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CarlWAW

A More Realistic Iron Mode?

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17 minutes ago, para said:

Leave it alone now CarlWaW..you have had your questions answered more than once. This serves no purpose now mate..move on

Did you just say, "These aren't the Droids your looking for...Move along"...Your Good Para, real Good !

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3 hours ago, para said:

Bit rough this isn't it???

No.  CarlWAW made a request for a feature and got turned down because I don't think it's worth spending the time on.  Instead of accepting that he decided to prove himself "right" by saying we're a failing company because we're not listening to him.  I have to make a good faith attempt to try and challenge his false assertions else someone might think CarlWAW has a clue what he's talking about and that we are a failing company.  Or I could just ban him and save myself a bunch of time, but that's not my first choice.

2 hours ago, CarlWAW said:

But I'm the one with the ego problems...

Yup :D  You made a request for a feature, I explained why it wasn't a priority, you decided to trash Battlefront and me personally because you didn't get the answer you wanted.  So yup, you're the one that has the problem.

2 hours ago, para said:

Leave it alone now CarlWaW..you have had your questions answered more than once. This serves no purpose now mate..move on

My point exactly.  This should have been a simple matter of a feature request and accepting the answer.  But that's not how some people operate.  Sadly, I'm obligated to respond to the BS because if I don't it only gets worse.  That's 20 years of Forum moderation experience speaking.

Steve

 

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1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

No.  CarlWAW made a request for a feature and got turned down because I don't think it's worth spending the time on.  Instead of accepting that he decided to prove himself "right" by saying we're a failing company because we're not listening to him.  I have to make a good faith attempt to try and challenge his false assertions else someone might think CarlWAW has a clue what he's talking about and that we are a failing company.  Or I could just ban him and save myself a bunch of time, but that's not my first choice.

Yup :D  You made a request for a feature, I explained why it wasn't a priority, you decided to trash Battlefront and me personally because you didn't get the answer you wanted.  So yup, you're the one that has the problem.

My point exactly.  This should have been a simple matter of a feature request and accepting the answer.  But that's not how some people operate.  Sadly, I'm obligated to respond to the BS because if I don't it only gets worse.  That's 20 years of Forum moderation experience speaking.

Steve

 

You are right Steve. You have answered his questions. 

I also understand your frustration but felt you lost your cool slightly and could have used some different words. 

I was not taking sides. I will leave it there. :-)

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5 minutes ago, para said:

You are right Steve. You have answered his questions. 

I also understand your frustration but felt you lost your cool slightly and could have used some different words. 

I was not taking sides. I will leave it there. :-)

Oh, I know you weren't taking sides :D  I lost my patience with Carl for sure, probably because we just went through this "Battlefront is dead and I can prove it" nonsense a few weeks ago.  But my words were chosen carefully to fit the conditions and I think appropriate for them.  Unfortunately, it's sometimes necessary to speak the same language.

Steve

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6 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

Oh, I know you weren't taking sides :D  I lost my patience with Carl for sure, probably because we just went through this "Battlefront is dead and I can prove it" nonsense a few weeks ago.  But my words were chosen carefully to fit the conditions and I think appropriate for them.  Unfortunately, it's sometimes necessary to speak the same language.

Steve

No worries Steve ;-)

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Coding complex things is a very nasty world of everything that can go wrong will go wrong, typically, and all the wrongs have to be tracked down & worked around or some such.  So hopefully at this point our fine game designer can go back to work on the game we all love.  There is little as underappreciated in this world as the complexity of coding something that actually works properly 99.99% of the time.

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On 24/10/2017 at 9:26 PM, Battlefront.com said:

The people who claim they want less information can easily avoid this by... not deselecting a unit :D  Either click on a specific unit or use the previous/next unit feature.

As I said, all we can reasonably do as game designers is interfere with the player's ability to gather too much information too easily.  Interfering with core game mechanics is not advisable in the least.

Steve

Thanks for the answers.

I tried playing a bit without deselecting units.

Did not really work:

In WEGO you can always see all units while giving orders anyway.

In real time it worked better but if you cycle throe the units you will still select the units out of C2 and see what they see

In RT it works better if you only click on units your HQ can see, but it does not work for voice and radio contacts.

In between you try to select a unit but you miss it and immediately you get the big picture and can see all units.

 

Would have been an easy way to make it work ... unfortunately it does not seem to be the solution.

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2 hours ago, CAS said:

In WEGO you can always see all units while giving orders anyway.

So it's good to see I'm not the only one.  I don't think I've ever played real time since I've gotten the game!

Funnily enough, the v4.00 game manual says this about Iron mode:

  • Iron is an optional setting that goes even one step further than Elite, and introduces special restrictions on what the player can do and when. While even more realistic than the other settings, this option introduces a number of interface limitations which might put off the casual player, so it is strictly an optional choice. 
    • Friendly units need to be spotted just like enemy units. If you have a friendly unit not in line of sight or in contact with another friendly unit, then the only way to find this unit is by either re-establishing contact with another friendly unit or by clicking through the chain of command in the game interface, jumping from unit to unit

Clearly the mode doesn't even do what Battlefront intended (indeed what they wrote in their manual)!  I can see why they're reluctant to add more things to it or add another mode like Sly mentioned.  The inconsistent behaviour between RT and WeGo for this mode further confounds the issue - almost makes it seem like it was never really fully implemented...

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5 hours ago, danfrodo said:

Coding complex things is a very nasty world of everything that can go wrong will go wrong, typically, and all the wrongs have to be tracked down & worked around or some such.  So hopefully at this point our fine game designer can go back to work on the game we all love.  There is little as underappreciated in this world as the complexity of coding something that actually works properly 99.99% of the time.

Yup.  I can say for sure that game designers can behave the same way.  We all want games to have more stuff and do things better.  The difference is a designer, at least a good one, understands the limitations better.  Adding a simple feature might not be so simple from a coding standpoint.  It might also be difficult to maintain when other things are added.  And any feature working today is something that could be accidentally broken tomorrow.  The more features, the more chances of that happening.

4 hours ago, CAS said:

Thanks for the answers.

I tried playing a bit without deselecting units.

Did not really work:

In WEGO you can always see all units while giving orders anyway.

Yes, that was mentioned a few pages ago.  I'm looking into that.

4 hours ago, CAS said:

In between you try to select a unit but you miss it and immediately you get the big picture and can see all units.

Yes, that is true.  And here is where we get into the "slippery slope" problem.  No single feature in Combat Mission is perfect, therefore every single feature would benefit from improvements.  Improvements take time and resources to design, implement, debug, and support. Since we can not improve every feature, not to mention to the extent people want, we do have to be selective.  Iron mode is not something we see as the best place to spend our limited resources on.  That is not to say we won't make any improvements to Iron, but it isn't a priority.

1 hour ago, HerrTom said:

So it's good to see I'm not the only one.  I don't think I've ever played real time since I've gotten the game!

Funnily enough, the v4.00 game manual says this about Iron mode:

  • Iron is an optional setting that goes even one step further than Elite, and introduces special restrictions on what the player can do and when. While even more realistic than the other settings, this option introduces a number of interface limitations which might put off the casual player, so it is strictly an optional choice. 
    • Friendly units need to be spotted just like enemy units. If you have a friendly unit not in line of sight or in contact with another friendly unit, then the only way to find this unit is by either re-establishing contact with another friendly unit or by clicking through the chain of command in the game interface, jumping from unit to unit

Clearly the mode doesn't even do what Battlefront intended (indeed what they wrote in their manual)!  I can see why they're reluctant to add more things to it or add another mode like Sly mentioned.  The inconsistent behaviour between RT and WeGo for this mode further confounds the issue - almost makes it seem like it was never really fully implemented...

Iron has been in CM since... CMBN v1?  Or was it a v2 improvement?  Yet this is the first thread I've seen where this issue has come up.  So either it's been broken for 5-6 years or we borked something with Engine 4, which we released 10 months ago.  You guys are not shy about pointing out bugs, inconsistencies, rough edges, etc. so it seems Iron isn't used much by WeGoers or they don't care about it working as stated in the manual.  And that underscores my point about why Iron isn't a top priority for us.

When I hear back from Charles I'll let you know.

Steve

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Thanks Steve!  In case you want screenshot proof - I took some just now.

Unit selected in replay phase:

fJxfuox.png

 

Unit selected in orders phase:

pbicYaO.png

Pardon the different camera angles. :) 

 

And it's the same in CM:A which definitely isn't engine 4 haha!

In replay phase:

XdKZSMP.png

In command phase:

tzbLHVV.png

 

Edit: This is why I was so confused in this thread - since what people were saying happens in-game versus what actually happens seemed to be completely different things to me! :blink:

Edited by HerrTom

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Interesting!  So it seems the manual has been wrong for 10 years in terms of how the feature works in WeGo.  When it takes 10 years to question whether a feature in CM is working as intended or not, I have to presume it's because nobody really cares about it.  I think that's a pretty safe bet because you guys are, uhm, not shy when it comes to saying things are "broken" (even when they aren't).  And that underscores why I don't think this is some sort of make-or-break feature as has been pushed by a few people.  That and it appears that we do know our customers pretty well.  What a shocker ;)

Steve

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Actually this has cropped several times over the years, the keywords "iron mode manual" will return a quite comprehensive list of threads about the lack of clarity in that section of the manual. My interpretation was this one by @poesel a few years back

 

But now I am reading Steve and I wonder whether actually the manual was clear and the in game behaviour wasn't. 

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I think that difficulties are fine as it is. What some people suggest here is that whole force should act like it has a single commander - you. It would work (questionably) if squad/platoon/company commanders had any initiative (as in AI that decides actions for itself while it has no orders) but it would not work because even a single section requires an order from the player. TacAI that is there just helps soldiers survive but not ACT.

In a way right now the player is not only a commander of a force, but also every single commander on the field.

Edited by kraze

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I vaguely remember a discussion in which it was mentioned that Iron Mode originally did work as stated in the manual but was changed very early on for WEGO. I think most people prefer it this way anyways.

Note that there is another undocumented feature of Iron Mode vs Elite: line of sight between friendly units is strictly enforced in Iron but very forgiving in Elite. In Elite mode friendly units can maintain visual C2 when slightly out LOS of each other, such as separated by a low wall. Also, in Elite darkness and weather effects limiting LOS have no effect on visual C2. They do in Iron mode.

Edited by Vanir Ausf B

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10 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Iron has been in CM since... CMBN v1?  Or was it a v2 improvement?  Yet this is the first thread I've seen where this issue has come up.  So either it's been broken for 5-6 years or we borked something with Engine 4, which we released 10 months ago

Iron was there from the start of CMBN (not sure about SF).

 

1 hour ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

I vaguely remember a discussion in which it was mentioned that Iron Mode originally did work as stated in the manual but was changed very early on for WEGO. I think most people prefer it this way anyways.

I have a vague idea that something changed at one point too but a ) it has been like it is for a really long time and b ) it makes playing iron just bearable - if during the command phase in WEGO you cannot see all your forces it is soooooooo frustrating.

I for one am totally good with the way the game behaves. I vote doc bug and move on :D

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5 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

Actually this has cropped several times over the years, the keywords "iron mode manual" will return a quite comprehensive list of threads about the lack of clarity in that section of the manual. My interpretation was this one by @poesel a few years back

 

But now I am reading Steve and I wonder whether actually the manual was clear and the in game behaviour wasn't. 

Oh, I'm absolutely certain this has been raised multiple times here.  Never doubted it for a second.  However, the way things work is that stuff that is brought up by players and testers that is seen repeatedly, clearly, and passionately always gets our attention.  Those things which are marginally important to players, no matter how accurate they may be, sometimes do not.  If lots and lots and lots of people felt this was an important feature, it wouldn't have taken 10 years for me to notice it.  There were larger and more passionate threads about the chin armor of the Tiger 1E's rating in the game being accurate/inaccurate than there was this.

Whether the game or the manual is wrong, clearly something is out of synch.  Despite a feedback mechanism where Battlefront has implemented thousands of bug fixes, tweaks, and new features over the past 20 years, this issue never got on our radar.  I know our customers and our testers well enough to know that if it was an important issue, it wouldn't have taken 10 years to find out about it.  Therefore, it's pretty clear this isn't an important issue to the majority of customers.  Heck, even a vocal minority!  Anybody claiming that it is out of touch with reality.

5 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

I am ESL so I am the mercy of native speakers to judge the clarity of what was written. 

Well, there's an unnecessary comment... you're Australian, so of course you are English as a Second Language.  As a former Colonist who lived in London for a while, according to some I am ESL too :D

4 hours ago, kraze said:

I think that difficulties are fine as it is. What some people suggest here is that whole force should act like it has a single commander - you. It would work (questionably) if squad/platoon/company commanders had any initiative (as in AI that decides actions for itself while it has no orders) but it would not work because even a single section requires an order from the player. TacAI that is there just helps soldiers survive but not ACT.

In a way right now the player is not only a commander of a force, but also every single commander on the field.

Yup, and we've had lots and lots and lots of detailed discussions about this.  As I've been saying control and realism are opposite ends of the spectrum.  If we give players more control, it tends to reduce realism.  If we give players more realism, it tends to reduce control.  A player requires a certain amount of control to play the game, therefore a certain amount of realism must be sacrificed.  It's a fuzzy line and it's different for different people, but at the end of the day there are some game mechanics that can not be screwed with or the game ceases to be functional.  Even for people who think they want the feature they are arguing for.

2 hours ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

I vaguely remember a discussion in which it was mentioned that Iron Mode originally did work as stated in the manual but was changed very early on for WEGO. I think most people prefer it this way anyways.

I suspect that is the case.  Either that or the design ran into technical problems and Charles coded it differently, but the original design description made its way into the manual.  Whatever the case is, the manual and the game are not adequately in synch.

Quote

Note that there is another undocumented feature of Iron Mode vs Elite: line of sight between friendly units is strictly enforced in Iron but very forgiving in Elite. In Elite mode friendly units can maintain visual C2 when slightly out LOS of each other, such as separated by a low wall. Also, in Elite darkness and weather effects limiting LOS have no effect on visual C2. They do in Iron mode.

Thanks for the reminder!  I couldn't remember if there was any gameplay difference between Elite and Iron, but as I don't play Iron I'm a bit rusty about its features (pun sorta intended).

Steve

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2 minutes ago, IanL said:

Iron was there from the start of CMBN (not sure about SF).

I don't have a Shock Force manual handy, but if it is in Afghanistan it almost certainly is in Shock Force.  Though it might have been added to Shock Force after its initial release.  I have some distant memory that it was not in Shock Force v1.00.

2 minutes ago, IanL said:

I have a vague idea that something changed at one point too but a ) it has been like it is for a really long time and b ) it makes playing iron just bearable - if during the command phase in WEGO you cannot see all your forces it is soooooooo frustrating.

I for one am totally good with the way the game behaves. I vote doc bug and move on :D

Which makes you a Fan Boy, apparently, because you're not in agreement that Battlefront is wrong, wrong, wrong for denying the majority of customers the feature they so obviously need to enjoy the game.  This means your vote doesn't count, because only a handful of disgruntled people really know what is going on and therefore are the only ones we should listen to.  Or something like that ;)

Steve

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As one of the few players who seems to be vocal about using iron mode as far as I recall it has always worked this way since I first bought CMSF and though the manual is incorrect, I always figured it was a good thing as I can’t imagine an orders phase trying to plan movement. You are still going to know where every unit is, you’d simply have have to go from unit to unit to build a composite view. That would seem to make the feature as described pointless.  As it stands I have always felt this was a good compromise for the player as you can still issue commands without it being excessively tedious while still getting a clearer view of the state of your units.  As to having more adverse restrictions on the units themselves I can’t really speak to it as I have never tried to compare. I like how iron mode works and have never felt the need to pursue if it is truly harder or not. 

That is why I have never tried to point it out as a “bug”.  To me changing it would break the feature.  Whether it was in early versions of CMSF closer to the manual description I can not say. 

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The issue here is what the feature is supposed to do.  There's two possibilities:

  • Screw around with the player's ability to cleanly and precisely use "big picture" information to form a battle plan
  • Show the player a visually stronger representation of C2 connections

As it stands right now RealTime has both of these things, WeGo only has the second one (C2 visualization).  If we changed WeGo so that during Orders Phase you can only see all units when you have none selected, in theory that makes both WeGo and RealTime behave the same.  However, does it really?

The inherent realism problem with WeGo is that the player has way, way, way too much time and ability to micromanage.  RealTime is more realistic in the sense that the player is under pressure and isn't able to micromanage as much as WeGoers do (OK, theoretically a RT guy could hammer on Pause every 10 seconds and have even MORE control, but that's not what RT players do).  The flip side of this is that it is unrealistic to have one person making micromanagement decisions in real time on the battlefield, so in that sense WeGo is more realistic because it better simulates hundreds of brains making decisions.

Anybody who is even remotely aware of how Combat Mission works should understand this truth.

OK, so with that reminder of the core issue at play here, what benefit is there for WeGo to have big picture information hid from view?  Unlike RealTime, WeGoers have the time to study the big picture information and are predisposed to do so.  It is a basic component of why they play WeGo instead of RealTime.  Therefore, hiding this sort of big picture information from WeGoers serves only to annoy, not shape gameplay like it does in RT.  And that is most likely what we found out while testing and that is also the reason 10 years later this has not been a burning issue for WeGoers.

This is the long and detailed way of saying "we'll revise the manual and not the game because the game is as it should be" ;)

Steve

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But how does iron give you any idea about C2 like sburke was saying if it literally does nothing during the command phase where that kind of information is useful? Do you go through your units in the replay phase and memorize the patterns? Why not behave like it does in the replay phase where that information is not useful? It just seems a little backwards. I'm not trying to be combative here, it just seems like you're writing off a central feature in Iron as WAD when it's clearly inconsistent.

In the end its your  game so do what you want, I'll still be a customer B)

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38 minutes ago, HerrTom said:

But how does iron give you any idea about C2 like sburke was saying if it literally does nothing during the command phase where that kind of information is useful? Do you go through your units in the replay phase and memorize the patterns? Why not behave like it does in the replay phase where that information is not useful? It just seems a little backwards.

Reread what I wrote above.  I explained this.  There's really no effective way to have an impact on WeGoer behavior by mimicking the Replay behavior for the Orders Phase.  I challenge you to show me an error in that logic.

38 minutes ago, HerrTom said:

I'm not trying to be combative here, it just seems like you're writing off a central feature in Iron as WAD when it's clearly inconsistent.

If it was so central, why has it been this way for 10 years without serious complaint?

38 minutes ago, HerrTom said:

In the end its your  game so do what you want, I'll still be a customer B)

Thanks ;)

From our perspective Combat Mission is "our game" only in the sense that we are in charge of managing and implementing the features within it so that it appeals to the people using it.  Our opinions about what makes a good game for us personally are not relevant to the decision making process.

In regards to this specific feature, there's a strong argument to leave it "as is".  I've yet to hear a strong argument, or even a cohesive weak one, for us to change it.  We should make decisions based on the strength of the arguments before us, don't you agree?  I'm pretty sure you agree with that and don't think we should change our philosophy to make illogical decisions based on random comments by a couple of people ;)

Steve

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1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

The issue here is what the feature is supposed to do.  There's two possibilities:

  • Screw around with the player's ability to cleanly and precisely use "big picture" information to form a battle plan
  • Show the player a visually stronger representation of C2 connections

As it stands right now RealTime has both of these things, WeGo only has the second one (C2 visualization).  If we changed WeGo so that during Orders Phase you can only see all units when you have none selected, in theory that makes both WeGo and RealTime behave the same.  However, does it really?

The inherent realism problem with WeGo is that the player has way, way, way too much time and ability to micromanage.  RealTime is more realistic in the sense that the player is under pressure and isn't able to micromanage as much as WeGoers do (OK, theoretically a RT guy could hammer on Pause every 10 seconds and have even MORE control, but that's not what RT players do).  The flip side of this is that it is unrealistic to have one person making micromanagement decisions in real time on the battlefield, so in that sense WeGo is more realistic because it better simulates hundreds of brains making decisions.

Anybody who is even remotely aware of how Combat Mission works should understand this truth.

OK, so with that reminder of the core issue at play here, what benefit is there for WeGo to have big picture information hid from view?  Unlike RealTime, WeGoers have the time to study the big picture information and are predisposed to do so.  It is a basic component of why they play WeGo instead of RealTime.  Therefore, hiding this sort of big picture information from WeGoers serves only to annoy, not shape gameplay like it does in RT.  And that is most likely what we found out while testing and that is also the reason 10 years later this has not been a burning issue for WeGoers.

This is the long and detailed way of saying "we'll revise the manual and not the game because the game is as it should be" ;)

Steve

Boy, it sure would have been nice to get to this response much sooner.

I always like it when you give clear statements as to why the game is designed in its present state, this does that.

For me anyway, it is a good insight as to how you think of it as a designer, and for seeing the logical decisions you are making for why things are as they are.

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2 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

It is a basic component of why they play WeGo instead of RealTime.  Therefore, hiding this sort of big picture information from WeGoers serves only to annoy, not shape gameplay like it does in RT.

Spot on analysis. BTW iron mode still annoys this WEGO player :D but I still get to pay it a lot since I have a couple of regular players who really like it.

 

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