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Finished Frey CMFI Map Pack 1


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Map%20Pack%201.jpg?dl=1

CMFI Map Pack 1 - thanks for the encouragement of my friends on the BF forum.

Map packs contains 120 maps, based on 40 different areas of terrain, with an Assault, Attack and Probe for each map. Each map has unique setup zones and objectives. Each map has four defender AI plans and one attacker AI plan, so you can play as defender, and play and re-play as attacker.

Attacker AI plans are based on my own attacking strategy when I played the map, so they work OK. Defender AI plans are quite mixed - at least one defender plan in each map will contain some sort of spoiling attack or counter-attack, sometimes quite an aggressive one! I hope it keeps you on your toes...

(More to come - I started with the maps already closest to completion)

Thanks especially for the kind encouragement from you guys who downloaded them and tried the draft versions :)

 

 

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1t9fk91jvrhsd48/Frey CMFI Maps 1.zip?dl=1

 

https://www.thefewgoodmen.com/tsd3/cm-fortress-italy/cm-fortress-italy-add-ons-maps/cmfi-frey-cmfi-map-pack-1/

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31 minutes ago, Aragorn2002 said:

I love the map as shown on the screenshot, Freyberg. Looks like it's coming straight out the movie Gladiator. 🙂 Can you tell me which one that is?

Honestly, I just grabbed that one at random from my bloated screenshots folder, but I'm pretty sure it's "Frey 028 Med [CP] Two farms, cropland..." - looking from the defender's side. I think it shows a bit more of the master map than that one, though...

Edited by Freyberg
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2 hours ago, Freyberg said:

Honestly, I just grabbed that one at random from my bloated screenshots folder, but I'm pretty sure it's "Frey 028 Med [CP] Two farms, cropland..." - looking from the defender's side. I think it shows a bit more of the master map than that one, though...

It is number 28. Very nice atmosphere. Well done. Thanks for sharing them.

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you for doing this. What an accomplishment! I have some feel for the effort and time.

You must have had a good approach to mass production. Any tips you could share? I want to do a small pack of North Afrika QB maps...

Also, I took a peek in the editor on a few. It seemed for at least one of your QBs that the AI plan had many more groups utilized with orders versus what I thought was just A1 and A2 maybe sometimes A3. Am I wrong? I appreciate any lessons learned. Thanks again.

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On 7/20/2021 at 11:47 AM, kohlenklau said:

Thank you for doing this. What an accomplishment! I have some feel for the effort and time.

You must have had a good approach to mass production. Any tips you could share? I want to do a small pack of North Afrika QB maps...

Also, I took a peek in the editor on a few. It seemed for at least one of your QBs that the AI plan had many more groups utilized with orders versus what I thought was just A1 and A2 maybe sometimes A3. Am I wrong? I appreciate any lessons learned. Thanks again.

Thanks heaps for your kind encouragement.

As for the AI orders. I don't have the blueprint for how CM uses AI groups in QBs, but I've fiddled around a lot. I've heard the theory that the AI only chooses a small number of AI groups and ignores the rest, and I don't know for a fact that this theory is wrong, but I have found that giving the AI more groups leads to a more more satisfying game.

1) AI on the Attack (human player defending)

  • I played each of these maps in at least one of their incarnations (Assault, Attack, Probe), and I based the AI attack roughly on my own attack strategy. I didn't test them all on the defence (AI attacking), but I did enough to get a feel for what would be fun (the AI is not at its best on attack, but some of them were pretty exciting).
  • I never used less than 6 AI groups, typically at least 2 axes of attack (more with bigger maps), each with echelons, so that there is always overwatch, and the attacks are complex and based on AI groups going for key terrain, not just charging forward.
  • I used a LOT of 'Maximum Assault' - counter-intuitively, I learnt in one of the threads that this command is more like 'Hunt' than 'Assault'; the AI will not banzai forward but instead will stop and engage.
  • The attacks are relatively slow and measured (though hopefully not boringly slow) - they are designed to fit within the recommended time-frame of the map. There should be long sequences where the AI is creeping forward from cover to cover, pausing to fire while other elements move forward. I really tried hard to avoid Turkey Shoots.

2) AI on the Defence (human player attacking)

  • In each plan, I always set up at least one AI group, covering the entire map, with no movement orders, set to 'ambush 1000m', in case the player has AT guns (which I personally love to allocate to AI defender). I was trying to do my best to avoid the 'gun limbered' situation (this still cropped up once or twice, but it was rare - I don't know how to eliminate it completely). I've found if I give the AI complete control of the map, (a) it will surprise me with gun placement (and I made these maps more for myself than anyone else, and (2) it does a good job of covering the approaches to the Objectives.
  • In each plan, I usually set up one AI group, covering the whole map, with no movement orders, set to 'normal', in case the AI needed to place mines (as above, I wanted it to surprise me, so I could enjoy the map, and I think it does a good job).
  • I never used 'Ambush Armour' at all, so the maps can be used for infantry-only battles.
  • There are 4 defender AI plans for each map. One is usually quite static, sometimes with a little bit of fallback over time; one is usually aggressive, with spoiling attacks or counter attacks; the others are just what I felt like at the time, bits of fallback, bits of local counter-attacks, whatever.
  • There are usually at least 6 AI groups (except on very small maps), or more. Bare bones defence is 2 static groups (see above), plus 2 axes of defence, each with 2 groups, so one should be covering the other's retreat or attack as they fall back or counter attack.
    (Again, I really can't tell how the AI allocates groups, but the more I played, the more I found the maps with more AI groups were more fun to play and more unpredictable, so despite being the designer I couldn't predict what the AI would do).
  • Groups with movement orders usually have a larger number of short distance movements, executed reasonably frequently, rather than a small number of long movement orders (not always though, sometimes they'll flee to the back, regroup and counterattack; you never know). The reason for this was (a) to avoid the situation, particularly with armour, where the tank just sits there and lets you find its weak point - although there are some purely static defensive AI plans, most of them allow the enemy to reposition regularly, which hopefully makes it more fun; and (b) by using multiple, different AI groups, with overlapping movement and pauses, I wanted to avoid the Turkey Shoot counter-attack.

It doesn't always work, sometimes the AI redeploys somewhere dumb and gets itself killed - but it seemed to work well enough often enough that I enjoyed playing these maps myself, and despite having designed them, I generally didn't know what the AI was going to do next. Sometimes they were even really hard and I had to go back to a save-game to win :)

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Thanks for the report sir! 

I am now using all 16 AI slots so the fickle computer can pick and choose what it wants to use. I have a huge desert QB map and am running some tests. Taking notes like: Attacking AI used A1, A4, A6, A7 and A12! A1 was regt HQ Sherman and A Sqdn HQ. A4 was... etc. Previously I HAD a false assumption for QB's that A2 was always the support stuff like mortars. But I see that is not the case for AI on the attack.

If I see or don't see a selection pattern I will report back here for lack of a better place to discuss it. 

QB minimum time is 30 minutes so I THINK I see you design to that time scale and if player selects longer battle then everything after 30 is just the resolution of the struggle versus AI ordered/timed events?

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The AI seems to like to select groups in QBs with a preference for allocating entire higher command groups to their own AI Group. I tend to hit the Random selection when playing a QB, and fixing that somewhat with adding another 2 formations, with the expectation that they will then be assigned to their own AI Groups. It seems to work for QBs larger than Tiny pretty decently, and seems more cohesive.

The player would still need to prune these formations, to match the point total, using the system above. I will also start a QB, then save it, and forget about it for a few weeks. That keeps my selections forgotten, and random enough. Saved games are underutilized. It seems that they could also be saved and forgotten for a while/shared, to get the feeling of being dropped into command at a particularly busy phase of combat.

I had considered a system for FR where I'd use AI Groups 1&2 for foot, and AI Group 3 for wheel/tracked plans. That way, people could select based upon those presumptions, and get a more appropriate AI Plan.

I'm not sure adding lots of additional AI Plans above 5 or so would be to the strength of the AI, with the above in mind. Lots of penny-packet randoms running around, without the illusion of cohesion in many cases after testing this for some time a long while back.

Edited by benpark
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On 7/22/2021 at 1:10 AM, benpark said:

I'm not sure adding lots of additional AI Plans above 5 or so would be to the strength of the AI, with the above in mind. Lots of penny-packet randoms running around, without the illusion of cohesion in many cases after testing this for some time a long while back.

I really have no idea how the AI allocates AI groups, so it's based on what sort of AI plans have been fun to play.

I've heard the theory that the AI only uses a few AI groups, but I figure, for example with an attack plan, that if I set up attacks on say three axes (typical of a Large map), each with multiple groups (usually 3) on each axis, supporting each other, and with a mixture of timings, a mixture Cautious, Active and so on - so that particular attack will not just be a Banzai charge, but will have advance, overwatch and so on, regardless of how the AI allocates forces...

Then, if the AI only selects a few of the AI groups,what should happen is perhaps a feint on one axis and a solid attack on one or more other axis.

It is hard to get it to work well every time, but the reason I first started this project is that I was experiencing too many Turkey Shoots (a static defence, followed by a mass counterattack) with the QB maps, and I wanted an AI that would be more unpredictable.

Attack plans are particularly hard to get right, but they have worked OK and I've generally had some fun on the defence - but I think the defender AI plans have a good mix of just broad, logical movement orders (e.g., falling back at certain intervals, with large areas of the map painted as suitable fallback zones). One thing the AI is good at is rapidly analysing terrain for good firing positions (it places AT guns very well, for example); and I found I had a lot of fun with these maps. Often, just as I had my attack ready to eliminate a strongpoint or tank, they would fall back to another good position.

There's always more to learn, and I don't claim any particular expertise, but I hope you guys enjoy playing these maps as much as I enjoyed making them and playing them myself :)

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2 hours ago, Freyberg said:

I really have no idea how the AI allocates AI groups..............so it's based on what sort of AI plans have been fun to play.

I know what you mean. I think you did a great approach!

For my "North Africa" flavored QB with all 16 AI groups in my attacking plan, I ran another test with the computer selecting an all armor British attacking force. I was defending and watched in scenario author mode. The computer code of the QB picked what was nominally listed as an armored car squadron. 

A1 was 7 troop HQ. 3 vehicles.

A3 was the squadron HQ and 2 vehicles but also the 1 Troop HQ with 3 vehicles.

A4 was 5 troop HQ with 3 vehicles

A8 was 3 Troop HQ with 3 vehicles

A9 was 6 Troop HQ with 3 vehicles

A12 was 2 Troop HQ with 3 vehicles

The Game Engine 4 manual pdf says this:

Quick Battle Maps MUST have an AI plan for BOTH sides. You can use more than one plan and you can use as many groups in each plan as you like. The AI player will randomly assign units into groups.
Note: Since nobody knows which units will be taking part in a given Quick Battle, it makes sense to create AI plans in a much more generic way than for regular scenarios.

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Another interesting observation...

For another huge North Afrika QB map of about 3000m x 2500mOn with battle set as huge and 1 hour in my QB set up settings, the defense AI observed in scenario mode used ALL 16 AI groups. IMHO, that is great news! That allows some cool little pockets of defensive action.

**************

@Freyberg I now return this thread to the regularly scheduled program... Thanks Frey!

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