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4.0 Upgrade Looks Fantastic --Thanks, BF!


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1 hour ago, RockinHarry said:

From the 2 games I played thus far in V4.0 CMBN, I can confirm on the increased suicidal retrogade movements (AI initiated evade) from defending infantry. Green units also appear to be more brittle than before. In my urban test battle that I probably test played a hundred times before, I had a highly increased number of infantry that used the evade command, when pre V4.0 they held fast longer with higher suppression levels and just after taking 1-2 losses backing off. Now they don´t even need to take losses to leave their good cover buildings and instead of using interior retreat lines, move out into the open where enemy fire is the heaviest. I have not a big problem with units leaving likely untenable positions, but now the cure is worse than the desease. The main problem likely lies with the AI initiated evade command using quick or fast, to move away and thus prefering speed over cover. If the quick and fast move can be made to consider cover terrain more, particularly building interiors, we really would have a winner. On the better side, attacking AI appears to benefit more from the new behavior and takes less losses, as it breaks off high risk attacks sooner and keeps decimated units back in cover.

An odd occasion I´ve never seen before and obviously originating from the new evade heavy fire feature, was a large ammo bearer team (part of an 88) that while 2-3 enemy Arty. shells fell in their environment, started to leave their foxholes with OK morale and yet fairly unsuppressed. Just when everybody was out, the remainder of the enemy salvo fell straight into the midst of the ammo bearer team, trying to cross a street just to reach a house 4-5 action spots away. Just one survior from the barrage made it into the house. I wasn´t amused.

So that´s just some first impressions from 2 games played thus far. I´ve yet to try the new AI features in the mission editor, which I think are great additions and should make AI opponents noticably better.

I´ve yet to take a closer look on infantry spacing and corner peeking, particularly related to terrain and speed (move, quick, fast...).

Something else I noticed is the improved shaders. Textures appears to be smoother and overally the landscapes look crispier. Shadows appear improved as well. I also like the small arms smoke clouds.

The pillbox vulnerability bug introduced in V3.12 appears to be also gone, so finally I can get back working on my CMBN siegfried line scenarios. :)

Yes, the suicidal retrograde movement seems more pronounced in urban environments. In general, AI initiated evade seems to happen more frequently now than pre 4.0. In addition to the occurrences  where I lost teams from it, I've caught a number of the moves (3-4) plotted at turn end where I was able to see where they were going and change the move (in once case, they ignored my change and went back to what the AI had plotted anyway). All the moves ignored very obvious cover terrain in the friendly direction in favor of dashing out into dangerous open ground--say across the street perpendicular to the enemy's line of attack into a patch of woods, rather than choosing one of the 2-3 buildings to the rear out of enemy LOS.

I have to agree that the frequency of this behavior is disturbingly high given the limited number of hours of play I've put in with 4.0 so far. It must have come up often enough in testing to be identified. Is it a design choice? If so, my vote would be to change it in the future. I just can't see soldiers with any amount of training (or even conscripts, to be honest) doing stuff like this in the real world--at least with this frequency. Now, a team of guys getting cut down as they panic and run to a building back toward their line? Sure. But them panicking and running perpendicular to/towards the enemy across open ground, to lesser cover and/or unscouted locations just doesn't jive. So, I'd like to see this changed.

But, again, aside from this issue that stands out, the Upgrade seems really, really good so far.

Edited by Macisle
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So far I had two CTD in a self made CMBN mission (You enter Germany) created prior to V4. Both occured during insertion of reinforcements. One was caused by an 88 that somehow changed its status to destroyed, while having all of the crew still alive on the map. Changed status to Ok and the 1st CTD vanished. The other CTD occured after insertion of another this time big reinforcement group and proceding to turn execution phase, which started unusually slow with the progress bar. CTD came halfway through with the bar. Got to see yet if I can find something unusual with this reinforcement group.

Played some with the new AI options (area fire, face, retreat) and found them to be a valuable addition to existing options.  Orders increased to 32 help here to implement these additional options into existing plans, or working out higher complexity ones. Will be interesting to to try out the new stuff in conjunction with triggers.

I could decrease the new effects for "evade/retreat under heavy fire" by increasing morale a notch for those units, that started to have problems properly executing given plans in a timely manner as it yet was in V3.X. So other scenario makers are recommended to retest and check AI plans for their pre V4.0 scenarios to compensate for likely delays within given plans and groups.

In one occasion I had an AI driven US infantry squad evade/retreat, while it was not directly targeted by a german HMG. The HMG bursts were actually aimed at an open topped M10 about 3 AS behind this US infantry squad, with the bursts flying few meters above this squad. I think there´s a 3D "suppression bulb" sort of around infantry used for determining suppression effects on the Z axis (bottom - top). It´s similar to where you can heavily suppress infantry in the 2nd story of a building by area firing an AS just in front of the building (majority of rounds hitting the ground or basement/1st story). Decreasing suppression effects on the vertical axis would be something to think about and should probably be reduced by 2-3 meters IMO, particularly with regard to the increased evade behavior.

Concrete pillbox crews are still somewhat vulnerable from mortar and arty fire, but you can´t anymore kill them in 1-2 minutes by well aimed mortar & arty barrages, like in CMBN 3.12

I can not make a final judgement on new infantry spacing, but overally infantry movement looks more realistic to me now. I found I now have to give multi team infantry squads more maneuver space in width and prevent follow up/nearby squads to interfere with movement paths by using more pause (10-15 seconds) commands. There´s probably little one can optimize for AI infantry as the AI still likes to plot movement paths towards movement zones in criss cross patterns. See my posting here:

http://community.battlefront.com/topic/120091-operation-tumbleweed/?do=findComment&comment=1622860

and

http://community.battlefront.com/topic/121649-scenario-designing-with-ai/?do=findComment&comment=1648263

These observations are all from CMBN V4.0. No idea if it all applies to CMRT and other V4.0 games as well.

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On 2016-12-29 at 5:59 AM, Macisle said:

Yes, the suicidal retrograde movement seems more pronounced in urban environments. In general, AI initiated evade seems to happen more frequently now than pre 4.0.

 

This is worrying. Personally I always avoid playing urban battles because I think that the current engine does not simulate urban battles in a satisfactory way. Hopefully we can see some changes in how the urban warfare is simulated as we move along on the eastern front with upcoming families. I also hope the map makers get a lot more objects to play with so that urban maps can be more "alive" than they are today.

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My experience of Engine 4 after playing some QBs in CM:RT (human selection of forces)...

"Combine Squad" button: I really love this feature for merging a couple of badly mauled fire-teams into a single team.

"Muzzle Smoke": Looks great.

"Spread out Movement": One of my biggest complaints with the old engine is finally fixed! No more single columns of men just asking for an MG to knock them down with one burst.

"Hull Down" button: Have tried it a few times but it scares me as you are never sure if the AI will get it right. Seems OK but it's not something I would trust to the AI normally.

"Green Tracer": Looks pretty.

"Fall-back Tac-AI": Sometimes you want the men to stay put but I haven't had any real problems with it. Was already in the last game engine anyway (maybe just tweaked).

[EDIT] Forgot to mention...

"Peeking around Corners": Works well but have seen the guys taking a peek get gunned down within seconds on occasion. Thankfully no one else in the squad decided to take the guy's place and follow the same fate.

"FO Kill Credits": A feature that was in the CMx1 engine that I am really glad is back.

Overall experience: Love it!

Edited by Cpl Steiner
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Unlike believed before, the CTD during reinforcement insertion wasn´t caused by an 88 in destroyed mode. I found the AI force had two reinforcement groups coming in the same turn as the 88 and one of the AI groups appeared to have been the offender. It was 3 US 60mm mortars which originally were part of 3 US infantry platoons. I assigned the mortars to a seperate AI group, so they would not be moved by the parent formations and made them reinforcements (turn 5). This was to speed up the US platoons under AI control (the AI player is the attacker in the mission). However, after removing reinforcement status, the CTD did not occur again at turn 5.The mortars, like their parent US infantry platoons, now start the game onmap, but are still assigned to a different AI group for movements.

The other CTD occured between turn 20-25, where a big reinforcement group on the player side is coming in. This big group containing various infantry on trucks, on foot, as well as some armor was inserted on a village street (houses on both side of the street) in tight formation. I just removed the foot infantry occupying same AS´s as vehicles and gave them their own AS. It seems when infantry and a vehicle are inserted the same AS next to a building, the new infantry spacing and maybe the peek corner routines in V4 get in trouble assigning individual soldiers to the nodes within the AS. That´s the theory, but redeploying the reinforcement group so that just single units will occupy AS´s during insertion, removed the CTD. As said, I didn´t have these CTD´s occuring pre V4.0 CMBN with exactly the same reinforcement setup.

 

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On ‎12‎/‎31‎/‎2016 at 1:37 AM, Cpl Steiner said:

"Peeking around Corners": Works well but have seen the guys taking a peek get gunned down within seconds on occasion. Thankfully no one else in the squad decided to take the guy's place and follow the same fate

be careful what you wish for! "Peeking around Corners" was very dangerous in real combat.

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On 31.12.2016 at 5:16 PM, mjkerner said:

RH, that was a really well done scenario you let me play test. Glad to see you are now able to finish it for release. Player-defender scenarios are difficult to pull off, but I thought you did a great job on it!

I think V4 will give us even better attacking AI opponents if new scripting choices are used creatively. I´m about to test a couple of things now, but also have sent my CTD save games to the staff to see what pops up, before I finally release a finished scenario version. I´ll likely procede with some unfinished CMBN scenarios with V4, or possibly dive straight into CMFB which I just purchased recently. :)

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On 29.12.2016 at 5:59 AM, Macisle said:

Yes, the suicidal retrograde movement seems more pronounced in urban environments. In general, AI initiated evade seems to happen more frequently now than pre 4.0. In addition to the occurrences  where I lost teams from it, I've caught a number of the moves (3-4) plotted at turn end where I was able to see where they were going and change the move (in once case, they ignored my change and went back to what the AI had plotted anyway). All the moves ignored very obvious cover terrain in the friendly direction in favor of dashing out into dangerous open ground--say across the street perpendicular to the enemy's line of attack into a patch of woods, rather than choosing one of the 2-3 buildings to the rear out of enemy LOS.

Could you please test if routing infantry mainly exits through the front side of buildings? In the map editor the front side is marked by that brighter colored edge. Unfortuntely it can´t be reliably identified during game play (unless independent buildings) as modular buildings can the facades have changed by the map maker, thus disguising the true front side. However... some my latest test plays indicate that infantry might have a preference for entering/exiting through that possibly hard coded front side.

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1 hour ago, RockinHarry said:

Could you please test if routing infantry mainly exits through the front side of buildings? In the map editor the front side is marked by that brighter colored edge. Unfortuntely it can´t be reliably identified during game play (unless independent buildings) as modular buildings can the facades have changed by the map maker, thus disguising the true front side. However... some my latest test plays indicate that infantry might have a preference for entering/exiting through that possibly hard coded front side.

I'll grab screenies and post them here whenever it happens. When I posted earlier, I was playing on a dense urban map (a slice of Aachen in CMFB). Since then, I've played on less built-up maps and suicidal route hasn't happened as much (maybe twice in 4-5 hours of play). However, I'm about to enter some heavy urban fighting in a scenario playtest and that may be good fodder for this.

I've been wondering about front sides and pathfinding for awhile. It seems the AI sometimes prefers front both coming and going, which can lead to suicide runs. I actually swapped out a number of independent buildings for modular on the Radzymin map I'm using for my scenario to try and avoid issues. It seems to happen a lot more often with independent buildings. However, I haven't had a suicidal entry (going around the building into enemy fire, rather than entering by the closer, safe side) since installing the Upgrade.

So far, I'm extremely pleased with what 4.0 has done to the gameplay in my scenario. The increased chance of troops bugging out has changed things though. A large part of the scenario is the player choosing what to defend for a time, then falling back to a new area, then repeating that process a number of times (until reinforcements allow a counterattack). With the Upgrade, the player will have to be ready to roll with it when his troops start bugging out, where before, he might have held real estate a little longer if he was willing to take the heat and casualties.

At this point, I like that dynamic and it feels more realistic. The only problem seems to be when suicical rout paths are taken instead of available safe ones. However, like I said, that hasn't been a problem so far in this playtest. But, things are about to get a lot hotter, so I'll report on what happens.

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I've just bought the 4.0 engine for CMRT. And this is what installer said to me:

Combat Mission: Red Thunder v2.00 "Game Engine 4" Upgrade README

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING IMPORTANT README FILE BEFORE CONTINUING WITH THIS INSTALL!!!
(This Readme file is also available after the installation inside the game installation directory)

VERSION REQUIREMENT
This v2.00 "Game Engine 4" Upgrade of Combat Mission: Red Thunder requires you to have a working copy of Combat Mission: Black Sea installed AND PATCHED TO v1.01 or later.

 

I hope it's an error in the installer info text... I have no CMBS....

P.S. It has patched ok and I'm able to run it ! So it seems that CMBS is not needed :) 

Edited by Amizaur
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Quick line to say lots of screenshots coming over the weekend. The action in my current playtest is producing lots of instances of TacAI evade that I'm capturing shots of. I won't have time to upload and post until Sat/Sun, though. One of them shows a team choosing the safer back door of a commercial independent building, rather than the more dangerous front entrance, so that is a good thing. The others are more of a mix.

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Man, I'm having some epic extended firefights in my playtest.  Casualties are much lighter than they used to be. Aside from getting caught in the street by an HMG or SMGs at very close range, teams are generally surviving encounters that would have wiped them out before the 4.0 Upgrade. And I'm mainly talking about AI troopers on the attack here. I've seen some teams make multiple attempts to cross the street, only to fall back and try again--without losing any men!

I'm feeling a lot better about the new TacAI evade code. Even when they take a bad path, they are most often either making it to safety or only losing one or two guys. And, a few times, they've ended up choosing a better path than I originally wanted for them.

One downside is that they are tending to tire themselves out faster than I'd like due to the speed and distance of their rout paths. But, I can't say that it's unrealistic, so it id what it id.

My LMG fire seems to mainly be getting the enemy to fall back for a bit than causing casualties (the AI is moving from block to block trying to force me out). A few times, AI troopers in ones and twos have gotten caught in the street, had a shootout with a team of mine, and buggered off into an alley with no casualties.

I'm LOVING this!

Anyhoo, pics over the weekend.

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4 hours ago, Macisle said:

Man, I'm having some epic extended firefights in my playtest.  Casualties are much lighter than they used to be. Aside from getting caught in the street by an HMG or SMGs at very close range, teams are generally surviving encounters that would have wiped them out before the 4.0 Upgrade. And I'm mainly talking about AI troopers on the attack here. I've seen some teams make multiple attempts to cross the street, only to fall back and try again--without losing any men!

I'm feeling a lot better about the new TacAI evade code. Even when they take a bad path, they are most often either making it to safety or only losing one or two guys. And, a few times, they've ended up choosing a better path than I originally wanted for them.

One downside is that they are tending to tire themselves out faster than I'd like due to the speed and distance of their rout paths. But, I can't say that it's unrealistic, so it id what it id.

My LMG fire seems to mainly be getting the enemy to fall back for a bit than causing casualties (the AI is moving from block to block trying to force me out). A few times, AI troopers in ones and twos have gotten caught in the street, had a shootout with a team of mine, and buggered off into an alley with no casualties.

I'm LOVING this!

Anyhoo, pics over the weekend.

This is Good to hear...and I for one was hoping for something like this to happen in CM, and it appears 4.0 is a step in the right direction.                                                                    

Now, it seems at least Firefights, in your opinion, are a little more realistic with reduced casualties due to shorter Firefights, because TAC AI is making better use of cover and advance/retreat routes...I wonder thou, do you think the TAC AI will attempt to get to the closest cover, wither it forward or reverse..? ex, a Team is advancing towards a House 5 meters to the front of them, but started to receive Small Arms fire...Do you think that Team will continue to advance to that House (closest cover), or Fall back to a House in the rear that's 15 meters away (thou, I would imagine it depends on Moral, Motivation, Suppression, etc).

This New TAC AI Logic may also make players re-think their Tactics some what when playing against other Human Opponents.   

Joe

Edited by JoMc67
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