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Questions about AI behaviour


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Hello all,

 

Noob question here about AI behaviour a friend and I observed and I hope that someone can provide some guidance:

 When playing the Shock Force 2 Demo, sometimes units left, without being orderd so by a player, their assigned position in a building. This led to the obliteration of whole squads when they left cover and run into open areas which were covered by machine gun and automatic cannon fire. There was also a case when an ATGM-equipped BMP engaged a Leopard with its cannon instead of using the missile. Another issue occurred when a Syrian squad was ordered to pick up an anti-tank missile, which they did, and to engage a tank. According to my friend they picked up the weapon, moved into position, and then died with the launcher in hand because they didn't attack their target.

 We played on the Alamo map of the demo, in real time, my friend commanded the Syrian forces, and I had the German side.

 The issue with leaving buildings unbidden occurred mainly with the Syrian forces, but I also had one German guy showing this behaviour. 

 I am not sure whether the issue with not engaging/ engaging with an inappropriate weapon is rooted in user error. However, the issue with leaving cover and running into the open is more than puzzling.

 Sadly, my friend is now permanently put off by these experiences and will probably not purchase the game. For my part, I am still convinced that this is a great game and will get myself the Cold War version when it is released. In any case, I would greatly appreciate if someone can shed some light on the issues I mentioned.

 Thanks in advance,

 

Cepheus  

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Infantry no longer retreat out of buildings as of the latest patches.

The ATGM issue could have been caused by arming distance problems (some older ATGM warheads will not arm within 500 metres!) or just bad luck... without details it's difficult to tell if it was an issue at all.

I doubt these fairly minor issues were really that significant a block for your mate... but if they were deal breakers (and considering its very rare for BFC to patch their demo's) it might be an idea to try the CMBS (or the WW2) demo's.

I'm pretty sure all those demo's are still at engine v3 and, although that engine features less sophisticated infantry behaviour, it was also less finicky right off the bat.

Edited by 37mm
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One common 'user error' is to accidentally double-click on a command unit and give a movement order, not realizing you've given the same order to everyone under his command. Then you discover your units have displaced left by 30m and you don't know why. It's slightly annoying when you double-click the squad leader by mistake, it can be VERY annoying when you double click the battalion leader by mistake! ^_^

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17 hours ago, Cepheus76 said:

There was also a case when an ATGM-equipped BMP engaged a Leopard with its cannon instead of using the missile.

In the game it is confusing and the reasons have never been explained why sometimes an IFV will use its missile or its cannon - especially when firing at buildings.  Even if one orders TARGET LIGHT at a building cos one's inf is assaulting, the IFV will still use its cannon rather than its MG (resulting in lots of friendly fire casualties).  I get the impression that when the building damaged enough then the IFV may use its MG when ordered to TARGET LIGHT. 

It's all a mystery.

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I have a feeling that an IFV uses its machine gun when it's ordered to target light an open target, while it uses its cannon when ordered to target light a hard target like a building. As for the target order, in the open it will use its cannon and for a hard target it will use its ATGM.

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3 hours ago, Frenchy56 said:

I have a feeling that an IFV uses its machine gun when it's ordered to target light an open target, while it uses its cannon when ordered to target light a hard target like a building. As for the target order, in the open it will use its cannon and for a hard target it will use its ATGM.

At various times I have seen an IFV use its missile vs a building, its gun vs a building, and its MG vs a building - no idea what made it decide either.  Altho' I think that a damaged building may persuade the AI use the MG. 

But, it's very important to remember that when assaulting a building with inf, a TARGET LIGHT command vs a building will make the IFV use its gun (possibly its missile) and that will almost certainly kill a bunch of your own guys.  The AI does not recognize friendlies nor does it care about blowing them up.  

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CMSF2 is very much more liberal with firing rockets and missiles at buildings than CMBS. They did that on purpose. CMSF2 isn't considered an armor-dense environment (at least for the Red side) so there's less of a concern about using up your anti-tank assets on the wrong stuff. Before the (real world) arrival of Stryker MGS the Army was using TOW Stryker for close infantry support, often firing on buildings from minimum arming distance. The Pentagon even retrofitted a batch of old TOW missiles with squash head HE warheads for the task.

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On 4/18/2021 at 11:32 PM, Cepheus76 said:

Thank you all for your insights and head-ups for potential pitfalls!

 

One other thing... one could make the case that CM "difficulty levels" are the "wrong" way round.

Playing on 'basic training' gives the AI access to faster artillery.

Playing on 'Iron' however means you can easily figure out what each individual unit thinks is going on in the battle taking place around them... it's entirely possible for instance, with regards the ATGM, that the unit was both surprised by the enemy Leopard & struggled to get a fix through smoke, dust & foilage or whatever.

However, the god like commander high in the sky, is screaming at that same ATGM team wondering why it isn't firing at the Leopard.

There was a thread recently where a CMRT player didn't see that one of the enemy tanks was in a ditch and was therefore surprised that his own tank didn't have a perfect spot.

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17 minutes ago, 37mm said:

However, the god like commander high in the sky

The hardest thing to do in CM is to ignore the commander in the sky. The bonus of ignoring it? It makes a much more enjoyable game. See that the contacts are passed on as contact icons. 

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You already have bunch of good answers so I'll try to add a bit and place some emphasis...

On 4/17/2021 at 5:03 PM, Cepheus76 said:

 When playing the Shock Force 2 Demo, sometimes units left, without being orderd so by a player, their assigned position in a building. This led to the obliteration of whole squads when they left cover and run into open areas which were covered by machine gun and automatic cannon fire.

Both players and the computer troops are controlled by what we call the Tac AI. That AI simulates each soldier's reactions etc and determines exactly how a squad will follow the orders you (or the computer AI) gave them. As such it also takes over then morale drops. Shaken or Paniced troops are not under you control and well try to do their best to stay alive. Even before becoming shaken troops can decide they should reposition. This is part of the game. If your over all situation is good squad talking that action can frequently save themselves by pulling back. If your overall situation is poor (taking fire from multiple directions, surrounded) troops taking action on their own often ends in disaster. As you saw.

 

On 4/17/2021 at 5:03 PM, Cepheus76 said:

There was also a case when an ATGM-equipped BMP engaged a Leopard with its cannon instead of using the missile.

That auto cannon is still pretty nasty BTW and the missile take a few moments to acquire a target. The crew is trying to get rounds on target ASAP and inflict some damage right away. Ant short ranges that is likely the right choice. If you get a BMP facing off against a Leopard at 2km you will see the crew make a different choice.

 

On 4/17/2021 at 5:03 PM, Cepheus76 said:

Another issue occurred when a Syrian squad was ordered to pick up an anti-tank missile, which they did, and to engage a tank. According to my friend they picked up the weapon, moved into position, and then died with the launcher in hand because they didn't attack their target.

I'll add to what others have said by reminding you that: Again the Tac AI is in control of that. These troops are not perfect, they are not uber, they do not read your mind.

 

On 4/17/2021 at 5:03 PM, Cepheus76 said:

 I am not sure whether the issue with not engaging/ engaging with an inappropriate weapon is rooted in user error. However, the issue with leaving cover and running into the open is more than puzzling.

The Tac AI does not produce super solider results. It shows better behaviour for better trained troops and worse for poorly trained troops. It's meant to be realistic not perfect. BTW not making the right choice some times is realistic.

 

On 4/17/2021 at 5:03 PM, Cepheus76 said:

 Sadly, my friend is now permanently put off by these experiences and will probably not purchase the game.

Yeah, there are people who just cannot get past that these are not super soldiers that can read the player's minds. The fact that things don't go your way, the fact that things don't go the way you asked / ordered is one of the things that makes this game so awesome. You have to adapt and find ways to give the troops you have their best chance to succeed. It is very rewarding and fun. I am sorry your friend feels that way. Perhaps when you share this thread they will give it another chance.

 

On 4/17/2021 at 5:03 PM, Cepheus76 said:

For my part, I am still convinced that this is a great game and will get myself the Cold War version when it is released. In any case, I would greatly appreciate if someone can shed some light on the issues I mentioned.

It is. Have fun!

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On 4/20/2021 at 1:12 PM, 37mm said:

Playing on 'basic training' gives the AI access to faster artillery.

 

Is it true?

I've been wondering if it is so since I begun playing CMBS. 

Manual tells that on Basic Training artillery call time decreased. Is the time shorter only for the player or for AI as well?

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13 hours ago, dbsapp said:

Is it true?

I've been wondering if it is so since I begun playing CMBS.

I personally have never tried it, but not so long ago somebody (I can't recall who... but they were a long time player) mentioned that they only ever played on the lower difficulty settings for just this reason.

It surprised me too... but does make a lot of sense when you think about it.

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