played one turn. I can only image how this reversed setting would have led to all sorts of odd/inexplicable evade/rout/retreat behaviour in all the games others have played. I am just curious to know if you were cognisant of this setting? Two random scenarios, two times this setting was not set correctly. Is this a setting many scenario designers are not even aware of? TBH, I was already suspecting and have been trying to confirm just how many of the other reported instances of the "evade towards enemy" issue were actually probably more related to the Allied and Axis Friendly Direction parameter of the .btt file being played. This discovery just deepens my suspicions. Anyway, back to your scenario and my AAR. I don't know if it was bad luck on my behalf or just good predictive design on your behalf (probably the latter) but it seemed like my units were drawn like magnets to your hidden mines! Especially on the right flank along the train line and on the outer forward edges of those two wooded rises, I think those mines "saved the day" for the Germans. Even though I had discovered and taken out the ambushing Panther lurking in the wooded rise with an easy flanking shot from tanks nosing forward from the wooded train line, and had detected (and decided to completely avoid) the PAK gun and Stug on the far left German flank, and had discovered that 75mm PAK on the rear edge of the wooded rise overlooking the approaches to the town which I knew had to be taken out, I thought the the single infantry platoon that had taken only light casualties up to that point that I had sent that way supported by 2 tanks and HT was plenty enough to neutralise the two wooded rises as the rest of he force pushed in to the town. When I discovered this PAK gun, i dashed a jeep loaded with infantry up to the forward crest of the wooded rise tasked to advance on to neutralise the PAK gun, only to discover they were taking some fire from enemy infantry firing from the adjacent wood rise where the Panther had been hiding. I didn't realise at the time, but my end waypoint for the jeep happened to be exactly over the top of a minefield, immobilising the jeep, and killing/shaking a bunch of the passengers, something I thought was being caused by the infantry fire coming from the adjacent rise. Even though I knew I could have ignored them the infantry in that wooded rise (and probably should of) I thought maybe I needed the kill points so I sent an tank up to the jeep for support to fire on the infantry while sending an infantry team up from the train line to the woods in the hope of easy kills on enemy infantry suppressed by the tank. My infantry get to the woods line and discover mines taking casualties. They also lost the subsequent shoot out with what i thought was enemy infantry suppressed by my tanks area fire. The jeep passenger/crew survivors made their way through the woods to the PAK gun which now was now under constant area fire from a MMG located at range just centre right of town. Despite being pinned down by MMG fire and under close range rifle/carbine fire and several bazooka rounds, this PAK (and friends) just would not break. I decided to use my last full squad, mounted in the HT to once and for all neutralise this last nuisance PAK gun. As I sent the HT through the treeline at the train lines, it hits a mine and aborted its move. The infantry disembark and suffer 25% casualties in the ensuing debacle. I had to waste a few more turns waiting for my HT and infinity squad to recover before i remounted the inf in the HT and try another passage through the woods. Again they hit mines, this time immobilising the HT, disembark and suffer the consonances. My once full strength squad is now down to about 65% strength and again shaken. More wasted time, when they recover I route them on foot through another path and this time they make it. As I still hadn't noticed the mines that took out the jeep/infantry originally, I gave this reinforcing infantry squad a move waypoint near the jeep and once again fall victim to their third minefield. I think all game there were about 6 separate minefield incidents. At this stage it was getting late for me and I was losing patience, and rather than take a break, save and return to it, I went looking for a quick and easy way to just finish up and win the game but it didn't happen. I ended up taking more risks and paid the price falling in to some excellent ambushes. Here is what happens when you get impatient and a little to sure: ) It looks like you really spent some time setting up the defence. You really did a great job with this. Totally recommend this scenario (remember to update Friendly Direction settings and re-release!) Do you have any others? Bull
  2. PS: I've gone looking for the threads I read months ago (and indirectly referenced in this thread) about the "evade towards enemy through gaps in hedgerow" issue. I remember seeing a video of some German infantry breaking cover and evade directly across open ground towards the enemy fire and another of US infantry lined up along hedgerow with a gap in it. If you know what I am talking about, please provide me the links as I can't seem to find them.
  3. Yes, and I hope no one is too surprised to see that this actually is the case. It shows at least the manual EVADE waypoint placement mechanics are working as expected/as they should ie. EVADE direction influenced by the scenario defined parameter "Friendly Direction". It should bring some relief to know (not the least Battlefront!) at least this aspect of the game mechanics is working as advertised. Importantly, I have just heard back from the scenario designer of "A Nasty Surprise". He thanked me for pointing it out. It appears that he was oblivious to this scenario setting and had never set it in the first place, so the scenario retained whatever default setting it happened to be (which is Allies west, Axis east). So my casual observations of "odd" behaviour did not deceive me. I do feel somewhat vindicated now for originally even suggesting that "something may not be quite right" with the way the unit in the video behaved when the TacAI made it evade "towards the enemy". Under similar circumstances, I would feel confident that the infantry unit in question would NOT have behaved in the same "suicidal" way had the scenario defined Allied Friendly Direction instead been set to north, rather than west as it was. RockinHarry, in saying this, are you of the belief that the waypoints assigned by the TacAI during "auto-evade" are calculated differently to the waypoints assigned when a player presses the evade button ("manual-evade")? As suggested before, I would think they are essentially one of the same same thing, with the only superficial difference being in whether the evade routine was being initiated by the player directly (by pressing the EVADE order button) or by the TacAI automatically (during RT or mid-WEGO replay action). Do you have any examples that might support your view? Given you had indicated that you had never really considered the Friendly Direction settings with respect to evade direction, it now makes me wonder what the Friendly Direction settings actually were in all the cases you have mentioned (and for that matter, ever other case that has been discussed). I would not be so presumptuous to even think that the determination of the evade waypoint by in CM (under any circumstances) involves what I can only imagine would have to be very complex coding based on battlefield geometry, LOS/LOF interrupt calculations, unit SA/FoW considerations etc even though interrupting LOS/LOF and reducing exposure IS a core objective of the evade behaviour in the first place. If there is an expectation that the game does (or can) explicitly consider LOS/LOF when determining evade waypoints, then I can understand the expectations one may have on HOW they expect a unit to evade. I don't think we really should be expecting too much "intelligence" based on the "local" LOF/LOS, battlefield geometry etc. A simple "calculate evade waypoint" algorithm that works through a list of possible alternatives should be sufficient enough to satisfy in most case our need for a "realistic"/"intelligent" waypoint solution in the majority of circumstances. I would be happy to conceded that perhaps just the relative direction of "known" enemy units may play some part in perhaps tweaking the waypoint determination in secondary way. In thinking about all the possible ways and factors the TacAI coding might consider in it's calculation to determine a suitable "destination" action space for the "evade" behaviour of any given "rattled" infantry unit, I realised that I had never considered one very simple "solution" option: the location of nearby unaffected infantry units. For example, in the instance I highlighted in the video, you can see in the side view screenshots that 20m to the rear left of the infantry unit in question is the 1st Plt HQ/G Co located in a safe position in total defilade. By virtue of the fact that a friendly unit was actually at a location that was: not under fire out of enemy LOS further away from known enemy locations/source of enemy fire/enemy map edge not too far away accessible via a path that would not increase the units current exposure to enemy fire (probably the hardest thing to calculate/code for), by definition this identifies/qualifies that action square as a totally valid/legitimate destination for the infantry unit to 'evade" to. Essentially most (if not all) of the checkboxes boxes for "good choice for an evade destination" are ticked. It certainly is much safer destination to move to than where it actually did move to! So rather than just simply relying on dealing with/modifying existing complex coding algorithms (involving actual analysis considering actual local terrain geometry, LOS/LOF scenarios from various enemy units and all the complexities related to FoW, as well as other factors like other local incoming fire etc) to calculate/determine (from essentially first principles) a suitable "safe" destination for an "evading" rattled TacAI driven infantry unit to move to, perhaps if the algorithm also considered the action squares occupied by nearby unaffected friendly infantry units as valid qualifying destinations, and compared it against other alternatives using a quick "checklist" like the 5 points I listed above, perhaps many of the complex "poorly calculated" outcomes chosen by the game as "a safe destination" (like we are seeing) could be avoided. If such a thing was considered in the case of A Team/1st Sqd/1st Plt/G Co, no one would have an issue with the TacAI choosing the action square of the the nearby 1st Plt HQ/G Co unit as an "evade" move destination. At least we know that the action square was (is) safe. I know this easy, quick and dirty "cheats" way of circumventing complex algorithms to determine a "safe nearby action square" as a possible destination for evading infantry units may not be applicable in all situations, primarily in instances where there are no nearby friendly units, or that it somehow may not even provide "the best" destination in all cases, but I think it would help in a vast majority of the situations where the existing TacAI would instead pick questionable destinations like we are seeing.
  4. FWIW, in my "EVADE testing of random units during orders phase of various turns" in the scenario I am playing (the one where the friendly directions are apparently 90deg out!) I have noticed that units in a particular building will EVADE in a different direction to the units located around the building. All the units around the building will tend to EVADE NW while the units in the building will instead EVADE SW. I haven't really tested this thoroughly with other buildings etc, it's just an initial consistent observation. I am surprised that you considered "friendly map edges" more in terms of potential issues with range and small calibre off-map arty than as a foundation to understand how you would expect units will react when evading/retreating/routing etc, especially in the context of understanding the EVADE mechanics you have been investigating. I can tell you that when I edited the Allied/Axis Friendly Direction setting in the scenario editor and repeated the EVADE order testing on the units I had put on the map, they definitely did start EVADING in the newly set direction. Quite easy to test. Try it out. Was there a reason why you seem to have thought that the Friendly Direction setting may not have had an effect on influencing the EVADE order waypoint? I haven't gone checking a bunch of scenarios myself (yet) but what you are saying certainly is not what I would expect to find (even when I consider all the scenarios I recall playing). I would expect most scenarios to be designed around forces engaging north-south or east-west rather than diagonally across the rectangular map, and as a consequence the Friendly Directions set as N/S or E/W respectively. Can you elaborate more on the reasons you have found to avoid scenarios with N/S and E/W map edge settings/confrontations as opposed to the scenarios based on diagonal set friendly directions? This is most curious. If a scenario has been set up so the main battle lines and deployments are N/S or E/W, I can only imagine that if the Friendly Directions are instead set at NW/SE or NE/SW then it should be expected that it would be more likely to experience "illogical" EVADE and/or retreat behaviour (liek we are discussing) as units would tend to "retreat" diagonally rather than directly away from the N/S or E/W front line.
  5. RockinHarry, Thanks for raising what I am now thinking are very important aspects of the game that might help us understand more about what is happening and why with regards to the "break cover run towards enemy" issue we are seeing (is there a consensus on what we should call this?). In particular I refer to the EVADE command you are mentioning. I certainly knew about and use this command (in WEGO orders phase) but never knew what the command name was called. Thanks for highlighting it. It's worth repeating what the manual says about it. In case folks don't know what I am talking about, it's this button: What I am wondering is whether the game code/algorithm that determines the waypoint of a manually induced EVADE order (either in orders phase of a WEGO game or during a real time game) is the same code/algorithm that determines the waypoint when the TacAI automatically seems to apply this same order to particular "rattled" units under fire during the replay phase of WEGO or in a real time game. Having just discovered where to look in the Scenario Editor for the "friendly map edge" setting assignment, an inspection of the setting for the scenario I am playing (A Nasty Surprise) has actually revealed a nasty surprise! Well, not really nasty, but can a surprise be surprising? Even though the scenario clearly sets up the US forces in a zone along the northern part of the map and the German forces along the southern part of the map forming a natural west-east frontline, the scenario Allied Friendly Direction is actually set as west and the Axis Friendly Direction is set as east! I am awaiting a response from the scenario designer whom I have PMed to confirm with him. What makes this surprise finding even more surprising is that based on the testing I had done myself on the map issuing EVADE commands to my US infantry for the purpose of seeing where the waypoint is placed, it definitely appears that the "default" average direction to EVADE towards was to the north-west, and not the west. I actually was expecting to perhaps find the scenario Allied Friendly Direction set as north-west with the Axis Friendly Direction is set as south-east (hence my double surprise). FWIW, I have even checked the manual and it does say that the friendly direction setting does "set(s) the direction into which .. units would withdraw to join their lines". So to update and revisit the commentary and context of the video I posted: The US infantry unit in the video that seemingly appears to be EVADING in a SW direction "away from the friendly map edge/towards the enemy map edge" technically IS NOT doing that at all based on the scenario settings. 😕 . Given the scenario settings state the Allied Friendly direction is west, then south-west could still be considered "in a friendly direction" and not towards "enemy lines". So, perhaps the EVADE example I first reported and in the video is not an example of (or at least not a good example of) the "break cover, run towards enemy lines" issue being reported elsewhere, given the surprising actual scenario settings. A first point of order when investigating these apparent instances of "running towards enemy lines" EVADE behaviour should be to check (and double check) the Allied/Axis Friendly Direction settings of the scenario/campaign or QB map being played using the Scenario Editor.
  6. Hi Ian, Happy to oblige and thanks for looking in to this. I have the .ema files, the scenario is called "A Nasty Surprise", we are using 4.02. I will PM you. Regards Bull
  7. The unit is not under arty attack. There is arty (not major calibre) falling to the units rear right about 150m away, at which range it typically does not affect units. The direct automatic weapon fire (flak gun incl) that it is reacting to is coming in at about 45deg front left. From the side angle view screenshots below of the same action in the video (you can see the incoming tracer fire in each of the BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the unit makes it's move), you can clearly see the terrain directly behind the unit it is more depressed (offering 100% defilade from all direct enemy fire) than the terrain in front of it. The friendly lines (safety good!) are to the left, the enemy lines (danger bad!) are to the right. The infantry unit started the turn targeting some enemy infantry running away from it, but later started shooting at a open sided 20mm or 37mm HT mounted AA vehicle that was moving laterally to the left. It was the return fire from this AA vehicle that "rattled" the infantry unit halfway through the turn. By the time the infantry had reached the wall in front of it, it appears the AA unit had moved out of LOS anyway. Despite any cover afforded by the wall, the infantry unit is still within enemy LOS and is now taking small arms fire from a new more flanking position from the left. How many would disagree that, given the circumstances and threat the infantry unit was reacting to, the safest thing for it to have done was to simply follow what most would consider the most basic instinct to threats: retreat AWAY from the direction of the incoming enemy fire/location of known enemy units/enemy lines (map edge) so as to reduce/diminish, or better, break LOS completely to the enemy and hence gain defilade? This would be immediately achieved if the infantry unit moved back 6m towards it's own lines. Few would have reason to raise a discussion like this if the infantry unit just retreated in the basic vanilla manner described as many would expect. Instead, it seems too frequently for it not to be noticeable in a random game, infantry units under fire are taking what can be described as more questionable "exotic" solutions that are meant to increase their safety that involve running towards the enemy fire/enemy locations across open ground, when a simple basic vanilla "just retreat away from the enemy" reaction would have sufficed. K.I.S.S! Not sure if it was ever brought up in the past (I am sure it was/has) but I remember questions were raised about the TacAI "self preserving" behaviour when infantry took fire typically when moving across open ground from cover to cover. I think people called it the "crawl of death" (may have even been in CMBO/AK). Many of the situations were like the "man who swims 80% distance across the river, then decides the remaining 20% is too far and swims back" kind of logic at play. There were cases where you would expect the infantry unit under fire to either crawl or run to the nearest cover regardless of the relative direction to friendly/enemy lines were and/or in which direction the enemy fire was coming from. Instead, rather than continue a few more metres "to safety", they backtracked across more open ground than they would of if they had just headed towards the closest cover. I understand coding an algorithm that intelligently handles all situations is not easy. I hope a tweak can fix what we are seeing happen too often.
  8. Back again... If the "rattled, break cover, run towards enemey" incident I mentioned earlier (in passing) that occured in this PBEM was not a good example of the very same issue others are reporting, then this one that just happened in the same PBEM is a very good example: https://streamable.com/ils2p Infantry are located behind a hedge on an slightly elevated ridge (the ground gently sloopes down behind them in to an open field in defilade). They are directly facing the enemy map edge, with the friendly map edge behind them. No movement orders were given. The only orders were to target an enemy infantry unit to the front left. Halfway through the infantry unit takes fire from the same front left direction. The immediate reaction of some of the men in the unit is to break cover and run directly forward through the hedgeline, toward. The remianing men initially stay behind the hedge and cower (probably safer), but eventually get up and run through the hedgeline like the original guys did. They are just lucky that not even one of them was hit when they broke cover as they were fully exposed (well there is always next turn) You can see a low stone wall about 15m in front of them but they literaly have to cross open terrain, running through enemy fire to get there. It is not clear if under this situation whether there behaviour was influenced by this "alternate" (more desirable?) nearby cover. To be honest, there are actually two other cases I could show that have happened in this PBEM that share the same fundamental characteristic: "rattled" infantry in cover breaking cover and inexplicably running towards the enemy map edge (with more disasterous results). If the TacAI that kicks in controlling the behaviour of this "rattled" infantry unit is meant to be a "self-preservation" reaction to the enemy fire, perhaps the code is somehow not taking in to consideration the following information: Location, distance and safest route to nearest defilade and/or cover (in this case, defilade about 6 metres behind them, albeit in open terrain ). In the heirachy of possible directions a "rattled" unit can move to "increase it's survivability", you surely would expect the "default"/all things equal/no-brainer go-to direction to be move in would be "away" from the enemy, or towards friendly lines. There would need to be some pretty compeling circumstatnces at play if that "safer" direction/route/path led them closer to the enemy. Maybe the TacAI coding is placing too much emphasis on the percieved cover at "the destination" and not considering the path/route/distance and the danger to the unit in getting there. Regardless this recent new post-upgrade behaviour we are now seeing with infantry "running towards the enemy" appears to be "a thing" not previosly seen or considered a problem prior. I hope it gets addressed.
  9. On all the commentary regarding the "break cover, run across open towards enemy map edge" issue I mentioned (incidentally and in passing really) that just happened to occur to an infantry unit in my PBEM: My understanding (and expectation) of the "flight"/retreat/rout etc. mechanics of units is that all units on a map "know" which direction leads to the "friendly map edge" for their side. The ACTUAL direction they take however may be affected by local factors. I understand that in the instance I explained, if the infantry unit was to simply run a path "towards a friendly map edge" it would mean they would have to literally run towards and through the tank being attacked/destroyed which would be odd in itself. Taking a direction laterally however would seem a more appropriate thing to do in this instance (ie. away from "local known issue", not towards "known" enemy map edge, not away from "friendly map edge", not relocating from covered terrain to open terrain). It did mean in my game the unit got cut down and eliminated as a result of "running across open ground directly towards enemy map edge". I will let other's decide on whether this is related to the pre-existing "break cover, run towards enemy" issue that first started being discussed after the upgrade. The "this just seems wrong" LOS aspect of what I described is that one unit seems to be able to trace a wedge of unobstructed blue line LOS from it's position around 400m back, through a section of wooded terrain (between 40-90m deep), up to a further 400m beyond the woods, whereas other units nearby and closer to the woods itself have no visibility through the woods at all. This "x-ray visioned" unit was also able to spot an enemy unit beyond the trees that other units with clear LOS at much closer range and with only open ground between them and the enemy unit did not spot. I know there is a level of abstraction with modelling LOS through "woods"/trees but just one unit being able to see unobstructed through 40-90m of wooded terrain while other units LOS is totally blocked seems like something unintentional/undesirable is going on in the LOS modelling and this unit for some reason.
  10. I advised my opponent of the issue and this post. I don't want to go in to too much detail in an open forum as our game is still being played and it might disrupt the FoW side of things. I can tell you that the scenario is called "A Nasty Surprise". The sceanrio starts at around 7:15am, weather is clear but I think LOS range is reduced due to the lower dawn light condtions in effect. All the terrain I refer to is essentially flat. I have a unit located in rear part of the map able to trace a LOS 400m across open ground, up to and through wooded terrain about 40m deep, then another 500m across open ground on the other side. All other units near and around the unit in question can not see through the woods at all. And you know how I said I hope that "retreat towards enemy" thing doesn't happen tin our game?... In the very next replay I watch of our game, an infantry unit located at the edge of wooded terrain became "rattled" (apparently caused by the incoming direct AP shell gunfire targetting and destoying a friendly tank about 10m behind it in the woods), then broke cover at edge of woods and started running across open terrain towards towards the enemy side of the map. There was some arty dropping perhaps 75m away.
  11. Hi, I am back playing CM (PBEM) after taking a bit of a break from it. Reasons for the break was a culmination of the gerneral disatisfction and disillousionment with BS "official" responses (or lack of any real response) to several gameplay mechanics issues and suggestions for improvment (spotting, LOS, movement etc) that I either had experienced myself games I had played myself and/or read about in the forums. I was hoping that with all the patches and upgrades that have been released, perhaps the kind and frequency of "this makes no sense, what the hell is going on" kind of moments I saw in games that had worn thin on me and predicatd my need to just walk away from the game would have perhaps be addressed to a point where the likelihood of experiencing those off-putting moments in game had diminished. Well first PBEM back, latest patch, upgrade etc.about 20 turns in but only about 10 moves in from encoutering the enemy, I have had one of those same "something seems wrong with the mechanics" moments that kills/had killed my trust in the game. And no it's not the "retreat towards enemy" issue that many have posted about (hope it wont be an issue in my games). The issue relates to an instance during the last minute of action where the LOS mechanics has been (once again) broght in to question, reinforcing doubts I wish I never had about this aspect of the game. Do I need to bash my head explaining exactly what happened/justifyign my reasons for concern in a forum post here or is there someone at/with BF who can just review the replay file(s) and spare me the effort? I did go to support but they just seem to deal with the general tech issues. Happy to provide PBEM files of course (will ask opponnet as well). Regards Bull
  12. Hello I have tried to log in to the HelpDesk so that I can open a ticket to see if I can solve a PBEM file problem. The PBEM has been going on for over 2.5 years, we are up to the last few turns, file #178. When I load this file the game crashes around 90% loaded. Even though I can load in to my BFC account on the main battlefront.com page, I seem to need ANOTHER log in to log in to the HelpDesk to "view existing tickets". There seems no option however to "create a new account" just for HelpDesk purposes. I have nevertheless just submitted a ticket after logging in with a Google account. Is there something wrong with the HelpDesk? I need BFC to check out the PBEM file. Ticket has been successfully logged. Still don't know why I wasn't able to just log in and raise a ticket under the same account as my BFC account :/.
  13. Hi Vanir Aust B, Did you actually report this? Maybe you know why this bug is still with us. Surely it would take no more than an hour or so (if that) of coding to fix this.
  14. Apparently not. We are at v3.11 and I have just checked that this bug still exists for this building. :/
  15. I just finished a PBEM that is much like what you describe: "Evil Be To Him", there were no AT guns however. I thought it was quite an innovative scenario design. Worth at least checking out the design.
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