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Lt Bull

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Lt Bull last won the day on April 30 2020

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  1. I will add the following.... I often consider the SP experience as simply a substitute for not having a real human opponent to play against when and where you would otherwise want them to be available at your beckon call to play against when you want to play your game. In this respect the opponent you get in SP is typically a very poor version of the opponent you would otherwise get in MP. The opponent you have when you cant have a "real" opponent. If you were to consider what exactly it is that a game designer (or in the case of a CM SP scenario designer) is IDEALISTICALLY trying to achieve or emulate when they work on creating a CPU opponent for a CM like wargame (or scenario), I would say that it is a bunch of code that can somehow behaves, reacts and responds to a wide variety of input in much the same way (even indistinguishably) from how a real human would behave, react and respond behind the wheels of the same controls presented with the same wide variety of inputs throughout the course of a game/scenario that has specific victory objectives. Another way of describing what they "ideally wish they could do", the Holy Grail of "AI coding" if you will, is if they could somehow take the workings of a real human brain (or brains), ideally one that is "wargame savvy", and somehow express all that collective intelligence and humanness in computer code such that when a game or scenario is played in SP by a real human, this cognitive virtual digital intelligence "comes to life", understanding all the intricacies of the rules and objectives of the game (no different to what the actual player understands) as it takes control of one side of the battlefield against the actual human opponent. In theory the challenge and experience would be no different to playing a real human, thought without any of the annoying negative things that can sometimes be associated with the MP experience (in the case of PBEM, game progression based on how soon your opponent can post their turn in, delays in your opponent posting his turn in, your opponent abandoning the game for whatever reason). I know that PRACTICALLY most game designers (or scenario designers) working on emulating a CPU opponent for games like CM get no where near anything that resembles this "idealised" concept of what I think is the Holy Grail "gold standard" for a CPU opponent. Most are just happy to create something that can be considered "a respectable CPU opponent" with a few obvious shortcomings that the human player nevertheless still finds challenging and worthy of their time, which definitely is still appreciated by many players like myself, even though I know that what I really wish I was playing against was a real thinking human opponent. Would like to know what others make of all this. PS: It is worth mentioning that this "theoretical" Holy Grail of CPU opponent coding not only has been reached in a CM-like game, but has been exceeded. This CM-like "wargame" is however a very rudimentary yet deep game that pits one force of varied units against another on a battlefield based on a set of rules, originally designed to be only played in MP mode head to head by two humans.....chess. Since 1997, the best human chess player has been no match for the best chess CPU opponent. The current one I believe is called AlphaZero, which has also achieved a similar status for the not so wargame-like game Go.
  2. I really like this line of discussion going on in this thread. Lots of good points have been raised and provoke thought. I would say discussions like this don't happen enough, let alone is something the majority of players even think about. I am sure some scenario designers also might not think too much about it either. I have many thoughts on the concept of what it means to make single player scenarios for games like CM where a "CPU opponent" needs to be emulated....somehow. There are lots of things that have been said that I want to expand on, and there are things that haven't been said that I want to say to invite further discussion. I might be off on some tangents, but in no particular order.... 1) I appreciate the potential value of a "must pass a test" concept that could be used by scenario designers as a "minimum requirement" benchmark to asses whether the scenario and associated AI plans they have coded are "up to scratch". The test as you describe it would have merit but only be relevant to a small set of possible scenarios (let alone SP scenarios). Specifically: single player (SP) scenarios where the human player against defends against an attacking AI human defender is NOT allowed to alter anything about the starting locations of ANY of his units. 2) I want to clearly state a thought I have (and why I think it) on the whole concept of designing CM scenarios by any scenario designer. It actually applies to any other game (typically wargames) like CM that pits "one side against another" where either: a) one side is controlled by a human player and the other by an "AI", referred to as the "single player (SP) experience" OR b) both sides are controlled by human players, referred to as a "multiplayer (MP) experience" NOTE: I actually object to using the term "AI" as I have as it implies an "intelligence" is involved, and all the connotations we as humans associate with the concept of intelligence eg. reasoning, common sense, awareness, memory etc. I think "CPU opponent" is a better all-encompassing phrase to use as it says nothing about the actual "intelligence", and just describes what it really is trying to be, regardless of how it is being achieved. However, I have no issue with using the terms "TacAI" and "StratAI" typically used by Battlefront to distinguish between a) the TacAI: what essentially is the hard coded local situational "survival behaviour" that applies to all units in the game (and where Battlefronts "investment in AI" really exists) and b) the StratAI: the realm of what all scenario designers get involved with when they use the Scenario Editor to develop "AI plans" limited to whatever tools Battlefront have given them in the Scenario Editor. As far as I am concerned, there is a MASSIVE difference between trying to design/create a fun/challenging CM scenario that is: a) designed to be played as MP OR b) designed to be played as SP OR (even more challenging for the designer) c) designed to be played both as MP or SP One of these tasks COMPLETELY ignores and is INDEPENDANT to any knowledge or understanding of an aspect of scenario design that needs to be addressed by the other tasks: that aspect being the utilisation of Scenario Editor tools to create the "AI plans" (essentially "coding the Strat AI" for the scenario) for the SP experience. For example, requests like the following have no bearing/relevance whatsoever on a scenario designers ability to make the best MP CM scenario: Having highlighted this fundamental difference between making SP and MP scenarios, this thread probably would be more accurately titled as "A new test for SP scenario designers?". 3) When you think about it, it certainly is interesting to consider that the ENTIRE evaluation of the "CPU opponent" in any CM "SP experience" is essentially a reflection of how good or bad a scenario designer was at being able to utilise and apply the fixed/limited set of "AI plan" creation tools Battlefront has made available in the Scenario Editor to "emulate" a credible and worthy "CPU opponent" for a particular scenario. You could say that the TacAI also contributes somewhat to the totality of the opposition of what a player playing a SP scenario is up against, but of course this ubiquitous TacAI (common to all units on both sides)functions completely independently to whatever the scenario objectives may be. I kind of think of the very much understated task of "coding the CPU opponent" for SP in any "one side against another" computer game like CM to be tantamount to trying to both understand something as complex as how humans would think, behave and respond to certain situations and then trying to emulate and express that via a digital representation of those situations using a bunch of computer code and algorithms, that creates a kind of believable virtual "ghost in the machine" spirit that somehow "takes control of the SP controls" and "thinks, behaves and responds" sufficiently enough to make it "human like". Broadly speaking, involving oneself in anything that has to do with the actual CODING of the "AI code" component that forms part of the "CPU Opponent" in a SP game (typically involving an in-depth practical understanding of a complex and detailed variety of boolean logic, mathematical algorithms as well as the coding language being used) has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with and is completely divorced from say a CM scenario designer (or for that matter even a game developer) from making a brilliant scenario (or game) that is designed to be played by two human players heat to head. I understand that a scenario (or game like CM) purely designed to be played head-to-head MP would still require aspects of "AI coding" (and all that it entails) to have been done to create the "TacAI". But again, this "TacAI" is fundamentally different to (and serves a different function to) the kind of higher level "StratAI" which is essentially responsible for being the "substitute human player" at the controls of co-ordinating a collection of units to meet a specific scenario (or game) goal/objective, acting as the CPU opponent in a SP scenario (or game). Consider a CM scenario designer who just wants to make a MP scenario based on some historical battle. Most would already possess a strong enough knowledge of the battle, the map and the OOBs to easily know where to access the resources they need before they jump in to the Scenario Editor. This is where their true passion and drive to create the scenario in the first place stems from. Many would feel like they are "in their element" getting in to the research and details of the battle because they are naturally interested in the subject matter and can spend countless hours on map and OOB tweaks to get things just right. This is evident in many scenarios (specifically the maps) I have seen which really is good to see. If they can get some pre-release playtesting and feedback done (which I know many struggle to get) all well and good, but once the map is done, the OOBs settled and other scenario parameters decided upon (objectives, parameters etc), their work is done. All it takes now is for two willing CM players to face off against each other on this virtual battlefield that was created. The scenario designer "threw the party", and the two players "made it happen". Now consider if the CM scenario designer instead wants to make it a SP scenario. They would have to essentially do all the things I have explained above (being comfortable and well within their element to do so), but then reach a point where they would need to start "coding the CPU opponent" (for at least one side, if not both) to make the scenario playable as a SP scenario. This task is not only so different and unrelated to anything they have had to do up till then, but is also a task which is probably the most difficult and challenging to "get right". They literally are now involving themselves in a very specialised task that not even some dedicated wargame game developers can get right...coding the CPU opponent to "take the wheel" of one to react and behave in a worthwhile, logical and challenging way side so a human can play against it in SP. I would hope scenario designers definitely know where their real strengths and interests lie before deciding on whether to make SP scenarios, as opposed MP only scenarios. If they are not interested in learning and dealing with all the shortcomings of what are a very rudimentary and basic set of tools made available to them in the Scenario Editor to create AI plans so that players can have a credible/challenging SP experience against a CPU opponent, there certainly is no shame in just designing the scenario to be played MP, and not SP. For those scenario designers who do take take on the challenge of designing SP scenarios despite the extra work and extra skillset needed, I definitely hope that Battlefront pay attention to the suggestions for enhancements/improvements in the suite AI plan creation tools in the Scenario Editor.
  3. It's probably been like that since the last patch (ages ago) and no one has pointed it out before? Surely there would be QB players who would have noticed. Anyway, if it seems to be a bug (I don't know if this is something deliberate by BFC) I will report it.
  4. Checked QB for all dates, France and Holland. No German Armored Battalion with Support Company. What is up?
  5. Late to the party here...but let me say this.....JM Stuff = LEGEND! Incredible work!
  6. Hello, I have just noticed that there was at least one time in the past where the German Panzer Battalion selected in the QB screen would include a Support Co with some AA and some recon assets etc. Not so any more its seems. Curiously, if you go in to the Scenario editor however, the Panzer Battalion DOES come with the Support Company. What is up? Was intentional or perhaps a slip up caused by the latest patches? Bull
  7. I like everything about this post/thread. Great ideas. Great work. +1 PS: LOL! I just realised how old this thread is! Better late than never.
  8. Although it always felt wrong from the start, it took me a while to think through the issues I had with them. I don't want to put anyone off playing mirrored games but I don't think they are the one-stop-shop panacea to "ensuring fairness" when playing H2H battles, in particular ones that are rather asymmetric. I have thankfully found a willing PBEM opponent to try this method out, so I will report back on how things go. The most daunting thing for both players I think is determining a suitable force ratio (FR) for a particular QB map (and associated settings) just by looking at it through the Scenario Editor. Players need to have and develop a "feel" for assessing map and terrain based advantages/disadvantage in terms of the relative FR. It should be said that the players probably best prepared to assess a QB map and its parameters in terms of deciding on suitable FR balance would be those who have designed scenarios themselves. They would contend with the exact same questions when creating/designing a balanced map/scenario. I will admit that many players may not have ever even looked at the Scenario Editor, let alone scrutinised a QB map/Scenario and all the parameters to determine what FR would make for a balanced game, despite the fact that they would have developed some "feel" for it with experience over time playing H2H battles. Players typically do this "assessment" of the map, objectives, conditions and forces etc whenever they size up and choose to play a scenario/QB anyway. They just need to think in terms of FR. One of the key aspects in this method is for both players to independently (and secretly) nominate their FR . It may seem straight forward enough, but I haven't previously discussed how I suggest this can be done, despite already having a solution. If it is safe to assume all players typically have access to say MS Word, then I would suggest that both players record their FR (and FS) on a Word document file then password protect the word file and email it to their opponent. Once both players receive the respective emails with the file they can then exchange passwords and reveal their FR/FS. Viola! There may be other ways as well but this one does the job.
  9. This is a really good comprehensive summary that I hope Battlefront at least recognise are aspects of the game mechanics which ideally could be improved (not that I am expecting them to actually do anything about it, though even addressing just one of these in a patch would be a huge win).
  10. Thanks for letting me know. I definitely have a sense of relief now that at least someone else besides myself seems to understand the concept and it's potential merits for use in the context of configuring CM QBs. The concept still needs to be put through it's paces though. Are you not referring to "mirrored battles"? Even though mirrored battles aren't my thing (for reasons I have already given), I would agree that combining the scores of both battles is probably a better way to determine "who wins". ................ I have actually tried to road test the concept/method I have explained to some friends but explaining within a different concept/framework. The example I have been using is to consider a situation (semi-hypothetical) where there are two jockeys, X and Y, who want to challenge each other to a horse race down a long straight, 1km long. However the two horses available for them to race are not exactly "equally matched", let alone identical. Lets just refer to them as horse A and horse B. There is a problem. Who gets to ride what horse in this race? Both riders certainly have their own thoughts as to how the two horses rate against each other. Rather than flip a coin, they both agree to follow the method I have described to settle things fairly. They both secretly write down the "weight handicap" they think needs to be applied to horse A such that both horses would essentially cross the finish line in a dead heat if both are ridden by equal jockeys. Note that weight handicap could also be listed as a negative number, which means horse B would actually carry the weight handicap in the case where the jockey thinks it is actually horse B that needs to carry the weigh handicap. It might even be possible that both jockeys have opposing views as to which horse needs to be handicapped. Both jockeys reveal their handicaps. Jockey X nominated a +15kg handicap for horse A Jockey Y nominated a +5kg handicap for horse A The average handicap works out to be 10kg for horse A. Its evident both jockeys agree Horse A is the more capable horse, more so by Jockey A than Jockey B. Because Jockey Y nominated the smallest handicap for horse A (he thinks the horses are more closely matched than does Jockey X), Jockey Y gets to ride horse A (the horse both players consider the more capable horse) with a 10kg weight handicap, and Jockey X gets to ride horse B (the horse both jockeys thought was the lesser of the two horses). Substitute the jockeys for CM QB players, substitute the race track for the QB map settings (from setup zones, Objectives, map layout etc), substitute horse A and horse B for "defender" and "attacker" roles respectively and substitute the "weight handicap" for the Force Ratio (FR = attacker points/defender points) and you essentially have the method I have previously explained. (NOTE: For the sake of a better analogy with the CM QB context, I did originally start writing my jockey/horse analogy using a "head start advantage" but changed it to a "weight handicap" because "weight handicaps" in horse racing are actually a thing. A "head start advantage" would be the head start in metres given to the lesser horse, horse B, so that both horses essentially cross the finish line in a dead heat if both are ridden by equal jockeys. However considering a "head start advantage" probably is a better analogy to use to compare with the Force Ratio metric, only because mathematically increasing head start advantage benefits the lesser horse (horse B ) in the same way increasing Force Ratio benefits the attacker in a CM QBs. Note that increasing weight handicap (applied to the more capable horse, horse A) would be equivalent to a decreasing the Force Ratio in a CM QB (benefiting the defender instead). I am still kicking the tyres on this concept so if you can think of any fundamental flaws or problems with it that may be overlooked, let me know.
  11. I understand why you would want to not play a ME QB for the reasons you mention. However I still need to ask why at all you feel like you need/should play it mirrored? Is it that both players, having otherwise agreed to just play the QB once (unmirrored), just want to avoid the "well this QB was unbalanced from the start" kind of regret/lamenting that can occur if the battle ends up being a bit of a cakewalk? Is mirroring battles just really some kind of "insurance" and avoidance against that happening? I would include things like copying your good firing positions as part of mirroring the other players strategy. Your own effort to survey and find that position is effort you put in (as part of your strategy) that is now used against you. Either way, for reasons I've explained, there is something just too odd and artificial about mirrored games. Of the times I have played them, I have been very conflicted in what I do in one game as I feel it can potentially affect the other, which is just a crazy unrealistic thing to have to consider. I agree about finding that interesting, though definitely not worth mirroring games for. Instead, when I finish H2H battles, I go looking for AARs on the same scenario/QB map to see how others may have handled things. I think knowing what the average VPD for any scenario or particular QB played across all the games that had ever been played would be an awesome thing to know. Even though we may never know what that might be, the thing is, such a number actually does exist, albeit unbeknown to us (but no to God LOL!). I would prefer to rate the outcome of a battle (and hence the performance of both players) by comparing the VPD of a scenario/QB just played against that number rather than what might be otherwise indicated as the "victor" in the CM AAR Sites like The Blitz do make some attempts at recording W/L rates for various scenarios but I don't think the actual VPD is recorded, just the level of victory, which admittedly does give some insight in to what the actual VPD was (at least an upper/lower limit based on how CM AAR categorises draws, minor, tactical and total victories/defeats. It is still curious to note that players looking for a suitable "balanced" scenario to play might consult a site like The Blitz and look for a scenario that appears "balanced" ie. equal spread of w/l across both sides. I am really curious to give some of the alpha/beta concepts I have discussed a go. As a first off, I want to run a bit of an experiment (actually more of a survey) that touches on a concept I have already spoken about, that needs your participation. I have randomly plucked out an asymmetric CMBN QB map that I found in my CMBN QB Maps folder as a case in point. What I will ask you to do is open up this QB map in the Scenario Editor, take note of the respective setup zones, the location of the Terrain Objectives and the terrain and other associated map details with respect to everything else on the map and determine what you think would be a "fair" Force Ratio (FR) to apply to a QB played on this map. For what its worth, lets just assume the following QB parameters will be used: Download Link (save to your QB Maps folder, open it in Scenario Editor): What FR for this QB Map.btt Battle Length: 45 min Date: July, 1944 Conditions: daylight, clear, dry Rarity: Normal Attacker force: US Army, mixed (no house rule restrictions on units) Defender force: German Army, mixed (no house rule restrictions on units) Victory points: >80% destruction of Defender force: 200pts to Attacker <50% destruction of Defender force: 100pts to Defender >60% destruction of Attacker force: 200pts to Defender <30% destruction of Attacker force: 100pts to Attacker Single terrain objective: 100pts Only house rule is no arty attacks on Attacker setup zones in first 10min. While you are at it, you may as well also nominate what you think would be a suitable Force Size (FS) to use on this map. (That basically is the purchase points for the defender, in this case the Germans). Here is what the deployment zones look like: The Objective (worth 100 points): A preview of the map looking NE from the defenders perspective: Post your results in this thread.
  12. For what it's worth, I definitely was not presenting this coming from the perspective of someone who players ladder games, though it probably might be of more interest to those that do play ladder games. I understand and agree with what you are saying about being the underdog in a battle, "losing" and still still doing well (and having fun just playing it at the same time). Many times when I get to an AAR screen of a battle I just played I kind of already have my mind made up as to how things went regardless of what VPD may indicate. I have stated my not too surprising reasons for why I think MEs would be more popular in the realm of QBs. FWIW, the game of chess is essentially set up as a mirrored ME. I don't really have an issue with MEs necessarily being "historically rare" and I am not really trying to dissuade anyone from playing them. I am however encouraging players to be a bit more adventurous in their selection of QB by suggesting a workable framework for setting up more asymmetric QB engagement. I am trying to make choosing and setting up a non-ME QB less "scary" and daunting, as I think players stick to MEs because they are seen as easier to setup and a "safer bet' for balance. Just in review, I think the main reason why MEs are the most popular QBs is because players feel more comfortable knowing the battle typically is setup like a game of chess: equal forces (well at least as far as purchase points go), an apparently unbiased map, start at either ends, must move to take ground etc. If everything is "even" on both sides then it must be fair. It's curious to consider just what kind of "negotiation" will play out if, for example, one player suggests, just to spice things up, that the ME map (which you can consider to be pretty much symmetrical with Terrain Objectives located in the middle), suggests that the Terrain Objectives be moved say half the distance towards one player. Would we expect both players to just have no issue at all with this change and play regardless? Or would we perhaps expect some discussions to arise about "balance" and 'fairness"? What are the existing tools they have to deal with this? To be honest, I don't think I have ever heard from any player who has ever, let alone regularly, plays non-ME QBs H2H. It certainly will be interesting to see how two players would typically agree on the QB parameters for a non-ME battle. How and when do they decide who is the attacker and defender? How do they decide on the appropriate force ratio (FR) for the particular map selected? Do they just go with the CM QB FR defaults with the idea that "well if this map has been tagged as an Assault map then we just accept the default QB FR presented to us at the QB setup screen"? I really want to hear how players typically (if at all) deal with setting up and agreeing on the parameters of QBs that are not trying to be MEs.
  13. Although my discussion is exclusively about H2H gameplay (and QBs in particular),I would say interesting and enjoyable games are always going to figure in to whether a player choses to play particular SP or MP game. This typically gets evaluated if and when you might read some recommendation/review/AAR about a scenario or QB map somewhere, or when you just look at the map in the scenario editor and reading any text/notes you might find relating to the QB map or scenario in question. I believe the whole concept behind mirrored battles is to introduce an element of "fairness" between competing players to address issues of potential "imbalance" in the given QB/scenario being played (or in the most petty of cases, compensating for any negative feelings a player may otherwise harbour if they instead only played the battle from one side and perhaps were soundly defeated possibly feeling like they got "the rough end of the stick" when sides were allocated. If mirrored battles of a given scenario/QB are played (typically simultaneously), then playing one side in one battle is essentially like the perfect spoiler for the same battle you are playing but from the other side. This perpetual constant spoiler that hangs over mirrored battles is something I just cant reconcile and ultimately spoils for me the challenge of even playing a scenario/QB in the first place. Any briefings meticulously crafted and designed by the scenario designer that you read from one side that might otherwise be their way of providing a level of unknown/uncertainty in to say the disposition/location/intelligence on the enemy forces is essentially throwing out the window. Such a waste of what I think is a more worthwhile experience to enjoy. What also annoys me about double blind battles is that your opponent may also learn and use your own strategies/tactics (that you possibly laboured over to develop) against you in the mirrored game. The argument "well so can you" just doesn't cut it for me and misses the point of playing experience I am after in the first place. The whole experience of playing mirrored games just seems so artificial, contrived and unnecessary. I am of the view that the most 'realistic", challenging and exciting gaming experiences playing CM are primed by design to occur the one and only time you ever decide to play a chosen scenario/QB double blind with a human opponent (though in theory it is just as valid if you play it SP vs a well designed AI). There is something very "unique" and special about the first playthrough of a scenario/QB played double blind, where you first experience and discover all and any of the hidden unexpected surprises that may await you and your opponent as you push through each turn, regardless of what side you end up playing. For that very reason, I typically do not ever play any scenario twice, and only ever experience them from one side. I would only consider playing the scenario again if I felt there was perhaps a good enough reason to (eg. academically wondering if a different approach to the battle would have achieved a more favourable result, knowing full well that this alternate approach was born from pure hindsight from having already played the battle, or something academic like that). I don't know (or care) how other players consider the concept of mirrored games but that's just my take and reasoning behind my thoughts on it. It stands to reason that most historical balanced were not 'equal" or "balanced". You just need to consider the implications across the ages of the adage "don't start a fight you can't win". Not sure what the question you are suggesting an answer to is however. I am not so concerned about the actual VPD outcome of any given QB as I am in knowing the QB is suitably balanced such that the VPD reported at the end of the battle is a decent measurable representation of the battle outcome, given most players strive to configure QBs as such in the first place.
  14. The concept of what determines if a particular scenario (or QB) is "balanced" or not can be a very subjective thing to try and grapple with. For the sake of this discussion I will limit this discussion to "head to head" games between two players. I'm not sure how others might define what makes a "balanced" scenario/QB, but I think of it in statistical terms: for instance, if the particular scenario/QB was played "double blind" by multiple pairs of "equally" rated players many times (ideally (though impossibly) an infinite amount of times), you would expect the win/loss distribtion to approach 50:50 ie. an equal number of Allied to Axis "wins". Any bias away from a 50:50 distrubution of wins would give grounds to indicate the particular scenario/QB is "unbalanced". The greater the bias/deviation in wis/loss distribution, the greater the "imbalance". However just considering the resolution of scenarios/QBs as just a pure binary "win" or "loss" outcome for one side may still hide an imbalance that otherwise remains evident. Outcomes of CM scenarios/QBs however aren't actually just purely binary outcomes. A degree or level of victory/defeat based on actual "victory points" gained by each side, or more specifically, the numeric differential in the victory points gained by each side at the end of every battle determines the actual victory level assigned by CM. ie. either draw, minor victory/defeat, tactical victory/defeat, or total victory/defeat. But is it that simple? Consider a scenario/QB that has an equal 50:50 win/loss distribution that makes the scenario/QB appear "balanced". Should it still be considered "balanced" if the average magnitude (or level) of victories being recorded for each side is different for both sides? eg. the Allies might win 50% of the time, with the average victory level being "total victory", yet the Axis win 50% of the time but with the average victory level being "minor victory". It could be argued here that the scenario/QB actually is not totally "balanced" but rather favouring the Allies. So perhaps considering the actual victory points differential (or VPD) of each game played may be the better metric or indicator to monitor when studying "balance". Note that when monitoring VPD (rather than just wins and losses), you would expect the average VPD of all games played to approach zero (0) if the scenario/QB was to be considered "balanced". For the purposes of this discussion and to set a convention, we can always consider the VPD: Victory Point Differntial (VPD) = [ALLIES victory points] minus [AXIS victory points] That means the VPD could be a positive or negative number, with a positive VPD typically meaning an Allied victory/Axis defeat and a negative VPD meaning an Allied defeat/Axis victory. Keep in mind that there is a range of positive and negative VPDs centred about zero that CM will nevertheless consider as being a draw. When considering VPD, the "ideal balanced" scenario/QB could be seen as one where the average VPD of all games played would follow a normal distribution (or bell curve) centred about zero (SIDE NOTE: For those of you who are more statistacally inclined, it is worth considering that I can not see reason to assume that the actual distribution of VPD for all games played for any CM scenario/QB has any reason to even assume, let alone appraoch, a normal distribution. Unless it can be pointed out otherwise, I don't think the central limit theorm (and any inherint/inevitable tendency that the VPD would tend towards a normal distriution) can be applied here. The actual distribution of VPD for any scenario/QB in question could follow one of many other types of distributions (eg. skewed or gamma, bimodal etc). Certainly, idealistically a symmetrical distribution centred about zero would probably be considered more balanced than say one that has a population VPD average (expected outcome) of zero but is otherwise asymmetrically skewed about zero. Let me know if you think otherwise.) That is all just background to what I really wanted to discuss and present however..... Having recently considered a prospective QB battle with a PBEM opponent, I got thinking about how two competing players could come to a mutualy achieved agreement on the QB parameters to ensure the QB battle was "fairly balanced". My inspiration was based on the "I cut, you choose" protocl that ensures fair division and allocation of a divisible resource between two parties. The typical example is of two brothers who want to "evenly and fairly" share a cake. The protocol proceeds as follows: one person ("the cutter") cuts the cake into two pieces; the other person ("the chooser") chooses one of the pieces; the cutter receives the remaining piece. If we consider CM QBs played H2H, I would say the vast majority of them are essentially meeting engagements (MEs) played on maps that have some degree of geographical symmetry, be it in the distribution of terrain, setup zones and/or Objective Locations, mirrored about an imaginary mid-line that would typically evenly divide the map in half between the Allied half of the map and the Axis half of the map. Of course, these ME QBs would typically be setup so that both sides get the same amount (or near enough to be close enough) of unit purchase points. I will use the term force points (FP) to mean the same thing as uniy purchase pioints. Choosing to play on an "unbiased" ME map with equal FPs each side just seems to be the easiest way to ensure the QB is "fair", so it may not be surprising why ME QBs are more likely to be played than the other types of QBs (probes (PR), attack (AT) and assualts (AS). I should also introduce at this point the concept of force ratio (or FR). It is defined as: Force ratio (FR) = [side A FP] / [side B FP] where side A is typically the "attacker" and side B the "defender" (ie side A FP is either equal to or greater than side B FP). ie. a FR of 1.25 means the "attacker" has 25% more FP to spend than the 'defender". With FR already defined in terms of the attacker FP to defender FP ratio, it does help to now simply consider the use of the global term force size (FS) as refering to just the "base" defenders FP, from which the attacker FP can be then be readily calculated by multiplying it with the the force ration (FR) The CM QB generator has pre-programmed FRs associated with each QB type. They are as follows (without any force modifiers applied): ME FR = 1 PR FR = between 1.45 and 1.49 AT FR = between 1.59 and 1.65 AS FR = between 1.76 and 1.84 However, messing around with the force modifier parameter, the range of FRs possible extends to: ME FR = between 1 and 2.48 PR FR = between 1.45 and 3.7 AT FR = between 1.42 and 4.11 AS FR = between 1.29 and 4.57 But what really makes an ME an ME, a PR a PR, an AT and AT and a AS and AS? What CM suggest are really just "guides" and broad categories to describe certain kinds of battles of various FR. FR is really just only one parameter in a CM QB that influences the "balance" of a QB, or can be adjusted to balance a QB. The parameter against which the FR is typically compared against are what I would call the QB battlefield parameters. This would comprise of the actual QB map itself (the distribution of terrain/topography/feratures) in relation to any Objective Locations (including their value) and the respective setup zones, and how they all interact together as a whole on the map. Additional to this you would also need to consider the soft factors such as weather/visibility/conditions and battle duration. The "date" and "theatre" a QB is based on may also be an influence as it may determine the availability of some units that might otherwise potentially be influential (if purchased) in the QB. I might make the assertion here that most players looking to play QBs might first start by searching for a QB map that looks interesting and suitable enough to play (size/layout etc) and typically determine these QB battlefield parameters without much trouble. With all these QB battlefield parameters predetermined and considered togther, the question can be asked: What method can players use to help determine what force ratio (FR) to assign to any QB map to make it "balanced"? I have considered the following procedure that can be used by two prospectiive players who face this question when they have already selected the map and the QB battlefield parameters: 1. Both players preview the QB map and the QB battlefield parameters and consider playing the QB from both the "attacker" and "defender" perspective in terms of force ratio (FR). They may at this point secretly record what force size (FS) they think would be suitable to use on the QB map selected (if not already agreed upon). 2. They secretly record the force ratio (FR) they think that should be applied to the QB in order to make it a fair/"balanced" contest. 3. Both players then reveal their nominated FR (and FS if required) and the average between the two numbers is calculated. This average becomes the FR (and FS) that will be used in the QB. 4. The player who nominated the HIGHEST FR plays as the 'defender". The player who nominate the LOWEST FR plays as the "attacker". 5. Players can now consult the QB Force Ratios Table that I have made available here that fully details every possible QB Force Ratio (FR) and Force Points (FP)/Force Size (FS) combination that can be achieved by the CM QB setup screen: 6. Look up the values of FR and FS determined/calculated in the previous steps that best match the "Ratio" and "DEF Points") combo values respectively in the QB Points Combo/Force ratio table. Note down these values "actual" configurable CM QB paramters. There are only a discrete number of QB combinations possible in the CM QB setup screen, so the goal in this step is to sort through all the possibilities to find the one that best matches the FR and FS parameters determined in step 3. eg. If FR = 1.70 and FS = 4750 was determined in step 3, the best match in the table would be achiveable by reading off 4500 (approx 4750) and 1.68 (approx 1.70) and configuring a Large ME with a +70% modifer in the CM QB setup screen (which will result in the Attacker getting 7580 FP and teh defender 4500 FP (FR=1.68): 7. Depending on what QB parameters get selected in step 6, players may need to use the Sceanrio Editor to open and edit the actual QB Map file to tweek one parameter to allow the QB map to actually be visible and selectable in the QB setup screen. eg. players may have selected to play a particular QB map that had previously been tagged as an "Allied Probe" map. The"actual' QB parameters determined via step 6 may have however pointed to setting the QB battle up as a Large ME (LME) with + 70% modifier. The player will need to use the Scenario Editor, Load the chosen QB map file, modify the "Battle Type" field from say "Allied Probe" to "Meeting Engagement" as per the example. Doing so makes the particular QB Map file visible and selectable when the time comes to browse for the human selected QB map. Save file as new name and exit the Scneario Editor. 8. Load the QB setup screen and and configure all the "actual" QB parameters determined from the table (typically that best matches the values of FR and FS determined/calculated in Step 6, as well as any other QB parameters: . Pressing OK will prompt the user to select the QB Map (review Step 7 if the QB does not appear in the file list). (It is important to note that when considering FR, the actual FS (force size) that is used in the QB is probably best considered a separate individual factor for consideration that just determines the number of units that appear on the map in proportions defined by the FR. We can assume that the FS are independant to and do not affect QB balance, and just determine the actual size of each of the forces. This may not actually be the case but I will assume it is fair enough assumption for simplicity unless otherwise convinced). I don't know if this method has ever been considered or used before, but unless advised otherwise, I think it is quite a simple, fair and robust means of determining how to "balance" a QB.I don't think the system can be "gamed" by either participating player to force a QB parameter outcome that somehow favours them over their opponent. Players just need to be able to look at a QB map, consider all the relevant battlefield parameters (eg setup zones, terrain, Objective Locations etc) and put a number to what they think the attacker:defender force ratio should be to make the QB "balanced", prior to even knowing whether they will be the atatcker or the defender. This may take some experience to get the right feel. It certainly will be interesting how players react to the outcomes of their QBs. If they claimed that the QB was "unbalanced" not in their favour, then perhaps their own poor misjudgment when they originally 'evaluated" the QB map and nominated their own FR may have something to do with it. Again, assigning a FR to a QB to achieve balance is not something players typically have exactly been doing. They HAVE and DO evaluate QB maps for balance however, though without ever really assigning a metric to it. Now that metric exists. It just needs tio be calibrated. I hope the "fairness" of this method is self evident by understanding the dynamics at play behind the method described. i can see that some folks might not be able to see it that way and would need some kind of explanation to convince them of how this is a "fair" way of determining QB balance. I could spend some time explaining that if asked. Happy to hear your comments/crticism/thoughts/experience with it as it really is like an alpha/beta level idea that needs some vigourous testing/scrutiny. Bull
  15. I upgraded my CMFB to the latest patch during a PBEM thinking my opponent had upgraded the PBEM to the latest patch. They had not and now the PBEM is unplayable. Our PBEM has been on halt for almost 2 months as I gathered the energy to do what I believe needs to be done to get the game back on track: that is, to install CMFB and patch it to the previous version (then load PBEM, save in orders phase, patch CMFB to latest version, continue playing). I am however unsure of exactly how to do that as there seems to be various patch/upgrade/install files. I did run the file CMFB_v100_Setup.exe sucessfully that at least installs the game to its original release version. I now just need to patch it to the patch prior to the last (I actually don't know what version that is). I now have downlaoded the following patch files which are categorised as CMFB Engine 3: CM2_Win_Final_Bliztkrieg_v101_Patch CM2_Win_Final_Bliztkrieg_v102_Patch The CMFB engine 4 patch fiels however just include a single file (CMFB v203 Update PC) that appears would update everything to v203 which is not what I want. From this position, what other files do I need to download and install to get the game to the version prior to latest patch (i believe it's v202)? I understand the module upgrade needs to be installed at some point durign this process.
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