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AdamActual

Clarification from demo

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Posted (edited)

Hi there!

I just downloaded the demo of CMSF2, and found the camera behaviour somewhat strange; I was hoping to find out if this is how it is in the full game, or if I'm having issues?

It basically moves at wildly different, unreliable speeds. Sometimes holding W will move at a fairly slow pace, other times it will speed far past where I intended to move. This is on all modes. On FPS mode, it veers (somewhat erratically) towards the mouse position without any kind of input from me (e.g. holding a mouse button).

Aiming/looking around with the mouse is also at a seemingly random, variable speed, where angle changes are either incredibly slow, or far too fast.

I was just hoping to find out if this is usual for the game, or if it's either a bug in the demo, or a bug on my system? I love the look of the game, but I find it really difficult to control things with these varying speeds.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Edited by AdamActual

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5 hours ago, AdamActual said:

I was just hoping to find out if this is usual for the game, or if it's either a bug in the demo, or a bug on my system? I love the look of the game, but I find it really difficult to control things with these varying speeds.

No, that does not sound usual. There are no known camera movement bugs in the demo or the full game.

I use the standard camera controls and I have turned off screen edge camera controls (<alt>E).

When I use the keyboard camera controls they move at at constant speed - with the caveat that in a large scenario there can be some slow down as you move around and more or less units come into or go out of view.

To control the speed of the camera movement I click and drag the mouse - the further you drag the mouse the faster the camera moves and the shorter you drag the mouse the slower the camera moves.

Sounds like the problem you are experiencing could be because the game is struggling to keep the frame rate up. Try reducing the 3D texture and quality settings on the options page even just to test that out. Also if you have an nVidia graphics card there are a couple of good threads on how to improve performance. Check out the "Performance Discussion" section here:

 

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Posted (edited)

There is a game feature where if you move the cursor into a corner of the screen the camera will rapidly move in that direction. That feature can be turned off. For some people its a useful feature, for other who don't pay attention to where their cursor is while playing it can be annoying.

Here's the relevant line from page seven if the game engine manual.


 

Quote

SCREEN EDGE PAN TOGGLE
Tired of trying to fine tune a camera position and then messing it up by touching the
edge of the screen with the cursor? Using the hotkey ALT-E you can disable
camera panning by touching the screen edge with the mouse cursor.


 

Edited by MikeyD

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It shouldn't be choppy unless you're playing on a huge forested map with an old PC.

You know you can control click somewhere on the screen to move the camera there. Also clicking on a unit then hitting tab will select it and focus the camera on it.

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Posted (edited)

Hi all, thanks for the replies!

So my performance was certainly poor, I had a very low frame rate even after reducing everything to the lowest. (The only map I've opened so far is the Training map in the demo.) My computer is an i7 4770, 32GB RAM and two GTX 1080s. The link IanL provided gave me some ideas, and I played around with a couple of things in the NVIDIA Control Panel: forcing single GPU and overriding the game's antialiasing and anisotropic filtering, and I have gained a fairly substantial FPS increase. Now, with everything enabled and on high (except for model quality, which is Fastest) I generally hold 60fps (VSync is on, it's likely higher). Model quality appears to have a massive impact on performance, even on Balanced. But seems related to how many trees are on screen? Where I thought that would be controlled by Tree Detail. Nonetheless, the game is now generally very smooth, with just the occasional hiccup during a quick rotation.

Sadly the smooth framerate still sees my initial issues, but I think made them easier to diagnose. (Toggling Alt+E to stop edge movement is good! But was not actually a cause of any of my issues.) I'm hoping to confirm a few things, just to make sure there's no roadblocks on my end:

  • In FPS camera mode, the camera always aims towards the mouse cursor when moving, but not static, right? Here is a video of what I mean, I move the mouse near a screen edge, let it go and then press W a couple of times: video. You can see just a slight press makes the camera move towards the mouse without me actually holding anything. (I have since realised the default camera behaves how I want, I'm more curious if this is how the FPS mode is supposed to be.)
  • I get a lot of pop in, there doesn't seem to be a way to increase the draw distance. Is this normal? Video. There also doesn't appear to be a way to disable shadows (which I would prefer over shadow pop in)?
  • My theory for the "erratic" camera is that the accelerates until it's reached its maximum speed, but then will continue to move at that speed, even in the opposite direction. So moving for a short time will move a very short distance, but immediately moving in the opposite direction will cover a larger distance because it has already accelerated. Furthermore, I believe that diagonal motion isn't normalised. So if you hold W+A, the camera moves at twice the maximum speed of W or A by themselves. This speed is reached immediately, with no acceleration. Combined, the camera is moving at differing speeds around the same area, with the same input time. Knowing this (if I'm correct) makes it much less frustrating. I already feel like I have more control because I can compensate myself. But I just wanted to find out if this is the normal experience?
  • Holding right click and aiming the camera has similar acceleration, where the same motion doesn't result in the same camera movement. It appears to be related to the position on screen, rather than the motion of the mouse (which I would prefer). As such I find pointing the camera floaty, and hard to be precise.
  • Clicking and dragging the mouse to move the camera works in the opposite direction to what would feel natural to me. I would like to essentially 'pull' the spot I clicked towards the camera, but instead I have to move the mouse in the direction I want to go, if that makes sense.
  • Is there a way to disable the non-sky skybox? (Low resolution horizon line and ground below the battlefield.) Even just a flat colour would be preferable. 

So what I'm primarily wondering is whether the demo is entirely representative of the full game, or if there are additional settings to modify any of the above? For example, I have seen some forum posts about disabling shadows, which implies maybe the full version has this functionality? Though now with a normal frame rate is it all a lot easier to compensate for, and I'm sure I'd get used to some of the quirks. I'm just hopeful some of them can be configured in the full game?

Thanks again for any help! Sorry about the essay, I promise I did try and condense it...

Edited by AdamActual

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I don't use fps mode, so I am not entirely sure, I just move around with wasd and rotate with q and e with the occasional control + click to fast forward to a point far away or click tab on a unit to teleport there. I think moving the camera with the mouse is mostly used for youtube vids so the camera movement can be controlled smoothly to make it look cinematic.

The popping in of textures is normal. There is one of the two settings, either texture or models quality, I forgot which, that will slightly increase the size of the "bubble" around the camera but the effect isn't super dramatic and on a big map if you're flying over the battlefield as opposed to be being near the ground, there will always be the game switching to low res textures and removing trees at a distance.

I don't want to tell you how to play the game and some people would probably disagree with me here, but often it is useful to keep the camera fairly low in order to get a good idea of the terrain, to get a feel for the elevations and lines of sights etc, to be able to see what your pixeltruppens see. You can't play like this all the time and of course you will zoom out fairly often to get a global view of the battle field. But if you do this, then the textures popping in and some of your issues with the controls won't matter as much imo.

You can disable shadows.

With a PC like you have, you probably expected higher fps, but if you're getting 60 now, that's plenty for this type of game really.

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-When I first got the Demo I had a terrible time with low fps. I eventually figured out that CM really does not like the threaded optimization setting on Nvidia. Make sure that is off. These days I only have 16x Anisotropic filtering on my CM profile... everything else is off or on default.

-I use FPS mode occasionally & it is finicky... but if you turn off screen edge movement (alt+E) the FPS mode will, at least, not break unit lock

-There are two ways to increase texture distance; the first is by increasing your 3d model quality however that can have dramatic & negative effects to your fps (as you've discovered). The second, as I recently discovered, is to turn off all Vsync & AA. Instead, if you rely on Reshade for post-processing AA, your draw distance will remain unhindered. You can try out reshade on your Demo. Vsync is really not needed on a game like CM & does more harm than good from what I can tell. I usually play, and record my videos, on 'Balanced' 3d model quality & 'Best' texture quality. I have a mediocre system.

-You can disable shadows with alt+W & shaders with alt+R. You can also change your 3d Model quality in-game with Shift+[ & Shift+]

-The camera controls do take a bit getting used to.

-You cannot disable the distant background bitmap  (which is what I think you're describing) but it can be modded. Demo's will allow modding.

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Glad you got an overall speed bump. I also do not play with FPS camera controls so I may not totally follow your descriptions but you are correct that travel accelerates, up to a limit, and I do notice that if you hold the A key down and then switch to the D key to move back it does start out at full speed if you don't let go first. Holding the W and A keys at the same time never bothered me but I guess you are correct that it is going faster than just one or the other. It does not feel twice as fast to me and I don't feel like it's strange. I'm probably used to it.

The mouse click and drag speed is relative to how far away from your original click location is on screen. That allows you to speed up and slow down the camera as you move around. I find it pretty intuitive and some times use it to follow units when I don't want to be locked to a unit.

5 hours ago, AdamActual said:

So what I'm primarily wondering is whether the demo is entirely representative of the full game,

Yes, for the behaviour of camera controls the demo and the game will be the same. Essentially the demo is just a self licensing install with a limited set of scenarios. All the functional code is the same. The only time the demos lag behind is if upgrades have been made to the game that have not been ported back to the demo. At this point the demos are all up to date except for very limited patch fixes, none of which effect the camera controls.

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Hi all, and thanks again for your replies! That's all really good information!

The shortcut to turn off the shadows did the trick! The tree shadow pop in was far too intense for me. I did somehow manage to turn tree shadows off, but leave vehicle and building shadows on. (I thought it was disabling VSync in game and enabling it in the NVIDIA Control Panel, but after restarting that doesn't seem to be the case.) I wish I could trigger that reliably, as it's exactly what I'm after, hehe.

Otherwise, thanks to all of you I've got the game running in a way I'm happy with. I don't require flawless performance, just enough that it doesn't feel unwieldy trying to control things. There are still some quirks I'm sure I'll get used to, e.g. making minor adjustments to the camera position with the keyboard is a bit challenging. I also can't see any major difference between the Fastest models setting and Balanced, let alone Best. I do notice some rims and windscreen wipers on the Humvee, but that's about it. Is there something major I'm missing? Maybe when there's human characters around it's more obvious? But I don't know that it's worth the performance hit moving it up to Balanced when I can barely tell the difference to Fastest.

So I suppose my final question is about purchasing the game. The price of the full package is fairly high in AUD (~$180), and I'm not exactly flush with cash. It would be a couple of months of my game budget. But it's also such a big saving compared to buying it all piece meal that I'm struggling with the decision. I often don't finish games, and might return to one later on, so if I just picked up the core game will it keep me entertained awhile? And/or are there more interesting scenarios in any of the expansions that are more fun, if it's possible I'll never play everything? (Though it is my goal to find a game, hopefully this one, that compels me into returning to it frequently.)

Thanks for all of your help, again!

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Posted (edited)

CM isn't a game in the sense we usually think of games. Yes, it's fun, entertaining, and you use rules and orders to interact with it but it's more a simulation. You don't really finish a CM title like say you would a FPS or RT game. It's designed in a way that it technically could never end. I've been playing BN since 2011 and am still going, still doing things involved with it, whether that be firing up a scenario or modding. Think of it more as an investment in historical immersion, research, interaction, and play. There are a huge number of ways you can enjoy these titles; modding, scenario play, scenario design, campaign design, historical research, loading up the vehicles and studying their design/systems, map making etc. You can watch a WWII documentary or read a good memoir, then jump into one of the titles and experience the battles and fire fights you just watched or read about on a visceral level that engages the imagination—you become the general, the captain, the private locked in fierce combat across France/Germany/Russia/Italy with all the formations, weapons, vehicles and armor that can entail.

When I invest in a wargame I usually shoot for one that has longevity (editor etc.), historical immersion, detail, and a passionate community that will keep it alive for years to come. CM nails that criteria. If the game grabs you (like it has so many of us) your return on dollar spent is in the pennies. These are bar none some of the best bang for your buck titles in the hobby.

 

Mord.

Edited by Mord

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Your problems isn’t is CM worth it in terms of the hours of enjoyment you’ll get. Your problem will be what other activities can you forego to make more time for CM. Your significant other may be a slightly bigger problem than cost. 

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7 hours ago, Mord said:

CM isn't a game in the sense we usually think of games. Yes, it's fun, entertaining, and you use rules and orders to interact with it but it's more a simulation. You don't really finish a CM title like say you would a FPS or RT game. It's designed in a way that it technically could never end. I've been playing BN since 2011 and am still going, still doing things involved with it, whether that be firing up a scenario or modding. Think of it more as an investment in historical immersion, research, interaction, and play. There are a huge number of ways you can enjoy these titles; modding, scenario play, scenario design, campaign design, historical research, loading up the vehicles and studying their design/systems, map making etc. You can watch a WWII documentary or read a good memoir, then jump into one of the titles and experience the battles and fire fights you just watched or read about on a visceral level that engages the imagination—you become the general, the captain, the private locked in fierce combat across France/Germany/Russia/Italy with all the formations, weapons, vehicles and armor that can entail.

When I invest in a wargame I usually shoot for one that has longevity (editor etc.), historical immersion, detail, and a passionate community that will keep it alive for years to come. CM nails that criteria. If the game grabs you (like it has so many of us) your return on dollar spent is in the pennies. These are bar none some of the best bang for your buck titles in the hobby.

 

Mord.

This. Truth :)

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, AdamActual said:

So I suppose my final question is about purchasing the game. The price of the full package is fairly high in AUD (~$180), and I'm not exactly flush with cash. It would be a couple of months of my game budget. But it's also such a big saving compared to buying it all piece meal that I'm struggling with the decision. I often don't finish games, and might return to one later on, so if I just picked up the core game will it keep me entertained awhile? And/or are there more interesting scenarios in any of the expansions that are more fun, if it's possible I'll never play everything? (Though it is my goal to find a game, hopefully this one, that compels me into returning to it frequently.)

Thanks for all of your help, again!

Although I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of others, more practically, yes the core game will be more than enough to keep you entertained for quite awhile.

Not only do you get the base campaigns, base scenarios & access to an (effectively) unlimited number of possible quick battles... you will also have access to, I guess, about 20% of the (massive) repertoire of available user-made content.

The "big bundle" is $125 US.

Buying the core game now @$60 & the "bundle of three DLC" @$90 later... will cost $150 in total.

A saving, for sure... but not a saving worth waiting any appreciable length of time over.

Edited by 37mm

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, AdamActual said:

 I also can't see any major difference between the Fastest models setting and Balanced, let alone Best. I do notice some rims and windscreen wipers on the Humvee, but that's about it. Is there something major I'm missing? Maybe when there's human characters around it's more obvious? But I don't know that it's worth the performance hit moving it up to Balanced when I can barely tell the difference to Fastest.

The biggest difference is in draw distance (although, as you've noticed, there are some additional model details on higher settings).

I loaded up the demo on my mediocre system & took screenshots of the results (no AA, no Vsync, no shadows, no shaders, no 'movie mode', @1080p & no reshade effects)...

Fastest (almost 60 fps)

M4Ji1mz.png

Balanced (almost 40 fps)

tyPcT5L.png

Best (almost 20 fps)

EibkWc8.png

 

It's tricky to see (check the hill to the right).. but the high-res ground textures are visible at about 80m from the nearest styker on Fastest, ~200m on Balanced & ~300m on Best.

The differences in the distant treelines (top-centre) are particuarly noticeable at the three settings.

 

PS

Just to shill for reshade, here's what ~2fps worth of effects on Balanced gets you...

d3Immb6.png

... it's much sharper, smoother & clearer in general (particuarly noticeable, if you compare the cluster of buildings & the surrounding wall with the stock 'balanced' cluster of buildings).

Edited by 37mm

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Posted (edited)

To add to 37's explanation, you also lose access to multiple uniform/helmet, face textures on lower settings (if you decide to start adding mods to your games). And let me tell you screwing with mods (whether making them or just using them) is one of the games within the game. It can end up being quite a giant rabbit hole.

 

Mord.

Edited by Mord

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There seem to be two types of CM player. There's the type who see CM as a 3-D interactive board game and then there's the players who see it as a war movie they can participate in. Hence the different playing styles, playing with the camera high up or playing with the camera down at troop level. An old joke of mine is players tend to raise up the camera during gameplay to just the height where they start losing graphics and terrain detail... then they complain about the bad graphics and lack of terrain detail! ^_^  Viewing from high camera level (often called 'eye of God') is convenient for placing waypoints but having the camera down in the weeds with the troops during the fight is a better gameplay experience... IMHO

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@Mord Wow, that's probably the best pitch I've ever read for a game, you should write their marketing copy! Haha.

@37mm That, accompanied by Mord's answer is really useful, thanks very much! I think I'm going to take the plunge. Historically I haven't been great with returning to games (let alone completing them, once they drift over 15ish hours), but I have been looking for a turn-based, modern-era war game (I was initially looking for something like Panzer Corps/Order of Battle, but in the modern-era) for a really long time and only stumbled upon this because of an RPS series. Your screenshots do illustrate the difference really well. Personally I don't think the increased draw distance is worth the FPS trade off. I like it to feel smooth moving around, and the units seem relatively unaffected by quality adjustments anyway. (Save for Mord's addition, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.)

@MikeyD From your descriptions, I probably fall more into the interactive board game, I think. I have only played a little so far, but trying to 'solve' each scenario optimally appeals to me. Perhaps misguided? Hehe.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, MikeyD said:

Viewing from high camera level (often called 'eye of God') is convenient for placing waypoints but having the camera down in the weeds with the troops during the fight is a better gameplay experience...

+1

Have found that above level 3 or 4, the graphics of CM2 are not a lot better than a well-modded CM1.  So, Levels 1-3 are the best way to experience CM2 (other than when one needs to place TRP's, waypoints, or studying the map as Mikey says.

"I haven't been great with returning to games (let alone completing them, once they drift over 15ish hours), but I have been looking for a turn-based, modern-era war game..."

Seems like you have found a home here with CMSF2 and CMBS.  Many of us are veteran cardboard wargamers with hundreds (or thousands) of wargames from the last 30+ years stacked up in our garages, but computer games are so much more convenient and faster to play - esp if one doesn't have human oppos nearby.  While some complain about the AI, I think BF has done an outstanding job creating AI that (for the most part) makes units behave "realistically".

 

Edited by Erwin

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, AdamActual said:

@Mord Wow, that's probably the best pitch I've ever read for a game, you should write their marketing copy! Haha.

Thanks, man. I get inspired when new people come along and show interest. It reignites my enthusiasm for the series, explaining all the nuances and reasons why I love the games and I get to see them through fresh eyes to boot. The best way to grow the community base is to welcome new or potential players with open arms and share our knowledge and passion to peak their interests. I get hyped because I want people to experience the same kinda badass moments that I have.

 

15 hours ago, AdamActual said:

From your descriptions, I probably fall more into the interactive board game, I think. I have only played a little so far, but trying to 'solve' each scenario optimally appeals to me. Perhaps misguided? Hehe.

Welp, the one thing Mikey left out is that you can actually do both at the same time if you play WEGO. Plot and play your moves from way up high, then rewind and get down in the dirt for a more immersive experience on the second/third/fourth viewing of the turn. You can travel around the map and view all the action up close and personal from any angle you want, catching all the killer scenes as they play out. You don't miss out on 90% of the coolness like you do in most every other game at this level.

Here's a little vid @IICptMillerII posted a while back that I like to use to illustrate the allure of a CM game.

That beautiful 14 seconds of immersion is what keeps a lot of us coming back for more.

I would also recommend not limiting yourself to just Modern or just WWII. CM's various flavors are a big part of the series's attraction. As you get comfortable with the play-style and mechanics you definitely should branch out into other titles. And added bonus, the engine state stays consistent across tiles. No feature envy. If a new title came out tomorrow and added new explosion graphics and detailed hand to hand combat animations all the titles would eventually get access to them. Pretty damn cool.

If you are still looking for a turn based modern game (and don't already know about it), I'd suggest checking out Campaign Series: Middle East 1948 to 1985, its a bit older but they will continuously update it as they add new features to their upcoming/future titles (like their Nam game). I hope one day they'll do a complete graphics overhaul, but it has a decidedly board game-ish feel to it and covers some obscure conflicts.

 

Af17Dc7.jpg

635UBOU.jpg

CQf0GMI.jpg

If you have any more questions about CM or other stuff, just ask away and we'll do our best to help you out.

Mord.

 

P.S. And if you want to break your 15 hour curse, stick around, interact with the boards. I find discussing the games, posting pics, AARs, and relaying experiences helps keep the enthusiasm and interest levels high.

Edited by Mord

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Thanks for the reply! (And sorry for my delay.) I'm actually not especially "into" (feels like a weird word in the context) World War II. I prefer more modern combat (~80s onwards, I suppose), but there seem to be few options. And thanks for the recommendation! Looks like it also ticks my boxes!

So one more question, just for my curiousity: how chance-based is CMSF2? That is, if you and the AI/another player do the same thing in the same place etc. a few times over, how varied will the outcome be?

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8 hours ago, AdamActual said:

Thanks for the reply! (And sorry for my delay.) I'm actually not especially "into" (feels like a weird word in the context) World War II. I prefer more modern combat (~80s onwards, I suppose), but there seem to be few options. And thanks for the recommendation! Looks like it also ticks my boxes!

So one more question, just for my curiousity: how chance-based is CMSF2? That is, if you and the AI/another player do the same thing in the same place etc. a few times over, how varied will the outcome be?

Does depend on what you are doing I think. there are so many variables. So without any specifics generally there is a random factor - how much? That's the depends bit.

e.g. spotting can be very variable but then other factors such as experience, morale state, equipment etc all play a part.

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12 hours ago, AdamActual said:

Thanks for the reply! (And sorry for my delay.) I'm actually not especially "into" (feels like a weird word in the context) World War II. I prefer more modern combat (~80s onwards, I suppose), but there seem to be few options. And thanks for the recommendation! Looks like it also ticks my boxes!

So one more question, just for my curiousity: how chance-based is CMSF2? That is, if you and the AI/another player do the same thing in the same place etc. a few times over, how varied will the outcome be?

Without desiring to go into specifics of what chance-based actually means, I'd say almost everything in CM is chance based, but at the same time the end results stay similar. For example rushing a squad across the open observed my an MG. The squad will get cut down eventually (almost) all cases, but who get's shot when and where exactly, etc, will be different every time. 

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1 minute ago, Lethaface said:

Without desiring to go into specifics of what chance-based actually means, I'd say almost everything in CM is chance based, but at the same time the end results stay similar. For example rushing a squad across the open observed my an MG. The squad will get cut down eventually (almost) all cases, but who get's shot when and where exactly, etc, will be different every time. 

That is probably the right way to think about it. I was just about to say something similar based on a building entry my men just completed. They had lots of supporting fire and the the fire was still coming when the squad - which was is good order hit the door. It turns out there was only one enemy solider left and he went down while he was still ducking from the incoming fire. There could have been a different order to the way my men went through the door. The enemy soldier might have steeled him self for a moment and actually hit someone. Earlier firing could have resulted in there being two surviving enemy soldiers or none. Likely in the end the overall outcome - my men occupy the building - would end up being the same because I "did it right" - this time - and used overwhelming force. If you don't have overwhelming force then the overall outcome can vary because of random events.

Another place that randomness shows itself is HE. Who live and who goes down when grenades, tank shells or artillery shells go off will not be the same every time. But again if you are dropping lots of HE into the same place the overall outcome will feel pretty similar - nearly all enemy read and broken. But if you just shoot one or two rounds then you will discover how lucky you were when you assaulting squad gets there :D

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