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Got a question for you. I have the Germans dug in near a bridge. It's dawn so vis isn't great, but not terrible either. Their enemy is advancing towards them from a woods. They stop about 400m from the Germans and open up with Area Fire (meaning they can't see any actual German troops, I'm guessing). The German AI has them staying put but have an Ambush 600m command in it. And yet, even with being shot at, they are not returning fire. 

So, will the AI not shoot at a target unless it can actually see the troops? They won't follow tracer bullets back and do an area fire themselves? If not, is there any way to force them to defend themselves in some fashion? What I'm seeing is that as it stands now, the enemy can stand back and blast away with mortars, MG's, etc. without any fear of reprisal, until the Germans are beat to death and the enemy can simply walk in (or close to it). I need to find a way around this, if that's really what I'm seeing.

Thanks :) .

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The AI will not area fire by themselves, they need a solid spot.

There is now an Area fire command, so you can get around this to an extent, with Ctrl-left click.

An obvious use case would be to match this with a trigger - if you had a situation with an obvious base of fire, set up as a trigger, and then letting the AI open up with area fire on that location.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, domfluff said:

An obvious use case would be to match this with a trigger - if you had a situation with an obvious base of fire, set up as a trigger, and then letting the AI open up with area fire on that location.

PERFECT! That's even better than I hoped for. Thanks a bunch man :) 

Now, for the sequel to that - if I set up an area fire command using a trigger, and subsequently the enemy comes into view, will the Germans switch automatically from area firing to that target?

Edited by Canuck21
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Posted (edited)

According to the manual, area firing is the lowest priority AI task, so everything else should override it. Haven't tested this, mind you.

"It is important to note that the Fire Zone is the lowest priority task for the AI Group. Other tasks, such as moving, unloading, attacking a spotted enemy unit, etc will take priority over shooting randomly at the Fire Zone"

Edited by domfluff
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The AI areafire option might be somewhat tricky to use in this particular situation i think...With this command they will do as told...areafire 😎...at whatever possition you specify...But what if the player decides to place his troops in a slightely different possition ? If you make the AI areafire location 'to big' with 'to few' troops doing the shooting it will not be very effective.

It might be better to have your german AI trops on HIDE until the player advances close enough for the AI germans to actually see them and then have them switch to ACTIVE using a  triggerzone placed accordingly.

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Glubokii Boy said:

But what if the player decides to place his troops in a slightely different possition ?

Well, that would be just rude of them if they did that :D . No, it's a good point. When I asked the question, I was trying to figure out why they weren't shooting at all (the enemy was out of sight, but not behind cover). Now that I have that part working, I can start applying some logic to the situation. 

32 minutes ago, Glubokii Boy said:

It might be better to have your german AI trops on HIDE until the player advances close enough for the AI germans to actually see them and then have them switch to ACTIVE using a  triggerzone placed accordingly.

 

That's what I was trying to do in the first place and they were getting plastered in the initial suppression fire. The enemy knew the objective and knew it was being guarded, so they just sat back 400m or so and fired/blasted away. The Germans never returned fire so basically got the crap beat out of them. I really wish there was a way you could trigger return fire even if the incoming fire is area fire (the guys 400m away being shot at aren't necessarily going to know... or care 😬 if it's area fire or the other side is actually targeting them unless the area being hit is well away from the troops). I've not seen a way to do that yet. By the time the enemy assaulted the position, there wasn't a lot left of them. Now I've reduced the amount of armament the enemy has and that's reduced those effects but it would still be nice to have that other trigger from being fired at.

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I had that yesterday the AI response to withdraw from a perfectly defendable position. Must have been a trigger, Russian reinforcements arrive the AI withdraw its troops. My routine was area fire on top floors of buildings followed by the ground floor. Once infantry arrived no German troops. 

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My view is that if you are trying to force something then generally the premise of the scenario or the tactical situation you have created is flawed.  If that German force is pretty important to the integrity of the whole scenario and the opposition knows where it is and can approach it without too much trouble then give your head a wobble and think about other ways to crack the problem - maybe even redefine the problem.  I find that in nine cases out of ten, you can have a solution that doesn't involve jerking around with triggers and area fire or other such unnecessarily complex jiggery pokery.  Defenders in my battles are generally set with an ambush order of whatever meterage and then either a timed or triggered bug out order to the next position.  Many of my defenders have no orders at all.  The Tac AI should be able to handle most situations for a relatively static defending force realistically enough.  If it can't - like I said -  you have problems with how this scenario is orchestrated. 

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3 minutes ago, Combatintman said:

The Tac AI should be able to handle most situations for a relatively static defending force realistically enough. 

Spoiler in 'Getting Ugly' the German defender withdraws from Chernevka apart from the outposts without firing a shot. The defending Panthers are in full view of my scouts facing the wrong way. I don't even know, or I will finish the scenario. Still have over an hour playing time left. The withdrawing infantry tells me the river is fordable. 

Chernevka.jpg

The Panthers maybe this scenario was designed for H&H.

Chernevka-B.jpg

 

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9 hours ago, chuckdyke said:

I had that yesterday the AI response to withdraw from a perfectly defendable position. Must have been a trigger, Russian reinforcements arrive the AI withdraw its troops. My routine was area fire on top floors of buildings followed by the ground floor. Once infantry arrived no German troops. 

It was tea time? :D Yeah, that's not good, although fewer people get killed in that scenario :D . I'll have to look up that scenario and have a gander at it. In actual fact, in some ways it would have been better had the Germans in my scenario withdrawn rather than just sitting there and taking it. That said, as soon as they got up out of their foxholes, they probably wouldn't have got far.

 

1 hour ago, Combatintman said:

My view is that if you are trying to force something then generally the premise of the scenario or the tactical situation you have created is flawed.  If that German force is pretty important to the integrity of the whole scenario and the opposition knows where it is and can approach it without too much trouble then give your head a wobble and think about other ways to crack the problem - maybe even redefine the problem. 

Yeah, you could say they're "key". Without them, the scenario is over :D . The premise is that the Germans are guarding the bridge (over the Dives River, east of the Pegasus Bridge by several km). Paratroopers have dropped in to take the bridge from them (not saying exactly where as that would spoil the scenario). The trick for the Canadians is it's all open ground to get to the bridge, so it's an ugly approach no matter what way you look at it. I'm playing the Canadians vs. the AI. So I get the main force into a treeline about 400m away. It is dawn but visibility is decent. I still can't see the Germans, nor can they see me, but the bridge is visible and it's not a stretch to figure the Germans will be entrenched in and around the bridge. So I open up with a boatload of fire, including mortars to try and at least reduce their numbers to the point where an assault from another location is feasible. That route is better, although there is still over 100m of open ground to cross. It's all area fire at this point.

Now to the problem. What you @Combatintman are saying is no doubt right on the money about the scenario/idea being flawed in terms of the game, but I'm not so sure in a real world situation. Besides, I'm a problem solver (that's what my ex called me... well, actually, it was words to that effect, but being as how this is a family forum, I'll stick to the polite terminology :D  :D  ). As per usual, I tend to dream something up (I did this when I was in aviation and again when I worked in graphics/photography), then as soon as I hit a block, instead of taking a different approach, I try to work the problem until I either come up with a solution or discover that all the solutions just aren't going to work. I've been described as being "stubborn" (again, family forum, although the guys in the white coats used very polite, if technical, terms ;) ). So...

The problem that arose from this situation is I figured once the Germans "saw" the firing coming at them, they would fire back. They may not exactly "see" any enemy troops per se, but would see where the fire was coming from and return area fire of their own. Of course, the AI is computer generated, so they don't exactly "see" (doh). They didn't return fire, but basically just sat there and took it. Now in the original try, I had too much armament and basically there was little left of them after 10 minutes of suppression fire, but I've reduced that armament considerably so that will help. Still, if someone were shooting at me, I'd likely shoot back even if I wasn't absolutely sure where it was coming from (barring a superior's orders to not do so, of course). In the original try at this, there were enough Germans left to shoot back once the position was assaulted, but not enough to put up a viable defence. So ultimately, the problem to solve is how to get the Germans to shoot back and maybe weaken the Canadians to the point where they either can't get into position to assault the shorter open ground area, or even prevent them from assaulting at all. 

Thanks to @domfluff, the idea of setting a trigger for area fire got me started down a path with a lot of potential. As @Glubokii Boy very aptly pointed out though, I can set up an Area Fire AI command but what if the Canucks don't come from there? It's possible they wouldn't as there are several positions they could come from. However, I at least had the beginnings of a solution. From that spawned the idea of using several triggers, each in a location where the Canucks might come from. That's where I'm at now and will test that idea out today. I'm not sure it will work because if they come from 2 different locations at the same time, that could lead to other issues, but the good news is that other than the one spot where the open ground is only around 100m or so (and I don't need a trigger for that one), every other location requires a run of 400m or better. I don't like those odds at the best of times for the Canucks and if the Germans are still area firing in that direction anyway, they're going to get some of them and possibly rout the entire attack (my force isn't that big). So we'll see what happens. It's quite possible it won't work, but if it does, then great. If not, I may have to change the basic design, but the best thing from all this is, I now have a very detailed set of notes on how to get triggers to work (refined from what I've been told here, and have found in other threads) that may well work for other scenarios down the road. For me, it's all a process and I'm a sponge when it comes to stuff like this :) . The more I can learn, the better it gets and the more interesting I can make my scenarios. Of course, there's always the danger that they get too complex and then everything breaks down, but that seems to be part of the learning phase. You get through that and that's when things start to really come together. Until you test those boundaries though, you don't know what can be done and what can't. Besides, it's a boatload of fun trying this stuff out 😊.

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Posted (edited)

Canuck, if I were the Germans in that scenario, with a bunch of Paras 400 meters out, trying to stonk me with Area Fire, and knowing that they are obviously going to come closer to get the prize (bridge), I’d hunker down, take the punishment, and wait until they starting moving out of their cover and getting closer before I opened up. If I had mortars or arty I’d use that, otherwise I’m keeping my head down as much as is practical. I think Combatintman is on the money here. But being stubborn (I know a little about that myself, lol), keep at it until you either figure it out or it drives you nuts! Good luck.

Edited by mjkerner
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5 minutes ago, mjkerner said:

or it drives you nuts!

Too late... :D :D :D 

Actually, your advice is excellent, as is @Combatintman (nothing new there ;) ). The original purpose of the thread was to find out why they didn't shoot back, and it sort of evolved into a problem-solving process for me. That worked very well for me and I'm now a LOT more familiar with some of the intricacies of triggers and AI (still lots to learn but this has been a big step) that will serve me well going forward. That all said, as mentioned above as well, at some point some degree of logic has to kick in here and that's where I'm in agreement with you and Combatintman in terms of this scenario. My first step in making this option possible was to reduce the armaments I was throwing at the Germans so there actually is something left of them to fight with at the end. Actually, @Glubokii Boy also suggested simply hiding would be a good option too (however, it IS the REST of the world that's mad!! Surely it can't be me 😜😆). That's likely what I'll end up doing in this case. After I take my meds, of course <hehehe>.

Thanks to all here. Man, I'd still be at Square 1 (v1.01) without you folks :) . New scenario coming soon :) .

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Well there are a couple of things here ...

If this is a historical action then remember the advice in the Scenario Design Manual that says something along the lines of 'real battles often make poor scenarios.'  Anway, park that thought and move on.

The main issue is that the Tac AI is probably thinking - I've only got rifles and LMGs so my effective range is 300m or so. - I won't fire with the bulk of my weapons until the enemy gets within effective range.  If you're determined to get those dudes to fire then you have to think either employ triggered target orders or give them an HMG or why not a flak gun?

The other thing you can do is stick a German standing patrol in that wood - defending 101 is to employ active and not passive defence.  Making the paras fight for the wood will first of all give the player pause for thought and the small German patrol might get lucky and knock over some of the ranged weapon systems or at least cause enough casualties to mean that the suppressive effect from the paras when they get to the wood and set up their base of fire is reduced. 

You can also impose some stiff parameters on the paras through Victory Points (VPs).  As they are paras you could have a 50% (or whatever figure you find works in testing) ammo consumption parameter for instance - it is realistic as they drop with light scales and they will not want to blow through all of their ammunition in their first engagement because they might have to hold the bridge for a few days.  If the VPs punish the paras sufficiently then the player has to work harder for that victory.  Most scenarios in CMSF work on this premise because Blue forces so overwhelm UNCONs and the Syrians in a stand-up fight that the only way you make your scenario challenging is through the VPs.  As casualties in the modern era are frowned upon, most scenarios would set friendly casualty parameters in the 10% or lower range which creates the challenge for the player while being true-to-life.  Now this is less appropriate for WW2 which is why I suggest you go down the ammunition route but I wanted to explain how it works.

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A very powerful 'tool' to make a scenario more or less difficult is...

ELEVATION ! 😎

Some of the most experienced map designers,  George MC and Seinfeld Rules, comes to mind among others that are able to use this 'tool' brilliantly...

Having defensive possitions cleverly placed in reverse slope possitions to make them difficult for an attacker to get to.

A reverse slop possition does not neccesarely have to be on the back side of a large hill or crest...Even minor elevation changes can create oppertunities  for a reverse slope possition and as a map designer you will be able to decide from WHAT RANGE an attacker will be able to engage that possition...Should it be 30 meters ?, 150 meters ? or maybe 400 meters ?

Using the elevation tool in the map editor you as the designer can decide this and thereby adjusting the difficulty level of the scenario both with regards to the attacker as well as the defender...Dependant on how these elevation changes are  designed and used....

With enough skill in the use of elevation i bet you could design a map that is completally empty...With no terrainfeature at all other then elevation changes that is more difficult to attack compared to even a heavely fortified map... that lack these elevation tweaks...

The trick is to have these elevation tweaks look natural and at the same time provide the defender with good oppertunities for some nice defensive possitions as well as provide the attacker with some...options...as how to attack on this map...should he attack straight over the reverse slope possition ? or could he possibly manouver around them and not neccesarely have to attack over them but rather attack them from the flank...

If a mapdesigner manges to get these elevation changes to work in such a way and still look more or less natural it improves the enjoyment one gets from playing on the map...greately ! imo...compared to playing on a more or less flat map regardless of how well the map is 'painted' with other terrain types and features...

In short 😊...Clever use of elevation when designing a map...YES !!! i like it...

And as i  said at the start...Elevation can have a very significant impact on difficulty both on the attach as well as on the defence...

 

 

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Oh yeah, doing that :) . It's what's allowing troops (if they want) to flank well south without getting shot up. I'll let you know when I've got the scenario done (could be today) and you can have a gander, but I've worked with maps since I was a teenager (back then we used stone, not paper <LMAO>) both professionally and for fun (getting lost in the boonies is fun??? 😳 Hey, I warned you ;) ) so maybe that's why my favourite part of this is map making. Good advice though - many thanks :) .

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So just FYI, I did go with the suggestions to simply let the guys sit and "take it", and the scenario is now up. Now I'm not sure I did the right thing here. I used a slightly different approach for the Canucks in the last play test and the bastards shot back this time 🤭. That was just not nice of them at all (but it did make for a much more interesting scenario ;) ). Anyway, thank you again everyone for the help. It really paid off and the knowledge banks are just a little bit fuller tonight. That will definitely come in handy for the other one I'm working on ;) .

 

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Attacker doesn't get any points for killing the defender but must take objectives. The defender gets his points by killing attackers and bonus points by the egress to a final defensive position with a morale of OK and cautious. No experience of scenario design on the level of you guys but was thinking along these lines. 

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In this case the attacker does get points for killing the enemy, and must accomplish that without losing more than 50% of its own forces. This is because they must hold the bridge and possibly survive a counter attack later on. The Germans, on the other hand, also need to take out the attacker while not getting all his guys killed. Regardless, there is an objective (the bridge) at stake for both sides. All this is because of the time and situation for this scenario. This battle is very early in the morning on D-Day. At this location, maybe only the odd report is filtering among the various German outposts that something big is happening, but there is still a lot of confusion. It's only now just light enough to see the ships offshore, and that's where most of the German's attention is. The parachute units are paying a surprise visit to various locations inland, the Dives River Bridge being one of them. This is the 'surprise' factor for the Germans and to be honest, even if you (the German) are hearing of drops, you really would have no idea that they were coming for your locations (this is seemingly a minor objective compared with the Pegasus Bridge), never mind in which direction they'd be coming from. After this day, yes, the Germans would be expecting the allies to show up almost anywhere and would be better prepared, and the allies objectives tend to be more terrain motivated, but at this point, no. The German briefing (if playing H2H) strongly reflects their lack of expectation of enemy troops at that time. 

The beauty of this situation is it allowed me to create an element of surprise by the nature and location of the setups for both sides. As they stand for this scenario, these would be rather lacking in depth and organization were it post-D-Day, but for very early morning on D-Day, I felt the setups reflected the situation at the time. I tried to imagine what the mindsets would be and how "relaxed" things would be when not under imminent threat, and put that into the scenario. That is where the fun parts come in. There is a trigger in there, but it doesn't cause anyone to fire... at least not directly ;) . I don't want to say more as it could take away the suspense and surprise of the scenario, but let's say both sides have some serious challenges in this one :)

 

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7 hours ago, Canuck21 said:

The German briefing (if playing H2H) strongly reflects their lack of expectation of enemy troops at that time. 

Here's your fundamental orchestration flaw - nobody is going to load up an H2H battle and expect nothing to happen.  It doesn't matter what you put in the briefing to that effect.  The German player will automatically make some provision for enemy action because that is what must happen in the scenario.

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Hmmnn, didn't think of that, and it is a while before they get engaged because of where the airborne guys get dropped so they might be even more convinced that they've got a scenario designed to help them catch up on their sleep :( . Maybe I will change this to a Canadians vs German AI only 🤔. Thanks man.

 

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