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domfluff

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Everything posted by domfluff

  1. domfluff

    Trigger question

    Yeah, Triggers are not "if-then", it's "wait here until this condition is met, then continue with your orders". In that sense they're fundamentally similar to the inbuilt "leave after" orders, but rather than being based on the clock, they're based on units in a location. You can be a little clever about it - if the assembly/waiting point is covering one flank, and you're happy for them to hang around there for the duration, then a trigger on the other flank becomes a "if they come this way, hold fast, if they go that way, go over there", but that's very map dependent. Conditions would improve the potential for scripting significantly, but the tools that exist are still pretty powerful.
  2. Have been thinking a lot about Opfor in general (sucker for an underdog), and how to approach this with CMSF 2, particularly from a PBEM standpoint, and trying to be somewhat competitive. Doing some experimenting with CMSF 1: The heaviest option for civilians in CMSF will allow Combatants (not Fighters (Mujahideen), but the guys in camo and jeans), and possibly VBIED (but not taxis) to remain invisible until very close indeed - it seems like if these are Move-ing along city tiles, these won't be spotted until around 2 action spots away. VBIED seem to have some degree of stealth, but nothing like as much as that. Usually that doesn't matter, since they cover a huge amount of ground pretty quickly. They are not spotted directly, but the soldiers will still call out "SPOTTED AN ENEMY UNIT", etc. - so there's some contextual clues. Occasionally they might pop up with contact icons, but still nothing they'll directly fire at. Originally I thought this was a problem, but on further thought I think this might actually be okay - the manuals talk about spotting unusual behaviour in civilians, dogs etc., so this could be put down to that kind of observation. I was also originally of the opinion that this "stealth device" approach to modelling insurgents wasn't terribly great, but it does seem to match up to the tactical considerations quite well - hiding amongst civilians to get to point-blank range, etc. Combatants do not have the firepower to go into a straight fight with any Blufor squad, at least with small arms, and they're mostly equipped with small arms alone. This means that I suspect the correct approach is to force them into something other that a straight fight. E.g.: The mission is to attack a US squad, inside a police station. The plan is to use spies to discover their location, infiltrate (whilst holding fire!) to locations surrounding the building, then give them a really good reason to leave the building - ideally a VBIED, but perhaps an ATGM, mortar fire, RPG volley, whatever. The Combatants can then open up whist he US squad is fleeing the building, giving them the advantage that they need. Any technicals are ideal here as flankers - probably not engaging directly, but cutting off retreat routes. The TC 7-100 series are the recent OpFor guides for the US. 2 and 3 are of particular use: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/TC_7-100.2_-_Opposing_Force_Tactics_(December_2011).pdf https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/TC_7-100.3_-_Irregular_Opposing_Forces_(January_2014).pdf The interesting things here are how generic these are (the same basic concepts work for Syrian Mechanised infantry battalion assaults, or a fighter group ambushing a few HMMWV's). This generally splits a plan into three sections: Active Element - This is the element that will make the assault/carry out the ambush/manoeuvre onto the target. Security Element - Early warning for the approach of reinforcements, possibly delaying or preventing this. Typically this might just be an RPG team, but could include spies, IED's, mines, ATGMs, etc. Support Element - C2, Direct fires, Indirect fires and mobility. Direct fires will be MG's, RPGs and maybe an ATGM. Mobility is obviously civilian transport. The "C2" part of that is worth some thought. Irregular forces don't get much in terms of equipment, and I can't remember if there's much in the way of radios in CMSF. The Spy in Passage at Wilcox (CMSF 2 Demo) definitely has a radio, so there's that. I do wonder if it's worth using teams in taxis as messengers, sharing the spy spotting information horizontally? In any case, it's going to be important to pay attention to force (cell?) structure here, and a reasonable percentage of your force allocation should probably go on spies (or at least dedicated to spotting Combatants), since you'll need all the help you can get. This does leave the Fighters in a slightly odd position. Without the stealth of the Combatants, they're mostly useful for having better equipment (including ATGMs), usually a little better training, and higher motivation. Whilst that means that they're a good choice for the actual attack, they don't have the same ability to get close without some thought - I wonder if they're best used from concealment as the assault element, after the support element suppresses the target? That would leave Combatants in the Security and Support roles mostly, I suppose. E.g.: The mission is to attack a US squad, inside a police station. The plan is to use spies to discover their location, infiltrate RPG teams (whilst holding fire!) to locations surrounding the building, then fix them in place - unleashing a volley of RPGs and MG fire from multiple directions. The Fighters can then debus from civilian transport and storm the building directly. One idea I did read in the above manuals which I think could work well in CMSF is using taxis to form an impromptu roadblock - using them to block in either end of a street so that exits are impeded. The taxis will be destroyed, of course, but if it keeps the enemy in the kill zone longer, so much the better.
  3. domfluff

    CMSF irregular thoughts

    Yeah, stealth doesn't seem to protect against air support.
  4. domfluff

    CMSF irregular thoughts

    VBIED, Combatants and Spies have civ density stealth, as per CMSF 1. The rest do no (so, technicals, taxis, fighters) Quick moves now *do* have stealth, which is a massive change. They will generate sporadic spotting contacts and shout-outs, but they can still quick move up very close with an RPG, so this is a serious threat now.
  5. domfluff

    CMSF irregular thoughts

    In fact, it seems stronger. Move commands before would hide them, but Bluefor would shout out "enemy infantry sighted", even without contact markers. Quick commands before would reveal them. With some quick testing, Move commands now prompt no shout-outs. Importantly, Quick commands do, but *do not reveal the uncons*, which means the AI can now use Civilian density. This is huge. Needs more precise testing for distances, etc, since I imagine Quick will be spotted from further range, but this is massive.
  6. domfluff

    CMSF irregular thoughts

    Civilian density seems to be working as per CMSF 1 with regards to combatants again. The patch notes only mention spies, but this seems to be functional as it was, which is really great. Testing can resume!
  7. domfluff

    How to use insurgent forces???

    Most spies can't - they're just pairs of eyes. The "Spy forward observer" can though. The issue is that (it seems) like Civilian Density isn't actually doing anything, so uncons and spies can't actually do their job - hiding amongst the civilian population. I'm hoping this was one of the outstanding issues that Steve was talking about with the CMSF 2 release, and that it will get fixed soon. It does make uncons pretty terrible otherwise.
  8. domfluff

    How to use insurgent forces???

    Spy has nothing to do with the VBIED. He comes with it so that you can have a "spotter" to tell the VBIED where to go, that's it.
  9. Term has existed since at least the original Rogue in 1980 It's a useful tool to learn what you're doing, but it's also a crutch. Use it, then try to ween yourself off it. Discipline, grasshopper.
  10. domfluff

    Update on Engine 4 patches

    That's a different mortar bug No less critical, mind you. The one above (from 2015) is the Commonwealth Carrier platoons in CMBN acquiring 2 inch mortars from universal carriers. They Acquire the mortar, and it vanishes, but they don't have it. It really breaks that unit, since that's a large part of their tactical employment.
  11. domfluff

    Update on Engine 4 patches

    Yeah, the mortar bug and the (new!) issue with Civilian Density in CMSF 2 are the most egregious ones that I've come across.
  12. Save-scumming is fine, especially when learning. Rapid iteration, etc. It's definitely something to wean yourself off though, and obviously you can't do it against humans. I think there are broadly (very broadly) two kinds of CM scenarios. Some present a puzzle-like narrative, that often are fairly linear, and may have a single best solution. The others are more sandbox-like. They tend to present you with "here is a company of strykers, here's a hill I need you to take, go". Both can be good. The former can feel more similar to tactical decision games - abstracted discussion-puzzles which may not have a "correct" solution, but usually have a ton of wrong ones. That can be really useful for creating a narrative (important if you're trying to recreate a specific battle), or exploring an unusual situation (e.g., how do you deal with an armoured attack with limited AT weaponry?). The latter tend to be more generic - you often have a force which matches the on-paper force numbers (i.e., this is a full platoon or company, with the expected force numbers, ammo and weapons), and the situation tends to be more conventional - the enemy might also represent a typical force, and the focus is on how these troops can be used most effectively. Both have a place. I think I generally prefer the latter, but it really depends on what you're after. In terms of CMBS examples - I'd put "An August Morning" in the former category, and "Into the Breach" in the latter, although the classifications are vague.
  13. domfluff

    Civilian Spies

    Yeah, I think it's not intended behaviour. They should be really tough to spot, and a vital part of uncon strategy - invisible spies are a really powerful advantage, even if they don't have radios.
  14. To use the Hull Down command you have two options, but really I suggest you only use one. - Hull Down is a movement command, so place the "Hull Down" waypoint in the direction you want to move. - Typically, I will place this just over the top of a ridge crest. - From the Hull Down waypoint, place a Target order on the spot you want to be hull down towards. - The vehicle will then rumble forward and stop when it is hull down to that specific action spot. Careful selection of this point is important - you don't want to be hull down to something, which exposes you to something else. It's a really powerful tool, and the alternatives only really work as well if you're lucky with topography (doing it manually) or can see the enemy (hunt). If you place a Hull Down command without a Target order, the vehicle will move until it is hull down to the hull down waypoint. This is much harder to control. Do this: As pointed out, the risk to the exact example above is that if your hull down point isn't visible, the vehicle will crest the hill and move to the other side. You could make this move safer by moving the Hull Down waypoint to your side of the ridge, but the risk there is that you may not have LOS to the target. Personally, I take the risk, and it seems to work out fine. "Assault" is the other automated command, and is much more restrictive. I use it in specific circumstances, but it's not as powerful or universally useful as Hull Down. Other things: Smaller scenarios allow you to iterate faster. You're more likely to lose the whole game in a single bad turn, but it will be faster to pick up again. I definitely feel that smaller scenarios are useful for learning. Elite or Iron. I much prefer Iron, most people I play seem to like Elite. They're mostly the same.
  15. CMSF 2 demo has a single tutorial mission (Stryker platoon attacking a village). I know the actual CMSF 2 manual (as with all of them) has a fully stepped-out tutorial, but I don't think the demo manual does. I don't think the CMSF 2 manual is available for download anywhere.
  16. domfluff

    How to use insurgent forces???

    Armour missions were in CMSF 1, but not later games. For 155's at least, there aren't any actual-armour piercing rounds, so they'll still be using the same HE stuff. There's a debate elsewhere in the forum about this. CMSF 1 manual has: General - generic setting Armor - weights towards anti-armor rounds Personnel - weights in favor of airburst antipersonnel rounds Which for the 155's, if there is a difference, can only be differences in fuses, whether they explode above the target, or on it.
  17. Oh boy, here we go: There are, strictly, three levels to the game AI. The individual TacAI of the units, which will cover things like reacting to fire, selecting weapons, using grenades, whatever. This is usually pretty convincing. The topmost level is user scripted per-scenario. This is something which you can edit in the scenario editor, and allows for determining where and how assigned units of troops will move. Quick battles have more generic AI plans which will inevitably do a worse job, simply because they can't be tailored to specific forces. (For example, you might select a rifle platoon of four squads and an armoured car to be in "group 5". Group 5 can then be given orders to move to X spot after 5 minutes have passed, with some modifiers for caution, speed and so forth. There's more to it than that, but that's the briefest look at things.) There's then an intermediate layer which will then control how Group 5 is actually moving, since the various settings on that order will control how cautiously it advances, and how much it uses alternating fire and movement, etc. The "micro" in CM is mostly that you have a system which simulates down to the individual solider, and that you can make interesting decisions on the level of a single squad, whilst at the same time letting you command up to something like an entire battalion of a thousand troops or so in some scenarios (most are around company sized or smaller). That means that there can be a lot of work to do per turn in the larger scenarios. It's not "micro" in the RTS sense at all. Kinda. CM is pretty easy to pick up, but very difficult to get to grips with entirely. There is a guided tutorial in the manual. It's a hardcore simulation, so "mechanics" for the most part are reflections or approximations of reality, rather than game mechanics. This often means that real-world infantry manuals and the like can be more useful than anything else. Yes. No. I'm currently doing four of them. Afewgoodmen and The Blitz seem to be the two biggest PBEM communities. It'll be fine for multiplayer. Some scenarios will not be playable, and some units will not be usable, but the player with more modules can see that in their unit selection. As above, but: Each scenario can have multiple AI plans written for it, this means there can be uncertainty in a scenario. This scripted AI is not the strongest point of CM, but it's more than good enough to represent a challenge or something that looks plausible. The first version of Combat Mission had a more dynamic AI that was very simple. It would respond to your actions to an extent, but would do so in a very simple manner. This iteration of the game has much more depth to the AI system, at the cost of losing the dynamism. Given how complex the simulation is, I suspect a scripted system is actually the best solution here. I imagine that a randomised, data-driven approach would end up with suboptimal moves in most cases. Still, human players offer the greatest challenge, of course.
  18. That's what MikeyD was talking about. It's a diagonal arrow with two ends in the editor, and lets you select a start and end point of a linear feature. It'll draw roads (or whatever) for you, rather than having to define each tile in the road manually. You'll probably still want to go through and clean up parts of it, but it saves a lot of hassle in the early stages.
  19. I wouldn't suggest using Target orders with snipers at all. Let them choose their own targets. What they're really good at is putting out killing power at range. They won't hit with every shot, but they will hit an awful lot more often than a machine gun burst or the like. That means that the ideal use case is to support a position, where the enemy is already under fire. If your MGs or small arms can suppress the enemy, then the snipers will finish them off quickly. In this sense, marksmen and snipers do very similar jobs, but snipers generally have larger weapons and can support over longer distances. (This is in addition to their primary role, which is as scouts. Small teams with powerful optics make great scouts). One thing that's really deceptive, and can be seen with testing, is how little of the enemy a sniper team can actually see. If you do some testing against them, it's very possible that although you may see the whole squad, the sniper team might only see one or two guys.
  20. domfluff

    How to use insurgent forces???

    The specifics of the IEDs are from CMSF 1, but they seem to be identical in CMSF with the limited testing I've done so far. Civilian Density doesn't seem to have any effect at all, which is a problem. It's either a bug, or it has a completely different game effect, which is not clear. It's probably a bug. The rest of it is just observation, from 1 and 2.
  21. domfluff

    How to use insurgent forces???

    The CMSF 2 manual is lacking here. ***IED*** IED's need to be activated before use. Each type of IED (Cell/Radio/Wire) has different issues - Cell and Radio IEDs are (should be) affected by ECM, but longer effective ranges. Wire – shortest distance (about 100m), 10% failure Radio – medium distance (about 300m), requires line of sight, 20% failure Cell phone – long distance (about 600m), 10% failure Radio and Cell phone IED's can be jammed by IED jammer equipment (British Warriors). These need to be activated with a "Target" order. If this is given to empty space, the IED will explode like a mine when someone is nearby. If this is targeted to a unit, the IED will explode when the unit is close. An appropriate triggerman needs to set off the IED, and should be put within the distances above. There are also Vehicle IEDs and IED mines. The latter are conventional minefields (but have a larger explosion), and the former are a vehicle, driver and spy unit. The spy has nothing to do with the VBIED, he's just a spy to scout for the insurgent forces. VBIED do not need activation either, they just explode on contact with opposition, with a massive explosion. ***Spies*** Spies come in two flavours - spies and Spy forward observers, with a radio. Both are unarmed and absolutely vital to the uncon game plan, since it's one of the advantages you have. They're hard for the enemy to spot, and therefore are useful for getting eyes onto the enemy forces and relaying that information. *** Fighters and Combatants *** There are two types of Uncon forces, "fighter" are mujaheddin, fanatically motivated black-clad killers. They tend not to be particularly well trained, but they do have the best equipment, up to and including AT-14's, which are a serious threat, as well as medium mortars, on map or off. "Combatants" are the more rag-tag types, generally worse equipped and led, but can be highly motivated. The primary difference in CMSF 1 was the Civilian Density map setting. This setting exists in CMSF 2 but currently (presumably a bug) doesn't seem to have any actual game effect. In CMSF 1, civilian density would apply "stealth" to Combatants and the supporting teams (spies, etc.), but not Fighters. They would be able to "Move" without being seen, blending into the abstracted civilian population. This therefore meant that spies could hide and spot the enemy, Combatants could set up sneaky close-ranged ambushes, and Fighters could bring the firepower. I'm really hoping this gets fixed, since it's really fundamental to the game. *** Vehicles *** Supporting this are the transport and technical options. Transport here are taxis and pickup trucks, which behave as you'd expect. Technicals are pickups with weapons mounted on the rear, typically MGs but also RPG-29 and anti-air 14.5 mm MGs, which are important for shooting down drones. Technicals are difficult to use, since they're unarmoured but have a lot of firepower. They're useful for flanking, flank security and acting as a mobile reserve, but their utility is a bit suspicious in general. Uncon advantages: - IEDs are really powerful and can't be detected. - Cheap, well motivated troops, which can fight and die in place - Able to use civilians as concealment (or should be able to - this is currently bugged) - Complex terrain (particularly urban) is a massive equaliser. AK's and particularly RPG-7's are fantastic at close ranges, and pretty much as good as anything. Uncon disadvantages: - Poor training and equiipment - Lack of night vision - Poor or lacking C2 (and the command structure in general) - Zero armour - No artillery above medium mortars Generally speaking, I'd assume that each "platoon"-like element can only really carry out one objective. If they succeed in their objective, but die in the process, then that should be considered a "win". Defensively you're probably then better off with isolated groups that manage their own defence, but which can support each other with overlapping RPG-29 or ATGM fires. Offensively I think you have some serious difficulty - you really need Civilian Density to be fixed, since close ranged hit and run attacks seem to be the most sensible plan.
  22. Sure, so in that case killing the radio operator will worsen C2. There's definitely in-game effects for sniping the right people.
  23. Taking out the enemy leader will replace the leadership modifier with a different one though, which is generally worse. That will not degrade the morale faster, but having worse leadership will hurt recovery.
  24. Also, CMSF has literal taxis. You're probably better off using them as taxis.
  25. Obviously that BMP SOP wouldn't apply in complex terrain, cities or woods, but the end result is usually that you end up with a weaker squad in general.
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