Jump to content

Recon Vehicles


Recommended Posts

Basically I was wondering if recon vehicles will spot any better than other AFVs in Combat Mission? This was a major problem to Steel Panthers, in my opinion. Armored cars and Light Tanks were little more than diversionary targets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Big Time Software

Since we are simulating real world physics and vehicle stuff, there really are no special issues with recon vehicles. If you have a Puma (which is already in the game) you will want to use it for recon purposes instead of a Panther. It is faster, more manuverable, and presents a smaller target. These are the attributes you want in a recon vehicle. There is nothing special to code here because it is what it is.

The ability for a recon unit to "spot" is no different than any other vehicle. We see no reason to give some sort of bonus to an unbuttoned Puma than an unbuttoned Panther. A well trained commander is going to be just as good at seeing things as any other commander at the same experience level. Having a recon symbol painted on the vehicle doesn't change that. Same goes for infantry units.

Buttoned vehicles might be totally different in terms of spotting, due to the way the vehicle is made. We are trying to figure out how we can qunatify this in game terms. Is a Panther significantly more blind than a Puma when buttoned up? How much more if it is? What ranges and angles are different? Etc. But again, this has NOTHING to do with the vehicle being a Recon vehicle or not. Heck, for all we a traditional recon vehicle could be more blind than some MBT...

Training level and speed are the key elements of a recon unit. Because of this they were generally better trained/experienced and had better/lighter equipment. The result is that these units are simply better at getting in and out with needed info. This is all simualted in CM.

Steve

[This message has been edited by Big Time Software (edited 06-03-99).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Historically speaking, recon vehicles were not equiped with special equipment to aid them in spotting the enemy. They were however fitted with more powerful wireless systems so that they could transfer the info they gathered to the commanders from further away and with less interferance. The reason a vehicle was chosen for recon duties in WWII was based on it's cross country ability vs the expense to produce it.

If Recon units are able to more effectivly spot the enemy in CM it will likely be because of unit training and implementation rather than any specific atributes of the vehicles themselves.

------------------

Rhet

Steve you must have posted just as I started typing. smile.gif

[This message has been edited by Rhet (edited 06-03-99).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest PatB_TGN

Reconnaissance is going to a tricky thing to handle with one-minute time slices. Although each side had different means of conducting intelligence gathering, the situation is what ultimately determines the speed and effectiveness of a recon patrol.

If a situation is hot and heavy, you’ll be less likely to witness ‘bold’ actions of surveillance. Whereas if the situation is unopposed, recon elements will be far more likely to operate farther away from their parent units.

There’s an entire issue about recon, which no game has effectively been able to reproduce. If you KNOW there is an enemy concentration up ahead along a road, but you need to determine the approximate number of the enemy and whether they have armor, recon elements wouldn’t go mounted. Would you want to drive a Puma or a Jimmy up a road go looking? No, the scouts (Commander and radioman) would dismount from their vehicles in order to survey the area from terra firma.

FWIW, since this game is going to supply near-instant feedback to the user, reconnaissance shouldn’t be a major problem. The scope of the scenarios will be an approximate region of one square mile. Reconnaissance in such a small section of ‘space,’ isn’t going to turn up wonderful information. Plus, how many scenarios are you going to expect no opposition?

-Patrick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

re: spotting from closed up vehicle:

assume I have a closed up tank advancing during the action phase and the enemy has a hidden squad waiting to ambush my tank (ie, they can spot me but I cant spot them do to blind spots/terrain). During the action phase assume a friendly unit (other than my sacrificial tank) spots the enemy squad (currently hidden from my tank), will the tank automatically become aware of the enemy squad and react accordingly, or are unit actions based on what each unit can see, not what the entire force can see (during the 60 sec. action phase, of course)?

in other words, if the tank remains buttoned up (with poor visibility) will it remain ignorant of the enemy squad (even if spotted by other friendlies) until the enemy attacks, the tank spots it, or the turn ends (at which point I, being supreme god-like commander with good visibility <grin>, become aware of it and try to move my tank out of danger)?

Will friendlies firing at a hidden unit (from the tank) help the spotting process for the tank crew?

dave

[This message has been edited by aikidorat (edited 06-03-99).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only such "artifical" and abstracted game engines as e.g. West Front's need special "spot" bonuses and rules, because in a 2D environment everything has to be resolved based on die rolls. With a 3D landscape this is not necessary anymore, as LOS and spotting can be handled more realisticly.

And unlike modern recon vehicles which are often equipped with top-notch thermal imaging systems and satellite links, during WW2 a recon vehicles didn't really have any special equipment which enhanced its spotting abilities. A pair of binoculars and a set of good eyes, I'd say... smile.gif

The only ability a recon vehicle should have (and historically usually had) is speed. Because after the enemy was spotted, the recon vehicle would usually turn around and get the hell outathere. The fighting usually is left to those whose job it is, the tanks and infantry, UNLESS the force encountered is really small.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Big Time Software

Aikidorat,

You've hit upon one of the most fundamental problems in wargaming: what I call the multiple hats problem. I call it that because, as a player, you wear many hats. You're the company commander. You're also the platoon commanders. And the sergeants. And even, to an extent, the corporals and privates!

Basically any wargame really is like taking Star Trek into WW2: you're the "Borg" because all your soldiers collectively think with one mind: yours.

Obviously this is unrealistic. smile.gif

But there's no good way around it, unless you have about 150 buddies who are willing to play the game with you at the same time, and you each play one "person". It's possible, to an extent, to substitute AI for other "people" in the game, but this usually has unsatisfactory results if relied upon too heavily. And even if it did work, who would really want it? It's fun to wear lots of hats in a game, and see the battle from many perspectives. One minute you're in a tank, and the next you're jumping through windows with your Tommy gun. Fewer limitations and more "hats" means more fun.

But that takes us back to the "one mind" problem. Since all your troops have access to the information in the player's brain, they effectively have instant communications with one another. There is no simple way to avoid this.

However, in Combat Mission we've taken pains to reduce the problem somewhat. For example, buttoned vehicles do not react quickly to events. There's usually a delay. If a threat pops up in the action phase, your infantry units generally react quickly, but a buttoned-up tank will tend to keep on doing what he's doing for another 5-10 critical seconds. Sometimes that's all it takes for a bazooka to hit home...

Staying unbuttoned improves "reaction time", although at personal danger to the tank commander.

So this is how we deal with the problem. It's a tough one, for all wargames!

Charles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks - good points...btw, it's Dave..

I was thinking more along the lines during the 60 seconds of action (each action phase, for lack of a better term). Say I tell my panzer to grind it's way up a road for the upcoming turn or two, oblivous to an allied squad laying in ambush. We start the action turn and a elite german squad happens to spot the allied squad laying in ambush, but is either too far away to fire at it, or is engaged with another target (one that places the g. squad in greater danger), so the a. squad can maybe engage the panzer...

I assume the tank will continue along the orders I gave it until:

1. The tank spots the allied squad

2. the allied squad opens up on the tank

3. the end of the turn, when I can (try) to change the orders.

possible actions for the above:

1. tank spots squad, determines a high threat and tries to modify their orders based on their experience, morale, etc. May or may not be successful.

2. May or may not locate the incoming fire immmediately, so if the panzer isnt destroyed they try to spot the threat and then determine action (all within the 60 sec time)

3. Turn ends with neither 1 or 2 happening. I get to try to change the orders (assuming I gave an order that would span a few turns (based on a previous thread)) or I issue new orders.

The spotting by the elite g squad would not change the tank orders during the action phase , right? Or will it?

Hope this wasnt covered b4 - been lurking here for a long time and thought I had read pretty much everything. Thx! dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like recon vehicles work the way they should. I wouldn't want you to give them any false advantages.

I just wanted to make sure that they would be more useful than in other games, where essentially they just get destroyed without achieving much.

I also suspect that I don't use recon vehicles too well, any advice?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Big Time Software

Dave, when a unit is spotted by one unit it is spotted for ALL units. This is what Charles was saying about the Borg thing. The panzer rumbling down the road will know about the enemy ambush as soon as it is spotted. However, since the tank is buttoned up, we slap it with a reaction penalty. Not perfect, but this is not something we can fix without making a whole different game (one most people won't want to play <g>).

There is a huge UI problem with mixing and matching who can spot who. How do you inform the player that Unit A sees Enemy Unit, but Units B, C, and D don't. And worse, since we have different levels of spotting, maybe Unit E thinks the target is a Tiger and Unit F and G think it is "some kind of tank", while Unit H thinks it is a Panther. Ugh...

On the positive side, the chances are that the elite unit in your example wouldn't spot the ambushing enemy unit until after they fired. If it did spot the enemy before, there is a good chance that it would shoot at it. So when the game really gets going the issues of who ACTUALLY spots who becomes less of an issue.

Rick, recon is a VERY tough thing to do. CM's orders and realism make it more likely your recon force will survive, but it is still a dangerous thing to do. If you send an armored car out by itself, and don't have it stop periodically, it will most likely get whacked. You REALLY need to be cautious and go in with some infantry, which isn't easy either wink.gif

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks BT for the rapid response (and for juggling 2 threads in one here).

Good explanation - I just didnt see it the first post.

Sounds like a good compromise to the very complex issue of who has spotted what. Looking forward to spending way too much time playing this later this summer. Just what my wife wants to hear!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One problem I've had with recon on other games, is that the scenarios are constructed pretty tight on the time end. In other words if you recon with some kind of dismounted scouts, you run out of time trying to take the objectives.

What will this issue be like in Combat Mission? My solution in the past has been to not recon, to just go for the objectives with my main force. It gets me into trouble sometimes, but like I said if I recon with scouts on foot I run out of time and if I use a vehicle it gets whacked after only showing me where one or two enemy units are.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Scott Clinton

"The panzer rumbling down the road will know about the enemy ambush as soon as it is spotted...There is a huge UI problem with mixing and matching who can spot who."

I agree, but a possible compromise is that you simply DELAY this instant 'Borg-like' transfer of knowledge until the end of current turn (next orders phase).

------------------

The Grumbling Grognard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Big Time Software

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>One problem I've had with recon on other games, is that the scenarios are constructed pretty tight on the time end. In other words if you recon with some kind of dismounted scouts, you run out of time trying to take the objectives. What will this issue be like in Combat Mission?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Rick - there won't be just one way that CM handles this. It will depend on the scenario. We'd prefer variety.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I agree, but a possible compromise is that you simply DELAY this instant 'Borg-like' transfer of knowledge until the end of current turn (next orders phase).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Scott - the problem is that the "transfer of knowledge" is from the computer screen to the player. And therefore, inherently, all the player's squads now "know" that information. Nothing is happening in the code. But when the all-seeing player knows something and can issue orders to all his units, those units can by definition now act on that knowledge.

There's no way to delay this, unless you would prefer that the ambushing enemy unit (in the above example) be hidden from the player's view altogether even though some of his units can see it, and that doesn't really make sense.

So you can't delay the knowledge transfer. You can only delay reaction time. And that's what CM does.

Charles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once again you guys found a realistic way around the problem. Seems to me that sometimes an army would have plenty of time to recon carefully and other times it wouldn't.

I feel wierd having these recon difficulties, because I was in JROTC and infantry recon was the one tactical issue they taught us. I was on an exercise once where the patrol I was on was only one out of two that completed the mission successfully. A forest fire was started by a flare the "enemy" set off to try and find us, the fire created enough noise that they didn't hear us. Of course, as a reward for our success us and the other successful patrol had to put out the remains of the fire by walking on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm...and I always thought it was "a second lieutenant with a map." Now we'll have to change it to "a second lieutenant with a flare gun."

Congrats on being in JROTC. Did you go into ROTC in college, or anything? (For the record, I didn't; I'm too much of a scaredy-wuss)

DjB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started at US Merchant Marine Academy and was planning on working towards a US Navy commission. However, it didn't take long for me to decide that I didn't want to do the military thing for my career. Besides, I wanted to be a Naval Aviator and at the time I was the absolute tallest I could be for that, and I grew a little more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Basically any wargame really is like taking Star Trek into WW2: you're the "Borg" because all your soldiers collectively think with one mind: yours...

It's possible, to an extent, to substitute AI for other "people" in the game, but this usually has unsatisfactory results if relied upon too heavily. And even if it did work, who would really want it? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Me. smile.gif

Something I would really, really like in a game is to be able to play a *commander* in a wargame. Even some of the best 'serious' wargames - Brigade Combat Team, TacOps, and such - have for more detailed control and require more tactical micromanagement than I'd like. On the game-simulation spectrum I tend towards the sim end, and there is precious little that really simulates the problems of command.

Most of the time I don't want to fight every tank and every team. It's not a battalion commander's job. I *like* the idea of simulating the fog and friction of war. That is as much part of the reality as getting the rear turret armor on the MK IVa Bungtank exactly right, or whether the Panzer Dorkwagen has 850 or 870 rounds in the coax machine gun.

The closest I've seen to letting a player focus on command are the TacOps IRC CPXes. High on fog and friction, and micromanagers die. smile.gif Road to Moscow may be a more command-oriented wargame, albeit at a higher level of command.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> It's fun to wear lots of hats in a game, and see the battle from many perspectives. One minute you're in a tank, and the next you're jumping through windows with your Tommy gun. Fewer limitations and more "hats" means more fun. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Of course this is also true, and most of the time, for most people, this makes it a better game. Including me, which is why I'm anxiously awaiting CM along with everybody else here. It can be a real blast, but it's a less effective simulation from the perspective I'm talking about here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Big Time Software

If you TRULY simulate the battlefield commander in WWII at, say, Major level, you would usually have little more than a map in front of you with out dated info, a phone, some staff, a couple of runners, and so forth. Once a plan was in place the upper command had practically NO impact on the battle. If they did, then they were out in the field playing Company Commander.

Sure, there were many decisions to be made at the higher levels. They could bring in extra forces, they could issue orders for this and that. But this is so generalized that at the CM levelthere is no game to be had here. Unless the Major happens to be in the trenches with his men, his impact on a 20-40min engagement is next to none. His impact is suposed to be for the day and week, not the minute.

SSG tried to do a hands off micromanagement game a long time ago and they bombed so hard that they decided to NEVER try that approach again. I know, because I ribbed 'em hard about it smile.gif

In any case, Combat Mission has more fog of war and "lack" of control than you might think it does. Far more than TacOps, a hundred times more than Steel Panthers. Check out the two threads I stated on 6/7/99 to see what I mean.

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...