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BletchleyGeek

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  1. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to kohlenklau in kohlenklau CMFI North Afrika QB map-mod project   
    I am making a HUGE ARSE map for desert warfare. It is set at the maximum of 3488 meters in width by 5126 meters in depth.
    It loads for 3D preview on my machine in about 20-25 seconds.
    My desert map "iconic things" checklist...anything to add?
    wadi's
    undulations in the sand
    light scrub/brush
    escarpments
    some goat herders shack with a stone walled area for securing his girlfriends, I mean goats, 
    the supply road with mile markers
    the roadsign in the fuel drum!
    a small domed mosque (working on it)
    some brewed up wrecks
    tank track marks left in the dirt
    short telephone poles
    palm trees around an oasis/well
    dead camel?
    barbed wire fortification with metal stakes and no wood
  2. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Lethaface in How much effort do you put into a BFC scenario before moving on?   
    🤣
    Recognizable. I too have learned that expecting the same qauality & quantity of others (who can't always deliver that) is bound to lead to friction and or disappointment.
    Although you should always slack off to be able to keep surpassing expectations when it matters ;-).
     
    On scenarios, for me it depends what I expect from the scenario / why I play it:
    * A casual playthrough of a scenario, or just for immersion (RealTime can be fun for this): just play it out in one go and don't mind too much about winning / losing. If I win I win, if I lose I lose and that's fine.
    * A determined play to beat the scenario with proper analysis, planning and tactics: Restart if necessary and or if I want to try out several approaches of a given problem, savescum. Another reason for save/load is when troops do things I didn't want them to do. I can't really remember much scenario's that required more than one restart to win, perhaps apart from some vignettes which are notoriously hard.
    * Campaign play: depending on the campaign (Modern vs WW2, type of army) I can become a bit obsessed minimizing casualties and or the optimal way to achieve victory. So probably like determined play but more savescum/restarts if I don't like how things played out. However, if I feel I gave good orders and the troops behaved accordingly I'l usually accept the outcome and not restart or reload; casualties are a factor and the immersion of having to use units with prior casualties in further battles can be very rewarding imo. 
    However determined CM play requires a lot of thinking and energy (in my case), so that's not always an option after a busy workday / week. 
  3. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to domfluff in Does anyone think that the Dragon ATGMs in 1979 scenarios are too powerful?   
    Can I have your Dragons?

    I've seen Dragons and TOWs reliably bounce off the front of T-64 and up, especially the turret.

    It's obviously worth testing, and it's always possible there's an issue, but I don't recognise that in my experiences.
  4. Like
    BletchleyGeek got a reaction from chuckdyke in Command Ops 2   
    Cheers mate. Me too 😕
  5. Like
    BletchleyGeek got a reaction from chuckdyke in Command Ops 2   
    I would like to recommend the excellent scenarios by Chris Maiorana 
    http://thesharpendgaming.blogspot.com/
    Some of them using maps and estabs (tables of organisation and equipment) for projects that never happened: Stalingrad, Korsun, Pacific, all testing the limits of the ai programming and the simulation engine. I think all the stuff is on Steam.
    My favourite AARs were those by Dazkaz, one of the few(?) that realised there was a lot of game beyond the "a game that plays itself" promotional line which, in hindsight, poisoned the minds of many players. Mark here is perhaps one of the best players ever, his tutorials for Highway to the Reich are a classic. I have all of the stuff he wrote for the game archived for reference.
  6. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to ASL Veteran in So you just got your hands on CMCW...now what? Designers Q&A thread.   
    The thing with scenario size is that, generally speaking, the smallest 'semi' independent maneuver element is typically a battalion - at least for WW2.  Not sure if that's changed for modern or not, but you simply can't find very many situations with a company sized force that is operating independently of it's parent battalion.  Platoon sized actions take place obviously, but those are typically going to be patrol type actions and so you are somewhat limited in what you can do because a lot of patrolling activities simply don't translate into CM very well since they aren't typically going to be a 'capture location x' type of battle.  Prisoner snatch type of things simply won't work since you can't really deliberately capture enemies in CM.  You can do spotting for victory points, but then what's the other side doing during that time frame and if it's a larger enemy force then how does the player keep their 'spotting' units alive - especially if playing head to head.  Then how fun would that be anyway since most of the time would be spent hiding from the enemy.  It works for campaigns but not so much for a stand alone.
    On top of that, modern units just have a lot of 'stuff'.  Even a US Mech Infantry platoon is something like eleven 'pieces' if you split your squads.  A US Mech Cavalry troop has something like four tanks, three scout teams, two M901s, and three M113s IIRC so that's twelve pieces to move around for one troop.  Smaller battles are a lot easier and quicker to create, but at the same time there is only so much you can really do with them since you have to come up with patrol type objectives. 
    Incidentally the US side in Czechmate is only two platoons (slightly reinforced) and you are defending so it shouldn't be too taxing.  It's still a lot of pieces relatively speaking (in WW2 terms) because of all the vehicles, but the Soviet force is a lot larger so it wouldn't classify as a small scenario given the size of both forces combined.
  7. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to IICptMillerII in So you just got your hands on CMCW...now what? Designers Q&A thread.   
    Warren gave a great breakdown. I would add that one of the most common complaints I see everywhere about CM games set in a modern setting is that the maps are too small. "Knife fighting in a phone booth" is a phrase that is usually thrown around quite regularly. I sympathize with that assessment to a degree.
    I think that Cold War goes a long way of showing that with the proper sized maps, you can get real maneuver in a modern setting. Of course, the double edged sword here is that some people prefer those phone booth knife fights. I think that Warren is correct that Cold War currently is mostly the larger fights and does not have many smaller fights, and that going forward it will be important to try to include more of those smaller fights. But I think it was the right call going with the larger battles for the first game. After all, this was to be a massive mechanized fight, and I think it was important that Cold War capture that feeling and sense of scale out of the gate. 
    All that said, I do think that Combat Mission has an issue with what I call administrative burden, or overhead. The player has to give so many orders to so many individual units, that it can get really tiresome keeping up with everything. Just getting a single company to road march can take hundreds of clicks and pause commands, etc. 
    Reducing the admin burden on the player I think would go a long way to facilitating the playability of the larger battles. But that is completely in the hands of Steve and Charles, and is well beyond the scope of a game or module. 
  8. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to The_Capt in So you just got your hands on CMCW...now what? Designers Q&A thread.   
    Now some of you pay attention...this is good criticism.
    So yes, if someone asked me "what would you do different", I would have to say that the balance of scenario sized for this title is it.  We have only a minority portion of Tiny and Small battle in CMCW and we wrestled over that somewhat.  So why did we go this way (and there was a deliberate consideration):
    - CMCW is mechanized warfare.  One could argue it is set at the apogee of peer mechanized warfare.  So this does not mean infantry do not have a role, far from it; however, the infantry-only or infantry dominant fights are less realistic.  They definitely would have happened but they happen in context of a much larger mechanized battle.  The main problem here is weapon ranges and real estate.  As weapon systems evolved the frontages and area of effect for formations increases dramatically.  So the risk here for small force battles is big nearly empty maps or tiny fights at point blank range.  Not impossible (see Hunter or Prey for an outstanding small fight) but harder to consistently produce as realistic.
    - Casual vs Hardcore.  This one is much tougher...who is the audience?  Here we really had to stick with the CM brand, which is more hardcore in its niche.  The brand is based on hyper-realistic, to the point of being a simulation vice game, at the tactical level.  The target gamer is someone who wants that as part of their hobby.  So we leaned into that with realistic scenarios and campaigns, many of them pulled straight from period doctrine, which in this context as mentioned previously is fast moving mechanized based warfare.  This pretty much need the Coy Tm as a minimum in order to showcase accurately and the Coy Tm in 1982 needed a 2x2 km battle field as a minimum, in reality it could probable handle a 4 x 4km battlefield (terrain considerations).
    That said, I would really have liked to see good smaller scenarios and we will definitely take that into consideration for any DLC moving forward.
  9. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Vacilllator in Why are modern CM title soldiers all white men?   
    FWIW, I think it was a reasonable question, and it was reasonably answered.  No need to lock IMHO.
  10. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Geoff-Ludumpress in Ost Front Books   
    This arrived today, it's the second edition of 'Bloody Streets'. For those 'Fire & Rubble' nuts (like me) this is 25 years research on the Battle for Berlin in one book, well two, as it comes with a separate map book.  

  11. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to domfluff in Any advice on the NTC Training Campaign (first mission)   
    The NTC campaign might now genuinely be my favourite campaign in all of Combat Mission.

    NTC campaign is supposed to be brutal, like the real NTC. Don't believe their lies. The enemy are all better than you - Elite and Crack experience, and they outnumber you. They're also hellishly aggressive and have some very sneaky AI plans going on. They will surprise you - the designers, Bil and Warren, are better than you.

    In terms of tips:

    You're playing the doctrinal infantry heavy mixed mech inf/tank company of the period, which I've grown to kinda love over this launch weekend. This is a combined arms formation, and its strength is gained through that combination - each element individually will fall apart. Field manual 71-1 (1977) is really the best guide to "how to do the NTC", since that does a really good job outlining how this works, and how to carry out the various missions you find in the campaign.
    The terrain is really hard to read at the NTC - you can't line up on a hedgerow or take a building, so it's a fascinating puzzle of reading folds in the ground, using reverse slopes, etc. The campaign gives you choices, and it's probably a good idea to try the other paths (although the last decision point seems to be broken right now).
    The two most important elements of that formation ("centre of mass" if you like) are learning to use your off-map support correctly, and how to manage a tank platoon. It's been common to be able to run up your tanks into a forward defensive position in most CM games, but here you're outranged, outgunned, and you can't really afford to take losses, since you'll need to use all of this company later on. A large part of using the off-map assets is that you need to read the terrain and the enemy lines of approach. The enemy emphasises speed and aggression, specifically to counter the threat of your off-map assets. This kind of experience is pretty much new for CM, it's rare to be faced with this kind of problem in the other titles.
    The other arms support these two core elements. Learning how to make the most of your light mortars in this context is important, and how best to site your TOW launchers - the TOWs will outrange a BMP's ATGM one on one, but again if you're in forward defensive positions you'll never be one on one.

    Infantry have a secondary role. I mostly used them to secure or deny the flanks of my armour, often in complex terrain. The Dragon and LAWs can be useful, but aren't dominant or in large numbers, but they provide the spotting and flank security that the armour desperately needs. The .50 cals of the M113s aren't something I want to be going on the offensive with, but (given how aggressive the enemy are), they certainly had their uses.
  12. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to The_Capt in So you just got your hands on CMCW...now what? Designers Q&A thread.   
    Soviet Campaigns = Tough and Challenging:
    - First off the player has to manage an entire MRB TF (so Bn and a Tank Coy as a min) in each battle (except the last one but lets leave that one for now).  Over the Campaign the player is basically managing an MRR across the campaign scenarios, so 3 x MRBs, a TB and AT Bn as they fight down towards Alsfeld.
    - The Campaign reflects Soviet doctrine (and POV to be honest) so there is very little RRR between battles (in March or Die it is zero).  So if one loses the better part of a tank company in Battle #1, you have to live with those losses for the rest of the campaign.  It is very easy to run out of gas by the end if a player is reckless.
    - Force ratios are pretty forgiving actually, Soviets will go into each fight with at least a 2:1 advantage or higher.
    - Tough as in US troops quality and positioning.  The US troops are 11 ACR and 3rd Armd Div, about the best equipped and trained the West had in this area.  They have owned the ground for nearly 40 years at this point and know every inch of it.  So each fight sees them very well positioned and with the best stuff.
    As to saving and bush-searching, well I will leave that decision to you but each fight in on the clock so don't take too long.  Bottom line is that the campaign is not recommended for first time players as it will likely be frustrating.  Veterans should be prepared for shaking hands and tears in their eyes if they make it to seeing the street lights of Alsfeld.
  13. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to The_Capt in So you just got your hands on CMCW...now what? Designers Q&A thread.   
    First off, thank you and welcome to the game.  This post is really a place for you guys to Q&A with the game designers.  Questions on features, campaigns or scenarios can go here and we will try to get to them to help you out.
    So if you are new to the CM you probably want to start easy and small to get the feel for the game.  Check the scenario notes as designers often will highlight which side may be easy or harder.  For example, "Valley of Ashes" is by-design, pretty easy for the Blue side as an opportunity for beginners to get a feel for a larger scenario.  While the Red side of this scenario is pretty tough.  I will let the other scenario designers chime on on their babies.
    I will say that the Soviet Training scenarios by Cpt Miller are a very good place to start for a lot of people as full Cold War Soviet formations, in all their glory, are a bit of a new thing for the series.
    For the Campaigns, I highly recommend people start with NTC.  Bil and GeorgeMC did a really good job in putting together some very good scenarios that can get people into the groove of maneuvering in the context of a Cold War battlefield. 
    Then I would suggest moving onto the US Campaigns.  1982 was designed to be the primary but 1979 turned out to be really interesting, so players choice really.   1982 is probably a little easier as 1979 can be challenging with the older equipment set.
    Finally, I would then suggest that players can gird their loins for the Soviet Campaigns.  These are designed to be tough and a challenge to manage.  Every battle is battalion sized and frankly pretty tough.  The March or Die version is designed to be downright unfair to the loins, but also probably the most realistic....you have been warned.
    Anyway, enjoy and have fun!   
  14. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to akd in Panther G vs. IS-2   
    It's not a bug, it's just probability.  The gunner aims center of visible mass of the target and at very short range dispersion is small.
  15. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to SovietOnion in So you just got your hands on CMCW...now what? Designers Q&A thread.   
    Artkin, respectfully, this is a lot of vinegar when honey might be more profitable. 
  16. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to The_Capt in CM Cold War - Beta AAR - Soviet Thread - Glorious Soviet Victory at Small German Town 1980   
    Ok, so as promised, for those that might be interested here is the scenario that Bil and I played (consider it bonus content) so you guys can see in detail how this whole thing went down.  I am also attaching the last couple turns from the Soviet side so people can see the final layout when we ended it.  Password is "rochette" (don't worry I don't use it anywhere else...and she is our dog).  Up front this is not a finished or official scenario (so no briefings or such), nor is there any AI, strictly H2H.  But if you guys want to recreate the fight, have at it!  Are you a Bil, leading his capitalist swine to their inevitable doom?  Or are you a Capt, who led his men to a glorious victory for mother Russia (unfortunately only a few get to enjoy that fact)?
    Note: the map is Dollbach Heights, a Pete Wenman original (seriously with this whole crypto art thing, this map might in crease in value over time).  The bare map is also included in the Master Maps folder, for aspiring designers.  Finally if you do want to play as is, I would highly recommend turning Blue EW off, as the Soviet arty is really neutered currently.  Enjoy.
    BETA-AAR Meet-Force v3.btt 1892770176_DolbachHeights066.ema 2039406995_DolbachHeights068.ema
  17. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Bil Hardenberger in Just received an email - it's on!   
    Have fun with the game guys.. please post your reactions!  Curious if you think its as cool as we do.   
  18. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to markh in Cold War Release Date Pool   
    Wow - we are cutting it fine!  We are already into the morning of the last day in April here in Australia.  Still hopeful and fingers crossed for an April release - especially with the weekend coming up!
  19. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to RescueToaster in Pre-orders for Combat Mission Cold War are now open.   
    This is really great advice! Start small and be realistic!
    In the hobby of painting (model / miniature), it's pretty common for newbies to run into this issue you're describing too. I will often hear about people who spend substantial amounts of money to buy sable brushes, paint sets, airbrush(s), etc.. But when they find out that they are no good at painting they tend to give up, and I don't think many return because the gap between reality and expectations becomes perceived as impassable.
    I say all of this because this is effectively true for most sports, hobbies, games, art, etc. - pretty much everything that takes skill to do, including map / scenario making. It's going to take time and effort to get to where you want to be, and you will still fail even when you're at your best. It's great to have big dreams, but delusions of grandeur never tend to end well!
    And then this leads to one of my favorite quotes that's (mostly) applicable:
    "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty … I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” - Theodore Roosevelt
  20. Upvote
  21. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to mjkerner in The Schizophrenia of the Tac AI   
    domfluff, I understand all that, as with Chuck’s and Erwin’s responses, cuz I have been playing and delving into the innards of the game pretty much daily for 14 years.  I guess I am asking the question wrong, or maybe asking the wrong question. I think the “answer” is “forget about it, it’s all under the hood”, lol. 
    What I’m trying to get at is why does the TacAI override your given orders sometimes, and at others, slavishly try to follow them. Specifically, in the case of enemy AI continually running through or into a kill zone without stopping. (And to a lesser degree, why do my men sometimes not hit the dirt when fired on, even in Quick or Hunt mode.) One answer would be because the game checks soft factors by individual unit (as chosen by you or the scenario author for the enemy at the moment of calculation i.e., is this only a fire team or a whole squad?).  Therefore, the enemy squad running into a kill zone will hit the ground after X volume of fire/casualties taken, but the next individual unit has to take the same check, so naturally, they will continue moving into the zone until their factors are checked against the incoming fire/casualties taken. All understandable to me so far, cuz the game doesn’t tell the unit’s commander (in computer language) “Hey, your guys are getting slaughtered...stop sending them through that kill zone!”
    Only it does, to some degree.
    When you split squads, or move units away from each other or its leader, and the parent unit (squad if it’s a fire team, platoon if a squad) takes casualties or some similar calamity happens, it does affect the survival behavior of the split-off unit. They will cower or run away...whatever. That behavior is greatly affected by soft factors, to be sure, as well as the the specific orders given, as Freyberg points out.  But in effect, the TacAI is deliberately cancelling the human’s orders, and essentially issuing its own for that immediate case. I guess I was just trying to figure out why it doesn’t go one step further and issue orders for the parent unit to hit the dirt and/or take a different path?
    Just keying all this out, I guess I found my answer. Having the TacAI read the situation and issue new orders to move here, or hit the dirt there, is already covered by the interplay of orders, soft factors, etc. I certainly don’t want the AI to override my orders (or the scenario  author’s) each and every time heavy fire/heavy casualties is taken. Regardless, my hat is and has always been tipped to Charles Brain -in-a-jar, Phil Culliton(sp?), and whoever else figured out the programming for CM. Man, my mind aches just trying to ask this question!
    It is a wonderment.
     
  22. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to mjkerner in The Schizophrenia of the Tac AI   
    Thanks fellas, but the insight I meant wasn't how to handle it in the game, but why is it that it can work well in one instance and not the other. I think it is more of a question for BFC/Steve/Elvis, but thought maybe some of the long time beta testers can weigh in. Sorry I wasn't very clear.
  23. Like
    BletchleyGeek reacted to Ultradave in Fire and Rubble   
    They are in there. One way, in a QB, select Panzer Battalion 44 (late), then at the bottom you can select what vehicles, as the screen cap below shows.
    Also available as individual vehicles. (second picture).   
    I had the date set for February 45. Didn't check other dates.
    (It's also in FB, BTW, by picking the same formation and it was already in RT)
    Dave


  24. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to akd in Fire and Rubble   
    Sturmtiger from photo and Maus can be included in their own vehicle pack.

  25. Upvote
    BletchleyGeek reacted to sburke in Fire and Rubble   
    why are you being so obnoxious?  I haven't seen AKD or ASL throw a single insult and yet every post of yours usually has one unnecessary taunt?  ASL is pretty freakin knowledgeable.  Scary kind of knowledgeable.  If you have something to show him wrong I am sure he'd love to know as he is always looking for new sources.
     
    Calm down and trade source info but keep tossing the insults and BF is gonna give you the timeout you are working so hard to earn
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