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So, I'm busily recording the big grand finale of the next TTP video, and I came across some very strange behavior:

When ordered to cross a section of cleared minefields, infantry seem to actively avoid the clear sections, and wander outside the lane.

Having run into a minefield, my M4A3 reversed, and the Crab went forward to clear the mines. At this point, I figured I'd cross a Team, so I placed a movement waypoint one AS short of the lane, and the next waypoint directly across the far side of the lane, much like you'd plot a bridge movement.

The Squad Leader, in his infinite wisdom, decided to run outside of the cleared path, and steps on a mine. I send the Crab in again to clear this newly discovered lane, and order the remainder of the Squad across it. While the rest of the Squad is running across, one man wanders outside the lane and is killed.

So, I order the Crab in again, to clear another lane, and now I have a section of cleared minefields, three action spots wide. In other words, it's a wide open highway and you can't possibly miss it.

So I order the next Squad to Assault Move through the gap, (I was still under sporadic rifle fire), and two of the three Teams deliberately avoid this cleared section, wandering well outside the lane, and two more men are killed.

Remember, the total length of the movement orders did not exceed 4 Action Spots, and the total length of the cleared area was 4 Action Spots. So within 32 meters, Teams are deviating from their assigned path by more than 8 meters.

I don't know if this is a bug with the new behaviors or not, which is why I appended a question mark to the thread title, but can we have a tweak to infantry behavior?

Something like, "cling to cleared minefields like a drowning man clinging to a life raft"?

No one in their right mind would deliberately avoid a cleared minefield like this. Not to this extraordinary extent. Not saying no one's ever done it, but when you have a clearly marked path directly in front of you, you're not going to be a trail-blazer.

Infantry%20Walk%20Around%20Cleared%20Zon

I set up a Dropbox folder with a save file:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8x8dj1ydxmlx31f/AABctJ0_DjZpTvRQKH8qbxvda?dl=0

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The unintended side effects of the better infantry spacing. Remember the AI does not look at the lane you made as a bridge or a lane it just looks at it as part of the field.

Try this place a series of way points through the cleared lane so instead of one long way point where they have time to spread out they have two, three or four short ones so the don't spread out as much.

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Just now, IanL said:

The unintended side effects of the better infantry spacing. Remember the AI does not look at the lane you made as a bridge or a lane it just looks at it as part of the field.

Try this place a series of way points through the cleared lane so instead of one long way point where they have time to spread out they have two, three or four short ones so the don't spread out as much.

Yeah, but that doesn't mean they should deliberately avoid it? There were teams specifically running around the cleared minefields, as if told to avoid it, or as if they registered the cleared fields as active.

I can understand a guy accidentally wandering out of a single lane when told to cross it, but not a lane 3 Action Spots wide. Especially on such a short distance move order, only 3 AS long.

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Obvious question: if the gap is 5 AS wide does this still happen? Looks like one needs to account for padding on the flanks of the formation.

Also, were minefields identified on the neighbouring AS? If not, I wonder whether the behaviour would change. Steve commented on the new behaviours not kicking in under certain conditions (like marching through forests and other rough terrain).

Too bad we don't have anything like the Crab in CMFI...

 

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Lesson learned: Be careful what you ask for; you might get it. Players requested that troops not march in line but spread out. That is exactly what these are doing. Now the next step is to teach them not to spread out when crossing a minefield. There are probably other situations as well that may need work. Has anybody had any problems with getting them across bridges, especially narrow foot bridges?

Michael

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25 minutes ago, Michael Emrys said:

Lesson learned: Be careful what you ask for; you might get it. Players requested that troops not march in line but spread out. That is exactly what these are doing. Now the next step is to teach them not to spread out when crossing a minefield. There are probably other situations as well that may need work. Has anybody had any problems with getting them across bridges, especially narrow foot bridges?

Michael

I can understand losing a couple men to having the team spread out across an action spot, and having someone step outside the cleared lane.

What I can't understand is an entire fire team deliberately avoiding the cleared lane, as if ordered not to set foot in it.

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38 minutes ago, BletchleyGeek said:

Obvious question: if the gap is 5 AS wide does this still happen? Looks like one needs to account for padding on the flanks of the formation.

Also, were minefields identified on the neighbouring AS? If not, I wonder whether the behaviour would change. Steve commented on the new behaviours not kicking in under certain conditions (like marching through forests and other rough terrain).

Every time I widened the gap, teams deliberately moved even further to the side in order to run around the cleared section. Watch the video, the behavior is blatantly displayed.

The minefields in the neighboring spots had not been detected. I started with a lane 1 action spot wide, because I had only detected one minefield. After detecting the next one, I widened the lane another action spot. After detecting the next minefield, and still having guys run around the cleared lane, I widened it even further.

A lane 3 action spots wide is as wide as an interstate highway. There's no reason troops should run all the way around the edges of the zone as opposed to running straight through it. Especially since the movement order was only as long as the lane itself.

It's not like the movement through the minefield was part of a long move order. I literally parked them at one end, and told them to move directly to the other side.

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2 hours ago, SLIM said:

Every time I widened the gap, teams deliberately moved even further to the side in order to run around the cleared section. Watch the video, the behavior is blatantly displayed.

The minefields in the neighboring spots had not been detected. I started with a lane 1 action spot wide, because I had only detected one minefield. After detecting the next one, I widened the lane another action spot. After detecting the next minefield, and still having guys run around the cleared lane, I widened it even further.

A lane 3 action spots wide is as wide as an interstate highway. There's no reason troops should run all the way around the edges of the zone as opposed to running straight through it. Especially since the movement order was only as long as the lane itself.

It's not like the movement through the minefield was part of a long move order. I literally parked them at one end, and told them to move directly to the other side.

I wonder if it has something to do with the 'AI avoiding HE/Arty' introduced in v4 (coupled with new Inf Spacing, and new AI behavior) and the Minefield is acting like an HE/Arty Danger Zone in which Inf is trying to avoid.

Joe

Edited by JoMc67

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@SLIM, thanks for the extra details. This kind looks to me like the AI isn't recognising the area as "clear" in a consistent manner. Have you the scenario somewhere we can play with it? If we prepare a few test cases for Charles you should be all set to prepare a bug report through the helpdesk. 

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3 hours ago, SLIM said:

I can understand losing a couple men to having the team spread out across an action spot, and having someone step outside the cleared lane.

What I can't understand is an entire fire team deliberately avoiding the cleared lane, as if ordered not to set foot in it.

 

1 hour ago, JoMc67 said:

I wonder if it has something to do with the 'AI avoiding HE/Arty' introduced in v4 (coupled with new Inf Spacing, and new AI behavior) and the Minefield is acting like an HE/Arty Danger Zone in which Inf is trying to avoid.

Joe

I just did a short experiment and had similar results.  I had engineers mark a minefield 3A/S deep.  I then moved infantry teams through the marked path.  Then I cleared the marked path with a Sherman Crab and again moved infantry teams through it.  The further apart the waypoints the more likely a troop will go off the path and hit a mine.  Also after the Crab blasted a path through the mines the teams seemed to avoid the shell craters.  I also had the teams run through some shell craters placed on the map with the editor.  No problem, the teams ran right through the editor craters.  So I think Jo might be onto something.  The craters made by the Crab were recent explosions and the AI has been programmed to avoid explosions??? Vehicles followed the path no problem but not infantry.  I even waited about 7 minutes thinking the explosions would not be recent any longer but the infantry still avoided the craters.        

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21 minutes ago, akd said:

<Snip>  can you detail what movement commands and waypoints were used?

This is MOS not SLIM but: 

On my experiment any infantry movement command that did not place a waypoint in every action spot had problems.  The fewer waypoints the more problems with wondering.  A crossing can be made on the marked path fairly well with Slow and a waypoint every action spot.  A crossing can be made on a cleared path with any move command as long as a waypoint is placed on every action spot. 

Edited by MOS:96B2P

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5 hours ago, MOS:96B2P said:

The craters made by the Crab were recent explosions and the AI has been programmed to avoid explosions???

Or maybe the AI is programmed to avoid running through discovered minefields. When the crab clears a mined square, that spot becomes known as a minefield, even though it's now nearly 100% safe. So infantry will still try to avoid it.

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Interesting, and I wonder what would happen if you go into the Scenario editor and place a Minefield and place Inf in that Minefield (if that's even possible)...Start-Up the Scenario, and I wonder what the AI Pathing would be using one-waypoint or several. 

Hmm, also on a related side note (which might help the Inf Mine situation)...I wonder if laying an Arty Barrage in front of advancing Inf (AI needs to get to point A,, but Arty is now coming down between them and Point A) make them avoid entering the Barrage all together, or still enter it (continue with its orders)? 

Also, if Inf is already in a Barrage, do they continue through it (continue with it's orders), or attempt to skirt around it and forming back to continue it's order ? 

Hmm, does this mean that Inf will now avoid recent Arty Craters if stopped in AS that has them (wont crawl over to recent crater for cover, but only Scenario layed craters).

All the above might help us understand the new AI behavior a little better in Minefields/Arty Barrages.

Edited by JoMc67

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16 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

 

@SLIM, thanks for the extra details. This kind looks to me like the AI isn't recognising the area as "clear" in a consistent manner. Have you the scenario somewhere we can play with it? If we prepare a few test cases for Charles you should be all set to prepare a bug report through the helpdesk. 

That's how it looked to me as well. The AI seemed to say to itself, "There were mines here, stay away!"

I will add the scenario file to the Dropbox folder. Done. If you play the scenario, enter the wheat field to the left of the starting position, and advance directly towards the farm complex, and you'll run right into it.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8x8dj1ydxmlx31f/AABctJ0_DjZpTvRQKH8qbxvda?dl=0

15 hours ago, akd said:

SLIM, can you detail what movement commands and waypoints were used?

The first crossing used a Quick Command, with the waypoints placed in the action spot before the cleared minefields, and in the action spot on the other side. The cleared minefields formed a path one action spot wide two spots deep, and the squad leader walked off the path and stepped on a mine. However, I expected this behavior to occur given the new infantry spacing. <- That's not the one I'm complaining about...

The second crossing also used the Quick command, with the waypoints placed on the short diagonal across the cleared lane, now being two action spots wide. The Team decided to deviate from the placed path, and ran around the outside edge of the cleared lane, suffering another casualty. <- That's when I noticed things were a bit strange.

The final crossing used the Assault Command, with the waypoints being placed before and behind the central cleared minefields of the lane, now being three action spots wide. The first team skirted around the cleared zone on the right, miraculously not suffering a casualty. The second team avoided the cleared area on the left, losing one man, and the third team detoured around the cleared area far to the right, losing one man as well. <- This is when it became obvious something was wrong.

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3 hours ago, SLIM said:

That's how it looked to me as well. The AI seemed to say to itself, "There were mines here, stay away!"

I will add the scenario file to the Dropbox folder. Done. If you play the scenario, enter the wheat field to the left of the starting position, and advance directly towards the farm complex, and you'll run right into it.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8x8dj1ydxmlx31f/AABctJ0_DjZpTvRQKH8qbxvda?dl=0

Thanks @SLIM - there aren't that many scenarios where we have to breach through minefields, only @Ithikial_AU Carpiquet's campaign comes to mind.

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Not sure if avoiding the known (and cleared) mines is what is happening here.  I setup up a test with a narrow gap (one tile wide) in a two tile deep minefield running straight across my map and had no problem moving even 3-team squads through the gap using various movement command. Also tested a "marked mine" gap instead of a cleared gap, and didn't have trouble there if keeping to the manual instructions to use MOVE or slower movement commands (I think I even made it through safely with QUICK at least once. This did not require multiple waypoints in the gap either, just one on either side so they were oriented to pass straight through.

The difference between my test and your scenario is that you have a minefield oriented diagonally across the map, I suspect this may be what is inducing the wandering to some degree.  I will try to reproduce this in a test.
 

edit: correction: there may have been a tile to either side of the cleared mines that didn't have mines placed in it in my test.  Going to rerun the test with mines placed closer together.

Edited by akd

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18 hours ago, akd said:

edit: correction: there may have been a tile to either side of the cleared mines that didn't have mines placed in it in my test.  Going to rerun the test with mines placed closer together.

Test it by clearing with a Crab. I'm having a thought that the infantry might not be responsible for what happened, but I can't test until this weekend.

Something about the minefields being marked as cleared before the crab detonates the mines.

Hard to think now, talk later.

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Yes, I was able to reproduce the issue. I suspect they are treating the cleared mines the same as marked mines.  Remember that although the player may have inferred the presence of a larger minefield, the AI is not capable of this, and so unless given explicit orders to traverse a marked minefield, it will skirt around it.  In some cases this makes sense (e.g. a 1-tile marked minefield on a path).

I had no problems moving squads through a gap in a minefield straight across the map as long as the gap was as wide as the squad itself (e.g. 3-team squad requires 3-tile gap).  This required placing a move order in each tile in the center of the gap as well as the tile immediately before and after the gap (to make sure the squad isn't reorienting as it enters the gap).  However, a minefield running diagonally across the map as in your example is more problematic due to the way squads wander between tiles when crossing them diagonally, and at a minimum requires a much wider gap.

Edited by akd

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I tried a little test using the Baraque de Fraiture battle playing as the Axis.

A single team given a "Quick" order down the road and passing "through" the cleared mine marker would come off of the road and swerve around the marker, before going back onto the road. But when I put a waypoint bang on the marker they would run straight down the road no problem.

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Seems like the "cleared mine" is a threat. It is, even if it is a low threat. It is MORE of a threat than a CLEAR tile. So, the UNKNOWN mines to the sides are considered "non-threat". It seems like the pathing is prioritizing "non-threat" as being a better path than a "cleared mine" low threat.

I'm curious if the wandering will occur if the side mines are KNOWN. So, set it up like this: known-known-cleared-known-known. And then see if they stick to the cleared path.

Regardless, it seems like a tweak is needed.

Edited by c3k

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3 hours ago, c3k said:

It seems like the pathing is prioritizing "non-threat" as being a better path than a "cleared mine" low threat.

As we would want it to, correct?  From what I'm reading here, this doesn't sound like a bug at all.  The moral of the story is that moving in proximity (or through!) minefields is dangerous.  If it is critical for the pixeltruppen to move ONLY in the cleared tiles, then we can already do that by placing a waypoint in each one.  No?

Or, as AKD is suggesting, does even that not work when moving diagonally?

Edited by Migo441

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Sort of, but only if the gap is sufficient to cover the movement footprint of the unit, which seems to become wider in terms of number of tiles when moving diagonally across the map.

I tried an experiment with a 1-tile wide cleared mine gap with known, with 2-tile wide uncleared and unmarked mines on either flank, and the same with a 3-tile wide gap (minefield oriented E-W across map).

-for both gaps, multi-team squads given broader movement waypoints only before and after the minefield at least some teams still had a tendency to move around the gap and directly into known, unmarked, uncleared mines. Possibly the veering teams were aiming for the "empty" (unknown, unmarked, uncleared mine) tiles to either side of the known mines as they veered wider than the mined tiles immediately adjacent to the gap, but in the process they crossed tiles with known, unmarked, uncleared mines.

-for the 1-tile wide gap, a 3-team squad given a waypoint on the tile before and after the gap and on each cleared tile in gap had one team pass directly through the uncleared tiles adjacent to the gap.

-for the 3-tile wide gap, a 3-team squad given a waypoint on the tile before and after the gap and on each cleared tile in gap moved safely through the gap.

As it stands, the only safe procedure is:

-break all squads into teams with one exception detailed below.

-give explicit waypoints on each tile immediately before, immediately after, and within the gap itself.

-a perpendicular minefield (e.g. E-W) with a 1-tile wide gap can be crossed safely by individual teams. A 3-tile wide gap can be crossed safely by multi-team squads.

-a diagonal minefield (e.g. NE-SW) with a 3-tile wide gap can be crossed safely by individual teams.  Width necessary for multi-team squads is uncertain and probably best avoided.

Edited by akd

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akd, thanks for testing.

***

If there is a MARKED path through a minefield, the most rational course of action would NOT be to go 20m left or right of it and assume there is no minefield there. The safest course of action would be to go through the marked path...about 10m behind the guy ahead of you, and in his footprints. ;)

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The safest course of action would really be to turn around and head to the rear areas. :) But I get that you mean, the area near the marked mines is more likely to be more mines than it is to be safe ground.

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