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Brutal Glitch, Then Force Mix Woes in QB! Any ideas?


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Yes. It's incredible, yet true. I'm actually playing the game!

 

Following some weird glitch when I reopened the Training Campaign (am one minute in), but not only couldn't get the stuck cursor to move, but because of this I couldn't get to the orders box in order to quit. Nor did any standard command (ESC, CMD Q) get me out. I couldn't so much as CMD TAB to at least get back to my Desktop. I couldn't turn off my 3.06 GHz Inter Core 2 Duo iMac (OS X 10.7.5, 4 GB HD, 256K VRAM) at the ON/OFF button, forcing me to take the very scary to many here extreme step of physically shutting down the UPS, thus depowering the entire rig, before turning the APS back on, then rebooting. All that to get to the point where I could play again. I wisely decided to leave the Training Campaign alone and fired up a QB.

 

Here's my problem. US Armor vs Russian Armor. Auto Select for both sides. Small battle, Medium map. Am on wooded ridge overlooking large grain field, then trees, river bank, a few crossing spots and a road running to Primary Objective in rear left of map. Secondary Objective is located on a road running up the left side of the map toward the main objective. Fine. But what has Mars granted me?

 

(Drums roll, fifes shrill)

 

1 x Platoon (4 tanks, 2 w, 2 w/o APS) M1A2 SEP, 1 x Bradley M2A3 ERA, 1 x BFIST. Sounds pretty good, right? 1 x Company HQ (leg) and 1 x JTAC Team (leg). This mobility disconnect was what triggered writing to you all. Because I'm tired and not in great overall shape right now (how authentic is that?), I failed to notice I didn't have two typical Bradleys, but something rather different. Turn 1 and the Bradleys and Abrams trundle up to hull defilade positions along the ridge in the trees, as artillery (estimate mortars based on near vertical trajectories) suddenly rains down to the immediate front. Meanwhile, the leg units are moving to similar positions. My original problem was how to get my leg units across the battlefield. On revisiting my force so I could describe my predicament, I found solutions which create their own predicaments. Turns out the BFIST has three open seats and the M3A2 has four. With six men needing rides, I'm good to go. But am I? If I put the JTAC boys in the BFIST and the BFIST is hit, I'm screwed. Same thing if I put the Company HQ there. Screwed twice. I may have to do it, though. I think the best option I have is to have my FS types on two platforms, not one. That way, if Murphy drops by for a visit, I may still have a house afterwards. Other than, say, putting the leg types into tracks at setup (re me, d'oh!), what are your thoughts on which vehicle the leg guys should go in? Now that I know I don't have two typical Bradleys, my maneuver plan has gone down the toilet, too.

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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As far as QB force mismatches goes that's pretty tame. The only one I tried so far in CMBS I ended up with a company of purely anti-armor vehicles vs a few MG infantry companies. 

 

There should be a "Random-but-not-totally-nonsensical" option for QB. It seemed to work so much better in CMx1, I guess the way force selection is set up in CMx2 is to blame.

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Ranger33,

 

Your reply cracked me up, yet makes a lot of sense, too. Wonder how Random can be fixed at the force selection logic level. What I got is awkward and potentially deadly, whereas your force makes sense, but the opposition's doesn't. That's not the same, because I'm talking about a hink in own force selection. So far, I've yet to encounter any Russian defenders. Attack scenario, which presumably explains why I have not merely a nasty main force, but heavy fire support, too. Why I'm schlepping a Company HQ into battle when there's no Infantry Company. One of my Abrams is the Tank Battalion CO's, who's evidently leading from the front.

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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As far as QB force mismatches goes that's pretty tame. The only one I tried so far in CMBS I ended up with a company of purely anti-armor vehicles vs a few MG infantry companies. 

 

There should be a "Random-but-not-totally-nonsensical" option for QB. It seemed to work so much better in CMx1, I guess the way force selection is set up in CMx2 is to blame.

Getting force selection right for the AI autopicker would be a huge improvement for the single-player game. As it stands, if you want a "sensible" force mix you pretty much have to pick infantry v infanty or choose it yourself, leading to a need for a rigmarole that should be superfluous in order to retain some FoW about force composition. Having the force picker algorithm informed by the way units are assigned to AI groups, and be able to use data about unit purpose and mobility so the "Executive" AI can put forces which are relevant in the right AI group, would also help.
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I would love BFC to spend some time fixing QBs. When I played the CMx1 games for a period I played nothing but QBs. The random terrain and random force mix (but within credible limits) gave me hundreds of hours of very fun gameplay. And let's not forget, a fix to QBs would theoretically be a fix for CM:BN, CM:FI, CM:RT and CM:BS all in one go because it's the selection logic that is at fault, which is presumably the same for all of the game families. I really don't see how it can be so hard - I think it's more of a case of it being right at the bottom of BFC's priority list.

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Ok I'm going to be honest with you guys one this one. My first match in CMBS was a QB, medium town, medium engagement. I played as US defender and chose  roughly 2 companys of infantry (as I made nato infantry only) and a randome Ukraine  Mix. Well that random "mix" ended up being around 30 various tanks and a re-enforced infantry platoon(mounted in APCs) with support elements. I used every dang AT rocket I had and ended up in a cease fire with 20+ tanks dead....but still....bloody 30 tanks. I still have the save file if anyone cares to try it themselves.

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My advice? Unless you happen to be a crazed-out crackhead who just loves surprises, never, ever, let the computer pick forces, either yours or the Opfor's. Period. Full stop. Don't do it. You thought HAL in 2001 went round the bend? You ain't seen nothing, baby. I guess in a profoundly sick way it could be regarded as funny. I ain't laughing.

 

Michael

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My advice? Unless you happen to be a crazed-out crackhead who just loves surprises, never, ever, let the computer pick forces, either yours or the Opfor's. Period. Full stop. Don't do it. You thought HAL in 2001 went round the bend? You ain't seen nothing, baby. I guess in a profoundly sick way it could be regarded as funny. I ain't laughing.

 

Michael

 

 

Does take the enjoyment out of it for me, having perfect intel of your enemy forces.  

 

To me, the scenario stuff is typically over designed - every terrain fold tweaked by the author so there are no "good" positions, every house rotated so that there are no ideal fields of view out of windows, etc.  No randomness whatsoever.  

 

The QB randomness has the right feel for a chaotic battlefield, but like people have said, the auto picker is super risky.

 

I naively expected this to be tweaked for the new product, but my first experience with QB gave me some sort of Ukrainian sniper battalion - why would such a formation even exist?

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Does take the enjoyment out of it for me, having perfect intel of your enemy forces.

 

So you set up your battles and let them set for a day or a week or a month, however long it takes to forget the details. You may remember that there is a rifle battalion more or less out there, but then that is probably as much as a real life commander would know most of the time. So when the time is ripe, you break out that battle and play it, starting with the kind of tactical recon based on sound principles that you would use anyway.

 

Michael

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Here's a "Random" thought about the QB TOE:

 

As you may know I do the QB Maps.  I don't do the TOE.  So when things are strange I feel it like any other player.   I tested each map on Random US-Random Russian.  My sense of the QB-TOE is that it's the least troublesome CM Game on Random Unit setting.  The two descriptions that were given actually point to QB TOE working pretty well.  I know that US force that John got,  One might say it's pretty balanced.  If I understand the complaint it was the distance the PBI's had to hump.  Isn't that about the map selection?  If that was random, too, there was still the ability to view the map.  The other TOE was a player getting Random  light US inf of some kind (there is a lot of that in the release game.  But the Random setting AI generated  an all armor force.  Well good.  Player chooses Random unit types and comes out fighting for his life.  Actually sounds pretty cool to me.

 

When players select all random settings they MUST expect that it will be just that... Random.  

 

So here's when I get frustrated:

 

I select Mech Inf and get a bunch of jeeps and scout teams (CMBN). or I Select Armor and get a raft of light assault tanks (CMRT) and of course I can go on all the way back to CMBO which had a terrible TOE selector (and generally goofy maps, too).  So don't think for a second that this part of the game doesn't deserve more scrutiny. It does.  But I  really like the force selection in CMBS,  And that's no BS.

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I actually like choosing both sides OOB.

I like to see what I can do with a balanced force against a balanced force, I.e, standard US infantry company versus standard RUS infantry company.

I don't think knowing what my opponent has diminishes the challenge.

To be fair, although QB does give some goofy forces sometimes, I think MarkEzra does have a point..you play the force you're given and suck it up.

My experience so far with CMBS is that the QB is a lot less goofy than CMSF was...that was sometime downright bizarre.

The QB is pretty awesome and with 300+ maps??? Wow.

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Mark, while we're on the subject, do you know anything about how the AI assings what forces (sane or ludicrous) that it's been handed to AI order groups? I did some testing a while back in BNv2 and it seemed to me that it sequentially adds each "Parent" formation to order groups. So if you've got elements from an infantry battalion, and elements from a tank battalion, the infantry bttn fragments will get added to order group 1, and the armour elements to order group 2. If you manually pick the AI's forces, and for the infantry you took 1Plt from Bttn 1, 2Plt from Bttn 2 and 3Plt from Bttn 3, and similarly took 3 tanks from 3 separate tank Bttn, you'd end up with (assuming three order groups) a platoon and a tank in each order group.

Can you confirm that's how it works? I might've drawn a conclusion after too few, insufficiently-varied tests.

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So when things are strange I feel it like any other player.   I tested each map on Random US-Random Russian.  My sense of the QB-TOE is that it's the least troublesome CM Game on Random Unit setting.  The two descriptions that were given actually point to QB TOE working pretty well.

<snip>

I select Mech Inf and get a bunch of jeeps and scout teams (CMBN). or I Select Armor and get a raft of light assault tanks (CMRT) and of course I can go on all the way back to CMBO which had a terrible TOE selector (and generally goofy maps, too).  So don't think for a second that this part of the game doesn't deserve more scrutiny. It does.  But I  really like the force selection in CMBS,  And that's no BS.

I'll chime in and add that I agree. I don't personally play much QBs against the AI but after reading various complaints over the years about force selection I made a point of testing the AI force selection in CMBS. What I did was use the tiny meeting engagement for most of my testing on the theory that it would be the fastest to show things being off. Each build I would try a few and log defects whenever I got strange choices. I kept doing that until I did not see strange choices any more. To be frank the force selection John describes would not have triggered a defect from me - I would have just been happy with it.

I think Mark is correct CMBS does the best job of selecting forces so far I have since had several fun battles just using automatic forces selection.

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Mark, while we're on the subject, do you know anything about how the AI assings what forces (sane or ludicrous) that it's been handed to AI order groups? I did some testing a while back in BNv2 and it seemed to me that it sequentially adds each "Parent" formation to order groups. So if you've got elements from an infantry battalion, and elements from a tank battalion, the infantry bttn fragments will get added to order group 1, and the armour elements to order group 2. If you manually pick the AI's forces, and for the infantry you took 1Plt from Bttn 1, 2Plt from Bttn 2 and 3Plt from Bttn 3, and similarly took 3 tanks from 3 separate tank Bttn, you'd end up with (assuming three order groups) a platoon and a tank in each order group.

Can you confirm that's how it works? I might've drawn a conclusion after too few, insufficiently-varied tests.

 

You're way ahead of me on that subject.  Now when it comes to a QB Map....

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I think the big thing missing from CMx1 is that there was an option called "Mixed" or something like that which would always give you a balanced force that consisted of a core of infantry plus some support elements with a splash of armor. It seems to me from my experience playing PBEM QBs that this is how most people like to play the game. In CMx2 this option is thrown out the window and you must either choose from infantry/mech/armor only, or the random option that gives cruddy results.

 

All I know is that I played hundreds of CMBB quick battles against the AI back in the day, and maybe ten across all CMx2 games, as it's usually clear that it will be total mismatched mess once you make contact with the enemy.

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I too don't understand why the concept of overlapping points brackets for different categories of force component aren't implemented in CMx2. It seems like such an intuitive "rough guide" for the AI to get a combined arms approach. I know I tend to favour "Mix" for the simple reason that I think of WW2 as the first war when all the arms combined in coherent operations. No previous war landed tanks and infantry on defended beaches, with naval, air and artillery support. Using Infantry-only shrinks the concept, and Armour only doesn't make any sense. I know it's rare for a given CM engagement to include all 5 arms, but it's the feel of the thing...

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I hear you guys but my experience with fixed points broken up between various types of arms has some negative feelings. Especially in smaller battles. Basically often I would run into situations where I wanted to play with tank type X and found that with the points being specifically assigned like that I could only afford a tank and four fifths. Grrr why could I not have just a few more points towards armour so I could get my two tanks. :( So, I am happier with the current implementation of mixed.

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I think the big thing missing from CMx1 is that there was an option called "Mixed" or something like that which would always give you a balanced force that consisted of a core of infantry plus some support elements with a splash of armor. It seems to me from my experience playing PBEM QBs that this is how most people like to play the game. In CMx2 this option is thrown out the window and you must either choose from infantry/mech/armor only, or the random option that gives cruddy results.

 

All I know is that I played hundreds of CMBB quick battles against the AI back in the day, and maybe ten across all CMx2 games, as it's usually clear that it will be total mismatched mess once you make contact with the enemy.

 

 

I think the big thing missing from CMx1 is that there was an option called "Mixed" or something like that which would always give you a balanced force that consisted of a core of infantry plus some support elements with a splash of armor. It seems to me from my experience playing PBEM QBs that this is how most people like to play the game. In CMx2 this option is thrown out the window and you must either choose from infantry/mech/armor only, or the random option that gives cruddy results.

 

All I know is that I played hundreds of CMBB quick battles against the AI back in the day, and maybe ten across all CMx2 games, as it's usually clear that it will be total mismatched mess once you make contact with the enemy.

 

"Mix" was, is, and ever shall be in the selection screen.  It's the 2nd to the last.  The last being "Random"  But your last paragraph seems to say you've stopped playing CM2 QB Matches altogether.  While I think it's your loss, I certainly won't try to change your mind. 

Edited by MarkEzra
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"Mix" was, is, and ever shall be in the selection screen.  It's the 2nd to the last.  The last being "Random"  But your last paragraph seems to say you've stopped playing CM2 QB Matches altogether.  While I think it's your loss, I certainly won't try to change your mind.

I think what Ranger33 was looking for was the old "Combined Arms" setting from CMx1, where you would get limitations on how much you could spend on a given arm. So if you had 1000pts, and were defending against an Assault, you might be allowed to spend no more than 500 on infantry, 300 on armour, 300 on artillery, 200 on transport and 200 on fortifications. This way, you wouldn't be facing an all-armour force, or an all-infantry force. When it's HvH, the advantages of having combined arms generally make enforcing such restrictions unneccessary, but it seems like a plausible starting set of constraints for an automatic picker.
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@ womble & Ranger:  Ahhh.... I stand corrected. 

 

My personal Observations Only:

 

The CMx1 QB Map Generator worked so well for me that I started to make my own maps.  The Unit Selector devolved into me always choosing a similar setup for armor, infantry and Arty.  Something that has lasted through every CMx1 & CMx2 title up until now.  This TOE seems better. 

 

Now Ranger does remind me that CMx1 had one nice option that need reconsideration (and thank you womble for the clarification) The combine arms calculation option would definite be a nice retro fit.  I'm sure the coding time would be pretty extensive. 

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I really wish the Force Selection process could be exposed as xml or something which could be imported into QBs.  There are a lot of talented people out there who could come up with a Force Picker if we had access to the underlying TOE and unit costs.

 

I also think it could create a bit of community interest if we could "trade" forces to battle against.  For example a user could create a 1000 point force and other players could import it into QBs to play against.  This could actually create a really useful resource for single players, producing a repository of sensible combined arms opposing forces.

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I completely agree with Mark that BS is he best of the CM2x games for QB computer force selection. Maybe because the forces involved are the most balanced of any of the other games? It's not perfect but better than CMRT for sure.

Beauty is if you don't like the forces. Quit and start another one. Or play a scenario. Or pick both sides and save and play it again later when you forget what unpicked for the OpFor. I am going to try that last one.

Bobo

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I have been playing Tiny and Small QBs, and feel that he AI selection is getting better.

 

However, I now usually select "my" force letting the map preview influence my selection, and let the AI select the enemy.

In real life the terrain would be known and in Attacks and Assaults the forces would be, hopefully, matched to their objectives. So far I have only played NATO and Mix, the AI producing reasonable and varied opposing forces.

 

This takes the Quick bit out of the QB, but mainly because I am not familiar with the modern units and have look them up. (A "mouse over" Encyclopedia in the selection list would be nice...).

 

Too bad that the preplanned AI Arty strike (if any) still comes in on turn one. This is easily avoided by...waiting out the first turn, and only wastes their ammo.  That aside, the AI's use of Arty is surprisingly good (ouch!)

 
David
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...Too bad that the preplanned AI Arty strike (if any) still comes in on turn one. This is easily avoided by...waiting out the first turn, and only wastes their ammo.  That aside, the AI's use of Arty is surprisingly good (ouch!)

 
David...
 
Couldn't agree more.  This is a limitation in the Editor that will require that enemy of all my great suggestions....TIME.  BFC is really aware and really prioritizes.  
 
I have been playing Tiny Probe missions lately... generally takes the arty out of the equation.  Been enjoying that.

 

 

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