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Günzel for Kanzler

CMC- The dreaded Setup Clickfest will strike again?

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Hello,

from what I just gathered so far, there wont be any change to the unit-sorting function used in the setup code, right?

I remember the micromanagement in a started battle

often turned from fun into a challenging and time-consuming task, and back. But the larger setups

always were a pain in the ass.

Therefore I guess some smarter and easier sorting at setup could mean a difference to potential new end user. They already have to bear the cheap graphics and the management of units in battle,

so a little smoothening won't do any harm, I suppose.

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Originally posted by Sergei:

What precisely would be the kind of smarter and easier sorting that you ask for, and how would it be implemented without taking time from Charles' other projects?

Um, how about having the AI set up the units for both sides, which each player could then use as a starting point for their own set up? Whether this is worth the trouble for CMC is another question, but I know that the single most important reason why I don't play large quick battles is the pain in the ass trouble of setting up all of those units lined up at the back of the map.

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I never setup my units during QB's anyways. I always leave them at the back of the map and the only thing I place are mobile units that are in restricted trees or other terrain. This gives the AI another fair advantage and then as I move forward is when I start deciding on good places for my units to travel through. Makes for some great and challenging games vs AI. ;)

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Only improvement I could possibly think of. Instead of placing the units in a straight line like this....

X X X X X X X X

Is to make a little company grouping like this

X X X

X X X

X X X

X X X

Makes it a little easier to grab a full company for transport to wherever on the map you want.

Big deal? No. Worth changing code for? Probably not. Big setups are supposed to be a bit of work (and be a pain in the butt).

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Actually the chaos at the start of battle is not as bad as many people think. If you take a moment you will see that the troops are lined up in a logical fashion and using the group select function it only takes a minute to sort them out.

Going from right to left you will first encounter any independent support units. Then come the infantry units. You always get the highest HQ first (e.g. the battalion HQ) and then the companies and platoons in the same order as they appear in the editor. By double clicking on the platoon HQ, you can quickly rearrange them in a way which makes it much easier to identify the individual companies, as suggested by Peterk.

I much prefer this to having units already scattered all over the setup zone by the AI or the scenario designer, especially when the briefing doesn't give you a good description of what you have.

Reinforcements, especially in operations, are a different matter. These really arrive in an awful mess.

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They are grouped somewhat logically or at least in purchase order along the back wall. I disagree that it only takes a minute to sort them out though. For large CMC battles with regiment+ size forces it could take quite some time to sort everyone out.

I personally find this one of the more tedious phases of large battles as it is just clicking and no action. That said, I doubt that a "force organizer AI" could be easily developed that would be universally agreed to be useful.

I'm willing to call this setup work a cost of doing business for large battles and have the time spent on other features. Compared to the overall time spent pushing units for a battle of this size for 60 minutes, setup is tedious, but fairly small overhead.

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Originally posted by Slappy:

They are grouped somewhat logically or at least in purchase order along the back wall. I disagree that it only takes a minute to sort them out though.

You're welcome to disagree. But I've designed dozens of scenarios, a good many of them with more than a battalion of troops for one side. And I always make a point of putting them on the map in an easily recognizable manner for the players. So I'd say I have a bit of experience with it.

For large CMC battles with regiment+ size forces it could take quite some time to sort everyone out.

I think the whole point of CMC is to show how individual company or battalion sized engagements add up to a whole regiment or division being engaged over a more extended area, isn't it ?

So while you're ordering a larger amount of troops around on the operational map, I expect the majority of tactical engagements should still be company or battalion sized.

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I certainly don't mean to suggest that you don't have experience with setups. I'll go on to say that I always appreciate scenarios that logically group starting forces.

I appreciate it because I personally find it tedious and the first thing that I do when I open a battle. I love it when designers do it for me. I'd love it if CMC did it for me, but I doubt it will. I further doubt that it will do so in a way that will make you, me and everyone else happy. I'd rather the designers spend time on other things than a great setup assistant. I don't know if I can be more clear than that.

As for engagement sizes in CMC, you are correct in the intent of the game, but I'm not sure how that will play out in actual design. CM was intended to be a company level game, but people built To the Volga anyway. In CMC, if you have divisions (the stated total formation size) fighting in out on 10km of front, I don't think having a regiment lining up on 2km where the big push is happening is unrealistic at all. Just my guess on where scenario design and the game are likely to go. That's a lot of men to setup. Hell, it's a lot to command for 60 turns, probably more than I have attention span for.

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Is there any way to improve the AI setup? Would this take precious programing time away from charles?

I too agree sometimes (albiet larger scenarios) it can be frustrating to manuever your units into a "combat formation". I noticed even way back with Steel Panthers it had a semi intelligent AI placement for units on scenario setup. Mind you CMC is light years ahead of the ancient Steel Panthers Series and I'm sure the programing needs to change setup in CMC/CMBB are significant but a discussion on the cost benefit of some minor adaptations I think are worth it........IMHO

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First thing in scens for me is to load it into the editor ans look what I have. Including my reinforcements. Then I sort my units as they were on parade. View "5", looking across the parade ground towards my edge, view not fixed on unit. Then the clickfest starts: Hit "+" with left hand, place unit on parade ground with mouse (right hand). May take a few minutes. Then I take notes on what I've got, including HQ bonusses and experience. Then I look at the map, guestimate the enemy and decide on the strategy. Then I place my units.

Units in parade formation on setup (maybe as option) would be appreciated, though I do it really quick now - lots of training.

Getting an OOB list (like in the editor) would help as well.

Gruß

Joachim

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I, too, would rather see companies arranged in 'blocks' at the start up, instead of 'lateral parade order.'

I don't know about others, but set I up exactly as Petark described, above:

First, I take the units out of 'lateral parade order,' i.e. x=squad, X=leader, or xxxXxxxX, etc, allowing for the placement of vehicles outside of prohibited zones, and rearrange them by 'company block,' i.e:

platoon 1

xxxX

platoon2

xxxX

platoon3

xxxX

Company leader

Company assets (MG platoons, transport, organized by type.)

Edit: (After that, I deploy them into a battle line, when I have a good grasp of their situation, assets or deficits, organization, and capabilities.) Sorry I didn't make that clear earlier. I thought it was an obvious point.

Still, once I understood the CM system of lateral deployment, it isn't that big of a problem.

It's time consuming, but not really any major brain damage.

[ January 08, 2006, 07:43 PM: Message edited by: Keegan ]

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The problem with any complex initial arrangements is that the system would have to be programmed to take into consideration the size and shape of the deployment zone and terrain features in it. Suppose there isn't enough suitable room to arrange your battalion into such formation?

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I wonder if vertical deployment from the start line down, rather from lateral map edge to map edge might not be more pleasing and at least a compromise to all concerned, especially if it could be arranged at the center of the start line rather than at one corner of the map.

Of course, this takes no account of the difficulty in doing so in terms of writing code.

I guess I'm not inclined to view the current initial setup as intolerable, even if I don't like it very much.

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Now, that was an intelligent comment.

I once heard a story about a guy that got (so he said) an entire battalion of good infantry blown to hell by a single 550kg bomb from a lone Stuka...bad time for a group hug?

Of course, none of us veteran wargamers would deploy so stupidly...

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From earlier discussions, deployment is based on the formation of the ME (manuever element) at the time the contact is initiated. If your ME is in road travel and the enemy ME is deployed dugin/hidden. Your guys will be all in a row on the road. The enemy's will be dugin in nice hidden dug-in positions. Thus an ambush scenario would be fought.

In CMC, sometimes you can't always setup where you want. It wouldn't be a case of depolying stoopidly just a case of being caught off-gaurd. A maneuver element of some ACs and HT ahead of the main body would be a good idear.

Bottom line: Yes it was an intelligent comment.

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