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When fog of war gets too foggy even for foggy conditions


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I have witnessed several times how spotting in CM can be a bit off what one could expect. But most of the time there is some kind of rationale for what occurs, like terrain, trees, buildings etc that makes it understandable, given that it is a game after all. But this one is just too much. Granted the scenario is in foggy/rain conditions but still.

I had a HQ with a panzerfaust waiting behind a building for a Stuart to pass it, knowing it was around for several turns and having sound contact with it. Finally the Stuart moved forward at a slow pace at a distance of about 20 m and yet my HQ just sat there, not even moving around to spot something they at least must have heard. But no. The Stuart slowly turned toward my men and gradually swung its turret around. This whole process took about 25 sec in which my guys just sat there. Finally, they pulled out their panzerfaust and at that exact moment got gunned down. It was as if the Stuart spotted them only when they became an apparent threat.

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View from the Stuart.

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My blind and deaf men. Note that they are not rattled. Veteran....

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I will hang on to a save if anyone wants to have a peek at it.

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I recall in old CMx1 foggy conditions representation was FOGGY!. A literal dome of fog  surrounding your camera. You had difficulty seeing much of anything a few meters away. It was as crude as can be but I must admit it felt like 'real' fog. The current game engine doesn't graphically represent the "can't see your hand in front of your face" type of thick fog even though your men may be fighting in 'can't see your hand in front of your face' foggy conditions.

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And yet, in the same battle, infantry spot infantry that hasn't fired at distances of +200 m. So if the fog in this battle is as bad as not spotting that Stuart, no fighting would have taken place at all so far. And it would be an unplayable and boring scenario. It isn't. Quite fun, despite this oddity.

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8 hours ago, MikeyD said:

The current game engine doesn't graphically represent the "can't see your hand in front of your face" type of thick fog even though your men may be fighting in 'can't see your hand in front of your face' foggy conditions.

Strangely, the tank had no trouble spotting the infantry in this fog.

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8 hours ago, MikeyD said:

The current game engine doesn't graphically represent the "can't see your hand in front of your face" type of thick fog even though your men may be fighting in 'can't see your hand in front of your face' foggy conditions.

But I doubt you'll drive a tank in such conditions.

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6 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

Strangely, the tank had no trouble spotting the infantry in this fog.

Similarly if one uses smoke to attempt to blind a tank, it often seems to have a telepathic knowledge that men are sneaking up on it and can react very quickly to kill all such attackers. 

We've discussed elsewhere that to get inside the AI decision loop in the CM game, it can work better to run your men at the tank's rear or side to attack and get inside the AI decision cycle/loop so the tank may not react fast enough in that situation.

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1 hour ago, rocketman said:

IIRC after it turned its turret it took 5-6 sec for them to spot the HQ.

Tanks are programmed with a delay before they can shoot at infantry close to them. I think that's what happened in this case. But it spotted the infantry quite quickly. That's why it started to turn towards them.

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50 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

Tanks are programmed with a delay before they can shoot at infantry close to them. I think that's what happened in this case. But it spotted the infantry quite quickly. That's why it started to turn towards them.

Is that official? When it first appeared its turret and hull was facing away from the HQ so they shouldn't have known about them other than suspecting they were there as it had probably witnessed it taking out some infantry. Wonder how the TacAI handles contact icons of various strength?

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3 minutes ago, rocketman said:

Is that official? When it first appeared its turret and hull was facing away from the HQ so they shouldn't have known about them other than suspecting they were there as it had probably witnessed it taking out some infantry. Wonder how the TacAI handles contact icons of various strength?

Yes, it's official. The delay is there to represent the difficulties of a tank to elevate or depress the gun enough to hit infantry close by.

Also, tanks seem able to detect infantry close by quite easily if the tank has a cupola. At least that is my experience.

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While the facing of a tank and its turret play an important role in CM spotting it doesn´t mean they´re blind on the flanks or rear. Despite the commander, crew member positions were equipped with viewports and periscopes as well and they were trained - along their main job - to observe specific areas around the tank. They didn´t had the quality optics as the gunner/commander but for closer ranges it could be enough. Which is in unity with @Bulletpoint´s observation although I didn´t pay attention how much this is tied to the tank having a TC cupola which would naturally make sense. Nevertheless in this incident it makes of course little sense that the tank spots the infantry first here. 

As mentioned CM allows for gun depression below/above historical parameters although a delay will be issued. I can´t recall hearing the reasons behind it but my theories are engine limitation, in order to prevent explotation, limit AI stress (example: AI tank for some reason ends on a ridge and is not able to engage anymore), to make tanks not too exposed to infantry close assaults (run up a inf team in a WEGO turn and they have 60 seconds convience for blowing the heck out of it), a mix of those, or complete different reasons.

About vehicle TacAI:

An interesting thing about vehicles is that sometimes they start to turn without even having any contact marker whatsoever as if they sensed something. To me it seems there is a state of contact awareness present before even a first spotting icon. I don´t even want to know what exactly is going down there under the engine hood as it is one of those thrilling "I feel trouble brewing" moments. This behaviour can be especially observed when enemy is close to the tank or when a ATGM was just launched.

My rough interpretation:

0) everything fine

1) no icon, turning i.e. "sensing": "I think I´ve just seen (heard) something there but I am not sure"

2) question mark icon: "I definitely see (hear) footmobiles or vehicles there!

3) full icon: "infantry or tank identified, ready to engage"

 

Specifically for CMSF2 and a scenario with high civilian density:

0) "everything fine, only civilians passing by"

1) "I think I just saw a guy with a weapon there, not sure could be also that he just bought a big sausage from the market"

2) "definitely weapons there not only unarmed civilians!"

3) "Identified, three guys there carrying weapons!"

 

However I´ve never seen infantry doing this "sensing", only vehicles.

Edited by Aquila-SmartWargames
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1 hour ago, Aquila-SmartWargames said:

An interesting thing about vehicles is that sometimes they start to turn without even having any contact marker whatsoever as if they sensed something. To me it seems there is a state of contact awareness present before even a first spotting icon.

It used to be that if you sent infantry through forest on hunt orders, they would sometimes just stop and go prone for seemingly no reason at all. No contact marker, no shots fired. Then if you told them to keep moving, there would in fact be enemies very close by. So that matches your idea that units can be aware of enemies without getting a contact marker.

However, I think this behaviour has been changed for infantry. They seem less likely to stop hunting now, and also often don't stop even when taking fire.

Edited by Bulletpoint
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1 hour ago, Aquila-SmartWargames said:

While the facing of a tank and its turret play an important role in CM spotting it doesn´t mean they´re blind on the flanks or rear. Despite the commander, crew member positions were equipped with viewports and periscopes as well and they were trained - along their main job - to observe specific areas around the tank.

Some vehicles don't have those and are completely blind to the sides and rear. The buttoned M8 Greyhound for example won't spot infantry behind it.

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8 hours ago, Aquila-SmartWargames said:

Wasn´t sure if the simulation is going that far as modelling blindspots of specific vehicles. Great to see it´s the case.

At least it was the case back when I tested it a bit some years ago. I did a 2-player hotseat and ran my troops around behind and to the sides of the Greyhound, and while buttoned, it never knew a thing.

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