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Highest compliments on a superb design


tankski
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I just played a completely computer-generated Quick with part of a StuG brigade defending against a Sov onslaught of Guards Su-76s and Su-85s. I was using Iron level. It started with an epic artillery bombardment which astounded me with its realism. The air was so full of dust I could see nothing but my own line. The Sovs had plonked their smoke right on my tanks. I was blinded completely. Out of this came wave after wave of Su's which destroyed so many of my tanks with point-blank fire I was ready to concede. They had penetrated right into my forward platoons.

What was so great was that I had no idea from which directions the attacks would come. I didn't think there was much point in continuing but I decided throw the dice, roll back to the railway cutting, go hull-down and see what I could do to try to salvage the miserable situation. As it happened, I made the right decision. My remaining tanks stopped the Sovs cold. Then I was socked with another bombardment and the Sovs tried hitting me in the flank. I had deployed three tanks to shoot straight down the cutting and they stopped the flank attack as my others stalled the frontal assault.

To say all of this was exciting and tactically engrossing would be an understatement. Right up until the surprise game end announcement with 45 minutes left I had no idea I was winning. I thought my initial heavy losses precluded a victory. I was just attempting to have some tanks left at the end. To my surprise, my tanks had destroyed many more Sovs than I realized.

This is really a terrific design. I have played other Quicks but I hadn't let the computer surprise me with complete randomness until this one. I am delighted by the opportunity to fight battles with no knowledge of the enemy's strength or their direction of attack.

I had tried your previous system ("Barbarossa to Berlin" etc) but I never cared much for the mechanics of commanding the units though I was very impressed by the detail (I had started with tactical games with "Panzerblitz" in 1972 and continued with manual games through the later "Squad Leader" series). I played your "Combat Command: Touch" to death. Having a new Mac, I decided to try "Battle of Normandy" and "Commonwealth". Then I bought "Shock Force" and "Red Thunder". Have been playing them all and nothing else. This "Red Thunder" Quick knocked me backward. I normally much prefer tank sims to tactical sims on this level but no more. The ability to be a battalion commander (or higher) is far more interesting. So many more tools to use. So many more things to ruin my day! All are extremely impressive. I really like your graphics and the models. 3.0 is terrific. Can't wait for the new Ukraine addition. It is great to have high-quality tac sims for the Mac. 15 Stars out of 10.

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P.S. I also highly commend your modeling of command control and morale. It is fantastic to have tanks go difficult on you, moving, or refusing to move. I especially liked it when a lousy platoon commander reversed into the rear and left his tanks in the lurch. You really have to keep an eagle eye on your assets. I was amazed to see tanks elect to take a different path than ordered, in some cases wide deviations, but it was not just empty randomness. They actually took a better route! The modeling of human behavior under stress is fantastic. Iron level is excellent. It is so hard to control events. I think what you have done over the years for tactical sims is amazing. What I liked about the individual tank sims was being in the turret but once you played a mission you knew everything which was going to happen and so often your other vehicles in your command were most likely to behave ridiculously simply due to bad AI. You would get annihilated because you could not get the other vehicles to do even simple things. You were not just playing against the enemy, you were playing against the mechanics. I think the 3.0 series is everything but staring through the sight and you get so much more this is completely acceptable. You can really get "tactical."

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Just goes more to show the "weakness" of the AI in this game. You should have been destroyed by any human player but the ai is soooooo weak it will come out of good defensive positions for no reason at all or for some silliness just to take back one objective tile it does not need for victory.

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Just goes more to show the "weakness" of the AI in this game. You should have been destroyed by any human player but the ai is soooooo weak it will come out of good defensive positions for no reason at all or for some silliness just to take back one objective tile it does not need for victory.

Erm - No !

That's how it was in CM1, but that's not how it works at all in CM2.

P

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Hi,

Just goes more to show the "weakness" of the AI in this game. You should have been destroyed by any human player but the ai is soooooo weak it will come out of good defensive positions for no reason at all or for some silliness just to take back one objective tile it does not need for victory.

Just to second what Pete said, if this has happened to you in one of the updated versions of CMX2 you have had bad luck.

It was indeed the normal with CMX1. There defenders would suddenly “rush onto the guns..” of the attacker. But this will not normally happen with the current games.

All the best,

Kip.

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I find it happens quite a lot really. I can place my units at the other end of a road into a town and they will filter towards me and just get shot up piecemeal outside of the cover of buildings they could be using on the path to my troups. I just played a game last night so I know what the AI is doing. There's something else they used to be vulnerable to in CMx1 also. Side of the map flanking maneuvers. I find this just as easy as before as they pay more attention to what's coming straight at them instead of their sides. I can easily ruse them still with a small frontal assault while running up the sides of the maps with the main forces.

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I find it happens quite a lot really. I can place my units at the other end of a road into a town and they will filter towards me and just get shot up piecemeal outside of the cover of buildings they could be using on the path to my troups. I just played a game last night so I know what the AI is doing. There's something else they used to be vulnerable to in CMx1 also. Side of the map flanking maneuvers. I find this just as easy as before as they pay more attention to what's coming straight at them instead of their sides. I can easily ruse them still with a small frontal assault while running up the sides of the maps with the main forces.

Well, duh. It's an AI. Of course you can game it. And if you're playing the defense against an attacking AI, you're exploiting (in the derogative sense of that word) all its weaknesses. QBs are particularly vulnerable to this, since the plans that drive the AI are necessarily generalised due to the variable nature of the forces involved. But if the AI is "coming at you" in any form, you're effectively cheating because you can always get inside its decision cycle and catch it moving.

Sure, it could be better. It could have a better (or any) sense of when something isn't working, so that adding more forces to the attacking AI allows it to try again somewhere else, rather than just feed more into the grinder until the defender runs out of ammo. It could allow itself more variability in pathing so it doesn't funnel every man through the inevitable choke point.

Show me an AI in a game as complex as CM that hasn't got room for improvement. But still, the current AI won't "leave perfectly good defensive positions" unless it's on the attack (where those defensive positions, however good, are frankly irrelevant). Some AI plans might have "ill-conceived counter-attacks", but as I understand MarkEzra's explanation, defensive AI plans in QBs don't have such fanciness.

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Sure, it could be better. It could have a better (or any) sense of when something isn't working, so that adding more forces to the attacking AI allows it to try again somewhere else, rather than just feed more into the grinder until the defender runs out of ammo. It could allow itself more variability in pathing so it doesn't funnel every man through the inevitable choke point.

T'is greatly to be desired, but we are not likely to see it any time soon. The reason being that the AI has virtually no memory from one moment to another of what has transpired on the battlefield. Thus it is unable to formulate any kind of coherent strategy on the fly. This can be ameliorated to some degree with clever use of triggers by the scenario designer (or in the case of QBs, by the map maker), but the problem will remain until the programmers can figure out a way to give the AI a comprehensive memory. Then we will get to complain that it is unbeatable.

;)

Michael

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In defense of the RT AI, and I have the latest version of RT for the Mac, the Sov vehicles hit me when I was still blinded by dust and smoke; that's how they demolished most of my forward deployed vehicles. They had feinted to my left (I saw a mass of translucent markers), which fixed my attention, and then punched me hard right up the middle where I was blind. They shot me at point-blank range in the smoke and took minimal casualties. Everything was absolute chaos. For my money, their tactics were superb. They foxed me completely.

I did not deploy in the railway cut, hull-down, because I feared a massive Sov bombardment might land right there and slaughter my tightly packed vehicles with direct hits or wreck their tracks and road wheels with fragments. I bet on dispersion in the open, but then I was hit by smoke shells, which negated my plan to use my accuracy at long range to attrit the initial assault. The speed with which the Sovs exploited my embarrassed situation was commendable. If I had not run to the railway cutting (routed would be a better word), it all would have been over. And, the Sovs did not stupidly keep running right into my guns in a frontal assault. They were constantly trying to filter to my right flank, through woods, against where I had no place to go hull-down to shoot them. I quashed this with two very strong 105 area bombardments, which, apparently, minced the open-top SU-76s and infantry.

The attack up the cutting on my left flank could have been curtains had I lost three more tanks.

I rate the Sov defeat as being due to their main infantry support equipment being swarms of SU-76s. If they had had SU-85s or T-34s, I would not have won. I suspect the few T-34s and SU-85s were command tanks. Still, they used what they had very well. Had I waited a minute or two more to "advance to the rear" they would have killed all but five of my vehicles, and it would have been finis. Frankly, I was stunned by the speed of their advance. They were all over me.

The AI has managed to punish me severely in several Quicks where I used bad tactics. Iron settings is the key, I believe. You have a very hard time knowing what is happening. I am more than satisfied with what I have seen so far.

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Well, don't get too excited about playing the AI as to how well it does. Especially QB's

It is very random as to if it can put together a good fight or not. What little I have messed with it I find it a waste of time as much as it is a chance of being able to create a good battle.

I think in RT your chances are better in that I think they have learned to create QB maps with plans that help the AI act a little more appropriate.

But it still can do some poor things also. Of course it has a lot to do with what you select also as to how it might play.

Anyway, just saying. I can promise you, every battle will not turn out challenging like the one you just had. But It can do it at times.

If you are willing to play it enough to have them few experiences happen.

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Yes, I agree it depends on what forces are selected. I have had many a good battle lately where the AI does just fine if I choose infantry (probe) vs infantry (Ai on defense) and don't give myself too much artillery.

A Russian smg platoon placed in the forest doesn't mean that the AI is a tactical genius but it does mean I have to think very carefully if I want my German rifle platoon to not get decimated without resorting to masses of artillery. ;) The best part is I can finish a small game in a couple of hours and have a bit of fun - rather than spend a month playing a PBEM. I really hope Battlefront continues to work on the AI for us single players

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Iron settings is the key, I believe.

Iron setting will certainly make controlling your forces more awkward, which could be an issue if you are playing Real Time. But none of the difficulty settings will change how the AI performs - it doesn't have an overarching command "brain", it is just following the battle designer's plans.

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"Elite" works just fine for me. "Iron" is not my cup of tea. Jmo.

Blazing 88,

mine not, too.

I just don't get it, what the idea behind "Iron" is? By deselecting a unit all infos appear anyway. The only difference I have experienced, is this mode hides info from the player as soon as a unit is selected. It only creates a clicking overhead. And when playing H2H I would never waste units or tanks, because I am too lazy to unselect them. Playing "iron" H2H is an awful clickfest IMO.

Sadly my first "iron" game was FI "Temple to Mars". A battalion sized infantry attack in a snowstorm on a huge map. A fantastic game, but the additional clicking turned it into a nightmare.

I think a difficulty level should not be dependent on which unit is selected. It must be active all the time, otherwise gentlemen's agreements would be sufficient (as everybod knows, nobody is cheating in reality). The difficulty level rules should be enforced on the player during the whole game (i.e. how about removing the ability to fly over the battlefield? That would be better suited as the highest difficulty level).

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Blazing 88,

mine not, too.

I just don't get it, what the idea behind "Iron" is? By deselecting a unit all infos appear anyway. The only difference I have experienced, is this mode hides info from the player as soon as a unit is selected. It only creates a clicking overhead. And when playing H2H I would never waste units or tanks, because I am too lazy to unselect them. Playing "iron" H2H is an awful clickfest IMO.

Sadly my first "iron" game was FI "Temple to Mars". A battalion sized infantry attack in a snowstorm on a huge map. A fantastic game, but the additional clicking turned it into a nightmare.

I think a difficulty level should not be dependent on which unit is selected. It must be active all the time, otherwise gentlemen's agreements would be sufficient (as everybod knows, nobody is cheating in reality). The difficulty level rules should be enforced on the player during the whole game (i.e. how about removing the ability to fly over the battlefield? That would be better suited as the highest difficulty level).

Maybe you guys are not getting the point of Iron, or maybe you simply still do not like it. What Iron does, and no other level is provide you very clear information on what your unit is aware of relative to your own units. Click on a unit, are the rest of it's platoon showing a "?". yeah you might have a C2 issue. I play exclusively on iron now just for that bit of info.

And Temple to Mars is just huge.... I think it has a full US regiment on the map.... in a blizzard. Iron mode probably wasn't real helpful as no one could see s**t and there are a LOT of units :P

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Maybe you guys are not getting the point of Iron, or maybe you simply still do not like it. What Iron does, and no other level is provide you very clear information on what your unit is aware of relative to your own units. Click on a unit, are the rest of it's platoon showing a "?". yeah you might have a C2 issue. I play exclusively on iron now just for that bit of info.

I second that. IMHO Iron is actually easier than Elite.

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I second that. IMHO Iron is actually easier than Elite.

Ack, no way:D Is it the part about being able to see a unit's C2 status that you find easier? I do not find that. I can still click on each unit to see its C2 status or turn on the command lines to help out. Normally I do not have a difficult time maintaining C2 when I play Elite.

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Ack, no way:D Is it the part about being able to see a unit's C2 status that you find easier? I do not find that. I can still click on each unit to see its C2 status or turn on the command lines to help out. Normally I do not have a difficult time maintaining C2 when I play Elite.

Well that sucks. I thought you knew. BF has decided to do away with elite level and just implement iron, you should be seeing that in the next beta....

:D

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