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The argument for time limits in single play


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However, tight time limits for the Brits seems counter-intuitive compared to the US, since it tends to increase the friendly losses and the Brits were far more likely to worry about their irreplaceable inf losses than the US. That was an important reason Monty was rather slow and cautious.

Have you read about Operation Epsom? :D Slow and cautious, maybe. Let's have a quick look at Daglish's estimate of Brit casualties from the start of Epsom until the 1st July. Totalled, it come to around 2,720 men. (Appendix 2: The Butcher's Bill) The highest losses were sustained on the first day. Not necessarily Monty's fault. I put that down to the German's unwillingness to lie down and surrender even after having the crap pounded out of them by the stupendous artillery barrages that preceded nearly ever offensive move. ;)

There's nothing counter-intuitive about this at all. The fighting in Normandy was hell. Frankly, we all got off very lightly playing the US missions in the title. The US suffered horrendous casualties in the course of this campaign as well. JonS did a nice job in 'Courage and Fortitude'. I was a little more timid in 'Montebourg'. I couldn't be timid if I was going to cover Epsom. :)

(Also, in Scottish Corridor, I was surprised how little arty the Brits had in the first missions. Again, I thought they relied on arty more than anyone to reduce losses.)

Operation Epsom opened with a hellish artillery bombardment. And yet they still lost the first day and took terrible casualties in doing so. The Brits fell behind their creeping artillery barrage and so couldn't take advantage of it. The Germans hunkered down, let it pass and then got back into their fighting positions.BTW you get more artillery if you are playing the Green versions of the missions. ;)

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I don't think anyone is seriously asking for no time constraints,

bodkin

My understanding of the complaints a small number of posters are making is that they don't like feeling pressured by the mission clock. Those are time constraints. They want to have enough time to do everything slowly and cautiously so that they don't take many casualties in the mission. Whether that means another 30 minutes added or going the whole hog and making the mission 4 hours long is not important. They don't want to feel pressured by the clock.

I've already explained why I think time constraints are important. If you disagree, that's fine and we'll agree to disagree. I think they're appropriate and the time constraints in these missions are very reasonable. If you're finding it too difficult, accept the loss and drop down to the Green level where you frequently get more time and artillery. More help winning in general. ;) There's no point in me creating a variable difficulty campaign if players are not going to accept any losses. I might as well just make it linear.

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I've already explained why I think time constraints are important. If you disagree, that's fine and we'll agree to disagree. I think they're appropriate and the time constraints in these missions are very reasonable. If you're finding it too difficult, accept the loss and drop down to the Green level where you frequently get more time and artillery. More help winning in general. There's no point in me creating a variable difficulty campaign if players are not going to accept any losses. I might as well just make it linear.

EXACTLY

War is Hell ...

and

this game is hard.

Lets move on and figure out how to get triggers into the next release.... ;)

:cool:

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Having read the thread it seems to me that essentially the problem is that the AI cannot be scripted to be anywhere near as effective as an average player.

Secondly that I think designers have a far better appreciation of the game engine than the players have at this stage. So to a designer the timings may not seem tight because they know what should happen optimally. Over time people may catch up with the designers.

Thirdly, the effects of unforeseen consequences. In this case scenarios early in the cycle probably were working on the cover of the original game, such as buildings and foxholes, which has now been modified in patch 1.10. This process of refinement of the game engine needs to continue of course and may yet alter the way older scenarios play out.

Personally I think playing humans in PBEM is the ONLY way to play. The opponent has more brain power than any scripted AI. Some people enjoy playing the AI however to my mind that , like sex, is not as satisfying as when two humans are involved.

As for playing RTS - I cannot really comprehend anything beyond a skirmish being believable or satisfactory. Still each to their own.

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On the Internet, it still amounts to the same experience. Only there are two of them doing it instead of one.

And at least you can discuss it afterwards : )

Incidentally this is really a re-hash of what occurred in CMx1 with scenario design. The idea that variable time is fair is actually untrue of attack defence as time is a great resource. The attacker almost always will have greater resources so the more carefully he moves the greater chance of conserving troops and identifying enemy positions.

The rationale I make solidly for a timed cut-off is that as an attacker you are tasked with reporting in at whatever the end point is 30,45, 60 minutes to advise your HQ where you have got to. HQ is dependent on your progress to decide whether to launch a second phase - or decide whether your attack has bled enough resource for the major attack to occur elsewhere.

Therefore any attack scenario be it for solo or dual play should be to a fixed time. Only battles where all VP's are available can use variable time limit fairly.

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As we found in CM1, strict time limits in H2H (or vs the AI) can be gamed.

What is missing in this discussion is exploration of the "fun factor", and what makes a game fun and enjoyable as a recreational activity.

The above are all intellectual issues re "realism". However, there are many factors in CM2 that make it harder work (than say CM1) as opposed to a fun entertainment experience. And that's why CM1 is still going strong. The two constituencies/audiences, the sim fans vs the game fans, will probably always be arguing.

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I think currently CMx2 is too demanding on micro-management to be fun. I do question BF's decision to do Normandy first for WW2 as it is a very fiddly arena to fight in with bocage being the most likely to be micromanaged.

Why the Western desert/Tunisia [which is similar to Italy] was not used first to acquaint people with the system and get rid of the gremlins I really do not understand. Possibly the armour system would have been more obviously wrong BUT the micro-management aspects of infantyr fighting could have been more easily seen.

Gaming the game clock in human vs. human might occur but at the moment I have not seen enough reported battles.

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I think currently CMx2 is too demanding on micro-management to be fun. I do question BF's decision to do Normandy first for WW2 as it is a very fiddly arena to fight in with bocage being the most likely to be micromanaged.

Why the Western desert/Tunisia [which is similar to Italy] was not used first to acquaint people with the system and get rid of the gremlins I really do not understand. Possibly the armour system would have been more obviously wrong BUT the micro-management aspects of infantyr fighting could have been more easily seen.

Gaming the game clock in human vs. human might occur but at the moment I have not seen enough reported battles.

Well this one seems simple to me. Normandy/US/Brits/ect. appeals to more people than the desert and Tunisia. They want to sell this product to as many people as they can for now to get some revenue to make the machine work. It is good sense and it is what I would have done. It doesn't mean that the desert isn't comming later but to pay the bills now you have to move the product.

I like the micro-management but I play WEGO. I do not like the clock crunch. Thats just me.

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What is missing in this discussion is exploration of the "fun factor", and what makes a game fun and enjoyable as a recreational activity.

It's not much fun, for the defender, as a recreational activity, to sit turn after turn after turn slowly watching his carefully prepared defence picked apart piece by piece by a attacker who is not resource-limited when it comes to time.

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Well, I usually play WEGO vs. the AI, and speaking generally I don't have a problem with the time limits I've seen in scenarios thus far. At times, time limits have presented a challenge for me, but not in a way I found unrealistic or unenjoyable.

In a few scenarios here and there, I have found time limits to seem a bit on the short side. But these are generally the exception to the rule. And quite often I finish scenarios before time is up -- the enemy surrenders, or fighting is substantially over (low on ammo, low morale, whatever), so I hit cease fire rather than play out the last few minutes. I am also generally VERY conservative with my own force casualties -- even when it's not a specific point objective and I'm playing a scenario rather than a campaign, I'll generally accept a minor victory with lower own side casualties than a major victory with higher own side casualties.

Another scenario design fault I sometimes see, which can be related to time limits, is when terrain objectives are overweighted vs. casualty objectives -- this tends to encourage a very high-risk, casualties-be-damned style of play. This is not *always* unrealistic if the conceit the scenario presents is an attack on a very high-value terrain objective, but in general I prefer to see scenarios where it is possible for either side to gain at least a minor victory without holding the terrain objective(s). The forces both attacker and defender to weigh the value of holding the objective(s) vs. winning the body count.

To me, time limits are just a simple construct that abstracts the idea that combat on the CMBN battlefield does not take place in a vacuum. IRL, time pressure is a very real part of military operations. E.g., if Able Company isn't able to secure objective A by 0800, Baker Company will be under direct enemy observation and fire as they try to cross the river at 0815. Etc. You don't have to read very far into military history to find situations where minutes of delay here and there added up to hours of delay, which then added up to days of delay, which eventually compromised a whole operation (Market Garden, anyone?).

One thing I would like to see eventually is the introduction of some sort of "soft" time limit for terrain objectives. For example, it would be great if a designer could set it up so that the attacker gets, say, 100 points if he seizes Objective A in 30 minutes, but then the point value of the objective decreases by 10 points per minutes thereafter, until at 40 minutes the attacker no longer receives points for the objective at all. This would be better than the current "all or nothing" approach, IMHO.

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To me, time limits are just a simple construct that abstracts the idea that combat on the CMBN battlefield does not take place in a vacuum.

Well put.

One thing I would like to see eventually is the introduction of some sort of "soft" time limit for terrain objectives. For example, it would be great if a designer could set it up so that the attacker gets, say, 100 points if he seizes Objective A in 30 minutes, but then the point value of the objective decreases by 10 points per minutes thereafter, until at 40 minutes the attacker no longer receives points for the objective at all.

And, inversely, increasing in value for the defender. As a designer I'd like those tools a lot. Or Alot.

[tangent]If I recall correctly, the old World at War WEGO operational hex-games (Op CRUSADER, Stalingrad, and ... America Invades?) had a version of this in that locations were worth a modest amount, but you got that modest amount each and every turn you held the locations. It led to all sorts of involved calculations and cost-benefit tradeoffs. St Mere Eglise is worth 1 measly point? Big deal. Oh ... wait ... that's 7 points per day and 70 points over the course of this campaign. Hmm ... maybe I should get the 91st LL Div to try and hold it for another few turns. That way I'll get maybe 30 points for it, and the Allies will get only 40. Then I'll only need to hold Carentan for 25 turns instead of 35, and Valognes can be abandoned now. It became tense and exciting watching the overall points 'worm' gradually grow to the right, wriggling up and down across the advantage line as casualties were lost and objectives gained.[/tangent]

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I guess we all should make that disclosure as to HOW and at WHAT LEVEL we play the game when we post, otherwise, yes we may well be talking at cross-purposes.

That's not really important, because it's based on the intolerable expectation that designers will create a dozen versions of each scenario.

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I sort of agree that the scenario designer choses, and if he wants to make the time-frame tight, that is his choice. There were plenty of scenarios in C and F where a longer time-frame might not even have helped the attacker--just potentially meant the attacker had more troops/ammo chewed up.

The point I will make, and this maybe goes to what Erwin has commented on, is BFC watching out for the "fun" factor a little more. Some CM1 scenarios were 20 turns....or even 15. With CM2, even with a fairly small scenario like "A Strange Awakening", I find the hour time limit, and the increased micromanagement, make it seem like it takes forever to finish a scenario.

What this series cries out for, in my opinion, is a bunch of "micro" scenarios, which truely are only 20-30 minutes long--or even down to 15. Having made the design decision for splitting squads so minutely and so necessarily, the corresponding scenario force size should be much smaller--or at least, have those scenarios available. I think that would draw many more people to the series. Squad takes house, for example. I know...I have suggested this stuff before.

Then you could argue "puzzle" versus "routine tactical" scenarios--some like one type more than another. But, though I fantisize about battalion level Ost Front battles, in reality I would probably never complete a scenario like that. Smaller, shorter, likely, in my opinion, more of a realizable pleasure.

The only QBs I have enjoyed have been of the very tiny force size, random. Just fun to see what bizarre situations one could run into.

Fun.

Fun.

I don't think that conflicts with sim.

And yes, fun does mean different things to different people--playing a scenario WEGO with a 4 hour time limit would not be fun for m.

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That sounds like 'Platoon Patrol' and '18 Platoon'.

Um....er...[cough]....yes...exactly.

I am SURE (really) this was not because of my suggestion in a C and F thread.

Did I mention that BFC is a great company, in part because they are always evolving?

[Now...label them in some manner so that new players are drawn to them.......but......maybe you have already done that in some way. BTW, believe it or not, I will bet there is a significant number of players who start with the scenario at the top a list, and work their way down. Indeed, maybe you know that, because without the CW in front of it, wouldn't 18 Platoon go to the top of the list?]

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Um....er...[cough]....yes...exactly.

:)

I am SURE (really) this was not because of my suggestion in a C and F thread.

Oh, I assure you it wasn't :)

I will bet there is a significant number of players who start with the scenario at the top a list, and work their way down

I bet you're right. Coincidentally (and it is a coincidence) 18 Platoon appears at the head of the list of CW scenarios.

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JonS: No, I didn't mean that designers should have to make multiple versions.

Just that if designers made it clear as they do (usually these days) re AI or H2H intentions, and if message posters also made it clear at what skill level they played and if it was RT or WEGO, it could avoid some confusion. For example re whether the scenario was too long or too short.

It makes a big difference if someone is playing IRON vs VETERAN. Also, if a scenario is designed for RT, I would expect it to be harder to win in the time limit vs WEGO (and vice versa). It doesn't mean people wouldn't play a RT game as WEGO, but it would help cut down complaints that it was hard to win in the given time.

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Hello BF forums, first time posting.

Now what i think about time limit: It doesnt hurt.

But it depends on what the scenario maker tries to tell us.

High or no time limit, means that the maker either doesnt like the timer OR that the mission must be played out cautiously before all else, therefore there is no need to rush.

Lower time limits mean either an increased challenge, a real world scenario that was done in such timeframe or the time limit in order to prevent overlapping the campaign missions.

I made a mission (its in 1.0b version for now, getting some playtests, will upload for you guys to try it since its also my first one) in wich i will provide the player with a great ammount of time, because the aim of the mission is not in the rushing but in rejoining your forces and completing the objectives in a much larger timeframe than game can provide you with.

In short, its more of a scenario-type not so much of a "how good of an armchair general you are" type, though its still demanding if you want your guys to survive.

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JonS: No, I didn't mean that designers should have to make multiple versions.

Just that if designers made it clear as they do (usually these days) re AI or H2H intentions, and if message posters also made it clear at what skill level they played and if it was RT or WEGO, it could avoid some confusion. For example re whether the scenario was too long or too short.

It makes a big difference if someone is playing IRON vs VETERAN. Also, if a scenario is designed for RT, I would expect it to be harder to win in the time limit vs WEGO (and vice versa). It doesn't mean people wouldn't play a RT game as WEGO, but it would help cut down complaints that it was hard to win in the given time.

I would certainly agree that the more information which is provided by both designers and players who have completed a scenario, the better. But this will only go so far as it doesn't address the huge diversity of competency that must exist amongst players. I have read posts in which players have achieved a total victory with minimal casaulties for a scenario that I have failed at miserably. Obviously, if there is sufficient feedback (quantity and quality), it may be possible to roughly gauge the difficulty level against your own abilities/preferences, but ultimately, it is just that, a rough form of guidance, which may be completely wrong.

I find that only by looking at the briefing, map/objectives/time constraints, etc, can I roughly decide whether a scenario is beyond my abilities and/or personal preferences, but even then I may (and have) gone back to ones I didn't think I would enjoy, and did!

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I don't recall ever running out of time, but I am sure I cut it close sometimes. I do like having the time limit as more of a challenge. HvH must have time limit. Otherwise you could have two stubborn grogs fighting the same game for as long as WW2 lasted.

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