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Pericles

Concerned over rare pathfinding problems in SF2 demo

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I just witnessed a fire team do something completely unrealistic. Their leader became wounded from a grenade in close quarters combat (Wilcox scenario). The orders were for the fire team to advance a single square in "Hunt" mode. Once the casualty was inflicted, the rest of the fire team became nervous and decided to run away - they were no longer under fire. I'm ok with this - they panicked and fled, seems like something that might happen under the circumstances (even to Veterans).

The problem is how they fled. They were sandwiched between two buildings so they essentially had two options: (1) run back towards friendly forces (the side of the map from whence they came) or (2) run towards enemy forces (the side of the map that had yet to be explored). They chose option (2) and became pixelcorpses.

Concerned with this because I want CM to be perfect. I feel like this is a "bug" that can never really be fixed given that it still isn't fixed. I understand, it's complicated given the complexity of the code. But it sucks. Good thing that it is relatively rare (I've logged at least 10 hours with the new demo and this is the first time I've come across it). 

That being said, re-playing the turn does not yield the same unrealistic behavior so I'll forget about it for days, weeks, or months until it happens again. 

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I have seen a lot of wonky pathfinding in the demo. I have played both Wilcox and the Bank. I have seen the example you describe as well as armor avoiding passable albeit roughy terrain and infantry looping around buildings even though a door exists that could conceal their approach.

Concerned.

 

Smash, out!

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In all CM games, inc the demo, I have seen, many, many times, infantry 'choosing the wrong door'.  But mostly, when I analyse it, they are not aware of the threat (I mean within the comms indicators of the game) as I am, so mostly it's my fault, I think. It's easy to cure it, I've found, but setting a path to right outside the door you want them to use, then a path into the building, instead of just a path into the building, allowing them to choose. 

Rarely, I see them choose a wrong door under fire (where they should know better). But this, again, is ameliorated by giving them specific pathing instructions. 

In terms of the first point by Pericles, I haven't yet, in the demo, playing through Wilcox around 3 times so far, seen any of the old behaviour under fire - where they would panic and run blind, into open space or other obvious kill zones. Mostly, when they panic now they seem to lie flat where they are, no?  So there is certainly, I think, some progress there, perhaps?

Edited by peter thomas

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I agree with Peter that "wrong door" issue's are usually (indeed I think entirely) caused by my own, usually rushed, orders.

It's one of the reasons I like tiny & small scenario's so much... if you've only got a handful of squads you'll pay a lot more attention to where you send them!

As for the odd retreating direction, couldn't that be caused by the scenario designer assigning the wrong direction as the friendly one?

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3 hours ago, peter thomas said:

Mostly, when they panic now they seem to lie flat where they are, no?  So there is certainly, I think, some progress there, perhaps?

Agreed.

 

3 hours ago, peter thomas said:

It's easy to cure it, I've found, but setting a path to right outside the door you want them to use, then a path into the building, instead of just a path into the building, allowing them to choose.

 

1 hour ago, 37mm said:

I agree with Peter that "wrong door" issue's are usually (indeed I think entirely) caused by my own, usually rushed, orders.

These statements do not apply to my case. I issued a "Hunt" order to one action spot away from where the fire team was. This put them outside a door. I did not plot another waypoint inside the building. I would describe myself as "very patient" in terms of how I issue orders. They then took a single casualty from a grenade. They then fled, and instead of running back towards friendly forces, they ran directly towards the unexplored area of the map. They were then eliminated by a group of enemies hiding in the next building that had yet to be cleared. 

"Unrealistic" is how this behavior can be described, and :"coding problems" are what caused it in this particular case. 

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11 hours ago, Pericles said:

I just witnessed a fire team do something completely unrealistic....

But, deeming that the punishment of their enemies was sweeter than any of these things, and that they could fall in no nobler cause, they determined at the hazard of their lives to be honorably avenged, and to leave the rest. They resigned to hope their unknown chance of happiness; but in the face of death they resolved to rely upon themselves alone. And when the moment came they were minded to resist and suffer, rather than to fly and save their lives; they ran away from the word of dishonor, but on the battlefield their feet stood fast, and in an instant, at the height of their fortune, they passed away from the scene, not of their fear, but of their glory.

Fixed that for you, Pericles. 🏛️🏛️🏛️

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1 hour ago, Pericles said:

Agreed.

 

 

These statements do not apply to my case. I issued a "Hunt" order to one action spot away from where the fire team was. This put them outside a door. I did not plot another waypoint inside the building. I would describe myself as "very patient" in terms of how I issue orders. They then took a single casualty from a grenade. They then fled, and instead of running back towards friendly forces, they ran directly towards the unexplored area of the map. They were then eliminated by a group of enemies hiding in the next building that had yet to be cleared. 

"Unrealistic" is how this behavior can be described, and :"coding problems" are what caused it in this particular case. 

IIRC and it’s been a long time someone wrote about not using the HUNT command when entering a building. I think it was written to use a move command. 

This was written back when Shock Force was out and the AI and programming had changed. The peek around corners is implemented.

Later on I’ll look through my backup drive and see if I can dig up the article I think I saw it when digging up old mods to try on demo.

A few days ago I posted about what I though was odd behavior in the training mission when issuing the HUNT command to enter a building.

At this point I think using a move command is the better way to go. Assault if available may also work.

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12 hours ago, Pericles said:

That being said, re-playing the turn does not yield the same unrealistic behavior so I'll forget about it for days, weeks, or months until it happens again. 

So, what does happen on replay? Do they withdraw on their own every time? In other words I am curious if you have seen multiple self preservation withdraw actions or if there was only one.

One thing that I would like to check is the relationship to friendly map edge. That scenario setting plays heavily into the decision so if it's wrong... So, what direction did they actually go when the made the poor decision you witnessed (talking compass points here). Then I can compare that to what the scenario setting is.

Having said all that this is a probabilistic thing. The troop's reaction to the bad event will not be the same every time and the decision on where to withdraw to will not be the same every time either. Which is to point out soldiers making a bad decision from your point of view is most likely not a bug. It could be but it is not the most likely reason.

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No, I only witnessed the unrealistic behavior once. I re-played the turn and the fire team did not take a casualty and so I accepted it and moved on. 

In the scenario, your forces start in the South and attack Northwards. When the fire team panicked, they ran North (towards enemy forces) not South (towards friendly forces). 

22 minutes ago, IanL said:

Which is to point out soldiers making a bad decision from your point of view is most likely not a bug. It could be but it is not the most likely reason.

Luckily I made a video of the behavior I witnessed, in the event that my description was not enough. Please have a look at the video below (I will delete it in 24 hours). Given that the fire team in question was ordered to "Hunt" one action spot away, to the outside of the door , and given that there were no other commands issued for that fire team, and given that they chose to run towards the enemy forces/unexplored area of the map/North when they panicked, this is conclusively a bug. 

IanL - Would you agree that this is a bug? 

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LOl. That does look crazy! It actually looks like what they're trying to do is carry out your intent by still trying to get into the building, but by searching for the door right round the other side. I've noticed that sometimes when they do this - search for silly far-away entry points - they are reacting to the proximity to the nearest doors of enemy units within the building. Your hunt order was not to enter a building, but I wonder if they're trying to carry it out by going around the long way. I mean, maybe the bug is that they're not panicking at all but actually continuing with the order via a different path (and at a trot). Who knows? Definitely not good though. 

Edited by peter thomas

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Crap. I know what happened.

The squad leader was the glue. Yeah, he took some shrapnel. (He ended up recovering after several surgeries and some post-op rehab. A bit of leg scarring, but regained full use of all limbs.) Anyway, the assistant squad leader was busy trying to get some first aid setup and an evac, when Jenkins, the squad foul-up, jumped up and shouted, "Run, men! Follow me!"

As Jenkins got up, the assistant squad leader immediately leapt in pursuit. He wanted to tackle Jenkins. Alas, Jenkins was fueled by adrenaline. As he went out the gate, instead of retracing the squad's steps, Jenkins took a wrong turn. The assistant followed, trying to stop him. The rest of the squad thought that they were charging somewhere. So, in the best tradition of camaraderie and elan, each squad-member stuffed his fear deep inside and ran towards the north.

They died because the squad leader, wounded, could no longer rein in Jenkins ill-placed proclivities, and the rest of the men followed him, either to support him or to stop him.

 

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2 hours ago, peter thomas said:

LOl. That does look crazy! It actually looks like what they're trying to do is carry out your intent by still trying to get into the building, but by searching for the door right round the other side. I've noticed that sometimes when they do this - search for silly far-away entry points - they are reacting to the proximity to the nearest doors of enemy units within the building. Your hunt order was not to enter a building, but I wonder if they're trying to carry it out by going around the long way. I mean, maybe the bug is that they're not panicking at all but actually continuing with the order via a different path (and at a trot). Who knows? Definitely not good though. 

The "hunt" order is automatically cancelled when a unit spots an enemy so they definitely weren't trying to carry it out anymore. They just chose a very stupid place to run to.

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5 hours ago, IanL said:

So, what does happen on replay? Do they withdraw on their own every time? In other words I am curious if you have seen multiple self preservation withdraw actions or if there was only one.

One thing that I would like to check is the relationship to friendly map edge. That scenario setting plays heavily into the decision so if it's wrong... So, what direction did they actually go when the made the poor decision you witnessed (talking compass points here). Then I can compare that to what the scenario setting is.

Having said all that this is a probabilistic thing. The troop's reaction to the bad event will not be the same every time and the decision on where to withdraw to will not be the same every time either. Which is to point out soldiers making a bad decision from your point of view is most likely not a bug. It could be but it is not the most likely reason.

IanL - Do you have a response to my question? I asked whether you agree that this is a bug now that I provided video evidence. I'm interested to know your thoughts on this given your experience with CM (e.g. you have over 12,000 posts on the forum). 

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18 hours ago, Lt. Smash said:

I have seen a lot of wonky pathfinding in the demo. I have played both Wilcox and the Bank. I have seen the example you describe as well as armor avoiding passable albeit roughy terrain and infantry looping around buildings even though a door exists that could conceal their approach.

Concerned.

 

Smash, out!

Yes, I've seen this too.  I posted it in another thread.

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On 10/23/2018 at 11:33 AM, Pericles said:

No, I only witnessed the unrealistic behavior once. I re-played the turn and the fire team did not take a casualty and so I accepted it and moved on. 

 

19 hours ago, Pericles said:

IanL - Do you have a response to my question? I

Yeah, I heard you the first time - but I also have not had the chance to look at the scenario...

In the mean time what I said before still stands:

On 10/23/2018 at 11:02 AM, IanL said:

Having said all that this is a probabilistic thing. The troop's reaction to the bad event will not be the same every time and the decision on where to withdraw to will not be the same every time either. Which is to point out soldiers making a bad decision from your point of view is most likely not a bug. It could be but it is not the most likely reason.

 

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I was playing ‘the Bank’ and had a Section in the buildings on the right main avenue of approach two buildings before the embassy objective.  

I gave the section an assault command to move into the adjacent building (the one directly adjacent to the embassy). It was a move to the adjacent action square.

 The first fire team went out the side door and entered the side door of the building and met no resistance. The second fire team went out the front door, onto the main avenue, and took 2 or 3 casualties from fire down the street. Then proceeded to enter the front door of the target building. Thereby going a longer route, into a easily recognisable kill zone, where I hadn’t ordered them to go. 

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32 minutes ago, liamb said:

I was playing ‘the Bank’ and had a Section in the buildings on the right main avenue of approach two buildings before the embassy objective.  

I gave the section an assault command to move into the adjacent building (the one directly adjacent to the embassy). It was a move to the adjacent action square.

 The first fire team went out the side door and entered the side door of the building and met no resistance. The second fire team went out the front door, onto the main avenue, and took 2 or 3 casualties from fire down the street. Then proceeded to enter the front door of the target building. Thereby going a longer route, into a easily recognisable kill zone, where I hadn’t ordered them to go. 

Yes, this is what I keep running into in that scenario...troops picking the wrong door for entry or exit.  

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I have uploaded three videos to Youtube regarding the pathfinding problems. Links are pasted below. 

I have also started a thread that might get us some idea as to whether there is actually a coding solution to this problem. 

 

 

 

 

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Something to take note of in your testing:  The 2nd story balcony "attached" to a single story Building technique (very cool and I have done the same myself) may confuse the AI

more than the enemy gunfire

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I wonder is it that the AI doesnt recognise the external, freestanding walls as providing cover? ie that the courtyard effect is actually a really great place to be, as you're protected from 2+ directions AND hidden from view.

Each time, the AI ignores the cover provided by the walls and runs out. 

Is it treating the walls as hedges? That would explain the reluctance to stay near them (ive seen inf ignore hedges and run past to buildings to escape arty fire).

 

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I do not understand what was the context of your second video. I do not see the soldiers fleeing. What was your orders?

For the first and the third video, I can't load scenario in the editor with the CMSF2 demo. But, from what I am seen the soldiers are fleeing in the North direction. It would be interesting to know what is the value of the Blue Friendly Direction parameter for this scenario.

a9vap.jpg

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3 hours ago, ncc1701e said:

I do not understand what was the context of your second video. I do not see the soldiers fleeing. What was your orders?

On my first try, my orders were to  run FAST into the courtyard 2-3 action spots away. They ran North instead.

On my second try (the second video), I cancelled all orders for the soldiers in an attempt to have them stay put at least. They ran North instead, outside of the courtyard complex, and then South a little bit down the road. And then, remarkably, they turned around and ran North again into enemy fire. 

The Blue Friendly Direction parameter for this scenario must be South - that is where your U.S. forces start the mission. 

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6 hours ago, George MC said:

Blue friendly direction in Wilcox is SOUTH - confirmed using demo version of Passage at Wilcox scenario.

Thanks. We still don't know which way the men @Pericles is unhappy with were going.

Having said that we now have a bunch of videos so even though none of them snow what the orders were I can at least go play in that same area of the map and try out some orders and see what choices the men make.

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