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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
Kuderian

An Idea - 'Steel Mode' Assymetric WeGo gameplay.

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Basic concept - WeGo turn intervals  are inversely proportional to Comand & Control of each opposing side.

For example;   a side with excellent C2 running throughout the ranks would get WeGo intervals of the thirty seconds.

On the other hand, a side with terrible C2 would have WeGo intervals of three minutes. In practice, the side with the C2 advantage would get more detailed control of their forces while the side with the inferior C2 would have to command with more broad strokes (Think Italians vs Americans).

The length of the WeGo interval  would be a combination of the a static historic C2 rating and the dynamic current situational  C2 rating so it could vary considerably for both side within any one battle.

This idea would work both in single player and PBEM's but obviously not real time mode.
 

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The concept sounds exactly like the command cycles system used in the game Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm. Basically, the side in better C3 has a shorter delay between giving and executing orders, allowing you to get inside the enemy's command loop, thus outmaneuvering him before he can even react to you. 

I think its a cool concept, but I think its more suited to larger scale games, that cover more of the operational level of command. CM is a tactical level simulator, essentially putting you in the boots of team leaders and up. It wouldn't make any sense if you just had to let a team sit around getting blasted by something for minutes on end without any input from you. That said, it would be nice to see C3 elements in CM refined/expanded upon in future updates. 

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As CptMiller pointed out, a blanket approach to overall ability to command doesn't fit very well with a tactical game.  In real life soldiers in contact with the enemy don't have "planning cycles".  They act and react according to localized variables, such as the C2 within that force, the quality of leadership, quality of units, terrain, enemy pressure, etc.  Even piss-poor troops can react extremely quickly, like running away at the first sign of trouble despite what the superiors back at HQ are thinking.

CM1 had a more nuanced version of this concept by imposing unit specific "Command Delays".  This also ran into serious realism issues and player frustration similar to what I described above.  Which is why CM2 doesn't have it.

Over the past 20 years we've explored a number of ways to impose realistic and playable penalties for units which have poor C2/leadership.  What you see in CM2 is, so far, the best we've collectively come up with.  And by collectively, I mean Battlefront + players.

We don't anticipate the status quo will change.

Steve

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1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

CM1 had a more nuanced version of this concept by imposing unit specific "Command Delays".  This also ran into serious realism issues and player frustration similar to what I described above.  Which is why CM2 doesn't have it.

It also lead to my learned behavior of only plotting a single waypoint every turn.
I'm still trying to unlearn that particular behavior, after I plotted an entire battalion's worth of waypoints in CMBO, then sat around for six turns doing nothing waiting for my squad leaders to explain the extremely convoluted plan to their soldiers...

If anything, it trained me to keep things as simple as possible.

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CM1's command delays, as implemented, did lead to unrealistic play.  But this quote from above sums up my remembrance of it...

"If anything, it trained me to keep things as simple as possible."

And that is why I liked the command delays.  It really forced you to assess your troops capabilities against you plan's complexity.

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12 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Over the past 20 years we've explored a number of ways to impose realistic and playable penalties for units which have poor C2/leadership.  What you see in CM2 is, so far, the best we've collectively come up with.  And by collectively, I mean Battlefront + players.

We don't anticipate the status quo will change.

It's a little bit to the side of this topic to the above but is still relating to delays in waypoint movements. I'm not upset to see the end of the command delays from the CM1 days, (though appreciate their simulation intent), but what is annoying for me is the inability to purposefully delay one units actions until another unit's action reaches a set point.

In other words - waypoint syncing.

For example the ability for two fireteams to stack up on different sides of a building and then breach at the same time to mutually support each other. Yes you can try to do this with the pause command but it's an awful lot of guess work for the player, particularly when they are coming from different starting positions. You'd imagine it would be a pretty easy order to relate on the ground - particularly for troops with training. "Squad 1: Wait there until Squad 2 reaches X position and then move to position Y." The only way to take the guesswork out of this at the moment is to let the timer run down and then commence the next minute's commands seperately. It wastes an awful lot of time for WeGo players especially in urban environments with lots of buildings to clear.

The above has probably cropped up before (probably from me), but I was reminded of the issue again while I was playing CMBS in the weekend.

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11 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

And that is why I liked the command delays.  It really forced you to assess your troops capabilities against you plan's complexity

I would argue that in CM2 you are still forced to do this, but now moreso due to factors such as morale/experience/fatigue, and the general fog of war inherent to any battlefield. Yes these facotrs were in CM1, but in CM2 you have to keep your plan simple/flexible due to real life reasons, not an arbitrary game handicap. 

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I would argue back that morale and experience are just as arbitrary.  There is no field manual that tells you how much experience a unit has that can be boiled down to a number.  Even more so morale.  Yet, we all love those factors.  Command delays are no worse or better.  I understand how command delays could be a real pain in the ass when you just wanted to plot 5 waypoints down the road.  But on the other side of it, it fairly unrealistic to have you troops instantly move and execute commands.  To me, it was the one thing that didn't carry over from CM1 that stands out now with a lot of the old features slowly making it back into the engine.

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The difference between Command Delays and the "soft factors" is that there's reasonable realism justification for soft factors, not for Command Delays.  Good leadership produces better results, so having a means of accounting for that is important for realism.  One could argue that it has too much or too little effect in general or a specific situation, but arguing that it shouldn't be in the game at all can be quickly defeated.

Command Delays, on the other hand, were a flawed enough concept that it couldn't stand up to even light scrutiny.  For sure we can all agree that responsiveness of units is a real battlefield factor, but nobody can argue on a realism basis that Command Delays AS A SYSTEM adequately simulated it.  Therefore, arguments about how the Command Delay system worked was more like arguing about how much a particular Power Up should or shouldn't give you in Super Mario Brothers.  Which is why we walked away from the Command Delay concept.

The only way to simulate higher level command stress is through CoPlay.  Each player is tasked with a reasonably small force, like a platoon, and the game messes with the ability of the players to communicate with each other.  That concept has tons of merit on a realism standpoint.  Unfortunately that doesn't transfer over to a single player environment unless we have "wingman AI" that takes control of forces for you.  That's theoretically possible, but it is quite difficult to pull off.

Steve

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On 11/8/2017 at 7:09 AM, Thewood1 said:

But on the other side of it, it fairly unrealistic to have you troops instantly move and execute commands.

Actually, that's exactly why the Command Delay system was inherently borked as a realism concept... what you said is unrealistic is in fact VERY realistic.  Or more accurately, can be.

A common example of this is a 2 man AT Team.  They have been given an order "get yourself into position to kill that tank!".  The two men now have their orders and whether they need 1, 2, or 200 Waypoints to do it they shouldn't have any delay related to C2.  Any delays they have should be for self serving tactical reasons that are specific to the two soldiers.  Having an arbitrary delay to get the two men to move 4m to the left to get LOS is absolutely unrealistic.

Which, again, gets us to the problem of how to interfere with operational control in a tactical level game.  The only way to go is to reduce the ability to control units.  Not delays, but control.  That's not practical nor, I would argue, desirable for most people playing CM.

Steve

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2 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

"...have "wingman AI" that takes control of forces for you."

Is that something that could be envisaged for CM3?   That plus a bunch of other features like a new ACQUIRE system; scalable UI; the ability for the AI to be ordered to move a main weapon a few inches so that it can attain LOS and shoot at what the "3rd loader" can see and shoot at etc. would be a very worthy aim.

 

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14 hours ago, Erwin said:

Is that something that could be envisaged for CM3?   That plus a bunch of other features like a new ACQUIRE system; scalable UI; the ability for the AI to be ordered to move a main weapon a few inches so that it can attain LOS and shoot at what the "3rd loader" can see and shoot at etc. would be a very worthy aim.

Sure, anything is possible and a lot of it is even desirable.  The issue always comes down to how much time can we afford to invest, making sure we don't crush the hardware, and avoiding a game so complex that nobody wants to play it.  The devil is always in the details.

13 hours ago, DMS said:

I would play PBEM game with longer turns. So long battles would be played with less e-mails. More planning, less micro-management.

The problem is the longer WeGo Turns simulate, the MORE micro-management is needed to make a successful turn.  It's a little counter intuitive, but that's the likely result.  The reason is that the TacAI can only do so much for you and that means the more you plan the more you have to micro-manage to have the plan execute the way you want.  60 seconds gives you an artificial limitation on how much time you have to worry about before reevaluating your plans.  Doubling the turn time, for example, means you have to make more speculative plans for the second 60 seconds.  Speculative planning tends to require more micro-managing because you have to try to build in safety factors.  You can do that, to some extent, but it is definitely more intensive than "move here and shoot there".

Steve

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6 hours ago, DMS said:

I would play PBEM game with longer turns. So long battles would be played with less e-mails. More planning, less micro-management.

Yeap, and exactly as, Steve, mentioned...It will be Counter-Intuitive, and even more Micro-Management would be needed.

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11 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

The difference between Command Delays and the "soft factors" is that there's reasonable realism justification for soft factors, not for Command Delays.  Good leadership produces better results, so having a means of accounting for that is important for realism.  One could argue that it has too much or too little effect in general or a specific situation, but arguing that it shouldn't be in the game at all can be quickly defeated.

Command Delays, on the other hand, were a flawed enough concept that it couldn't stand up to even light scrutiny.  For sure we can all agree that responsiveness of units is a real battlefield factor, but nobody can argue on a realism basis that Command Delays AS A SYSTEM adequately simulated it.  Therefore, arguments about how the Command Delay system worked was more like arguing about how much a particular Power Up should or shouldn't give you in Super Mario Brothers.  Which is why we walked away from the Command Delay concept.

The only way to simulate higher level command stress is through Co-Play.  Each player is tasked with a reasonably small force, like a platoon, and the game messes with the ability of the players to communicate with each other.  That concept has tons of merit on a realism standpoint.  Unfortunately that doesn't transfer over to a single player environment unless we have "wingman AI" that takes control of forces for you.  That's theoretically possible, but it is quite difficult to pull off.

Steve

Yes, and this pretty well sums it up...As a niche idea, I also like the 'Each Player' is tasked with a Platoon size Unit', and a Good Concept if you have a Group of Players.

Thou, I'm also looking at different methods of C&C using some Miniature Rules...One such rules basically have Platoons as a the basic Maneuver Element and are in a Box Formation/Zone of Control, if you will, and these Elements are tasked to complete an Attack/Probe/etc within that Box/Zone of Control (depending on the initial General Orders of that Company/Battalion). If a CO/Batt wants to change a Maneuver Elements general Orders or Approach, then Orders are issued with appropriate Delays etc...Thou, by the time any new Orders are issued most Scenarios are already over by then.

Anyways, this would work with anything that is Company plus in size against the AI or Player who will also adhere...Anything smaller like a Platoon is already assumed to be on Small Map to complete it's given Order.

Some players should also keep in mind that there is also 'Bill H' and 'Perciles', and have their own C&C House Rules concept in use.

Joe

 

Edited by JoMc67

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10 hours ago, DMS said:

I would play PBEM game with longer turns. So long battles would be played with less e-mails. More planning, less micro-management.

 

4 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Sure, anything is possible and a lot of it is even desirable.  The issue always comes down to how much time can we afford to invest, making sure we don't crush the hardware, and making a game so complex that nobody wants to play it.  The devil is always in the details.

The problem is the longer WeGo Turns simulate, the MORE micro-management is needed to make a successful turn.  It's a little counter intuitive, but that's the likely result.  The reason is that the TacAI can only do so much for you and that means the more you plan the more you have to micro-manage to have the plan execute the way you want.  60 seconds gives you an artificial limitation on how much time you have to worry about before reevaluating your plans.  Doubling the turn time, for example, means you have to make more speculative plans for the second 60 seconds.  Speculative planning tends to require more micro-managing because you have to try to build in safety factors.  You can do that, to some extent, but it is definitely more intensive than "move here and shoot there".

Steve

 

I fully agree with Steve on this one.  Longer WEGO turns result in fewer opportunities to react as play develops.  Picture a setback/interruption to a unit's movement after 10-15 seconds.  With one minute WEGO, they can only do a 45 second task which you didn't anticipate.  With two minute WEGO, they have over 90 seconds of unintended results you have to undo when you regain control.  I think loger WEGO turns takes away the player's control instead of enhancing it.  Just push that big Red Button sooner an dmore often when you want to play faster.  :rolleyes:

Edited by Badger73

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Longer times would also require a lot better AI Player sitting on the other side.  The artificial 60 second stopping point allows the AI to assess and plot moves which are, by and large, acceptable for about 60 seconds of game time.  That's because the tactical plotting is largely reactive to whatever happened in the previous turn.  Unit A is out of orders, give it some more.  Unit B can see an enemy tank, shoot at it.  Etc.  With 120 seconds the TacAI would have to be more anticipatory than reactionary.  Unit A is out of orders, give it some more but not too much.  Unit B can see an enemy tank, shoot at it and then do something else because there's no way 2 minutes of fire is necessary from this one position.  Etc., etc.

What I could see doing is restricting the number of Waypoints a unit can have and shrinking the turn time down to something like 15 or 30 seconds.  That works on many levels, but fails in terms of playability. At that point you might as well be playing RealTime with frequent use of the pause button.  It would also make PBEM and even TCP WeGo unmanageable.  Which is why we stuck with 60 seconds for CM2 and will continue to do so for future CM games.

Steve

P.S.  As an aside I happened to have recently read a bitch thread in another Forum (total randomly stumbled upon it) where some guy was saying how horrible CM2 was because it didn't allow him to have 30 second turns like CM1 did.  Sheesh... we do plenty of things wrong, so at least slam us for something real instead of something imaginary :D  There were several people who were convinced of other things which never happened and we should burn in Hell for them.  Yup, it was a fun read ;)

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48 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

What I could see doing is restricting the number of Waypoints a unit can have and shrinking the turn time down to something like 15 or 30 seconds.  That works on many levels, but fails in terms of playability. At that point you might as well be playing RealTime with frequent use of the pause button.  It would also make PBEM and even TCP WeGo unmanageable.  Which is why we stuck with 60 seconds for CM2 and will continue to do so for future CM games.

Yes, 30 Sec Turns would be nice, but as you mentioned, unplayable in the long haul...At that point you minus well play Real-Time with pauses...60 sec Turns is the way to go for sure (thou, I could see 30 sec turns in Modern, but still).

I try to Move & Engage (using pauses, etc) the second half of turn, so at beginning of turn I can more easily move out of danger if need be...However, trying to Move & Engage right at the beginning of turn makes for a long time of possible unpredictability's that I may not like.

Edited by JoMc67

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I could see playing RT more if there was the opportunity to pause and replay - so that one could see action all over the map.  It is also intriguing to have the ability to select turn length.  So, if one was in a tricky situation (eg MOUT) where one may have to react faster, a WEGO turn could be (say) ten seconds). 

Since most play vs the AI that would work.  Again something to consider for CM3.

PS:  Another feature that would be wonderful to have in CM3:  A command allowing AT and sniper teams the ability to displace to another waypoint immediately AFTER they fire and give away their position.

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On 11/10/2017 at 9:29 PM, Battlefront.com said:

The only way to simulate higher level command stress is through CoPlay.  Each player is tasked with a reasonably small force, like a platoon, and the game messes with the ability of the players to communicate with each other.  That concept has tons of merit on a realism standpoint.  Unfortunately that doesn't transfer over to a single player environment unless we have "wingman AI" that takes control of forces for you.  That's theoretically possible, but it is quite difficult to pull off.

I could see it making very interesting scenarios where the AI on your side is programmed just like the opposing AI - you need to meet your timetable to work with it.  I can see the adaptability limits on the friendly AI side making that challenging - to account for everybody's play style :o 

Still, this is one thing that I'd absolutely love to see in CM - even without the restricted communication. Having another "entity" controlling a different force on your side opens up all kinds of friction already!

Since (according to the grocery stores) it's that time of season - Please, Santa! Please! :wub:

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9 hours ago, Erwin said:

I could see playing RT more if there was the opportunity to pause and replay - so that one could see action all over the map.  It is also intriguing to have the ability to select turn length.  So, if one was in a tricky situation (eg MOUT) where one may have to react faster, a WEGO turn could be (say) ten seconds). 

Since most play vs the AI that would work.  Again something to consider for CM3.

PS:  Another feature that would be wonderful to have in CM3:  A command allowing AT and sniper teams the ability to displace to another waypoint immediately AFTER they fire and give away their position.

Nah !..If you start doing that, then you minus well have all Units be giving that capability.

Edited by JoMc67

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1 hour ago, HerrTom said:

Still, this is one thing that I'd absolutely love to see in CM - even without the restricted communication. Having another "entity" controlling a different force on your side opens up all kinds of friction already!

I would also love to see the possibility of having a friendly AI, as well as the ability to do coop, but I know the latter has already been addressed to some extent and we shouldn't expect to see that anytime soon. 

On the subject of having a friendly AI; I would like to see some type of general AI added to the game. One that doesn't require pre-scripting into a map/scenario. Though I do like HerrToms idea of having to fit your plans into a greater timetable as well. Perhaps after BFC has finished all of the upcoming projects they will have time to tackle some of these new things?

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1 hour ago, IICptMillerII said:

the ability to do coop, [...] has already been addressed to some extent and we shouldn't expect to see that anytime soon. 

Could you elaborate further on that?  Is that specifically related to CM2 or in general?

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