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Everything posted by Freyberg

  1. Yeah, that game was frustrating, but I mostly wanted to tell the story about my dad Having had a whinge, it's true that fortifications can sometimes be fun - I guess it's just a very hard kind of scenario to design (and I do respect designers - I've tried to design my own more than once). For example there's that one in CMRT where the Soviets have to bust through an intense German fortified line and that was fabulous.
  2. When I was kid... Don't get me wrong. Mines, fortifications and engineers can be fun - they can add some challenge and colour to a game. Some of the best scenarios and campaigns I've played have featured mines and fortifications. But let me tell you about my dad... When I was a kid and my old man - my beloved old dad now - first caught me playing Second World War wargames, he wasn't pleased. He was only a boy in the war, so he hadn't seen it first-hand (he was still in primary school when it finished), but he was old enough to have found it frightening, and he'd had uncles who served, including one who was wounded. Anyway, when he first found me playing WWII wargames, he got quite indignant. "What's this?" he said, to which I replied, "it's just a game dad - it's fun." "It's 'fun' is it??" he said gruffly, "you think the war was 'fun'? Hitler and Goebbels and all those 'fun' guys?" "Geez, Dad, it's just a game." "Yes," he said profoundly, "but it wasn't just a game though, was it?!" Anyway, I've played a couple of scenarios recently that dad would have loved. One in particular - I won't name it, as a lot of work clearly went into it and to make sarcastic comments about the work of volunteers would be spiteful. It was magnificent in many ways: it was realistic, well-researched, the map was spectacular (you really felt like you were in Italy), the briefing was good, it was immersive, even the platoon leaders had names. But it was as if the purpose of the scenario was to instruct the player that the war in Italy was anything but fun. Sacrificing fun on the altar of realism... As I say, I don't mind playing against fortifications, but at a certain point it becomes tedious. In this case, I had a large number of infantry in an exposed area, who had to thread their way forward while engineers cleared gaps in minefields, all while being shelled by an array of artillery ranging from mortars to what seemed like small tactical nukes. The walking-through-minefields phase probably took 20-30 game turns, which amounted to about 3 or more hours of play. If you think clicking vehicle paths on roads is time consuming, that's nothing compared to trying to keep several companies of men, split up into teams, well dispersed as they walk team by team through some zig-zagging mine-cleared paths. There was some exciting combat in the game - but of the the nearly 200 casualties I took, over 100 were from artillery (and I gave up before the end) and probably at least 20-30 from mines. I spent most of my time micro-managing troops and giving buddy aid (although I gave up on this before the end). I know some players love realism above all else, so please take this as a personal view and not a serious complaint - and I know that the reality of war for most men was of being constantly shelled without being able to come to grips with the enemy, but it is possible to sacrifice fun on the altar of realism. Anyway, dad as he was would have loved this kind of scenario... "So, the Second World War isn't so much fun now, is it son?" "No, Dad, you're right - it's not much fun, not much fun at all."
  3. I loved Hammer's Flank. It was kind of slow, but not too slow, with enough fortifications to be challenging but not tedious; and it gave me a real respect for the Soviets - you can't just hurl your troops in, you have to balance aggression with a degree of probing nimbleness.
  4. Another development I would like to see - which wouldn't require a total rewrite of the game engine - would be enhancements to Quick Battles. I play a lot of these. It would be cool to be able to give some structure to a QB to make it more like a scenario. Being able to mix nationalities would be fun (for example I like the Italians, because they are interesting, but they don't put up a very good fight without some German support) - and it would be cool to be able direct parts of each force (randomly or non-randomly) to arrive as reinforcements. Also, when you give the enemy fortifications in QBs, the AI doesn't tend to position these very effectively. Apart from that, the AI generally does a reasonable job of positioning defenders in QBs. Given that, a nice feature, which would enhance the replayability of scenarios, would be an option to override the positioning of defenders in scenarios - so they are placed by the AI like in QBs. Often you have a really great scenario and you'd like to play it again (I sometimes get in the editor and change my force mix or nationality), but knowing where the defenders will be detracts from this. If QBs could have some of the features of scenarios, and scenarios could take on some of the randomness of QBs, that would multiply the enjoyment we get out the games while we are waiting for new releases
  5. I agree it would be cool to have, but I recall Steve describing the complex computations involved in spotting generally (of which skylining was one aspect) and the computational overhead, which would be considerable.
  6. I vaguely recall skylining being discussed on a thread some time ago, the upshot of which being that the game doesn't model it.
  7. Fortress Italy, including Gustav Line covers the longest timescale (including Winter) and contains some interesting nationalities (the Italians are a fascinating army, more typical of the early war), as well as some extremely varied terrain. 1943 formations are very different from '44. It lacks the SS though, but it's probably given the most varied gameplay and it's a close second as my favourite. CMBN is still the classic - the Commonwealth forces and MG modules are extremely rich in equipment, units, maps and scenarios, although the AI plans are not as varied as later titles. The massive range of content makes this still my favourite. I've had great fun with CMRT - the campaigns in particular. It felt samey at times, but there was a long phase where I only played Soviets in RT - they get more fun as you get used to them CMFB is good and has some groovy late war content (Jumbos and √úberpanzers), although it engaged me a little less than the others, mainly because it is similar to CMBN but lacks British troops.
  8. Most of the things I would like probably wouldn't require a new game engine. Firstly, I would like to see some changes to the scenario editor and the AI. In particular, a way to program the AI more easily, as I find this a little hard to understand and even harder to predict how an AI plan will unfold. These could be simple, general AI commands - like 'advance and manoeuver against armour', 'advance, pausing at cover if under fire', or 'defend [x] location and fall back under fire'. Obviously these are not so simple from a programming standpoint, but they would make devising playable scenarios much easier. The other thing would be some features to make house-to-house combat less fiddly - like a 'transparent buildings' toggle; and maybe tweak some of the troop behaviours against buildings, like an 'attack carefully' mode, where they don't halt on contact, as with hunt, but the also don'r run in and get slaughtered, like throwing grenades and so on - although maybe this is already modeled and I'm just using the commands wrongly.
  9. I really appreciate scenario designers, especially when it's a good scenario. I've tried it myself - it's quite difficult and rather time-consuming, especially testing, so thanks again
  10. This one was fun and quite different gameplay - it had a bit of a narrative to it. The entry of certain of the enemy reinforcements was exceedingly well timed. The map is first class (I'll reuse that in a QB for sure) with a great little village with winding streets. It was a little bit annoying that A Coy were 'unfit' (took a while to work that out and slowed things down considerably), but overall a really good play.
  11. Its not just the buildings, you need to make sure there are no flavour objects too - which can only be done, painstakingly, in 3D preview mode. I tried to port some CMBN maps to CMRT, but it wasn't worth the effort.
  12. I don't find the new licensing system hard at all - you open that little app in the folder, type in your S/N and it all works. And since the switch to 4.0, I didn't bother patching and upgrading the old games, I just downloaded the new one off the website and registered that. Or am I missing something? It used to be a bit fiddly to register games, but in the last year (I've registered bought 3-4 upgrades in that time), it's very easy. I would like to see more modules, too, but I think the 4.0 upgrade is nice - the AI certainly seems better, and the new squad behaviour, which makes it often unnecessary to split squads, makes the game much more playable. Those and the new casualty counting methodology make quite a difference IMO.
  13. Sounds fun - I find most of the campaigns a bit frustratingly hard, so a tool that will help me (ahem) ...cheat against the AI... (ahem) will come in handy. I'm on a Mac though, but with plenty of access to PCs - do you need to have CM installed on a machine to be able to use the tool...?
  14. I love those moments - I had one just last night: clicked the big red button, watched the digitroops running thither and yon, suddenly realised that the halftrack full of the best guys was going to use to storm some buildings was going to advance into the sights of a keyholed Panther (which I knew was there but I'm often careless). At the end of the turn it was 5 metres too far forward, right in his sights. Next move, gave a reverse order - fully expecting a little rose-garden of red crosses to bloom - clicked Big Red again. Boom, he fired, clipped the edge of a wall, missed! My men lived to be uselessly sacrificed another day (or a few minutes later, as it transpired). If it wasn't for WeGo I would be constantly wondering why various of my men and assets were burning or dead.
  15. I'm not really sure where all these ideas for changing the fundamental gameplay come from. A minute seems perfect to me. If you changed it, you'd have to change the kinds of commands you could issue - in fact it would become a completely different sort of game.
  16. Haha - OK, next time I'll let them die and just go through their pockets.
  17. When I play against the AI, I cheat. I usually choose the opposing forces, based on the random selection which (like Anson Pelmet above ) I don't check too carefully but which I usually toughen up with some decent armour. And I remove some of their infantry, because too much AI infantry is less interesting than tanks, flak, AT guns etc. And I give myself some solid reserves (at least +100%), so if the game starts to drag on or I get 'unlucky', I can bring it to a conclusion without losing....
  18. Yes - I sometimes find myself doing things like this.
  19. It can be a little frustrating how difficult it can be to get units to perform buddy aid sometimes, particularly when the buddy is kind of on the boundary of two action squares. I've had cases where the troops are not green, not of poor morale and not under fire, within close proximity to the wounded man - I move them from square to square but they still refuse to notice the wounded guy. Are any units more likely than others - officers for example - to give buddy aid..?
  20. What a fabulous, intense and difficult scenario! Those damn Luftwaffe are few, but they are so fiendishly well positioned. The map is fabulous - the game-play is nicely varied (rural and house-to-house. I also saw my Quad-50cal completely destroy a building, which was fun.
  21. 1) Using the scenario editor to edit scenarios I've already played and changing the attacking force to New Zealanders (with British & Commonwealth support).
  22. That was very very interesting. This seems extremely realistic to me - 15 minutes doesn't seem too quick (you'd assume this was something they would have wanted to know). I figured CM would be sophisticated and realistic in C2, but to see it in action in such a detailed way is cool. I've noticed that radios go in and out of communication - it's a cool feature.
  23. I have to admit, it was the lack of replay that stopped me from using Real Time. I kept looking round and finding one of my tanks a flaming wreck or one of my squads a mass of red crosses and wondering what had happened. The same thing happens to me in WeGo, too, of course, but at least I have the fun of watching the explosions. The other aspect with Real Time was that CM requires giving quite a number of commands. In Real Time, I was stopping so often to give them that I was losing the feeling of the action. In WeGo, the replay can be more exciting.
  24. I think it's a shame that much of this thread has descended into incivility (that's the thing that so often keeps me off this forum) - and it's particularly unkind that peevish things are said about the developers. This is a niche game, from which I get a great deal of pleasure and have done for many years, and I feel lucky that Battlefront have continued to improve and expand on it. No other game I have ever played has held my interest upgrade after upgrade the way Combat Mission has. The pity is that this an interesting thread. It's made me interested in playing Iron Mode again; some of the ideas suggested don't appeal, others are a bit far-out, but fun to think about, and others would be really interesting to try. I agree with the point made that maximum 'realism', in the absence of a super-AI with human-like ability, would be less realistic. The abstraction in the AI balances out the abstraction in the command interface pretty well, in my opinion. However, I like the idea of increased immersion, to enjoy the feeling of the commander's experience without trying to recreate every aspect of it. I think Iron Mode can be quite immersive and I'll probably get back into playing it (It's been mostly Elite for the past few years); and I hope this experience is something the developers continue to improve.
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