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CMx2: Situational Awareness


76mm

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I have to say that I've played very little CMx2 until now, as I've been waiting for the return to the East Front. In anticipation of Red Thunder, I fired up CMFI this weekend and played a scenario.

It made me remember why I've not been a big fan of CMx2 thus far: it is just very difficult for me to figure out what is going on! In CMx1, with the command and targeting lines it was much easier to figure out where my units were and what they were doing.

In CMx2, I can figure out with difficulty where my units are (waiting for the command lines in Red Thunder), but really can't tell what they are doing...are they targeting an enemy unit? Is an enemy unit targeting them? Is my unit firing? Is my AT gun in the processing of unlimbering? Other than the color-coded movement line, is there a way to tell if they are moving, hunting, moving fast (I haven't memorized all of the colors yet...)?

Can anyone give me any tips on how to maintain better situational awareness in CMx2?

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If you click on an infantry unit you'll see a text description in green of each soldier and what he's doing in the lower left. Moving, firing, turning, spotting, etc. If you move your cursor over a weapon pict in the weapons list not only does the unit's base light up but the units text in the lower left goes white too. The Leader holding the PPSh is firing. Click on a vehicle you get the same info for each crewmember.

Mostly units are doing what you see them doing. If they're firing you'll see them fire, I they're moving you'll see them moving. If you're unsure what they're doing click on the waypoint destination and the command button will change color in the UI. A tank is moving, you click on the waypoint and 'MOVE' light up. If you want it to hunt instead click on HUNT with the waypoint selected and the tank immediately changes to Hunt.

I've used the analogy before of learning to drive stick. If you can't parallel park very well the first time behind the wheel the car isn't 'broken'. All you need is a bit more practice. :)

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I'm afraid that there aren't a lot of quick cures to most of the problems you are posing. In CMx2 it is mostly a matter of patiently acquiring experience with the game to build an intuitive sense of how it flows. However, there are aids for some of your problems. In terms of finding your units, the unit icons that hover above them are a great help to me. Another thing is using the + and - keys to cycle through your unit roster at the end of the orders phase to ensure that you haven't missed one is a good habit to get into.

Michael

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What they said 76mm - you're a long way behind on this one. What you're experiencing is something pretty much everyone has to go through to get to the CMX2 goodness. I find widescreen © is a must.

If you're going to be struggling with the new format, why not go straight to Real Time? The sense of achievement I get when I surface from an hour's battling (maybe five pauses in that time) is unlike any other game I've come across.

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Remember some things are fun BECAUSE they're difficult. Playing miniature golf would be no fun if the cup you're suppose to hit the ball into was as big as a bucket. The whole point of the game is the struggle. If you're not confused and panicky, rushing from here to there and trying to extricate yourself from trouble then the game would be little more than watching TV. Embrace the suck. :D

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In CMx2, I can figure out with difficulty where my units are...

It's worth getting used to what units highlight their icons, when. When a platoon element is selected, all that platoon's component parts' icons are highlighted, with the other icons darkened. If you double-click a unit, the icons of all the elements of its organisational division are highlighted, so click the Co HQ and the whole company is highlighted.

...Other than the color-coded movement line, is there a way to tell if they are moving, hunting, moving fast...

Move-ing troops meander along at walking pace with their weapons slung.

Hunt-ing troops shuffle step along with their weapons up ready to fire.

Fast and Quick look very similar. If you can't remember whether you set them to Fast or Quick, they're probably doing Quick, because if you set them to Fast and forgot, they're now Tired and can't go Fast.

Slow troops are crawling.

Blast-ing troops are lying on their belly.

Knowing what the movement modes look like is useful to tell the posture of enemy troops you observe, when you can't click on their movement lines and look at the interface.

I'd suggest you don't use Move for ordinary Infantry in most terrain. It's quicker to Quick them there and let them rest. Even by the time the Quick movers have recovered to Ready, the Move order troops will not have caught up. In really rough terrain, Move can be more efficient, and the more heavily loaded the troops, the less rough the terrain has to be.

Can anyone give me any tips on how to maintain better situational awareness in CMx2?

Assuming you're playing WeGo, take your time to watch the turn a few times from different angles. I tend to watch the whole turn once from a static long view, just looking for yellow flashing icons. Then I'll go back to where I saw enemy spotted and watch those exchanges. Then pay some attention to any incoming tracer I've spotted. Then, with trees and icons off, watch for unexplained shell bursts that could be spotting rounds.

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The unit icon markers could in theory be used to convey more quick visual information on the status of the unit to the player than what they do already.

As far as unit status goes, the unit icon currently just already tells the player if:

a) the unit can be given orders (marker colour is solid) or if it can not be given orders (marker is transparent) and

B) if the unit has taken recent damage/losses (the marker blinks).

Much more uselful SA related status information could easily be communicated to the player using simple graphics similar to how Vins animated text mod communicates information.

For example, the suppression level of the unit could be represented by perhaps the appearance of a small animated bar graph next to marker, similar in colour/dynamics as the suppression level meter you see when you click on a unit.

Other small markers that could appear next to unit icons include small arrows to indicate a unit is moving or crosshairs if it is firing, just like Vin's animated text mod, or one that indicates it's spotted an enemy.

Of course with infantry units only some of the individual soldiers in a unit can be firing or moving at any one time. The markers could show if say the marker applied to at least one soldiers in the unit.

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It might be helpful to have a situational awareness overview screen facility showing the locations of your platoons and companies by trrop type...

Double click the Company or Platoon's HQ?

...curretly known enemy positions.

Deselect all your units?

If it's too difficult to mentally integrate the former with the latter, you've probably got your TO rather too scattered and fragmented.

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Double click the Company or Platoon's HQ?

Deselect all your units?

If it's too difficult to mentally integrate the former with the latter, you've probably got your TO rather too scattered and fragmented.

Yes that does work. Kind of. But a 2|D graphical map screen would allow you to view the situation as a whole more easily, at least to the level of current knowledge of the battlefield situation. How easy it would be for Battlefront to produce such a map screen situation overview ias another matter though it wpould be nice to have.

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Thanks for the tips, I already use the icons and all move lines but have a hard time keeping my units together without the command lines, so I'll be glad to have them back. But I still really miss the targeting lines. I agree with Lt Bull that a lot more could be done with the unit icons to help with situational awareness.

For instance, someone said to just watch units to see what they're doing. That works OK for infantry, I guess, but even then it might not be clear what they're firing at.

Moreover, in my recent scenario I had a tank up on a ridge overlooking a wide valley broken up by buildings and trees. In the valley were literally dozens of targets which would disappear and reappear behind a building, etc. Meanwhile my TC was looking around with his binos, and the only way I could tell if the tank was firing (as far as I can tell) is to watch the tank the whole turn, and even then I couldn't be sure what he was firing at.

After a few minutes the valley was filled with flaming enemy tanks, but I had literally no idea of which of my units had killed them. Sure I could go back after the scenario to figure out who had killed what, but it is not as fun as watching the action during the game.

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Thanks for the tips, I already use the icons and all move lines but have a hard time keeping my units together without the command lines, so I'll be glad to have them back. But I still really miss the targeting lines. I agree with Lt Bull that a lot more could be done with the unit icons to help with situational awareness.

Steve has said that the unit icons in their current form are a huge suck on processing power and that even increasing the variety available (like trees, I guess, would start to make machines leak steam. I'm sure it will come, but not for a while.

For instance, someone said to just watch units to see what they're doing. That works OK for infantry, I guess, but even then it might not be clear what they're firing at.

Does it really matter? If you're operating in a "target rich environment", and want to prioritise, you can, but there will still be situations when some of the element will be firing at other targets, because they can't get sight on your designated target, but can on another.

Moreover, in my recent scenario I had a tank up on a ridge overlooking a wide valley broken up by buildings and trees. In the valley were literally dozens of targets which would disappear and reappear behind a building, etc. Meanwhile my TC was looking around with his binos, and the only way I could tell if the tank was firing (as far as I can tell) is to watch the tank the whole turn, and even then I couldn't be sure what he was firing at.

Again: does it really matter? If you want to be sure, whatever method you use, since the TacAI can (potentially) change its target many times in a minute, you'll have to watch the whole minute. Just looking at the order phase snapshot won't tell you what you want to know, even if there's a "I'm firing here, even though I had no specific orders to" line.

After a few minutes the valley was filled with flaming enemy tanks, but I had literally no idea of which of my units had killed them.

Congratulations! They're flaming hulks, does it matter who killed what?

Sure I could go back after the scenario to figure out who had killed what, but it is not as fun as watching the action during the game.

Well, you might struggle to nail down exactly what happened from the "kill tally" in the "Review Map" mode, but if you actually watch the action during the game, you'll get a pretty good idea where the kills came from. Even then, you might not have exact info. By watching the action, I mean, following each tank to see what it did. Or following each enemy tank to see what was done to it, and, as far as possible, by whom. That's half the joy of WeGo, and all the tergeting lines in the world won't tell you which tank killed which, if you couldn't tell from an overview anyway. There isn't a limit on the number of times you can rewatch a turn, you know... :)

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After a few minutes the valley was filled with flaming enemy tanks, but I had literally no idea of which of my units had killed them. Sure I could go back after the scenario to figure out who had killed what, but it is not as fun as watching the action during the game.

Are you playing real time? Thats the drawback of RT and why I prefer WEGO (so you can rewind and see who shot who etc. Not to talk about all the cool details you will miss in RT).

If you are refering to WEGO.. was it any different in CMx1?

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womble, you ask repeatedly if it matters who has killed who on the battlefield.

For me, the answer is definitely yes, in fact it is the whole reason I play--to watch the individual duels and mini-dramas play out as the battle unfolds. Right now I feel like my units are firing into a void, and the defending units are likewise zapped from the void, and it is very difficult for me to figure who did what.

It is not so much about specifying the targets, although sometimes I like to do that as well.

Fizou, I am playing WeGo, and I think it was very different because of the targetting lines (incoming and outgoing).

Miller41, thanks for the tip, I'll look for those vidoes, it sounds like what I need.

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womble, you ask repeatedly if it matters who has killed who on the battlefield.

For me, the answer is definitely yes, in fact it is the whole reason I play--to watch the individual duels and mini-dramas play out as the battle unfolds. Right now I feel like my units are firing into a void, and the defending units are likewise zapped from the void, and it is very difficult for me to figure who did what.

Then watch the duels. You'll know as much as you would have if there were targeting lines. That's my point. You can see incoming fire, and outgoing fire. If you're getting zapped by unspotted assets, why should you know what's going on?

Some things that might help get the most out of watching replays (you may know some of them, I offer them in case you don't):

  • You can lock your view to a unit and then deselct that unit, so you can see all the bogies your entire force can see; thus you'll know (if any of your units can see it) the origin of incoming fire.
  • You can lock your view to a unit, and have it only track location, not direction of view, but rotating the camera a bit after you TAB to the unit. I very rarely let the camera swing its view with the units; it confuses me. You can still rotate the view manually at need.
  • If you select a spottted bogey, the units that have it spotted will highlight, and your other units will darken. Unless you have an area fire plotted that the bogey is in the way of, only the units that have it spotted are candidates for firing at it, so your determination of who killed it is turned into a selection from a smaller pool.
  • If you haven't spotted whatever bogey is killing your assets, you can often tell, by watching for the incoming fire, roughly whereabouts that bogey may be located. 5s step through the turn until the casualty is inflicted, then step back 5s and watch out for incoming "tracer". When you know what second the damage got taken, you can spam your pause button to "frame-by-frame" forward until you freeze-frame the tracer inbound. It's a lot more work than having a line appear pointing at the unspotted asset, and it's less accurate, but it's part of the FoW.

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womble, you ask repeatedly if it matters who has killed who on the battlefield.

For me, the answer is definitely yes, in fact it is the whole reason I play--to watch the individual duels and mini-dramas play out as the battle unfolds. Right now I feel like my units are firing into a void, and the defending units are likewise zapped from the void, and it is very difficult for me to figure who did what.

....

Hmmm, I too like to see what happened during each turn, but the difficulties you are having surprise me.

Since each man in a squad can potentially engage a different target, the old CM1 target lines may not help as much as you'd think.

I tend to Select and then Tab to each unit that I want to watch and find that the #2 viewing level is best for seeing what they're doing and getting a good view of the surrounding terrain.

Tracers are best to show in-and-outgoing fire and if you remain locked to the unit, the camera will rotate to show where the bulk of their firing is going ( and for tanks, will follow the turret rotation ).

I use Vein's muzzleflash and tracer mods - perhaps the vanilla tracers aren't as visible ? ( It's been a looooong time since I played the game without these mods, so I can't be sure ).

Deselecting the unit without moving the camera will maybe give you a better idea about units they may not have spotted themselves which might clarify some of "the void" firing.

But sometimes they are being shot at by stuff you haven't spotted and that too is realistic ( although tracers may give you a pretty good idea ;) )

Hope that helps.

Edit: ok, ninja'd by womble, hope both posts help :)

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Then watch the duels. You'll know as much as you would have if there were targeting lines. That's my point. You can see incoming fire, and outgoing fire. If you're getting zapped by unspotted assets, why should you know what's going on?

My point is that to do so without targeting lines takes about five times as long, which for me makes it rather tedious rather than interesting. That said, I will try your tips, maybe they'll help to some extent.

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Then watch the duels.

<snip>

Some things that might help get the most out of watching replays (you may know some of them, I offer them in case you don't):

<list of tips snip>

To add to what @womble said:

  • <alt>H turns on the hit text so you can see when any vehicle is hit and what effect it had
  • sometimes I get down really low with the vehicle I am warching and sit the camera right above the turret with the tank selected

With the above you can watch your loader load the gun (see the green crew text in the lower left corner), the gunner aim and fire then see the hit on the enemy vehicle.

Also check out Vin's animated text - it is easier to follow the icons ran to read the text.

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