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Freyberg

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Everything posted by Freyberg

  1. Personally I find it fun - I started by adding terrain feature to existing QB maps I'd already played so I could play them as if they were new, and then just got more and more into it and enjoyed it... ...and the newer releases often have amazing Master Maps (the Fire and Rubble ones are very cool) - and it's fun to go through them, pick out some terrain you think would be interesting to fight over, put together a generic QB map (or several), leave it for a week until you've forgotten how you set it up (that step may require you to be a gamer-drinker, but I have that angle covered 😮 ), and you can choose exactly what sort of situations you want to game out, which is actually really fun.
  2. Recently, in the FI forum, some of us were sharing our experience of programming the AI when designing QB maps. This is an interesting topic that I think should be immortalised in its own thread 😛 I've put my own meagre experimentation first (because it was first in that particular thread chronologically), but @kohlenklau has observed the behaviour of the AI much more scientifically; and I know there are others on the forum (including experienced designers like @benpark) who have also carefully observed how the AI allocates AI groups to forces. I'm much lazier, I just playtest them, and if I have fun I give it a tick (also too lazy to search the forum for previous discussions of this topic, although I know it has cropped up in various contexts over years). I'm really interested in what some of you more analytical designers have learnt, so I can apply it to my own maps
  3. I really have no idea how the AI allocates AI groups, so it's based on what sort of AI plans have been fun to play. I've heard the theory that the AI only uses a few AI groups, but I figure, for example with an attack plan, that if I set up attacks on say three axes (typical of a Large map), each with multiple groups (usually 3) on each axis, supporting each other, and with a mixture of timings, a mixture Cautious, Active and so on - so that particular attack will not just be a Banzai charge, but will have advance, overwatch and so on, regardless of how the AI allocates forces... Then, if the AI only selects a few of the AI groups,what should happen is perhaps a feint on one axis and a solid attack on one or more other axis. It is hard to get it to work well every time, but the reason I first started this project is that I was experiencing too many Turkey Shoots (a static defence, followed by a mass counterattack) with the QB maps, and I wanted an AI that would be more unpredictable. Attack plans are particularly hard to get right, but they have worked OK and I've generally had some fun on the defence - but I think the defender AI plans have a good mix of just broad, logical movement orders (e.g., falling back at certain intervals, with large areas of the map painted as suitable fallback zones). One thing the AI is good at is rapidly analysing terrain for good firing positions (it places AT guns very well, for example); and I found I had a lot of fun with these maps. Often, just as I had my attack ready to eliminate a strongpoint or tank, they would fall back to another good position. There's always more to learn, and I don't claim any particular expertise, but I hope you guys enjoy playing these maps as much as I enjoyed making them and playing them myself
  4. Thanks heaps for your kind encouragement. As for the AI orders. I don't have the blueprint for how CM uses AI groups in QBs, but I've fiddled around a lot. I've heard the theory that the AI only chooses a small number of AI groups and ignores the rest, and I don't know for a fact that this theory is wrong, but I have found that giving the AI more groups leads to a more more satisfying game. 1) AI on the Attack (human player defending) I played each of these maps in at least one of their incarnations (Assault, Attack, Probe), and I based the AI attack roughly on my own attack strategy. I didn't test them all on the defence (AI attacking), but I did enough to get a feel for what would be fun (the AI is not at its best on attack, but some of them were pretty exciting). I never used less than 6 AI groups, typically at least 2 axes of attack (more with bigger maps), each with echelons, so that there is always overwatch, and the attacks are complex and based on AI groups going for key terrain, not just charging forward. I used a LOT of 'Maximum Assault' - counter-intuitively, I learnt in one of the threads that this command is more like 'Hunt' than 'Assault'; the AI will not banzai forward but instead will stop and engage. The attacks are relatively slow and measured (though hopefully not boringly slow) - they are designed to fit within the recommended time-frame of the map. There should be long sequences where the AI is creeping forward from cover to cover, pausing to fire while other elements move forward. I really tried hard to avoid Turkey Shoots. 2) AI on the Defence (human player attacking) In each plan, I always set up at least one AI group, covering the entire map, with no movement orders, set to 'ambush 1000m', in case the player has AT guns (which I personally love to allocate to AI defender). I was trying to do my best to avoid the 'gun limbered' situation (this still cropped up once or twice, but it was rare - I don't know how to eliminate it completely). I've found if I give the AI complete control of the map, (a) it will surprise me with gun placement (and I made these maps more for myself than anyone else, and (2) it does a good job of covering the approaches to the Objectives. In each plan, I usually set up one AI group, covering the whole map, with no movement orders, set to 'normal', in case the AI needed to place mines (as above, I wanted it to surprise me, so I could enjoy the map, and I think it does a good job). I never used 'Ambush Armour' at all, so the maps can be used for infantry-only battles. There are 4 defender AI plans for each map. One is usually quite static, sometimes with a little bit of fallback over time; one is usually aggressive, with spoiling attacks or counter attacks; the others are just what I felt like at the time, bits of fallback, bits of local counter-attacks, whatever. There are usually at least 6 AI groups (except on very small maps), or more. Bare bones defence is 2 static groups (see above), plus 2 axes of defence, each with 2 groups, so one should be covering the other's retreat or attack as they fall back or counter attack. (Again, I really can't tell how the AI allocates groups, but the more I played, the more I found the maps with more AI groups were more fun to play and more unpredictable, so despite being the designer I couldn't predict what the AI would do). Groups with movement orders usually have a larger number of short distance movements, executed reasonably frequently, rather than a small number of long movement orders (not always though, sometimes they'll flee to the back, regroup and counterattack; you never know). The reason for this was (a) to avoid the situation, particularly with armour, where the tank just sits there and lets you find its weak point - although there are some purely static defensive AI plans, most of them allow the enemy to reposition regularly, which hopefully makes it more fun; and (b) by using multiple, different AI groups, with overlapping movement and pauses, I wanted to avoid the Turkey Shoot counter-attack. It doesn't always work, sometimes the AI redeploys somewhere dumb and gets itself killed - but it seemed to work well enough often enough that I enjoyed playing these maps myself, and despite having designed them, I generally didn't know what the AI was going to do next. Sometimes they were even really hard and I had to go back to a save-game to win
  5. I've always thought the Crusader was an elegant-looking tank. Shame they were so flawed. There are so many ugly tanks, but my favourite tank to hate is the Ferdinand - clumsy, unbalanced, ungainly thing with its loose ill-fitting tracks...
  6. Aircraft are lots of fun and add a lot of colour to the game - but in QBs they're pretty much a waste of points. The chances of getting a good kill are low.
  7. I dunno - when I had the time and stamina for H2H, PBEM was excellent. Some of us live in radically different timezones to the USA - TCP/IP would have eliminated most potential opponents.
  8. The Chinese fought some big battles, often well, against Japanese in the late '30s. I remember reading about some very effective defensive actions around Wuhan, although I forget the details. If a good historical film were to be made about this period, I would like to watch it, but a cursory glance at this extract suggests this is not one such movie
  9. ‘Camouflage breakers’ can find a target in less than a second Apparently some people have a natural ability to spot when something is not natural, and most others can be trained to. "After looking for just one-twentieth of a second, experts in camouflage breaking can accurately detect not only that something is hidden in a scene, but precisely identify the camouflaged target... ...He notes that even with his training, some people are better at breaking camouflage than others — he says he is really bad at it — and why remains mostly a mystery and another learning point for Hegdé and his colleagues." https://jagwire.augusta.edu/camouflage-breakers-can-find-a-target-in-less-than-a-second/
  10. Thank you - you're too kind. I'm not an expert compared to most of the people on this forum, but I'm definitely a fanatic for CMFI
  11. Honestly, I just grabbed that one at random from my bloated screenshots folder, but I'm pretty sure it's "Frey 028 Med [CP] Two farms, cropland..." - looking from the defender's side. I think it shows a bit more of the master map than that one, though...
  12. CMFI Map Pack 1 - thanks for the encouragement of my friends on the BF forum. Map packs contains 120 maps, based on 40 different areas of terrain, with an Assault, Attack and Probe for each map. Each map has unique setup zones and objectives. Each map has four defender AI plans and one attacker AI plan, so you can play as defender, and play and re-play as attacker. Attacker AI plans are based on my own attacking strategy when I played the map, so they work OK. Defender AI plans are quite mixed - at least one defender plan in each map will contain some sort of spoiling attack or counter-attack, sometimes quite an aggressive one! I hope it keeps you on your toes... (More to come - I started with the maps already closest to completion) Thanks especially for the kind encouragement from you guys who downloaded them and tried the draft versions https://www.dropbox.com/s/1t9fk91jvrhsd48/Frey CMFI Maps 1.zip?dl=1 https://www.thefewgoodmen.com/tsd3/cm-fortress-italy/cm-fortress-italy-add-ons-maps/cmfi-frey-cmfi-map-pack-1/
  13. As targets they're probably about the same except (1) 'cowering' suggests the enemy know where you are, whereas hiding troops are probably unspotted, and (2) hiding troops still spot the enemy, although less actively.
  14. I don't recall the precise thread, but a year or two back, Steve noted that BF had put a lot of time on this feature, but due to the number of variables, they could never get it to work in a way that would be satisfactory for game play. I can well imagine that it might be a complex programming problem (humans have enough problems driving down a road one after another) - and it doesn't really bother me. It isn't honestly that much hassle to plot vehicle paths for 5-10 vehicles down a road.
  15. For some reason there are certain mathematical problems, like the 'travelling salesman problem' and the 'three body problem', that seem like they should be easy, but for some reason are insoluble by a mathematical algorithm. BF have found the 'follow the leader' problem to be similarly not worth the effort of solving. Mathematics is funny like that...
  16. I remember a battle I played some long time ago, where I had a company of Vickers MGs on a ridge. At long range (over 500m), I targeted a series of armoured cars and gun-halftracks, concentrating all the MG fire at each vehicle in turn. I lost some MG teams, but the results were spectacular - light armour is definitely highly vulnerable to bullets.
  17. I usually go kind of 'Napoleonic' - I'll have a few teams (like 'skirmishers') split off their platoon (usually not the same platoon) out front, and the remainder in platoons behind. No methodology behind this, just laziness...
  18. I don't remember giving up on a scenario. I have gone back to earlier saves plenty of times though; and I usually give myself more time in the editor, so if I can't finish it in time, I can take it more slowly and carefully. I have given up on a few campaigns though - some of them are just so long...
  19. That looks exceptional! I've downloaded and will let you know how I get on with it
  20. It seems reasonable that troops with very high training should be classified as veteran or better. By definition, historically speaking, extremely well trained troops with excellent unit cohesion are 'crack troops'.
  21. I'm a great defender of BFC, but this is a pretty valid criticism - briefings are a big part of the immersion, and in comparison to all the other aspects of the game, should be one of the easiest things to get right.
  22. In fairness, there's a massive difference between the first Shock Force and the game as it is now - when I played SF2, it was like a brand new game.
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