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Why is surrendering still so poorly modelled


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Why after so many cm modules and patches is surrendering units so poorly adopted  in game? Almost every unit seems to fight to the death no matter how much fire is poured onto them or hopeless the situation. Also I don’t get why there isn’t an option to voluntarily surrender a unit? It seems a huge faux pas for a battle simulator like the cm series. 
it often affects the outcome of a fight when you have to commit so much resources and time smashing the hell out of a building or wood etc when you know that unless they are fanatical or extremely motivated troops, they would throw down their weapons than be annihilated to a man . It should definitely be an option that you can surrender a unit in a hopeless situation. 
i thought it was written into the code that once a unit suffered x-amount of casualties or the force as a whole had lost x-amount of units/morale that units would surrender more readily? 

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Has this been brought up before? I certainly don't recall. I think the main reason nothing has been done is because there isn't much, if any problem. I see enemy soldiers surrender all the time - probably just slightly less then mine :D. There is definitely code that simulate morale and suffering casualties *is* modelled. I have no idea what your expectations are but I don't see a problem with the way the game behaves. I would expect that if surrendering was more frequent we should start to hear complaints about that.

There are two things I do have an issue with around surrendering:

One is spotting: While my troops are attempting to surrender the still spot for me. Like they have their hands up but are still yelling out the situation to the LT. I strongly suspect that if troops were doing that they would get shot for not actually surrendering. It would be nice to see them no longer report spotting information. I am sure that would take some work especially since they have to be able to go back to normal if they get rescued.

Two: the process of actually surrendering and disappearing from the battle field is interesting. If enemy solders don't disappear quickly it means there are other enemy troops in good order near by. That is valuable intell that many times you don't have by other means. I don't see how you can fix this if you want the possibility of rescue to be in the game. Perhaps there could be a hard upper limit on how long they can offer their surrender but not disappear to limit the intell leakage.

Edited by IanL
Wrong word choice.
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Hint of sarcasm noted ;) I am sure it had been brought up before but we are now far down the line and I still think it’s not implemented well enough. It seems you have to let your men get slaughtered rather than pow them, hardly realistic (unless it’s the Eastern front!).

A prime example is in my current pbem fight where a flanking village needed to be secured off the line of advance. A solitary US platoon held the hamlet and I had over a company of heavily armed infantry backed up by panthers and flakwagens pouring fire into the houses at point blank range. None of them surrendered until 1 man of a hq team was left alive. There is no way that platoon of ordinary gi’s would suffer that firepower and hopeless situation until last man standing. If they were diehard S.S. or Russians maybe, but ordinary infantry would have waved the flag quite justly against such odds. It just seemed an unnecessary slaughter and My opponent couldn’t surrender them even if he’d wanted too, which also creates a gamey aspect with die to delay.  

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Could it have something to do with the Malmedy massacre?

I've recently beaten the Peiper campaign and was surprised how well the US infantry stuck to their foxholes. The execution of POWs by SS troops may have motivated them to fight to the last man -- like in Ostfront.

EFrHwFy.jpg

Even though, I managed to round up 3 to 6 POWs every battle. Hate to think of what would have happened to them.

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Units have varying motivation levels and players tend to prefer playing 'high' motivation or above specifically to keep their units from breaking.
When you get up to 'fanatic' a unit will die in place rather than surrender. When you get down to 'poor' motivation it becomes difficult to keep your men from fleeing in panic. There's also experience levels. An 'Elite' unit will not take a big morale hit when under fire while a 'Conscript' unit is likely to cower and break at the first sign of danger.

If you play CMSF2 you'll see a fair number of Syrian forces surrendering. Because they're often set at 'green' experience and 'poor' motivation. Play SS units in CMFB and you'll get something else. Because they're often set at 'fanatic' and 'veteran'.

Also, in the heat of battle its sometimes just impossible to surrender. We've all seen units throw up their hands in surrender during a battle only to be felled by an HE round impacting the building they're in. Also, if you just gunned down six men in front of your position moments before the enemy would probably be somewhat less likely to honor your white flag.

Edited by MikeyD
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51 minutes ago, Jaeger Jonzo said:

Hint of sarcasm noted ;) I am sure it had been brought up before but we are now far down the line and I still think it’s not implemented well enough. It seems you have to let your men get slaughtered rather than pow them, hardly realistic (unless it’s the Eastern front!).

Fair enough. There has to be a balance struck - if men surrender automatically too quickly people will be unhappy with the game play. Also, the morale mechanism does not take into account the platoon's situation. It has no idea how out gunned they are.

I do like you idea of allowing the human player to allow specific units to surrender rather than it being all or nothing. I think that would be OK. My main point is I don't think more surrendering would make players happier. In fact I think there would be complaints about it. Who knows what Steve might feel about your post but my guess is he will not change anything because he is mostly happy with it. Perhaps I'll be proved wrong. If so I hope he makes some of my suggested changes after yours.

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One thing I noticed is that "broken" troops are not very broken. They can still be used to scout, they spot and relay information just fine, and often they can actually keep fighting too. I think broken troops should be much more likely to surrender to enemies.

Also, I think being cut off and surrounded, and low on ammo, should also play a part in surrendering. I don't think it's taken into account currently. At least I haven't noticed units out of ammo more likely to surrender.

 

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Yes it’s incidents like cut off/out of ammo/hopeless situation when you should be able to surrender a unit or the game engine enforces the unit to surrender whether you like it or not. Let’s face it not many commanders give carte Blanche to their men surrendering but those guys might take it upon themselves to preferring a POW cage than being wiped out. 

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3 hours ago, Jaeger Jonzo said:

Yes it’s incidents like cut off/out of ammo/hopeless situation when you should be able to surrender a unit or the game engine enforces the unit to surrender whether you like it or not. Let’s face it not many commanders give carte Blanche to their men surrendering but those guys might take it upon themselves to preferring a POW cage than being wiped out. 

The problem is that the game has no mechanism to identify cut off / hopeless situation so that's basically a non starter.  For a lack of ammunition, I'm not sure you would want units to surrender automatically if they are low on ammunition or even out of ammunition because they may be in a position where they aren't threatened by enemy troops.  Ideally there would be a way to code some level of awareness into the AI such that units could identify such circumstances, but we can't even make our pixeltruppen's suppression levels a trigger for specified activity in an AI plan so we are a very long way from having troops who are aware that their situation is hopeless.  Just file this in the 'nice to have in some distant future' version of CM but not going to happen any time soon.

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8 hours ago, MikeyD said:

If you play CMSF2 you'll see a fair number of Syrian forces surrendering. Because they're often set at 'green' experience and 'poor' motivation.

I've often had the opposite experience in SF2. Units only surrender when there are enemy troops very close to them, which is pretty rare, especially with the extreme deadliness of the modern munitions in SF2. Units tend to get obliterated from hundreds of meters out. If the Syrians are poor conscripts or whatever, they will usually just run away rather than surrender, which results in them getting mowed down in huge numbers as they abandon their cover. If the scenario has a lot of close quarters urban combat or if you're a really aggressive player and try to charge in close to the enemy, you do see a lot more surrenders though.

I think if I were to change how the AI works, I would try to make poor quality troops less likely to run, and more likely to cower in one place for very long periods. If I were some conscript thrown into a foxhole waiting to die horribly in the big enemy assault coming my way, I would probably spend the whole battle soiling myself in a terrified stupor at the bottom of my hole as the deafening explosions go off around me. I don't think I would want to get up and run around. Once the enemy assault sweeps over my position, I'd throw my hands up before a grenade lands in my hole.

If playing as the US Army or whatever against poor quality Syrians, it would be cool if you could see something like this: At various points in a battle you might lay waste to a suspected enemy position with area fire, and all the enemy fire stops completely and the enemy seems to disappear. Everything goes quiet. You might think you've killed all the enemy troops until ten minutes later you send some infantry to check out the position and a couple dozen hands all pop up out of the trench in surrender.

That would be a lot more realistic than the way the game usually works, with everyone in the trench jumping out and running away into a hail of gunfire and explosions the moment a few bullets come their way, resulting in like 200 KIA when the scenario is over.

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10 hours ago, ASL Veteran said:

The problem is that the game has no mechanism to identify cut off / hopeless situation so that's basically a non starter.  For a lack of ammunition, I'm not sure you would want units to surrender automatically if they are low on ammunition or even out of ammunition because they may be in a position where they aren't threatened by enemy troops.  Ideally there would be a way to code some level of awareness into the AI such that units could identify such circumstances, but we can't even make our pixeltruppen's suppression levels a trigger for specified activity in an AI plan so we are a very long way from having troops who are aware that their situation is hopeless.  Just file this in the 'nice to have in some distant future' version of CM but not going to happen any time soon.

It's not about making a self aware machine intelligence, but about adding a few more lines to the TacAI surrender code. There is already code that determines if a unit surrenders or not.

Maybe it could be something like this:

IF (low on ammo) THEN surrender chance +1

IF (out of C2 to higher level) THEN surrender chance +2   (This one is probably already in the game, but haven't tested it)

 

Checking to see if a unit is surrounded would be more tricky, but I think it could be done. Units already have awareness of where their buddies are (as we see when playing iron mode).

So basically you could do checks to see if the "weight" of enemy presence (number and strength) of enemy contact markers is much higher than the friendly presence within, say, 150 metres, and then also check if enemy presence is all around the unit. Then the unit could get a big extra risk of surrendering, but could choose to fight on if highly motivated/experienced/well led/plenty of ammo/rested/etc.

In practice:

1: draw a 150m circle around the unit doing the surrender check.

2: count all enemy and friendly markers within the circle. Enemy markers that are closer towards the unit's friendly map edge than the unit doing the surrender check counts double (they block the way to friendly lines). Each marker is weighted by contact strength (if a contact marker is solid visible or fading away)

3: If the enemy contact marker score is significantly higher than the friendly presence, unit is considered surrounded.

 

@Kaunitz, what do you think about this way of looking at it?

Edited by Bulletpoint
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This topic has 'Be careful what you wish for' written all over it. In all my years reading poster comments I do not recall any complaints from players that their troops can't take the coward's way out of a sticky situation. We see troops surrendering in-game all the time and I've never seen a problem with the current system.

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You know I tested this a week ago. I launched a QB against an all conscript and low morale German force. Some of them  truly did fight to the death. The only ones surrendered after significant grenades had been thrown.  I even said to myself "surrender damn it!" But how do you judge when the AI should fight/die/give up? It almost seems impossible to fully implement what is realistic and what isn't when it comes to the human psyche applied to pixeltruppen. I'm sure there are cases when Ostruppen fought bravely and to the end and elite SS troops didn't.

It's possible that balancing could perhaps be better (maybe in the case of poor morale vs high) but hey, a surrender fest instead of a pitched battle after an hour of maneuvering on a large map? That would be quite anti climatic. It is a game after all.

Edited by Anonymous_Jonze
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I recall a game I played where a Panzer Mk IV managed to get surrounded in a little villa by Russian SMG squads.

 The crew bailed out and were defiantly popping away with their Walther pistols.only to be quickly cut down by a hail of ppsh fire.

 I wish I had recorded a movie of that. it was kind of amusing,...  I think i digressed off topic.

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Here´s a little video illustrating what is the main problem with surrendering - in my opinion:
A german MG squad is surrendering in the first battle in the South African campaign in CMFI R2V. I then send a squad over "to accept their surrender" - when this happens.
Bloody treacherous krauts!! :D
Luckily this kind of thing happens very seldomly - so I am not very dissatisfied with surrendering in CM.
 

 

Edited by umlaut
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17 hours ago, Anonymous_Jonze said:

I launched a QB against an all conscript and low morale German force. Some of them  truly did fight to the death. The only ones surrendered after significant grenades had been thrown.

Each individual soldier has his own soft factors. So even in a green team of cowards, there might be a veteran fanatic. The squad's visible rating is the average.

Source: an answer I got from BF support once.

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I think surrendering works well and is actually quite complex and sophisticated.

I've never been in a war, but I'm not sure soldiers do often surrender in the heat of battle - or whether they are more likely to surrender when the shooting has died down, which the game also models.

As it is, those little white flags are a real bonus, a little prize in game terms. To get four or five of them at once feels really good and is not easy.

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On 12/9/2019 at 3:11 PM, IanL said:

There is defiantly code that simulate morale and suffering casualties

@IanL   Did you really mean to say "defiantly code" or did you mean "definitely code"? Defiantly is a word which apparently means to behave in a manner that shows open resistance or bold disobedience.

So the word "defiantly" in your sentence seemed a bit out of place. But as my English is something I have been taught I might be wrong about the word defiantly in the context of a code which decides when pixeltruppen would surrender.

Edited by BornGinger
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1 hour ago, BornGinger said:

@IanL   Did you really mean to say "defiantly code" or did you mean "definitely code"? Defiantly is a word which apparently means to behave in a manner that shows open resistance or bold disobedience.

Ack I meant definitely there is code that takes into account morale and casualties. Apologies, I butchered the typing and when I went back to fix up my red squiggly mistakes I picked the wrong word - actually it is likely the right one was not even there and I just did not recognize it. I'll fix it up for future readers.

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