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JPFisher55

Two issues with Combat Mission

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I recently purchased Combat Mission Black Sea and Normandy.  In general, I like, but do not love, both games.  The graphics are great, especially with all the neat mods.  You can zoom out to follow all the action or zoom in to follow just a small part.  

But I have two issues with both games.  One issue is that I cannot tell line of sight at all.  I cannot tell a unit's line of sight without using the target function.  In addition, I have no idea about the LOS from any point on the map.  This makes it very difficult to properly place and move your units for maximum usage.

Also, I cannot use artillery to bombard anywhere unless a unit able to use artillery has a line of sight to the desired target.  This unrealistically restricts artillery.  Many times artillery, mortars or howitzers, were used to bombard suspected enemy positions.  I can use aircraft to strike targets not in any line of sight.  The same should be true for artillery with reduced accuracy.

 

 

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You need to do a little more research as to “how to” before listing likes etc.  some of what you note is true some is not.  Google is your friend. . . Well sometimes anyway. 

Also may want to read some posts by serving folks or vets on what was practice versus what is possible. There is a ton of info in the pages of these forums from knowledgeable folks that goes beyond even what the game depicts.  I’d give some specifics, but there is simply too much in too many threads.  IanL I think was posting a thread with some links, but am on the road and don’t have it handy. 

Edited by sburke

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JP:  Using the TARGET function is exactly how one determines LOS.  CM1 used to have a LOS command, but that was abandoned since TARGET fulfills the same function.  (You don't have to actually target anything, just use the TARGET command to see what can or cannot be targeted - which is the same as what can be seen.)

You can set multiple waypoint most places on the map, and it is then possible to use the TARGET command and see the LOS from each and every waypoint.  The challenge is that while you may find great LOS from a waypoint, when you move an actual unit to that waypoint you will very often NOT have the LOS you thought you were going to have.  Given that determining effective LOS is such a challenge you may well wonder what is the point of having the capability of checking LOS from every waypoint.  But, that is how LOS sort of works in CM2 - and it is better than nothing. 

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18 minutes ago, Erwin said:

The challenge is that while you may find great LOS from a waypoint, when you move an actual unit to that waypoint you will very often NOT have the LOS you thought you were going to have.  

In my experience this is usually (though not always) due to infantry posture--as I understand it, the Target tool will show you LOS from that unit *from its current height* as if it were at that position. But infantry heights change during play based on their posture. Often, especially early in the game, you'll be measuring from an infantry unit that is safely behind the lines and standing or kneeling. But if you crawl (Slow) them into that position, they'll be lower down, and possibly able to see. It can happen in reverse if your unit is currently down on their bellies but you expect them to be kneeling when they get there--e.g. if they're going to end up behind a wall. 

I agree about drawing multiple fake waypoints to check LOS. Getting down to camera level 1 and walking the battlefield before the game to see what you can see from various spots can also be helpful (keeping in mind that this doesn't get you as low down as infantry; I think it approximates an average vehicle height?)

There are many threads on artillery targeting but it's worth mentioning, if you haven't seen it already @JPFisher55, you can target places out of view if you have a TRP there (or within 50m), or if you're doing it before the game starts. You can even target a spot out of sight, then put a 15-minute delay on it. If you find after the game starts that you don't want to hit that spot, you can cancel the fire mission.

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Gen L is correct in the way LOS works.  The challenge is that no matter what the height, you cannot control what posture your inf will have.  They will see more LOS when walking upright, but that doesn't help you since they will automatically kneel or take cover at the waypoint - so suddenly the unit will not have the LOS you thought they would.   Even more strange is the situation with vehicles.  They should always be at the same height, right?  But, often a vehicular waypoint will show LOS to a target...  Wonderful.  But when the vehicle gets to that waypoint - it has no LOS to the target.  Frustrating. 

Walking the battlefield and viewing everything from level one is a lot of fun and one can fully enjoy the graphics etc.  However, beware that one doesn't get WYSIWYG.  It is common to be unable to see through a forest, but the computer AI can and will find a 1 pixel gap and shoot through dozens of meters of woods to kill you.  The good news is that your units benefit from the same AI and your guys are just as able to shoot through what looks to the human eye as "impossible to get" LOS terrain and kill an enemy.  B)

In addition, one would think that if someone can see you, you can see them.  But not so in CM2.  Eg: In a game am playing right now have experienced many situations where an enemy can shoot at my guys, but my guys cannot see or shoot at the enemy.  One often finds those anomalies in urban maps: One can see a nearby house that is in plain view with no intervening obstructions but there is no LOS to TARGET that house.  

That's why it's sometimes puzzling why CM2 offers one the opportunity to check LOS at every waypoint, when that can be very misleading.  It's the sort of feature that hopefully will be addressed/improved in CM3.

Also JP:  Unless it is the initial set-up turn (or one has drones which are currently only available in CMBS) one cannot issue target order to artillery OR aircraft unless a spotter has LOS to the target or area. 

Hope that is useful, mate.  CM2 has a steep learning curve.  But, this is such a rewarding game when you get experienced.

Edited by Erwin

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About artillery - since it requires spotting rounds to make sure it hits where you want it to hit - how would a spotter know if artillery is on point if he does not see the rounds and thus can't communicate corrections?

 

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About artillery - When setting up your missions you want your FO or HQ to be able to see as much of the target as possible. For example, when calling in a Linear mission you don't want only to see both ends of the line, you want to see most of it's length. And, most importantly, you wan't to be able as much of the surrounding area too, as has been mentioned in other threads.

It can be frustrating, when spotting rounds go astray, e.g. land off map, in thick woodland, or even behind your spotter. But, that is a fair reflection of spotting problems in WW2, just cancel the mission, and move your FO or HQ to a better position.

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16 hours ago, sburke said:

 IanL I think was posting a thread with some links

This is the post that @sburke was referring too:

There are a couple of links on the topic of spotting and a couple on artillery.

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44 minutes ago, IanL said:

This is the post that @sburke was referring too:  

Wow lots of good information all in one handy place!!!!  Thanks for compiling and sharing. + 1

Just FYI.  The C2 Information Sharing is the old link.  The new one is in my signature line. :)

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53 minutes ago, MOS:96B2P said:

Wow lots of good information all in one handy place!!!!  Thanks for compiling and sharing. + 1

Just FYI.  The C2 Information Sharing is the old link.  The new one is in my signature line. :)

I un-ignored your signature to get the link and updated the post...

Thanks.

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11 hours ago, kraze said:

About artillery - since it requires spotting rounds to make sure it hits where you want it to hit - how would a spotter know if artillery is on point if he does not see the rounds and thus can't communicate corrections?

 

I definitely agree with this. However two questions:

  1. I am wondering why (in CMSF1) it is possible at the beginning of a mission to target whatever you want by artillery. Except if you have a TRP, you should not be able to target whatever you want if you don't see it. I consider this is a little cheating doing so (especially on attack).
  2. If a spotter has only a 30° angle to see the target point and if the spotting rounds is far on the left or on the right, does sound enter in the equation?
Edited by ncc1701e

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14 minutes ago, ncc1701e said:

I definitely agree with this. However two questions:

  1. I am wondering why (in CMSF1) it is possible at the beginning of a mission to target whatever you want by artillery. Except if you have a TRP, you should not be able to target whatever you want if you don't see it. I consider this is a little cheating doing so (especially on attack).

It is the same with all CM2 games.

Any bombardments ordered at the set-up turn is considdered pre-registred locations simular to the TRPs...because of this... no need for LOS.

The main difference is that TRPs may be used throughout the game...

 

 

 

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On ‎1‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 5:00 PM, JPFisher55 said:

I recently purchased Combat Mission Black Sea and Normandy.  In general, I like, but do not love, both games.  The graphics are great, especially with all the neat mods.  You can zoom out to follow all the action or zoom in to follow just a small part.  

But I have two issues with both games.  One issue is that I cannot tell line of sight at all.  I cannot tell a unit's line of sight without using the target function.  In addition, I have no idea about the LOS from any point on the map.  This makes it very difficult to properly place and move your units for maximum usage.

Also, I cannot use artillery to bombard anywhere unless a unit able to use artillery has a line of sight to the desired target.  This unrealistically restricts artillery.  Many times artillery, mortars or howitzers, were used to bombard suspected enemy positions.  I can use aircraft to strike targets not in any line of sight.  The same should be true for artillery with reduced accuracy.

 

 

LOL... Got some responses, huh? ;)

Arty: blind firing can be done by planning it at the beginning of the battle. There are some limits, timing-wise, but you can plot artillery ANYWHERE on the map on turn 1. Lots of reasons for this and they are addressed in the links that others have provided. Great reading.

LOS: like they said. You've got to estimate a lot, but you can always drag a waypoint "there" and draw a target line from it and see what's up. Then, delete the waypoint.

(FWIW, a lot of folks would like a better LOS tool. There's a lot of reasons, technical and game-design, to argue against that.)

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Thank you for all your replies.  I tried the waypoint idea.  The pre-start artillery helps.  However, my big issue with this game is that the maps are crude and do not suggest any terrain that might have better line of sight over other terrain.  In addition, the line of sights calculations seem to be very restrictive.  Rarely can I see more than 100-200 meters even in Black Sea game.

IMHO, the series fails to replace the older Steel Panthers series due to the line of sight issues and the artillery issues;  great vehicle and unit graphics though.

Edited by JPFisher55

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Crude maps?  How dare you sir!!  Okay yeah I'd love to be able to do more with them, but as with anything else there is a cost.   I don't think I understand the comparison to Steel Panthers though.  Maybe compare that to Close Combat, but it and CMx2 are a world apart.

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10 hours ago, JPFisher55 said:

However, my big issue with this game is that the maps are crude and do not suggest any terrain that might have better line of sight over other terrain.

While having to bring the camera down to the ground level every time to check which position will give a good LOS is a PITA - it is certainly very representative of what your troops will see.

10 hours ago, JPFisher55 said:

In addition, the line of sights calculations seem to be very restrictive.  Rarely can I see more than 100-200 meters even in Black Sea game.

Rain, fog, mist, low-light conditions and simply a prone stance of troops can cause this. In fact rain and fog heavily degrade thermal optics.

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11 hours ago, JPFisher55 said:

Thank you for all your replies.  I tried the waypoint idea.  The pre-start artillery helps.  However, my big issue with this game is that the maps are crude and do not suggest any terrain that might have better line of sight over other terrain.  In addition, the line of sights calculations seem to be very restrictive.  Rarely can I see more than 100-200 meters even in Black Sea game.

IMHO, the series fails to replace the older Steel Panthers series due to the line of sight issues and the artillery issues;  great vehicle and unit graphics though.

 

Perhaps you haven't seen some of the maps? There are some which are utilitarian and others which are works of art. The LOS should never be restricted to 100-200 meters throughout ANY map. Some areas, sure. But "rarely" more than 100-200m? That's very odd. 

Now, as far as "suggest any terrain", that's not the map's job. That's your job, commander. ;)  Start with getting the camera down low. Go to the place you want to target. Look back towards your side. See that obvious piece of dominant terrain? Good. Avoid it, or your men will die. C'mon. It's obvious. See that sliver of a hill just peeking past the woods? Ahhh...that may work. Or the woods coming off the shoulder of the hill on the left. Just avoid the damn hilltops or your men will die.

After you've used the "look back" method, then stick a waypoint near the location you want to use. Draw the LOS (by using the target line). Does it work with a bright blue? Good.

Part of the game is learning what terrain is good and what is bad. 

 

9 hours ago, General Liederkranz said:

One way to get a sense of relative elevation is to install a gridded terrain mod. I tried one and didn't like the look of it, but it does help see small hills and dips.

http://cmmodsiii.greenasjade.net/?p=2295

^^^

I do not use these mods, but, if you'd like a better sense of the terrain, they do a fantastic job of showing the small undulations which are critical to gaining LOS.

 

Maps: each one is handcrafted in the editor. The ones that came in the game are made with the same tools included in YOUR game. Open the editor, pick a scenario, save it with another name (so whatever you do does not affect the original file), and have fun with the map. See what you can come up with. Make it the way you want it.

FWIW, I've found some of the maps to be incredibly good. There's been a trend towards using Google Earth and trying to recreate battlefields exactly as they exist. The terrain which is produced using this method is amazingly accurate. A lot of the WWII maps in CMBN/CMFB/CMFI/CMRT are done this way, using period maps, Google Earth contours, aerial photos from the time, etc. The same is true of CMBS.

If you're in a map with restricted LOS in CMBS, then it's probably because that's what it's like. BTW, what map is it which has that LOS restriction? 

I'm not trying to bludgeon your criticism down. I'm just puzzled and would like to sort out why I don't see what you're seeing. (As far as limited map LOS.)

 

(Sorry for the lengthy response, but I've got a new keyboard and I like using it. :) )

 

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I think that the maps...the way that CM2 handles terrain is one of the best part of these games...

Elevation changes (even the smalest ones) have a significant impact on the gameplay (cover, concealment)...The different types of vegitation etc is not just there to - LOOK PRETTY -

as is the case in so many other strategy games...many other games might have better Graphics...but thats just what they have...better Graphics...How these Graphics actually influence the gameplay is imo less impressive...

When it comes to the maps/terrain and how realistically they impact the game...ones again CM stands in a class of its own ! B)

Sure...Spotting, LOS and LOF are not perfect...there are times that we se very frustrating results when it comes to these things...but the overall experience blows the competition to pieces !

The newbies might have a bit of a learning period to get to know the shortcommings of the system...but ones aware of them they are manageble...

 

 

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