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Top Ten Reasons Artillery is Poorly Modelled


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In response to some of the points discussed in this thread I have created a scen to explore fire planning within CM:BB. It is entitled "Pt 238", and it has been sent it to Adm Keth at The Scenario Depot. It should be up there within a couple of days. If you feel you can't wait that long, drop me an email and I'll reply with a copy smile.gif

Designing the scen clarified to me some of the things that have been talked about here. Among other things, designing a scen to enable extensive firesupport means that the designer must make a number of fairly important decisions on behalf of the player (when you look at the Soviet set up, you'll see what I mean), which IMHO isn't that great an idea.

Also, I found that while making it, I felt the need to add peripheral stuff to make the situation 'make sense'. Not a bad thing, I suppose, but perhaps something not normally required.

Anyways, I hope you have fun with it, and can use it to learn something about fireplanning smile.gif

Be cool

JonS

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JP,

apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

Probably the biggest one was the need to make decisions on behalf of the player. I want the players to use the 'pre-game bombardment' feature of CMBB as a core part of their planning, but the downside of that is that once a target has been selected in that way it cannot be adjusted, corrected, stopped, etc. The mission will continue untill the ammo runs out. Now, I actually think that is a good thing, but what it means for the FOs is that each can only engage one target. The way I have gotten around that is to have multiple FOs for each firing battery represented in the game. That way, each battery can engage multiple targets, yet each individual target is locked in as usual. So far so good.

The limitation is that I have had to make a somewhat arbitrary decision regarding how many targets each battery will engage, and how many rounds it will fire at each target. These decisions may or may not fit with the players concept of operations. Hopefully I've built in enough flexibility there so that it isn't too restrictive.

With regard to the 'peripheral stuff,' I found that the need to think at a higher level (for want of a better expression) meant that I added restrictions and information that I felt appropriate given that higher view. In other words, there is stuff going on on either flank, and they will have an effect on your battle but you can't really affect them. Instead the player has to plan around them.

Incidentally, I just checked, and its up at The Depot now smile.gif

Be cool

Jon

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JonS,

thanks for the clarification. The "dividing

batteries" might also lead into the player trying to second-guess the scenario designer's intent on "proper" arty usage. Which might or might not be good for immersion in the scenario situation.

I'll try to have a go on your scenario. I don't manage to play that many games in addition to RoW III, but experimenting with arty would be interesting.

Br,

Jukka-Pekka

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Has any thought gone into setting target reference points in real time in the game? It occurs to me that, in some games, I will order my forward observer to target an area where I expect the enemy to show up shortly (or where I expect more of the enemy to show up shortly), and when the spotting round lands (assuming that it is on or close to target) I will “adjust fire”, often repeatedly, to delay (most of) the actual fire for effect until needed. This behavior seems to me to be the equivalent “work around” of creating TRPs during a battle, albeit in an unreliable and inefficient manner.

Would it be reasonable to include in the engine re-write a “targeting” order, wherein the FO calls for, and as necessary adjusts, spotting rounds, until the target is registered with the artillery battery. The newly registered TRP would then be available to that particular artillery battery, for use by the FO at his convenience later in the game. In other words, separate the spotting round / targeting role from the fire for effect role.

Is this realistic, in the timeframe of most Combat Mission battles?

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Originally posted by Hat Trick:

Has any thought gone into setting target reference points in real time in the game? ...

Is this realistic, in the timeframe of most Combat Mission battles?

Not really. In my experience and understanding it takes 10-15 minutes using 'steam-powered' methods (bino, compass, map, manual calculations) to adjust and record a target. Given that 'most' CMBB battles are in the 20-40 minute range it wouldn't really be that useful.

For the longer battles it might though.

Regards

JonS

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Great thread. I learned a lot and am impressed with the future plans for the new engine.

The idea of generating in-game TRPs appeals to me. I prefer longer battles, and having a 10 minute or so TRP generation period wouldn't be all that hateful to me. If your scouts are doing their jobs and spot something unexpected, it would seem natural to be able to react in some way, even if it carries a time/spotting round penalty. Of course the enemy now knows you have the area registered if he is paying attention to his borg spotting, but that is neither here nor there, it is stand off on whether he wants to cross known registered terrain or risk a place that might still hold a previously placed TRP. smile.gif

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I don't know if this was mentioned (didn't have time to wade through all of the 100+ posts) but is artillery affected by the type of ground it contacts? In other words, will arty do more damage to surrounding troops if it hits rocks or cement roads causing more flying debris as opposed to mud that would suck up and dampen some of the blast?

TeAcH

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Wow... this thread still lives? Amazing how long this one has been around smile.gif

I've sorta caught up on the last 2 pages of posts since I was involved in this thread. Enough, at least, to comment on one "new" point that was brought up in a couple of different ways. And that point is playability vs. realism.

As I stated earlier in this thread, we focused on the various aspects of the battlefield in order of overall importance. Since we have limited time and resources, we need to prioritize things. This of course means that not all things will be as fully fleshed out as others. That is the reality of software development in general, game software development by a couple of guys even more so.

That being said, we did not under model anything so as to make the game more playable. Meaning we did not say "OK, we can not make this feature as realistic as it should be because it will make the game not any fun to play". With the exception of things that were also out of scope (like a 4 hour prep bombardment), never once did we dumb something down so it would be more fun.

However, there are certainly some things we did not do because we felt they would unbalance the realism. Combat Mission is just a bunch of abstractions carefully sewn together to create a reasonable reflection on WWII combined arms combat. Some abstractions are more fuzzy than others, but in fact everything is an abstraction of some sort (including the armor penetration modeling).

One thing to keep in mind when playing CM is not "does this one tiny slice of the game function 100% perfectly with 100% realism?" but rather "does this one tiny slice of the game function reasonably well and in reasonable harmony with the rest of the elements in the game?".

Overall, a sim that is less exact per element will be overall more realistic than one that gets tunnel vision. This is why, for example, tank sims generally aren't all that representational of real tank combat because things like infantry are hardly modeled (if at all). I'd rather play a tank sim with all reasonable battlefield conditions covered to 80% accuracy than to have a thinner slice covered between 80% and 95%. Everybody here should agree with this if they are in favor of a realistic simulation.

One of the problems with some of the suggestions here is that it is potentially unbalancing from an overall realism standpoint unless a bunch more things are also simulated. The key to a good abstraction is to NOT get too specific in one area and neglect the balancing aspects. One thing mentioned on the pervious page is the "roving eye" problem.

For example, sticking a couple of Sharpshooters in some woods so as to whack the attacker with 100% accurate artillery from FOs 2000m away would completely ruin the game from both a realism standpoint and, incidentally, a fun standpoint. To avoid this sort of thing we would have to put into place very complex, and potentially burdonsome, controls to counteract unrealistic use of artillery from an operational/tactical standpoint.

In short, 99% accurate artillery modeling without equally accurate modeling of firecontrol, communications, mission, etc. limitations would be a disaster. While I agree that in a perfect world we could have made CMBO/CMBB's artillery modeling better without this sort of disater happening, we simply did not have the time to do so. And that is that until the new engine. As I said before, we will be able to improve things quite a bit over the old engine for all sorts of things, including artillery. One critical feature of this will be Relative Spotting, which in and of itself eases many problems inherent with improving artillery modeling.

Steve

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TeAcH,

I don't know if this was mentioned (didn't have time to wade through all of the 100+ posts) but is artillery affected by the type of ground it contacts? In other words, will arty do more damage to surrounding troops if it hits rocks or cement roads causing more flying debris as opposed to mud that would suck up and dampen some of the blast?
Yes. Terrain and ground conditions has always been taken into consideration in terms of artillery damage modeling.

What artillery, or any unit for that matter, has been unable to do is modify the terrain through its direct action. The exception being buildings. Tanks can't knock down trees with their guns or hulls any more than artillery can clear out a patch of forest.

When the current engine was written it simply wasn't possible to do this. Too much CPU and graphic requirements for the day. We suspect things have moved along well enough that we can have unit affected terrain for the new engine.

Steve

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