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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

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Are there any articles/threads/AAR/dev blogs that can explain the AI in combat mission in detail? I am looking for something quite in-dept, as I am aware of the basic levels of AI like tacAI. operational AI and strategic AI. But I would like to delve deeper and understand it better. 

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The engine manual and JonS's excellent scenario design AAR are probably the best place to start.

Pdf files of both come with the game and are well worth reading

P

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1 hour ago, Pete Wenman said:

The engine manual and JonS's excellent scenario design AAR are probably the best place to start.

Pdf files of both come with the game and are well worth reading

P

Thanks for the info, however, I have already checked them out but i am eager to know more through AAR or other sources. 

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2 hours ago, Ridaz said:

I am looking for something quite in-dept, as I am aware of the basic levels of AI like tacAI. operational AI and strategic AI.

There's no operational and strategic AI in this game, there's just the TacAI and then the orders the scenario designer put into the scenario..

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The AI in this game is perhaps one of its weakest  points...Not that any other game does it better...but still...it is seriously lacking !

That is why i have been advocating for some major improvements for quite some time now...that is...MORE AI GROUPS !!!...(32 atleast)...

The AI have  ZERO understanding of the overall picture in a scenario. The AI have very limited understanding of the terrain concerning larger areas. The AI have very limited understanding of what the different unit does...How to use HMGs, how to use a light mortars, how to use an assultguns etc...

It's been my experience that the AI pretty much only sees each unit/team as a number of men...A sniper-team is 2 men, a HMG team is 4 men, a squad is 8 men, a panzer schreck team is 2 men for example... It does not really matter what kind of team it is...The AI does not understand how to use it...

If the scenario designer puts an infantry platoon, a HMG team and a light mortar-team into an AI-Group and gives them an advance orders...They will do so...They will advance...

But they will not do it very visely...The machinegun team and the mortar team will NOT set up a base of fire possition to support the assulting units...They will just TAG ALONG...treated as a number of men...not taking into account their ability/limitation as heavy weapon teams...

 

Please , please, please !!! 

give us 32 AI-Groups...It is absolutely neccesary to get the AI to perform somewhat intellegently...

In a PLAYER attack scenario 16 AI-Groups might be enough for most circomstances...but in an AI attack scenario it most certanly is NOT !!! 

The AI needs HELP !!! to perform somewhat cleverly...

In a well designed scenario the AI can be a challange...Yes, absolutelly !...but 95 percent of those scenarios are... PLAYER ATTACK scenarios.

On the defence 16 AI-Groups might be enough in many situations...but on the attack...no, no, no !!! 16 AI-Groups will not do it...It is simply not enough...

The evidence is pretty obvious...The number of AI attack scenarios avaliable is very limited....The number of GOOD/CHALLEGING attack scenarios is even fewer.

 

please, please, please !!! give us 32 AI-Groups...The improvements to vs AI gameplay will be MASSIVE !

 

 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, RepsolCBR said:

The AI in this game is perhaps one of its weakest  points...Not that any other game does it better...but still...it is seriously lacking !

That is why i have been advocating for some major improvements for quite some time now...that is...MORE AI GROUPS !!!...(32 atleast)...

The AI have  ZERO understanding of the overall picture in a scenario. The AI have very limited understanding of the terrain concerning larger areas. The AI have very limited understanding of what the different unit does...How to use HMGs, how to use a light mortars, how to use an assultguns etc...

It's been my experience that the AI pretty much only sees each unit/team as a number of men...A sniper-team is 2 men, a HMG team is 4 men, a squad is 8 men, a panzer schreck team is 2 men for example... It does not really matter what kind of team it is...The AI does not understand how to use it...

If the scenario designer puts an infantry platoon, a HMG team and a light mortar-team into an AI-Group and gives them an advance orders...They will do so...They will advance...

But they will not do it very visely...The machinegun team and the mortar team will NOT set up a base of fire possition to support the assulting units...They will just TAG ALONG...treated as a number of men...not taking into account their ability/limitation as heavy weapon teams...

 

Please , please, please !!! 

give us 32 AI-Groups...It is absolutely neccesary to get the AI to perform somewhat intellegently...

In a PLAYER attack scenario 16 AI-Groups might be enough for most circomstances...but in an AI attack scenario it most certanly is NOT !!! 

The AI needs HELP !!! to perform somewhat cleverly...

In a well designed scenario the AI can be a challange...Yes, absolutelly !...but 95 percent of those scenarios are... PLAYER ATTACK scenarios.

On the defence 16 AI-Groups might be enough in many situations...but on the attack...no, no, no !!! 16 AI-Groups will not do it...It is simply not enough...

The evidence is pretty obvious...The number of AI attack scenarios avaliable is very limited....The number of GOOD/CHALLEGING attack scenarios is even fewer.

 

please, please, please !!! give us 32 AI-Groups...The improvements to vs AI gameplay will be MASSIVE !

 

 

 

 

Erm... they actually added to 32 AI groups since 4.0 engine 

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8 minutes ago, Ridaz said:

Erm... they actually added to 32 AI groups since 4.0 engine 

I think its 16 different AI groups that can be given up to 32 orders each, IIRC.  More terrain objectives would = more triggers.  This would be cool also. 

Edited by MOS:96B2P

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1 minute ago, MOS:96B2P said:

I think its 16 different AI groups that can be given up to 32 orders each, IIRC.  More terrain objectives would = more triggers.  This would be cool also. 

OIC well that's quite a shame, but I am still impressed by the AI though. In other games once u played with the AI enough times, Then regardless of maps or mode, the AI will be predictable. However in this game every map/scenario has a different AI personality and always keep me guessing. It would be nice if they can improve the AI or even better, make it use dynamic AI plus the directive AI. 

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I think it's a bit beside the point to keep asking for more AI groups to fix the AI. It's a bit like saying WE NEED MORE HORSES... when what you really need is a truck maybe.

As I see it (after some experience building scenarios) is that we need the game to interpret AI orders orders in a better way. When given an advance order, the units will just run towards the designated destination. If each team made a short (30 sec) stop each time they reached a place of cover (hedge, low wall, etc.), the order would be massively more useful. It wouldn't mean the AI would suddenly start acting like a world class player, but it would make it much easier for a designer to make the AI attack in a reasonably believable way.

As it is, we can use an assault AI order (not the same as the assault command in the game), which makes the units of the group move in bounds, but the individual legs of the bounds are way too long, so units can't suppoirt each other, and no attention is given to cover along the way, which means units will happily run straight past a place of cover and then hunker down in the open field 30 metres ahead.

Currently, the only way to do a sort of workable AI attack is to very carefully use a lot of individual move orders to micromanage exactly where each AI unit will end up and for how long, and then sculpt the landscape of the map to make sure the odds are stacked against the player.

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18 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

I think it's a bit beside the point to keep asking for more AI groups to fix the AI.

Here we have to disagree...;)

A good way to solv the very problem you mention above would be to give the desiger more AI Groups.

I'm pretty sure that this would be far easier to program compared to getting the AI units to act in a more belivable way by their own...To get a more human-like AI the computer controlled units would need to have a better understanding of what each unit does...how to do it...when to do it...why to do it...The AI would need to be able to interpret the terrain to a far greater degree in order to be able to use it to its advantage...both the terrain 'under its feet' as well as the over all terrain situation...What kind of impact will that hill 150m of to the west have on the movement across this field...for example. The AI would need to have a better understanding of both what other friendly and enemy units are doing right now and might be doing soon...

Getting the AI to have this kind of awareness would be a massive undertaking to program...It would be far easier to program additional AI Groups...

Let us scenario desigers HELP the AI a bit more :)...It needs it...

Having more AI Groups would not neccesarely complicate scenario designing imo. It would require more work to program...yes...but it would most likely cut down on the playtesting and subsequent tweaking quite a bit...The designer will have a far greater chans of getting the AI Groups to perform as he wish first time out if he can keep them smaller.

A small example...An infantry platoon with a machinegun attached advances down a street...

Have them in one AI-Group...the designer would have very limited controll of wich team moves where, when they move, what they do when they reach their next waypoint etc...

Splitting this platoon up into maybe 3 or even 4 AI Groups would give the scenario designer the ability to make sure that the advance up the street is well timed and coordinated...The machinegun could be placed to suppress (area fire) suspected targets up ahead and provide direct fire against any enemy that shows itself. The squads could be ordered to advance up the street on both sides (without zig-zagging across the open street to get to the next waypoint) at a pace and intervall that the scenario designer seems fit. The squads could also be ordered to area fire at certain objects as they go along if desired. The HQ team could be held back at a sutable distance to be able to maintain C2. At the right time the machinegun team could be brought forward to their next supporting possition...

Things like these ...:) More AI Groups would help imo

 

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29 minutes ago, RepsolCBR said:

'm pretty sure that this would be far easier to program compared to getting the AI units to act in a more belivable way by their own...To get a more human-like AI the computer controlled units would need to have a better understanding of what each unit does...how to do it...when to do it...why to do it...

My point is that we would not need to go that far. Just making the AI stop and take a pause when it passes some good cover would be very useful.

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 I would like to assign an AI group to each individual vehicle if I could mainly for collision avoidance and coordinating movements through forest tiles, and leap frogging way points, when linear destinations are required. There are some good work arounds. Such as dropping the same number of destination tiles as there are vehicles in the group, works in most terrain except forest.

I should mention I use dash often ( except at choke points or where combat is imminent) so all vehicles move at once to respond quickly if required, but there is a higher affinity for vehicles to go into the collision routine if the destination tiles are not set to the optimum location. It takes testing to determine which waypoints work the best.

 

 

Edited by nik mond

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2 hours ago, nik mond said:

 I would like to assign an AI group to each individual vehicle if I could 

 

 

Me too...many of the times.

It gives far better controll of how tha AI behaves when it comes to maintaining formation, leap frogging, timing and choosing god fighting possitions etc...

Sure...the AI will do a somewhat decent job controlling a platoon sized AI Group consisting of a few tanks...It is no disaster by any means :)

but it is 'that Little extra' that may not work as the designer wants it to...sometimes the right flank tank in a formation decides to move over to the left flank of the formation when moving through a number of waypoints for example...This usually is not the best of ideas...If the AI is left in controll of the entire platoon the leap frogging might not be conducted in the way the designer want it to...the fighting possitions enroute might not be choosen according to the designers wishes etc...

Being able to controll each tank individually pretty much removes these problems...The designer will be able to get the tank platoon to perform as he intends them to...

even the finer details :)

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I totally agree with 32 AI Groups! I am always designing AI with a combination of units I really do not want together... simply because I have run short of AI groups. 8 was severely restrictive, 16 is only slightly better. However, 32 would be outstanding! 

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One question that I've never got straightened out in my own head.....Do vehicles & their passengers always have to be in the same AI group?

I could set an experiment up in the editor, I know, but I'm kinda busy right now.....So if anyone already knows the answer (which I strongly suspect is the case), I'd appreciate a heads up.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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14 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

One question that I've never got straightened out in my own head.....Do vehicles & their passengers always have to be in the same AI group?

 

No ! they do not...:)

I did a scenario in CMRT in wich i used T34s and tankriders (different AI-Groups)...The tanks where their own AI Group and the tankriders...also their own...

The tanks could be help back ones the tankriders had jumped of to provide support when the infantry moved forward...

I'd be suprised it doesn't work the same way with trucks, halftracks etc...

 

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