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Singlemindedness & Ambush Markers


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I'm wondering whether anybody else has experienced this. I set up a game with my unbuttoned M10 hiding behind a hill so it can't get taken out front on (ie behind the hill) but has a line of sight to the left hand edge of the map. To ensure his turret is facing the likely threat axis I set an ambush marker at maximum distance of 300 metres to its left. Sure enough, a PzIVh rocks up some 400 metres or so away virtually directly behind the ambush marker & proceeds to target my M10.

Guess what happens next...the PzIVh fires off 3 shots at the M10 with the third one striking it & destroying it without ANY return fire from the M10. This struck me as rather weird as the M10's turret was facing directly towards the PzIVh & yet it just sat there & took it as if completely oblivious to what was going on. Has anyone experienced something similar & if so, what was I doing wrong? If I hadn't set the ambush (which I always thought was an advantage to the "setter") then my turret wouldn't have been facing the threat axis.

Any thoughts?

Regards

Jim R.

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If the M10 was hidden behind the hill you could have just faced it to the left - no need to have the turret facing left while the hull was facing north. I am not sure why the M10 didn't fire, but maybe it was in fear of the MkIV but wouldn't move because it was "hiding" in ambush - a head in the sand kind of situation.

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No me llamo Samuel, me llamo Pedro!

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As noted, the enemy tank was out of the ambush kill zone, and therefore ignored.

What was the experience rating for your M10? I guess it was quite high.

If you hadn't used the ambush marker, the M10 would have returned fire.

(I've had similar experiences like this, but with infantry, on several occasions, and usually use the hide command only, when setting up ambushes.)

Cheers

Olle

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I think this is the result of player wishes. There were complaints before of a unit ignoring it's ambush marker to engage an enemy from a different area. BTS tweaked this in 1.05 so units stayed focused on their assigned ambush. From the 1.05 readme:

'* Units will NOT switch away from an ambush marker target just because they have been spotted by the enemy.'

Perhaps it is too effective now? Or one needs to be more careful setting out ambushes smile.gif

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This happened to me in a QB recently. My veteran Tiger was behind a house in a defensive position with an ambush marker at the edge of some woods about 180m away. When a Churchill came into view about 400m away I moved my Tiger into LOS of the Churchill without cancelling the ambush marker. My Tiger sat there staring at the ambush marker as the Churchill pinged away at it and finally killed it.

Sure, my Tiger was spotted by the Churchill, but once it starts taking shots, it should redirect its attention to the highest threat, right?.

Daverino

[This message has been edited by Daverino (edited 09-07-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Daverino (edited 09-07-2000).]

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JoePrivate:

'* Units will NOT switch away from an ambush marker target just because they have been spotted by the enemy.'

Perhaps it is too effective now? Or one needs to be more careful setting out ambushes smile.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yup. I've stopped using ambush markers for vehicles altogether because of this. It turns the unit into a tunnel-visioned sitting duck. I think there should be a condition added to the AI where if the unit which has spotted the ambushing tank has anti-armor capability the tank will break its fixation on the marker.

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No, there will be no sequels. Charles and Steve have given up wargame design in disgust and have gone off to Jamaica to invest their new-found wealth in the drug trade. -Michael emrys

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I think Vanir's suggestion is the best, if ti could be coded up. I think the intent of the design change was such that you could use the ambush marker as a 'focus over here' command. Specifically so your AFVs would ignore infantry you didn't car about. it would be ideal if it could be changed from:

'* Units will NOT switch away from an ambush marker target just because they have been spotted by the enemy.'

To:

'* Units will NOT switch away from an ambush marker target just because they have been spotted by the enemy, unless that enemy can kill the ambushing unit.'

That way it's only 'tunnel vision' against non-threats.

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I had a similar problem with area fire in a PBEM game. I had spotted a 'schreck team and was attempting to suppress it with a Sherman, using area fire as only the balkankreuz makrer was visible. My opponent, however moved the team slightly to the Sherman's right and opened fire with it, in direct view of the Sherman. From looking at the map I'm confident the Sherman itself spotted it. The first 'schreck round missed completely but the second and third bracketed the Sherman, which kept on firing at empty woods until the fourth KO'd it. frown.gif

From BTS's response it seems they're tightening things up too much... frown.gif

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Guest Madmatt

The reason that tweak was added was in response to many peoples concern that Ambush Markers were disapearing before a unit was able to engage an enemy that stummbled into the area. This was usually caused by an infantry unit on the flank.

So what was happening is this: You have this nice Ambush Marker set up about 200 meters down a road that you KNOW some enemy armor is coming down. A enemy infantry unit pops out of some woods on your far flank and enages another one of your units. Since that infantry unit could see your tank the game was removing your ability to use an Ambush Marker even though the unit that spotted you was A). Not a direct threat and B). Not a unit you wanted to target anyway.

This was also occuring with bailed out crews. If they could see your tank you were no longer able to use Ambush Markers.

So while the I agree that Ambush Markers may be a little too strict now it is not exactly because of the the tweak mentioned. The tweak allows you to target/use Ambush Markers even if you are spotted by enemy units.

For the record, I have been speaking with Charles about further refinements to the Ambush Marker behavior and would also like to see it be more of a 'Area of Focus' feature than it currently is.

Madmatt

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sirocco:

I had a similar problem with area fire in a PBEM game. I had spotted a 'schreck team and was attempting to suppress it with a Sherman, using area fire as only the balkankreuz makrer was visible. My opponent, however moved the team slightly to the Sherman's right and opened fire with it, in direct view of the Sherman. From looking at the map I'm confident the Sherman itself spotted it. The first 'schreck round missed completely but the second and third bracketed the Sherman, which kept on firing at empty woods until the fourth KO'd it. frown.gif

From BTS's response it seems they're tightening things up too much... frown.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm was the one with the Pzschreck team. My problem was that the Pzschreck team had an ambush marker set and the aforementioned Sherman emerged over the hill crest some distance to the right of the ambusmarker. My Pzschreck team stayed on target with the ambush marker for a full turn ignoring the tank firing on the area target and I had to target the tank manually to get it to open fire.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Madmatt:

For the record, I have been speaking with Charles about further refinements to the Ambush Marker behavior and would also like to see it be more of a 'Area of Focus' feature than it currently is.

Madmatt

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Any word about making them longer 'ranged' (more than 300m)?

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Canada: Where men were men, unless they were horses.

-Dudley Do-right

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Madmatt:

For the record, I have been speaking with Charles about further refinements to the Ambush Marker behavior and would also like to see it be more of a 'Area of Focus' feature than it currently is.

Madmatt

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think people have different ideas of what the "Ambush" command is supposed to do.

In his original example by Kanonier Reichmann, I think his M10 did exactly as it was commanded to do. I don't intend to be critical, but perhaps the unfortunate result of the M10 being killed was the result of the player making an error in predicting what was going to happen on the battlefield in the 60 seconds after he clicked "Go!" That is the great challenge of the game, after all.

Also, consider what if the M10 had broken orders to engage the PzIV, and spoiled it's opportunity to get a side-armour shot on a Tiger that rolled out of the trees and right over the ambush marker - just as the player had planned ...

If you don't want your forces to wait in ambush, then don't order one!

I believe that using the commands that already exist - "Rotate", "Hide", and "Ambush" - in the right combinations can accomplish most tactical goals in the 60 seconds given between orders.

However, in the interests of making this great game even better, I would welcome an *additional* command to "Focus Attention", or whatever title BTS choses. It would be especially valuable for turreted tanks that obey a "Rotate" order, but insist on swinging their long trunks around like a curious elephant. It would also be valuable to intentionally order tanks to turn their turrets away-from-center while moving, in expecation of the enemy appearing from around a corner, or over a hill.

I think the current "Ambush" command works just fine. But I would welcome the creation of a brand new command to compliment it.

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Toad

Ontario, Canada

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Toad:

I think his M10 did exactly as it was commanded to do. I don't intend to be critical, but perhaps the unfortunate result of the M10 being killed was the result of the player making an error in predicting what was going to happen on the battlefield in the 60 seconds after he clicked "Go!"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, he predicted the PzKpfw IV would advance on the left of the M10, and lo! it did. I can't understand the argument that because it didn't politely step on the exact spot predicted that the M10 should hold fire. The PzKpfw was a threat, and a mortal threat when it opened fire.

When judging these things, it's tempting to bend logic to fit an otherwise excellent game engine, but looking at it from the battlefield itself, what would your reaction have been if you had been the commander of that M10..?

"Holy ****! Fire!" wink.gif

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Madmatt:

I have been speaking with Charles about further refinements to the Ambush Marker behavior and would also like to see it be more of a 'Area of Focus' feature than it currently is.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm wondering how the decision to fire is actually resolved, MadMatt, having some - limited wink.gif - experience of designing tactical AI. I can't understand how these situations could develop.

I would also like to see area fire broadened, so that an actual area could be defined - clicked and dragged - rather than aiming at a particular point. I think that would also be very useful in using a heavy weapon to suppress more than one squad during a turn, for example.

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Sirocco said:

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Well, he predicted the PzKpfw IV would advance on the left of the M10, and lo! it did. I can't understand the argument that because it didn't politely step on the exact spot predicted that the M10 should hold fire. The PzKpfw was a threat, and a mortal threat when it opened fire.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Kanonier used the wrong tool (order) for the job. He says he had an LOS to the map edge, which I assume was somewhat further away than the ambush marker or the PzIV that appeared. He wanted to have the M10 covering that whole distance, apparently, and be able to shoot as quickly as possible.

As has been pointed out, the way to do this is to ROTATE the M10 to face the desired direction, leave it unbuttoned, and let the spotting and target selection AI routines do their thing. This would have had the turret facing the desired direction, minimizing response time. Kanonier says the M10 was "behind a hill", which to me implies it didn't have to worry about being shot at from that direction. Hence, there was no need to have hull front facing the main enemy position (like an M10's front armor is useful vs. late 1944+ German AT weapons anyway).

But instead, Kanonier used the AMBUSH command. This pointed the turret in the right direction, but focused the M10's attention on that particular close spot and not the whole field of its LOS. So when the M10 behaves as ordered, Kanonier starts bitching. And others fail to recognize his error in giving the wrong command, and chime in demanding BTS change a perfectly workable system to handle this 1 case in which it was the player's fault, not the game's.

At the risk of being accused of being a flamer, RTFM people! Odds are, the game already has the command you want to give. It might not be named like you expect, or might be counterintuitive (as is this example), but it probably IS there. So learn how the game works.

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-Bullethead

Want a naval sim? Check out Raider Operations at www.historicalgames.bizland.com/index.html

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sirocco:

Well, he predicted the PzKpfw IV would advance on the left of the M10, and lo! it did. I can't understand the argument that because it didn't politely step on the exact spot predicted that the M10 should hold fire. The PzKpfw was a threat, and a mortal threat when it opened fire.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think I must disagree. From Kanonier's story, the PzIV was 100 m away from his ambush marker. The very symbol chosen for the ambush marker - a bullseye - says to me that it's an exacting command. The M10 was obeying orders.

In this situation, if Kanonier was expecting the PzIV to crest a hill 400 m away, the use of the "Rotate" command to face the M10 towards the expected arrival of the PzIV might have found better results.

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Toad

Ontario, Canada

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Whether or not Kanonier used the proper command in this instance is really besides the point. I agree that he would have been wiser to rotate the whole tank then hide it. But the point is that the tanks' behavior was totally illogical and unrealistic. There is simply no way a real world M10 commander would let a Mark IV open up on him and do nothing to protect himself. The games' Tac AI is programed for units to alter the players' orders if a situation develops during the turn where continuing its' orders would be sure suicide. That is why if your Sherman comes around the corner and finds itself facing a King Tiger, it will invariably cancel further orders and throw itself in reverse all on its own. The ambush command now cancels this self-preservation and turns the unit into a mindless automaton.

I understand the reason for the change and agree that something needed to be done, but in this case I think the cure is as bad as the disease. Right now using the ambush command is just too risky knowing that if things don't develope exactly as planned (and how often is that?) the unit is helpless.

I understand BTS may be feeling damned if they do damned if they don't. I do think, however, that giving units the ability to break lock on the ambush when they are targeted by an enemy who poses a serious threat would be a good medium. This should prevent tanks from targeting infantry squads and crews while still allowing them some sense of self preservation. The case of tanks targeting bazookas and shrecks is a little more complex, but they should be allowed some flexability if actually fired upon by these units at the very least.

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No, there will be no sequels. Charles and Steve have given up wargame design in disgust and have gone off to Jamaica to invest their new-found wealth in the drug trade. -Michael emrys

[This message has been edited by Vanir (edited 09-07-2000).]

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Probably the most realistic solution would be for a unit in ambush mode not to fire if spotted but to return fire if engaged. I can't imagine any crew, no matter how well trained or disciplined, sitting there while under effective fire.

Also, a burning M10 gives away an ambush just as much (if not more) than an M10 returning fire.

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A66

1st MRB

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Guest Michael emrys

I don't think that meddling with the Ambush Command is a fruitful approach. I think that Vanir and Valdor are closer to a solution. I would like to take their line of thought a little bit further and suggest that the priority list of potential targets needs to be redefined. A (very tentative) list might look something like this:

1. Enemy units already engaging subject unit with deadly fire.

2. Enemy units capable of engaging subject with deadly fire.

3. Enemy units engaging other friendly units with deadly fire.

4. Enemy units capable of engaging other friendly units with deadly fire.

This would have to be crossed-indexed with a list of units the subject unit was capable of doing adequate damage to and a decision tree of alternative actions, i.e. pop smoke and run like hell.

But for sure, the present "deer in the headlights" behavior is not satisfactory.

Michael

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Could the Ambush command be made more like a directional, general (wider) area fire order rather than the spot order it is ? Now it targets a "kill spot" but could it be made to target a "kill zone" ?

Unless I am greatly mistaken that would entail programming wise only wideniging the perimeters of the current target spot as a stop cap measure.

A related question: is the target stickiness issue related to this issue ?

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sirocco:

Well, he predicted the PzKpfw IV would advance on the left of the M10, and lo! it did. I can't understand the argument that because it didn't politely step on the exact spot predicted that the M10 should hold fire. The PzKpfw was a threat, and a mortal threat when it opened fire.

When judging these things, it's tempting to bend logic to fit an otherwise excellent game engine, but looking at it from the battlefield itself, what would your reaction have been if you had been the commander of that M10..?

"Holy ****! Fire!" wink.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks guys for all your considered responses to my initial "gripe" (although I hope I didn't come across as a whiner). Personally, I think that Sirocco sums up my thoughts exactly. Perhaps I did make a mistake by using the ambush marker to rotate the turret but there was a good reason to have the tank still facing forward, so it could back out of there in a hurry if need be rather than delay in first rotating to then back out (there was a forest just to the right rear of the tank).

As Sirocco so succinctly put it, in real life, sure the PzIVh may get the first shot in, but once the M10 crew sees & hears a 75mm shell whistling past its turret surely the crew would disobey my possibly poor use of the ambush order & immediately adopt a self preservation mode & at least fire back rather than act like a "roo caught in the headlights of a car", as we like to describe it here in Australia. smile.gif

Regards

Jim R.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Toad:

the PzIV was 100 m away from his ambush marker. The very symbol chosen for the ambush marker - a bullseye - says to me that it's an exacting command. The M10 was obeying orders.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, again, what would you have done as the M10 commander..?

IMHO we're bending logic to fit the game engine here.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>In this situation, if Kanonier was expecting the PzIV to crest a hill 400 m away, the use of the "Rotate" command to face the M10 towards the expected arrival of the PzIV might have found better results.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I personally don't use Ambush with vehicles, but with AT teams it should be a valuable tool. However at the moment it seems that you have to place the marker very, very accurately for action to be taken.

Michael emrys made a point I was thinking of last night with regard to when to fire, which is why I questioned the AI. I'm assuming units are given data on what potential targets are doing, and respond to that, but given this example I'm not sure how the AI works.

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