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      Special Upgrade 4 Tech Tips   12/27/2016

      Hi all! Now that Upgrade 4 is out and about in large quantities we have now discovered a few SNAFUs that happen out in the scary, real world that is home computing.  Fortunately the rate of problems is extremely small and so far most are easily worked around.  We've identified a few issues that have similar causes which we have clear instructions for work arounds here they are: 1.  CMRT Windows customers need to re-license their original key.  This is a result of improvements to the licensing system which CMBN, CMBS, and CMFB are already using.  To do this launch CMRT with the Upgrade and the first time enter your Engine 4 key.  Exit and then use the "Activate New Products" shortcut in your CMRT folder, then enter your Engine 3 license key.  That should do the trick. 2.  CMRT and CMBN MacOS customers have a similar situation as #2, however the "Activate New Products" is inside the Documents folder in their respective CM folders.  For CMBN you have to go through the process described above for each of your license keys.  There is no special order to follow. 3.  For CMBS and CMFB customers, you need to use the Activate New Products shortcut and enter your Upgrade 4 key.  If you launch the game and see a screen that says "LICENSE FAILURE: Base Game 4.0 is required." that is an indication you haven't yet gone through that procedure.  Provided you had a properly functioning copy before installing the Upgrade, that should be all you need to do.  If in the future you have to install from scratch on a new system you'll need to do the same procedure for both your original license key and your Upgrade 4.0 key. 4.  There's always a weird one and here it is.  A few Windows users are not getting "Activate New Products" shortcuts created during installation.  Apparently anti-virus software is preventing the installer from doing its job.  This might not be a problem right now, but it will prove to be an issue at some point in the future.  The solution is to create your own shortcut using the following steps: Disable your anti-virus software before you do anything. Go to your Desktop, right click on the Desktop itself, select NEW->SHORTCUT, use BROWSE to locate the CM EXE that you are trying to fix. The location is then written out. After it type in a single space and then paste this:

      -showui

      Click NEXT and give your new Shortcut a name (doesn't matter what). Confirm that and you're done. Double click on the new Shortcut and you should be prompted to license whatever it is you need to license. At this time we have not identified any issues that have not been worked around.  Let's hope it stays that way Steve
    • Battlefront.com

      Forum Reorganization   10/12/2017

      We've reorganized our Combat Mission Forums to reflect the fact that most of you are now running Engine 4 and that means you're all using the same basic code.  Because of that, there's no good reason to have the discussion about Combat Mission spread out over 5 separate sets of Forums.  There is now one General Discussion area with Tech Support and Scenario/Mod Tips sub forums.  The Family specific Tech Support Forums have been moved to a new CM2 Archives area and frozen in place. You might also notice we dropped the "x" from distinguishing between the first generation of CM games and the second.  The "x" was reluctantly adopted back in 2005 or so because at the time we had the original three CM games on European store shelves entitled CM1, CM2, and CM3 (CMBO, CMBB, and CMAK).  We didn't want to cause confusion so we added the "x".  Time has moved on and we have to, so the "x" is now gone from our public vocabulary as it has been from our private vocabulary for quite a while already.  Side note, Charles *NEVER* used the "x" so now we're all speaking the same language as him.  Which is important since he is the one programming them
IICptMillerII

CMRT TacAI Engine Comparison

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12 hours ago, sburke said:

true to a degree, but I was seeing some similar behavior in MG in what I think was then 3.0.  I watched squads of guys start bailing out of a building when 82mm mortars were dropping on the roof.  They'd run outside and then start dropping like flies from mortar rounds.

Yes, under the right conditions, in 3.0 infantry would eventually break after taking direct or indirect fires. However, that happened at a much lower frequency than it does in 4.0. 

In the first part of the video, when it is comparing the behavioral differences between the 3.0 and 4.0 engine, the troops are set to the exact same stats. In 4.0, the conscripts run. In 3.0, they do not. Further, when you max out the stats of the infantry in 4.0, they still run. This shows that the behavior is not tied to a particular stat level, but it applies to all infantry regardless of skill in 4.0. In 3.0 how brittle, or likely an infantry unit is to displace under direct fire was tied to its morale state and its veterancy level. In 4.0, neither of those matter. The first shell to land close to a team, regardless of its current stats, will displace. 

I apologize for not labeling the stats of all the infantry in the test. It was an oversight. I'm not overly savvy with video editing, and the video I made for this thread is actually the longest video I've ever made. Please forgive the amateur nature of it. 

10 hours ago, snarre said:

i dont mind that mutch about arty fire and how AI behave , bigest problem what i see is small arm fire.

 

I am planning on doing a follow up video after I get more feedback on new things to include and improve upon. That video will include the 4.0 TacAI's reaction to small arms fire. I did some initial testing last night to see if it is as blatant as the indirect fleeing behavior is, and so far it is not. Right now my feeling is, if it does turn out there is a bug with the current 4.0 AI, and if that is fixed, then any issue with small arms behavior will be fixed as well. 

 

53 minutes ago, IanL said:

As @sburke said these are very likely side effects of the desired change to have troops caught in the open under direct or indirect HE fire should displace to avoid just staying put and becoming casulties.

This is precisely my conclusion as well. I believe this to be a bug with the new behavior, not a fatal flaw with the TacAI programming. Happy to help! Thats why I've gone through the effort.

Edited by IICptMillerII

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On 12/8/2017 at 2:04 AM, IICptMillerII said:

I understand that this video is not a conclusive test, I did not intend for it to be that. It is simply to show a comparison between common behaviors found in versions 3 and 4, and to show that many of the behaviors encountered in version 4 are not optimal. It's my personal opinion that there is a bug here, but again I have not run enough tests to accumulate the data necessary to say that for certain.

I agree with the bug opinion on troops running away instead of stay low, still it would be interesting to see the same test with troops "hiding".

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23 minutes ago, Lille Fiskerby said:

I agree with the bug opinion on troops running away instead of stay low, still it would be interesting to see the same test with troops "hiding".

Thanks for the input. I will be sure to add a 'hiding' test to the next video. 

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carcer   

Wanted to chime in as well on some of the AI behavior I've seen. After working on a test scenario for Omaha Beach (CMBN) I've noticed that tank HE splash seems to displace infantry as well. I kept having the issue of German infantry in forward trench lines displacing to the rear out of sight trenches making the defense ineffective. Two other peculiar things I noticed with the US infantry is if there's a smoke spot the infantry will converge in mass inside the smoke and if I put deep water tiles 100-200 meters away they would displace towards that for the elevation cover. I would guess that means there isn't a distance restriction on displacement for best available cover? Either way it's fairly annoying for single player. Doesn't seem to be that much of an issue for the modern title though probably due to dug in defenses being a rarity.

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3 hours ago, carcer said:

tank HE splash seems to displace infantry as well.

It does, and for the most part it works as intended. The idea is that instead of just sitting in an exposed position like the middle of a road and getting blasted away by direct HE fire, the Infantry will instead seek to displace and find better cover. The primary issue, the that when Infantry are already in that good cover, they still displace. It is my opinion that Infantry should only be displacing from direct or indirect HE if they are caught in the open, or if they are in a building and are taking direct HE fire. Otherwise, they should not be abandoning good cover, as they have a better chance of survival if they stay out, as well as better maintaining a defensive posture overall. 

 

3 hours ago, carcer said:

Two other peculiar things I noticed with the US infantry is if there's a smoke spot the infantry will converge in mass inside the smoke and if I put deep water tiles 100-200 meters away they would displace towards that for the elevation cover. I would guess that means there isn't a distance restriction on displacement for best available cover?

This is interesting. I haven't noticed this specifically myself, though I have not tested/looked for it. I'll play around with the editor next time I get a chance to see if I get the same results as you did. Right now, it's my feeling that if the current displacement bug is fixed, what you posted about will be much less of an issue/annoyance. 

 

3 hours ago, carcer said:

Either way it's fairly annoying for single player.

In my opinion, it makes a very many single player scenarios unplayable in the current state in all titles running v4. Not all of them, but a good portion of them. It was the single player scenario "Red Hordes" in CMRT that finally convinced me the new behavior is bugged. Over in the CMFI forum there is a longer running thread discussing if the new behavior makes the CMFI campaigns unplayable. Most of them feature assaults against well entrenched defenders. You can imagine the concern of the thread, having seen some of the new behavior in question for yourself. 

Thanks for the feedback!

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On 8/14/2017 at 10:07 PM, IICptMillerII said:

Thanks for the input. I will be sure to add a 'hiding' test to the next video. 

Sadly, I seem to find that using "Hide" when troops are in trenches doesn't help. They still flee out into the open when under enemy Arty fire.

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Rinaldi   
1 hour ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Sadly, I seem to find that using "Hide" when troops are in trenches doesn't help. They still flee out into the open when under enemy Arty fire.

A permanent pause command is the only certain work-around at present. Which, of course, the Ai cannot be told to do by a scenario designer so it really doesn't solve the problem of 4.0 dumbing down the single player experience considerably.  Its a fine stopgap solution for H2H but it adds another layer of tedium to a game that already demands hard attention to detail.

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9 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Sadly, I seem to find that using "Hide" when troops are in trenches doesn't help. They still flee out into the open when under enemy Arty fire.

I'm planning on adding a hide showcase in the next video to show that it does not change the behavior at all. 

As Rinaldi mentioned, the only workaround right now is the pause command. However, this isn't a perfect workaround for the reasons he mentioned, plus an additional issue. In the WWII titles, a heavy weapons team, when given a pause command, will stop firing their heavy weapon (such as an MG-42) after the displace behavior is triggered. So while they will not pack up and run, they also won't fire the MG anymore, until you unpause them. And as already mentioned, all of this is a moot point when it comes to single player. 

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Pericles   

I look forward to when Battlefront addresses this issue. That will give me incentive to buy more of their CMx2 games and modules. 

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1 hour ago, Pericles said:

I look forward to when Battlefront addresses this issue. That will give me incentive to buy more of their CMx2 games and modules. 

There are so many things done right in these games, so that shouldn't stop you.

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9 hours ago, Aragorn2002 said:

There are so many things done right in these games, so that shouldn't stop you.

I completely agree. The point of this thread is not to trash CM. It is to point out a possible flaw so that it can be more easily fixed. Even with the flaw, CM is a far better historical combined arms simulation than anything else out there, by far. This bug doesn't take away from that at all. I still highly recommend anyone thinking about getting any of the CM titles to do so. 

That being said:

8 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

This issue has put a crimp in my CMx4 scenario writing ambitions, I'm waiting to see if there's a patch before scripting anything right now.

I agree here as well. Right now I'm having more fun playing v3 than playing v4 due to the current bug. The good news is that this has been brought to the attention of the developers. I'm very confident we will see a tweak/fix for it. However, we probably won't see said fix until after the CMFI module release. BFC seems to be a tad backlogged at the moment. If we don't get a fix after the FI module comes out, we will surely get something when CMSF is upgraded to engine 4. That's likely going to be the easiest time for them to take a crack at the code. If anything it's just one more reason to be excited for CMSF. 

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So happy to see this thread, the seriousness with which BFC is taking the issue, and the chance of a fix eventually!

As someone who's devoted many hours to CMx2 and has played it devotedly since it first came out, I don't criticize it lightly. But this displacement-out-of-good-cover bug broke the game for me since 4.0 came out, even when using HIDE and permanent pause and every other workaround that's been mentioned. And I play exclusively 2-player PBEM, so this is not a bug that only bothers those who play SP against the AI. 

This has been THE most realistic WWII tactical wargame in existence for the better part of a decade now. So it broke my heart to see what it's become now, and it was only with great reluctance that I finally put CMx2 on the shelf while waiting for this fix. 

And when it is fixed, I'll be celebrating and ready to jump right back in.

I just hope that day isn't too far away. 

 

 

Edited by Broadsword56

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On 8/17/2017 at 4:56 PM, IICptMillerII said:

<Snip> In the WWII titles, a heavy weapons team, when given a pause command, will stop firing their heavy weapon (such as an MG-42) after the displace behavior is triggered. So while they will not pack up and run, they also won't fire the MG anymore, until you unpause them. <Snip>  

This one I didn't know.  Nice catch.  I would imagine the same behavior applies to heavy weapon teams in CMBS?  CMSF of course is not 4.0 yet.  

1 hour ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Hats off to the good Capt. I for one wouldn't accuse you of trashing CM. Constructive comments, combined with well thought out testing helps us all.

+1

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12 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Hats off to the good Capt. I for one wouldn't accuse you of trashing CM. Constructive comments, combined with well thought out testing helps us all.

Thanks for the positive feedback! I'm trying to keep all of this as constructive as possible, both because I hold no ill-will over this, and I understand that going about this in a constructive manner is the best way to go forward.

10 hours ago, MOS:96B2P said:

This one I didn't know.  Nice catch.  I would imagine the same behavior applies to heavy weapon teams in CMBS?  CMSF of course is not 4.0 yet.

I haven't tested this extensively yet. I've only observed it happening a few times in the same battle and chalked it up to a new side effect of the displace behavior. I'll do more testing on my own to see if I can replicate it, and if I can I will include it in the next video. 

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akd   
On 8/14/2017 at 2:43 PM, Lille Fiskerby said:

I agree with the bug opinion on troops running away instead of stay low, still it would be interesting to see the same test with troops "hiding".

Remember, AI has no ability to proactively hide, so what is broken remains broken regardless of different outcomes when hiding.

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SLIM   
On ‎8‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 2:53 PM, IICptMillerII said:

I have also come to the conclusion that the v3 behavior is better for right now. Its a shame because I really do like all of the improvements that came with the v4 upgrade.

Honestly, when I saw the notes about infantry relocating to avoid HE fire, I thought to myself, "Why are they adding a feature which no one has requested?"
I'm not here every day, but I have never seen a thread where someone has requested such a change of behavior, or even brought it up as an issue.

Did I miss something?

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SLIM   
On ‎8‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 10:31 AM, Bulletpoint said:

Actually trees protect quite well against artillery in this game.

Because even though the trees correctly make bursts more dangerous by moving point of detonation up above ground level, either the trunks block many of the LOS checks to individual troops, or there's simply a protection bonus for being in wooded squares that more than makes up for the tree burst effect. At least with 60mm mortars and smaller bombs.

But I've also seen a 150mm shell burst in a small tree directly above one of my scout teams. One man was lightly wounded.

In CMx1, tree bursts were abstracted because the trees weren't physical objects, thus tree bursts were extremely dangerous.
In CMx2, the trees are solid objects, nigh indestructible, and as a result, a shell impacting one side of a tree will barely scratch troops standing on the other side.

Honestly, the tree durability has been a problem forever, and it's not going to change.
The reason is very simple, you would have to model every single tree as a vehicle of it's own, with the various thicknesses of branches, and angle of impact of rounds being measured and calculated, etc. That's the stuff nightmares are made of, and CPU's melt at the very thought of it. ;)

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IICptMillerII,

  Does it make a difference on the fleeing behavior if you are playing at different skill levels?  Will this behavior be exhibited to the same extent if you are playing Iron or Elite?

  I apologize if I missed it earlier in the thread.  I just went back through and didn't see mention of the level of play for your side-by-side.

  The reason I mention this is that I've been playing at Elite against the AI in all the games, and sometimes I see the entrenched enemy flee right away in 4.0 but sometimes they don't.  I just finished a vicious campaign battle in CMBN playing Elite and I pasted a town with offboard artillery, the heavy stuff.  Several turns passed where the arty was hitting the town and various buildings.  I figured the 4.0 effect would have the town vacated by this time.  But, when I started assaulting the town, there were plenty of enemy defenders waiting for me.  Yes, I found some were behind buildings but many more were still in the buildings.  I had trouble taking the town.

  I thought I would ask.  Sorry if I missed where you mentioned the play level.

Heinrich505 

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3 hours ago, SLIM said:

Honestly, when I saw the notes about infantry relocating to avoid HE fire, I thought to myself, "Why are they adding a feature which no one has requested?"
I'm not here every day, but I have never seen a thread where someone has requested such a change of behavior, or even brought it up as an issue.

Did I miss something?

Not sure. When the behavior works as intended (such as an infantry team getting out of the way of a tank) its a welcome addition.

3 hours ago, Heinrich505 said:

IICptMillerII,

  Does it make a difference on the fleeing behavior if you are playing at different skill levels?  Will this behavior be exhibited to the same extent if you are playing Iron or Elite?

  I apologize if I missed it earlier in the thread.  I just went back through and didn't see mention of the level of play for your side-by-side.

  The reason I mention this is that I've been playing at Elite against the AI in all the games, and sometimes I see the entrenched enemy flee right away in 4.0 but sometimes they don't.  I just finished a vicious campaign battle in CMBN playing Elite and I pasted a town with offboard artillery, the heavy stuff.  Several turns passed where the arty was hitting the town and various buildings.  I figured the 4.0 effect would have the town vacated by this time.  But, when I started assaulting the town, there were plenty of enemy defenders waiting for me.  Yes, I found some were behind buildings but many more were still in the buildings.  I had trouble taking the town.

  I thought I would ask.  Sorry if I missed where you mentioned the play level.

Heinrich505 

The skill level, or difficulty setting does not effect the TacAI at all. Skill level determines things such as how much information you get on enemy spotted units, and on the lowest setting it allows for borg spotting, which means if one unit sees an enemy, all other friendly units immediately know where/what the spotted enemy is. There are other effects, such as the rate of buddy aid and C2 effects, but none of it effects how the TacAI behaves. 

No need to apologize! Its a good question that I'm glad you asked. Hopefully it will help clarify for others who may be wondering the same. 

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Apocal   
18 hours ago, SLIM said:

Honestly, the tree durability has been a problem forever, and it's not going to change.
The reason is very simple, you would have to model every single tree as a vehicle of it's own, with the various thicknesses of branches, and angle of impact of rounds being measured and calculated, etc. That's the stuff nightmares are made of, and CPU's melt at the very thought of it. ;)

The game already does this. If it didn't, trees wouldn't be able to catch rounds the way they do and artillery shells would have even patterns even on reverse slopes.

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SLIM   
9 hours ago, Apocal said:

The game already does this. If it didn't, trees wouldn't be able to catch rounds the way they do and artillery shells would have even patterns even on reverse slopes.

Trees are modeled as solid objects, but they're not modeled according to their shape, thickness, etc.
Even the smallest branches can stop enormous shells with no problem at all.

My point is, if trees were modeled correctly, they would not provide nearly so much protection as they do now.

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