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von Kleist

Infantry Pathfinding-Tactical question

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Hey all,

I was hoping for some input on this. I apologize if there is a thread about this, but I couldn't find one. The only other BFC game I've played is CMBO.

To the point: I notice that in CMBN, when you tell an infantry unit to move, say across a field surrounded by bocage, that I don't always get why they move the way they do. I typically find my self in a position where I'm behind my hedgrow, and the enemy is behind his. I have achieved obvious fire superiority, and determine it is time to perform a close assault on the enemy hedegrow. Often times, there is only one, maybe two breaks in the bocage, so I order a few units to quicktime it across the field, with follow on teams for support. If I were the platoon cmdr, I'd order the guys to spread way the heck out asap as soon as they left the gap in the bocage, so as to assault across the field on a wide front, and hopefully, minimize casualties.

When I plot the way point to the next hedgrow, the guys exit the gap, but continue to run single file all the way to the point where they take a diagonal route to their assigned place in the next hedgrow. While they're running single file, they are FRIGHTENINGLY Vulnerable. One well placed AT gun could take out an entire squad, decapitating them in column.

Obviously, you can plot other way points and spread them out, but that takes extra time and means guessing at the right pause length for them to advance together, etc. Anybody found a better way?

My point is that when infantry advance, they dont advance straight to the destination. They always seem to take the straight line first, then the diagonal portion next to get to a given way point. I don't remember it being that way in CMBO. Any thoughts?

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yeah one good argument for splitting up your squads. Would be nice if there was some type of formation order, line, column etc that would then allow skirmish lines etc. Not sure if it is possible, but would be cool.

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Yep, just happened last night against the AI. The squad was split, I had a half-track w/ a HMG covering, the "assault team" advanced. The remaing German squad who had sat in a bundle of tree for the past 10 minutes of the battle decided to come out at the same time. A squirt (maybe two) from the lead Germans SMG took down all four guys at the same time.

Watched replay in WEGO. It was quite commical... one line of 4 Germans running straight at a line of 4 GIs in a mostly open field. Germans spotted my guys first and it was all over. I have no idea what the halftrack was doing...

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The infantry pathfinding is based on the terrain grid. They don't travel in a straight line, but in a series of terrain action points (the centre of each tile). Their path is laid out as a series of action points, so each individual step of the path is at 0 or 45 degrees to the grid (N, S, E, W or NE, SE, NW, SW). In practice a move across open ground will be interpreted as a single N/E/S/W move and a single NE/SE/NW/SE move - the path in fact that will take them furthest from the plotted movement line. Rather than say a an alternatiing mix of o and 45 degree moved that stays close to the plotted movement (zigzagging across it). Each team in a squad generally takes a different path to avoid congenstion, but the soldiers in an individual team will end up running in single file along the series of action points chosen by the algorithm.

This can lead to some unexpected issues when e.g. trying to stay close to a wall (or other cover) that is generally aligned at some other angle to the grid. You plot a move along the wall, and your guys proceed to run due east out of the walls cover until they angle back in running NE to reach the waypoint. If you want to stay close to an obstacle that isn't 0/45 degree oriented then you need to put in more waypoints (which slows you down, but is quicker than being dead).

One other feature of the grid point system is with doors. The way the pathing seems to work is that the soliders have to go through the action point outside the door before going in. However, depending on how the building sits on the grid, this may be 4 meters in front of the wall, and again this can lead to soldiers going noticably out of the way of the most direct route and exposing themselves needlessly (i tis easy to imagine situations where the door and say 1 meter immediately in front of it is hidden from enemy observation, but further out is in enemy LoS, and yuor guys will unnecessarily run out into LoS before running through the door - I've lost guys to this before).

It seems to be a side effect of the way infantry interact with the terrain grid, and doesn't affect things too often. I dare say it can be improved, after the other 100 more important things on the to do list.

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Von Kleist,

I would say the direct answer to your question is:

"No, you can't really get them out of single file. At most, you can employ some workarounds to reduce the game engine's tendency to herd infantrymen from point to point on a map. So yes, infantry moving around in the open is going to want to move in easy-to-shoot-up files, and yes, this makes HE and to a lesser extend MG even more deadly."

I would add to that, that historically most infantry at most times will tend to bunch up, and the worse-trained and less combat-seasoned the unit is, the more men will want to clump together if under fire. So one might well say the game engine is more fair when simulating inexperienced infantry, and less fair when simulating veteran infantry.

I would also say that there is a game-side bonus to the way infantry moves about the CMN battlefield. The pathfinding may force the little pixeltruppen into files and easy-to-kill groups, but on the other hand it allows them to find their way around a really complicated battlefield pretty much all on their own. If you want to move a squad just by the most efficient way possible from one hedgerow to another one several fields awayt, you don't have to plot to the gap, then across the field, then turn at the next gap, then proceed to the next spot, etc. etc. You just pick a start point and a finish point and the guys will find their own way. Usually, they will find roads and paths and not crash into obstacles but walk around them.

Considering the complextity of CMN battlefields, this is a real benefit. It means that you the player can just tell your guys where you want them and, at least until there's going to be shooting, they get on with that quite well indeed. Mircomanaging when your guys are fighting may be fun for some, but micromanaging every single step of a multi-kilometer hike for every single squad is a pain almost for every one. The CMN engine is excellent at allowing us players to avoid that pain.

The price is, of course, your dudes clumping up when the shooting is going on. I personally dislike it, but as for me I think it's not a game-breaking problem.

(Just don't get me started on the HE rounds loaded with nerve gas, that one really irritates me even when I'm dropping shells on my opponent.)

If I'm wrong about any of this I'm glad to be corrected.

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One other feature of the grid point system is with doors. The way the pathing seems to work is that the soliders have to go through the action point outside the door before going in. However, depending on how the building sits on the grid, this may be 4 meters in front of the wall, and again this can lead to soldiers going noticably out of the way of the most direct route and exposing themselves needlessly (i tis easy to imagine situations where the door and say 1 meter immediately in front of it is hidden from enemy observation, but further out is in enemy LoS, and yuor guys will unnecessarily run out into LoS before running through the door - I've lost guys to this before).

Similar to "dismounting" CMBN pillboxes. More oftentimes a team or squad leaving a pillbox under enemy observation, will have single soldiers not to leave through the backdoor, but rather sidewards into full exposure to the enemy and his fire. :eek:

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Von Kleist,

I would also say that there is a game-side bonus to the way infantry moves about the CMN battlefield. The pathfinding may force the little pixeltruppen into files and easy-to-kill groups, but on the other hand it allows them to find their way around a really complicated battlefield pretty much all on their own. If you want to move a squad just by the most efficient way possible from one hedgerow to another one several fields awayt, you don't have to plot to the gap, then across the field, then turn at the next gap, then proceed to the next spot, etc. etc. You just pick a start point and a finish point and the guys will find their own way. Usually, they will find roads and paths and not crash into obstacles but walk around them.

Considering the complextity of CMN battlefields, this is a real benefit. It means that you the player can just tell your guys where you want them and, at least until there's going to be shooting, they get on with that quite well indeed. Mircomanaging when your guys are fighting may be fun for some, but micromanaging every single step of a multi-kilometer hike for every single squad is a pain almost for every one. The CMN engine is excellent at allowing us players to avoid that pain.

The price is, of course, your dudes clumping up when the shooting is going on. I personally dislike it, but as for me I think it's not a game-breaking problem.

(Just don't get me started on the HE rounds loaded with nerve gas, that one really irritates me even when I'm dropping shells on my opponent.)

If I'm wrong about any of this I'm glad to be corrected.

Thanks for the input all, and to clarify, I have enjoyed playing this game more than any other, IMHO of course. And it's certainly not broken. The point made above is a great one in that we can't have our cake and eat it to. I think the TAC AI does a great job at pathfinding. I have my own way of doing it, by plotting the appropriate waypoints. Just curious to get other thoughts on dealing with it.

vK

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If you use Quick movement, at least they zig-zag a bit instead of lining up like ten pins.

Michael

Sorry Michael this is one time where you not quite right. I use Quick all the time through the hedgerow gaps and there's still a terrible tendency for lining up in single file.

Von Kleist,

I haven't had time to test this but I suspect if you put a way point just on the other side of the hedgerow gap, then the squad will pause and wait for all of it's men to arrive before moving on. This will give them time to space out before crossing the field. Also, I've also been in the habit of splitting squads when advancing within sight of the enemy. Obviously it's more upkeep but let's you really spread out your squads in dangerous situations.

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Sorry Michael this is one time where you not quite right. I use Quick all the time through the hedgerow gaps and there's still a terrible tendency for lining up in single file.

Maybe for going through gaps; I use Move for that anyway, so haven't had my eye on checking for that. But moving over open ground the soldiers do zig-zag somewhat as I described.

Michael

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Pak40,

This is what I do now, It just takes more time. More time under fire isn't good. Just wondering if anybody had a better way.

If you don't like the delays then your best bet is to split the squad into 3 units before going through the gap. Have them go though at different intervals with different objectives. It's not idea but probably best given the tools we have.

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Similar to "dismounting" CMBN pillboxes. More oftentimes a team or squad leaving a pillbox under enemy observation, will have single soldiers not to leave through the backdoor, but rather sidewards into full exposure to the enemy and his fire. :eek:

Some of the exiting troops seem to bleed through the corners rather than straight out the back floor in a similar way they can sometimes pass through the corners of adjoining buildings. This behavior seems more noticeable when the bunker/pillbox is placed on a diagonal within the action square.

This could be solved if the player could assign movement orders to a unit leaving a bunker as he can do already to crews dismounting a vehicle.

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This could be solved if the player could assign movement orders to a unit leaving a bunker as he can do already to crews dismounting a vehicle.

In WEGO there doesn't seem to be a way to assign movement orders to crews in the same turn that they dismount. Passengers, yes; crews no. One hopes to see that changed some time in the future.

Michael

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In WEGO there doesn't seem to be a way to assign movement orders to crews in the same turn that they dismount. Passengers, yes; crews no. One hopes to see that changed some time in the future.

Michael

Err, I don't think so, Michael. Whether it's dismounting, or in the case of a tank, bailing out, one can assign movement orders to a crew on the same WEGO turn.

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Err, I don't think so, Michael. Whether it's dismounting, or in the case of a tank, bailing out, one can assign movement orders to a crew on the same WEGO turn.

Not unless you've got a different version of the game to the rest of us.

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That wasn't clear. What I meant was that you can schedule a dismount and assign a movement destination in the orders phase both of which the crew will carry out during the 60 second resolution phase.

But you can't assign a waypoint after a bail command, which for some vehicles is the only way to ge tthe crew out.

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But you can't assign a waypoint after a bail command, which for some vehicles is the only way to ge tthe crew out.

And in a current game I am playing, I was unable to give a move command to the crew of a jeep until after the turn that they had dismounted.

Michael

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OK, here this Stummel is given a dismount order and a movement order- up the hill- in the same WEGO orders phase. Note that the crew is not explicitly selected.

35626675.jpg

The resolution phase, up the hill they go:

94073635.jpg

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OK, here this Stummel is given a dismount order and a movement order- up the hill- in the same WEGO orders phase. Note that the crew is not explicitly selected.

The resolution phase, up the hill they go:

Very cool Childress, I am used to being able to get passengers to dismount and move in the same turn, was not aware that it could also be done with crew. Next rounds on me!

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Very cool Childress, I am used to being able to get passengers to dismount and move in the same turn, was not aware that it could also be done with crew.

The original point was that this mechanic should work this way with bunkers- which stand in as stationary vehicles for game purposes. But it doesn't. Perhaps a minor oversight by BFC which will be rectified. Don't know about Emrys' Jeep.

Next rounds on me!

It's a deal!

Now I know how Galileo felt. ;)

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