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joethejet

Terrain Description

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Hi All,

I looked through the manuals (most of them anyway) and didn't find anything that describes the effects of terrain or even how to tell which terrain is which. Does this exist somewhere that I'm missing?

Thanks,

Jet

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Page 92 of the engine manual has brief descriptions of the few special terrains that are impassible or difficult. 
Otherwise, its "what you see is what you get" terrain-wise.
Dirt is dirty, mud is muddy, rocky has rocks on it, tall grass has tall grass on it, etc. If instead of 'game tiles' you should think of it as real-world terrain and treat it accordingly you won't go far wrong. You can check out all of the different terrains with their labels in the editor.

I expect someone somewhere must have made a comprehensive description of terrains and their effects at some point, considering there are seven different titles with discussion boards that go back a decade.

Edited by MikeyD

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Easiest way is open up a blank map in the editor and paint a few square of each terrain type. Label them and then study them. Easier to see the difference when they are side by side.

Experience teaches best.

Edited by Jim1954

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Well, it's a good idea to put together a map like that. Seems like someone 😉 has probably already done that.

 

I guess I'm remembering the first CM where there was a good description of each terrain and it's cover/concealment effects at a high level and information on whether vehicles can traverse the tile. Hard to believe that something similar doesn't exist for the latest editions....

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57 minutes ago, joethejet said:

Well, it's a good idea to put together a map like that. Seems like someone 😉 has probably already done that.

I guess I'm remembering the first CM where there was a good description of each terrainorangesand it's cover/concealment effects at a high level and information on whether vehicles can traverse the tile. Hard to believe that something similar doesn't exist for the latest editions....

2

Apples and oranges. You can mix and match terrain tiles e.g. light forest with heavy bushes (of varying sizes) in CMX1 terrain tile was terrain tile, end off. You can use the LOS tool to see how far you can see, working on the principle if you can see out someone can likely see in, and might spot you. If you are a small target with a small silhouette e.g. AT gun then less likely those 'seeing in' will spot you, whereas if you are Tiger II more likely you might be spotted. 

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When players try to numerically quantify terrain capabilities they can become frustrated when things don't go as expected . You go in thinking 'tall grass will have 30% more concealment than short grass' but your guys die anyway. Possibly because your troops were green with poor discipline so gave their position away. Or you forgot the opposition has IR optics. In CMBS you can be deep into a patch of hvy forest hiding behind a bush and still they'll spot you and shoot you. The only safe place is behind a terrain fold (WWII titles are more forgiving in that regard).

You can play with hiding troops in wheat fields or tall crops to see what happens, get a 'seat-of-the-pants' feel for the terrain. 'Tall crop' in CMBS/CMRT is flowering rape seed, in CMSF2 its a corn field. In CMFB its a moot point because its winter and crop fields are reduced to stubble anyway. CMFI of course has vineyards which again are affected by the seasons. What's the tallest crop in CMBN? Lavender, I think, though the art for it isn't very convincing.

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33 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

What's the tallest crop in CMBN? Lavender, I think, though the art for it isn't very convincing.

I got dragged around a Lavender farm by my wife and a visiting mate. We arrive, look at a block of Lavender, two minutes later wife's mate has wandered off somewhere else and shouts out, 'oh look at this' my response of 'is it more Lavender' (which predictably it was) did not go down well.

Definitely a morning of my life I'll never get back - but I suppose the upside of it is that I can agree with @MikeyDbased on personal experience that Lavender is not modelled brilliantly in the game. I doubt Lavender realism will make the patch either for those of you who believe that the game is broken because of it.

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Across the highway from some land I used to live on was a Christmas tree farm. Every year when the season rolled around they would harvest a patch of about ten acres and replant it. Consequently, the farm was a patchwork of trees of varying height depending on how long they had been growing. I imagine trying to model the effects of that farm on LOS would have presented some interesting challenges.

Michael

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I guess I was looking for something like what was in the first game. It's really useful for the casual players (like me) who only play once in awhile. Even knowing what the different tiles are so that I could identify by looking at a picture would be useful. Now it's sort of a guess.

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23 hours ago, joethejet said:

Even knowing what the different tiles are so that I could identify by looking at a picture would be useful. Now it's sort of a guess.

I feel your pain. It might be nice if some information IDing the terrains present in the tile would pop up when the cursor was passed over it with the shift key depressed would be welcome.

Michael

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Posted (edited)

Ok, guys...I'm with MAC on this one.

Basically, put yourself in a Units shoes, you shouldn't know more then they know. You get a rough idea of what the Terrain type is, and what Cover & Concealment it may likely offer, etc (also, using the LOS tool helps)...This, and the lack of info for how much Armor or Gun Penetration, etc, all helps with the Immersion that CM provides.

Edited by JoMc67

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Yeah, but that only works IF you have a unit in the tile you're worrying about. If your planning your line of approach when attacking it does you NO good.I like what Michael suggested and I would also suggest that a LOS tool would be useful wherein you could do a point-to-point LOS from the middle to the middle of the tiles. Yes, I know that this doesn't tell you everything if a unit is in the front or the back of a tile, but it would at least give you *some* info.

 

JoMC, true, BUT I would argue that the actual units can see better than we can in the game AND, you're assuming they don't have maps or scouting that gives them a good line of approach.

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Generally speaking, the tactical plan "Maybe they won't spot me" doesn't work all that well in the game. Because they will invariably see you, whether you're hiding on the third floor of an urban building on in the middle of a potato field. I believe during WWII Patton became so frustrated with the flood of green replacement tankers into NW Europe that he started issuing basic tactical instruction to them in the form of memos. Info like: foliage concealment is not to be treated as cover. The only safe place to be is behind a terrain feature

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12 hours ago, joethejet said:

JoMC, true, BUT I would argue that the actual units can see better than we can in the game AND, you're assuming they don't have maps or scouting that gives them a good line of approach.

Yeah I agree with this. This game is still kind of abstracted somewhat. This is a video game and you can't 100% perfectly simulate the complexity of real-life terrain in a video game. For example, real terrain is almost never going to be perfectly flat like a pool table. Even mostly flat terrain is gonna have small undulations and curves and objects in it that someone could potentially use as cover. Yet in the game, flat terrain is perfectly flat because it's impossible to simulate terrain to that level of detail. Your guys in the game should have a much better idea of what the terrain looks like than you do. You're just looking at pixels and blurry textures on a screen. 

Sometimes it's really hard for me to figure out what some terrain tiles are. Is it soft ground or mud or is it just dirt or what? Am I gonna risk bogging my vehicles down if I go across it? If you were standing there in front of it in real life you would know exactly what it is. So why don't they just tell you what each tile is in the manual? We shouldn't have to go into the editor and lay out all the different terrain types and test them ourselves just to see what they do.

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15 hours ago, Bozowans said:

Sometimes it's really hard for me to figure out what some terrain tiles are. Is it soft ground or mud or is it just dirt or what? Am I gonna risk bogging my vehicles down if I go across it? If you were standing there in front of it in real life you would know exactly what it is. So why don't they just tell you what each tile is in the manual? We shouldn't have to go into the editor and lay out all the different terrain types and test them ourselves just to see what they do.

Not in the dark, not when travelling quickly, not when closed down, not when its covered in snow you're not. That's why people fall over and vehicles bog or run off the road.

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16 hours ago, Bozowans said:

Yeah I agree with this. This game is still kind of abstracted somewhat. This is a video game and you can't 100% perfectly simulate the complexity of real-life terrain in a video game. For example, real terrain is almost never going to be perfectly flat like a pool table. Even mostly flat terrain is gonna have small undulations and curves and objects in it that someone could potentially use as cover. Yet in the game, flat terrain is perfectly flat because it's impossible to simulate terrain to that level of detail. Your guys in the game should have a much better idea of what the terrain looks like than you do. You're just looking at pixels and blurry textures on a screen. 

Sometimes it's really hard for me to figure out what some terrain tiles are. Is it soft ground or mud or is it just dirt or what? Am I gonna risk bogging my vehicles down if I go across it? If you were standing there in front of it in real life you would know exactly what it is. So why don't they just tell you what each tile is in the manual? We shouldn't have to go into the editor and lay out all the different terrain types and test them ourselves just to see what they do.

Yeah, is it too much to ask for a picture of the tile with the name? That would make it way easier to at least guess at what cover/concealment you might get. Also would be super valuable to know if your vehicles can traverse or have a bogging potential.

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12 minutes ago, Combatintman said:

Not in the dark, not when travelling quickly, not when closed down, not when its covered in snow you're not. That's why people fall over and vehicles bog or run off the road.

It's not like this information is unknowable to the player already. Anyone can open the editor and lay out the terrain types and see what they do themselves. Or they can read about the terrain and their exact mechanics on these forums, so you always know exactly what terrain you're driving over in the game. It's just a pain to do all that. If you're playing multiplayer, this also gives the ultra-grognard types even more of an advantage than they normally would over a new player. The grognards would already know all the hidden mechanics of the game that the manual doesn't tell you because they've gone in the editor and tested every little thing, while a new player would not know any of this and all it does in the end is make the game more un-approachable.

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As a map designer I can tell you that it may not be as useful as you think.  Why you ask?  I can't speak for anyone else but in laying out fields I don't do it with a single terrain type.  I'll scatter mud around and additional types as it gives 1 a more realistic look and 2 variability.  So when you go to drive that Stryker across 600 meters of terrain are you going to look at each terrain tile on that route?  You might need to in order to avoid some possible scattered items. Hell I have even considered changing out some files to make mud look like something else so I can create bogging opportunities in urban maps specifically so the player can't just see the tiles and decide not to drive that route.  Yeah I am a little evil, but no worse than Sgt Squarehead :D 

But like you said- you can do that now.  Open the editor, take some screen shots, add some text information and voila! - you have what you think you want.  

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If you're in a scenario on a 'damp' day and you're unsure if you should risk your vehicle crossing a length of unsure ground, don't do it. The reason why real world vehicles get stuck is because the driver misjudges the ground or is told to proceed regardless.

During a game if you click on the 'menu' item at the lower right you can call up 'conditions'. It will tell you if the ground is damp or muddy. If its raining ground conditions will get progressively worse during gameplay. You can bog on grass, you can bog on dirt, you can bog crossing streams or on wet dirt roads or in snow or pretty much anywhere except for perhaps rocky or hard ground or cobblestones.

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13 hours ago, Bozowans said:

The grognards would already know all the hidden mechanics of the game that the manual doesn't tell you because they've gone in the editor and tested every little thing, while a new player would not know any of this and all it does in the end is make the game more un-approachable.

Yeah I'm not buying any of that. First - and a thick detailed manual with all kinds of information on terrain tiles and combinations of tiles and their full effects on different vehicles would make the game more approachable. Yeah, "no".

Second with any game, and in fact real life, those that come prepared *do* have an advantage. That's the number one reason armies train - to be prepared.

 

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Posted (edited)

I am gonna do the same thing I did a few years back when this argument came up. Here's a pic. Now, I challenge anyone to tell me how the UI is supposed to explain this terrain in a simple picture or label that noobs (or anyone else for that matter) will completely understand.

 

hMG6cYs.jpg

 

There's a HUGE difference between the terrain in CMX2 and CMX1. The combination possibilities are massive.

So, for anyone keeping count, that's a red dirt tile, with half a house in the action spot, a low wall, two trees, a shed, some brush, and an extra tall grass and weed tile bleeding into it. There's no label that will fit. "Red dirt" doesn't cut it, there's a house and trees and a wall. "Red dirt with house" doesn't fit, there's trees and a wall. Nor does "red dirt with trees", etc. etc. Now multiply this ONE tile (with this particular combination of objects) by the twenty-three other ground tiles that could realistically replace "red dirt". That's twenty-four combinations just for this one picture. BUT that's only a one story house. That's only two trees. What about a two story house? What about three trees? Or one tree? Or bushes instead of trees? Or bushes instead of trees with a tall wall? See where I am going here? The only way it flies (without going crazy with descriptions) is if the tile is a completely plain version of itself; red dirt with nothing else, tall grass with nothing else. Other than that, WTF?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBIUKPeq4Y0

 

Mordest Gump.

Edited by Mord

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1 hour ago, Mord said:

I am gonna do the same thing I did a few years back when this argument came up. Here's a pic. Now, I challenge anyone to tell me how the UI is supposed to explain this terrain in a simple picture or label that noobs (or anyone else for that matter) will completely understand.

 

hMG6cYs.jpg

+1    :lol:  Nice example!!  I don't know how you could explain it all.  Not that it wouldn't be nice, but I just don't know how it would be possible and practical.  Makes my head hurt just thinking about putting it all into some kind of document.  By the way is that also an outhouse flavor object in the action spot?  Another recent thread said flavor objects can provide certain amounts of cover.  So I guess the outhouse would need to be included with all the other variables :D.     

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10 hours ago, IanL said:

Yeah I'm not buying any of that. First - and a thick detailed manual with all kinds of information on terrain tiles and combinations of tiles and their full effects on different vehicles would make the game more approachable. Yeah, "no".

Second with any game, and in fact real life, those that come prepared *do* have an advantage. That's the number one reason armies train - to be prepared.

 

A thick, detailed manual? What, like adding two more pages to it? It wouldn't take much to explain what the terrain types are. And yes it would make the game more approachable. Otherwise you wouldn't get people coming onto these forums just to ask how the game works. Do you dislike strategy guides? Because that's all stuff you're supposed to figure out for yourself through trial and error or something? Is it too much to ask for a picture of mud that says "this is mud - increased risk of bogging"? Or a picture of a potato field that says "this is a potato field"? I can write all this out myself if I wanted. It doesn't have to tell you that this exact type of terrain has a 24.67% increased chance of bogging for this type of tank, and a 37.32% chance for this other type of tank on it.

And what do you mean, "those that come prepared like in *real life* have an advantage?" You mean like going into the editor and laying out terrain types and testing them? You can't do that in real life. I'm just not sure why you would deliberately want to make the game more confusing for new players.

And for those of you talking about how there a billion different variations of a terrain tile because sometimes there can be stuff on top of it, okay I get that. That's not what I'm talking about though. All I want to know is what the underlying terrain texture is supposed to be. That's it.

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36 minutes ago, Bozowans said:

All I want to know is what the underlying terrain texture is supposed to be. That's it.

So make one.  Yeah I get it that you feel it should be in the manual.  It isn't though and not sure if BF will decide to add or not.  They might, but in the meantime......

Kind of like the PDFs that people have done for flavor items.  That one is a bitch I'd have loved to see in the manual, but considering the mods that have been done to add more flavor items it likely wouldn't be as much use now.

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