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Philippe
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I think in terms of delay people are underestimating just how difficult it is to move across unknown territory, with the constant danger of attack at amy kind of speed.

The fact that in CM1, you can send a unit to flank by a route that has a dozen way points so that the take the perfect route, is it's self unrealistic as to do it you are utilising an unrealistic understanding of the terrain.

As I said in my first post, the field behind my house is flat (though sloping downward) on a map ( with 5m Verticle interval),

but in reality it is full of dips and bumps which would have to be negotiated.

On the other side of my house, there is a wood of about 20 acres. i've been taking my kids for walks in it for a decade, and i can still get disorientated. In CM you can take a squad in to a forst you've never been in and come out 200m's later within 30ft of where you wanted too.

In real life that is actually difficult to do, I am not saying you get lost, but you just can't navigate in unknown woodland over time to a high precision.

I doubt if there is a simple way to simulate it, as having an own unit equivelent of FOW for out of command units or even whole platoons would be a big change, so having them slowed down so that the price of precision is time, seems a fair way to do it.

Peter.

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Originally posted by Peter Cairns:

I think in terms of delay people are underestimating just how difficult it is to move across unknown territory, with the constant danger of attack at amy kind of speed.

The fact that in CM1, you can send a unit to flank by a route that has a dozen way points so that the take the perfect route, is it's self unrealistic as to do it you are utilising an unrealistic understanding of the terrain.

It's also unrealistic for soldiers to waste time walking perpendicularly inside a hedge when they can simply walk through it, or through a gate 10 metres to the right. But if you don't set waypoints, this sometimes happens.
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But is it realistic to set a way point for them to go through a gate on the other side of za hill you've never been over.

Two ways to interpret it.

1) The delay for waypoints simulates them looking about, seeing the gate and moving towards it, or

2)When they ignore it and climb through the hedge, then someone though, I think there is a chance theirs a trip wire or an MG42 just lined up waiting for some sucker to walk through that gate.

The systems not perfect and I quite like the fact that the longer and further you send people from their start point, the more difficult it gets. It's not perfect but it works.

If you don't like delays or difficulties caused by distance or terrain, try chess.

peter.

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Peter put it quite well. The time that it takes a unit to go from A to B is unrealistically. The longer the path, the more intricate, the tighter the terrain... the more unrealistic it is because the game time becomes less and less related to what it would take in real time. There is no good way around this.

One idea, that we chucked early on (because it sucked after we implemented it) was to have only a limited number of waypoints. It dramatically cut down on how far paths were made in complex terrain, but it was also unrealistiaclly restrictive. Another idea (which we didn't implement) was to limit waypoints to within a radius of the unit's starting position. The more experienced the unit, the further away the waypoints could be. But again, highly unrealitsic when played out. Imagine not being able to cross an open field completely because it was 20m too far to the cover on the other side. So your guys march through the field, come under fire, then stop 20m short of cover. Not good.

Nope, no way around this issue. And as I've said before, quite recently, in 7 years of discussing this issue nobody has come up with a better alternative system. (short of changing this to FPS).

Steve

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While most others seem to be asking for more details on game maps and better ways to view them, I'm wondering if FOW has been considered for maps. If the terrain is not in the LOS of any unit, the player doesn't know what lies ahead until someone scouts. Of course then I guess we run into the whole Borg spotting issue again.

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One aspect of Medieval Total war that would be nice for CM is the way camera views are restricted to the vicinity of friendly units. It also restricts the height of the camera.

Imagine having to plot the path through a forest on view level 1/2. It would be just as easy to get disoriented as "IRL". If this was done only during the orders phase, leaving us free to watch our explosions from any camera view during the movie playback, it would be cool. Imagine a tactical map in the top corner of the screen, and being down in the dirt the rest of the time.

The only problem with this in CM is you must plot at least 60 seconds of movement at the start of the turn, meaning you must be able to see the terrain a unit ends up on in 60 seconds time as well as where they are now.

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On the movement issue, allow me to type some words that everyone is free to ignore.

I've been mucking around trying to tweak up a set of WWII miniature rules (Spearhead) and when I got to the movement rules (each stand represents a full platoon) my civilian layman "learned basic land nav once for Geology Field Camp" came up with the following simple breakdown of types of movement:

1) Combat Move.

Get to point A with enough time to deploy and fight effectively. At the platoon level I pictured a relatively direct route.

2) Non-Combat Move.

Get to point A by the best (i.e. most cover and concealment) route.

3) March.

Fast way to boogie guys down a road or path, not really applicable at CM scale, where the fight is pretty much already "on" for everyone.

I guess what I'm getting at, without having any idea of what CMx2 movement is really like, is that I would actually like to have less control over movement, as a player.

I mean, if I select a squad and tell it to go to point A 100m away, I would like to just be able to drag the endpoint like now and select out of 2 options - "Fast" or "Safe", or something like that. Then when they move out they jog when they're "safe" behind a house, stop and peek, move out by fire teams across intervening open ground, stop at the road, boogie across the road en masse, then hit the woodline and spread out a little and walk through the woods. Maybe if there is firing they are crouched over and crabbing forward more slowly. And eventually they end up near where I told them to be.

If I choose "Fast" then they maybe go a little riskier and arrive a little more winded. If I choose "Safe" maybe they go a little slower but pause and peek more often. I think that would do it for me 75% of the time. I guess we'd still need the "sneak" and "run" and "advance" for the other 25% of the time.

I don't know. Maybe the AI can't handle pathfinding the way I outlined. Maybe the player would feel left out if he couldn't micromanage the moves the way we get to do now. Maybe I've been hitting the pipe too much and should be pummelled into unconsciousness rather than mouthing off about a game system I haven't seen yet.

Who knows?

-dale

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Dale I was going to post a similar thing in my above post but I lost what I originally typed.

I would suggest that pathfinding, especially using terrain to keep undercover in relation to possible enemy units, is a bit too much to program and process.

Other than that I agree replacing micromanagement with SOPs for movement and targetting would be a good thing.

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Originally posted by aka_tom_w:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Hoolaman:

One aspect of Medieval Total war that would be nice for CM is the way camera views are restricted to the vicinity of friendly units. It also restricts the height of the camera.

Does that concept have any place in the FOW options or scheme of things in CMx2??

-tom w </font>

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YES

I totally agree....

As an optional feature or aspect of some form of CMx2 Extreme FOW setting I would agree that something like that would be GREAT.

It would help the issues raised about navigating perfectly through a forest or around the other side of a hill. Also if you wanted to plot a waypoint 300m away you would have to plot it off into the distance instead of flying over there and adjusting it to within a few feet of where you want it.
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Dale, the main problem is that the simulation is so refined that it seems highly unlikely that we could create an AI that would be able to make many people happy with it. Think of all the bitching and complaining there's been about these sorts of things as they function now. Can you imagine if we reduced the player to a "move me to here and take care of the rest" type of game? People would blame the AI for everything instead of just most everything :D

I'd say this is a "sounds better in theory than it would play out in reality" sort of thing.

Steve

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

Dale, the main problem is that the simulation is so refined that it seems highly unlikely that we could create an AI that would be able to make many people happy with it. Think of all the bitching and complaining there's been about these sorts of things as they function now. Can you imagine if we reduced the player to a "move me to here and take care of the rest" type of game? People would blame the AI for everything instead of just most everything :D

I'd say this is a "sounds better in theory than it would play out in reality" sort of thing.

Steve

You are the man behind the curtain so I believe ya. ;)

-dale

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Dale, I also think that what you suggest is less important for a tactical game within CM's targeted scope (couple of companies max) than would be for a larger scope. In other words, for CM to be a viable game with battalions under command we would have to put in some sort of movement system like you suggested. But even more so since that system would also need to be platoon based. Meaning you issue a command like you suggest and the entire platoon moves. I know there are some nuts here that don't think this is necessary and CM works just fine with regimental sized forces, but they are a miniscule minority of CM's customer base. Plus, I bet 9 out of 10 of them would rather the above mentioned system vs. the way it is now :D

Steve

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

Dale, the main problem is that the simulation is so refined that it seems highly unlikely that we could create an AI that would be able to make many people happy with it. Think of all the bitching and complaining there's been about these sorts of things as they function now. Can you imagine if we reduced the player to a "move me to here and take care of the rest" type of game? People would blame the AI for everything instead of just most everything :D

Then aren't you worried what we'll say about the 1:1, which I believe will be outside player influence?

;):D

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Then aren't you worried what we'll say about the 1:1, which I believe will be outside player influence?
Only a little. The reason is that the player puts the unit in the spot with a specific instruction and therefore, for the most part, the 1:1 placement is dicatated by that. The AI doesn't have much rope to play with so it won't likely hang itself.

With what Dale is talking about, the entire unit, for the length of the movement, is at the mercy of the AI. In other words, everything that the unit does from the time it gets up and moves is in the hands of the AI. There is no way for the player to influence anything that happens. I believe this was one of the big frustrations people had with the Close Combat system. No waypoints and near total AI control of what the guys did and where they did it. The only reason I think they got away with it is the distances moved were so short. Entire maps were, what, a couple hundred meters. If they had 2km maps, with tons of terrain, as the norm I think things wouldn't have gone as well. And there was a lot of bitching about the AI even considering the more limited scope of the game.

Steve

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Originally posted by Peter Cairns:

But is it realistic to set a way point for them to go through a gate on the other side of za hill you've never been over.

Two ways to interpret it.

1) The delay for waypoints simulates them looking about, seeing the gate and moving towards it, or

2)When they ignore it and climb through the hedge, then someone though, I think there is a chance theirs a trip wire or an MG42 just lined up waiting for some sucker to walk through that gate.

The systems not perfect and I quite like the fact that the longer and further you send people from their start point, the more difficult it gets. It's not perfect but it works.

If you don't like delays or difficulties caused by distance or terrain, try chess.

peter.

You missed the point entirely. If I send a squad over open terrain from point A to point B, say 200 metres away, the entire route is observable from the start point. There happens to be a barbed wire obstacle say 10 meters wide halfway between the points.

If I don't set waypoints, the AI isn't smart enough to simply sidestep the obstacle, and will just walk through the wire, slowing it up enormously.

Not realistic in the least. Penalizing additional waypoints in the absence of intelligent pathfinding is fatuous. I agree there are time and place for these penalties; situations like that are clearly not one of them.

Perhaps waypoint "penalties" should be imposed not on number of waypoints, but distance between the waypoints? A tightly grouped circle of waypoints for finetuning your way around an obstacle like that described above should be less of a penalty than those imposed on looooong moves.

The most desirable alternative is, of course, much more intelligent pathfinding, which I doubt is doable for all the reasons Steve suggests.

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I really like the concept of slowing down troop movements in the woods. Is it possible to have troops get lost in the woods, especially in the dark or in fog and have the AI change their waypoints to another direction?

I'm thinking about night friendly fire incidents that are exciting to see ( in the game, not reality ). It would be frustrating but accurate to have men lose their way. Sure you could redirect them, but it would throw off schedules etc. Maybe even a drop in morale when they get "lost".

I know it would tick people off, but I'd love to see a platoon of tanks go off the opposite direction around a stand of trees "on accident". Stopping them and hauling them around would represent someone getting on the radio and stopping them. Something like that. Maybe even walking into an ambush they don't know about yet ( unit knowledge).

well, there are a couple of ideas. FWIW

Scott

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Sergei, the player can not control the individual Soldiers. What he can do is give the unit a clear, specific instruction of where to locate and how to behave. That then tells the TacAI what to do with the Soldiers. With Dale's suggestion the TacAI would have to do that as well as figure out where the unit should go and how it should behave. The way things work with a wargame is the more precise the function is, the less need there is for Human control. The more "fuzzy" the more need for Human input. Think about it...

9 guys are told to move along a wall. The TacAI can say "oh, that's a wall, we need to file along it for cover". That's not very difficult to do. Compare that with "move 200 meters and try not to get shot". Very vague and therefore very difficult for the AI to figure out in a way that will satisfy the player.

Dorosh,

Perhaps waypoint "penalties" should be imposed not on number of waypoints, but distance between the waypoints?
Already thought of and it isn't good enough. Why should a 200m straight shot across a field be more time consuming to get going on than 100m along a zig zagging path through the woods?

It's been nearly 4 years since we tweaked the waypoint system for CMBB, but I could swear we have distance factoring into the delays as well as the number of waypoints.

The most desirable alternative is, of course, much more intelligent pathfinding, which I doubt is doable for all the reasons Steve suggests.
Actually, the pathfinding in CMx2 is likely to be superior to CMx1 for the simple reason that the terrain is more refined. This makes weighting and other aspects of path finding a lot easier to deal with.

BTW, I think wire is a bad example to use because it is something that the guys can move through. Depending on tactical conditions it might be better, even if slower, to go through it than around it. The TacAI presumes that if you wanted the unit to go around it you would have ordered it to do so. The problem is players want it both ways. They want the TacAI to not screw around with their orders sometimes "do exactly what I say!!" and other times to improvise "don't take me literally!". The problem is that the TacAI can not be programmed to read your mind in order to know which behavior the player wants to do. Therefore, it must presume one or the other. If you don't like the way it is now, just try and imagine the way it would be if the TacAI only thought of your instructions as "suggestions" instead of "orders" all the time every time.

The only time the TacAI kicks in is when the player's instructions clearly aren't going to work. Ordering a tank to drive through a building or instructing a squad to move through open water are clear examples. Having a squad out in the open come under heavy fire from the direction it is moving in is a more fuzzy example. In these situations there are clear, definable reasons to break with the player's orders even if the player would like otherwise.

Like I've said several times now... nobody has come up with an alternative to the waypoint system as it is now. That should tell people something ;)

Steve

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

9 guys are told to move along a wall. The TacAI can say "oh, that's a wall, we need to file along it for cover". That's not very difficult to do. Compare that with "move 200 meters and try not to get shot". Very vague and therefore very difficult for the AI to figure out in a way that will satisfy the player.

But that's not different from Close Combat. And all too often, the unit AI in CC was acting foolishly in regards to positioning the men.
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In a same way of "area fire", maybe a help to the waypoint system could be an "area of dispersion": The player will put the far waypoint with the knowledge of the RISK to be imprecise of where he arrive exactly (area dispersion).

In the example: the platoon move in a City

-The player start in the "waypoint 1" (green area of arrive)

-The player do not know exactly where is the "waypoint 4" (red area of arrive) that is out of LOS.

dibujo53uz.jpg

[ September 29, 2005, 12:22 PM: Message edited by: Halberdiers ]

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Halberdiers,

I like that idea...BUT, after a few minutes I came up with a counter-example. Disregard WWII as a viewpoint. In (the yet to be announced) CMx2 initial release, "CM: Combat Soldier 2020", it is standard tactics for each soldier to have 1 meter resolution satellite imagery for the entire area of operations available on their helmet sight. This allows their squad leader to order them to assume an EXACT position.

Hmmm, on second thought, if it WERE WWII being modelled, the different modules could take that into account. CMx3, "CM: World War II Revisited" could use 'fuzzy' waypoints (unknown to the player).

Okay, my third and final thought is that it's still a good idea.

Now we have to find out if BF.C likes it.

Ken

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I've thought about this for a while, and here's what I've come up with. You let people set a handfull of waypoints without a large command delay (or CMX2 equivalent), simulating using hand signals or something like this to communicate. This gives the squad an order like "Proceed from point A, to point B, to point C", giving them some flexibility in how to do so. So, the squad would draw a straight line between points A and B, and then have a 20m, 30m wide corridor around that line to use to maneuver towards point A. That way the squad sticks to your order movement (as much as they do now, abstractly), but can use depressions in the ground for cover, or go around buildings/barbed wire if it's better for them to do so.

If you want to give squads a more specific order (ie, advace towards this building on exactly this axis so gun so and so can't see you), you simulate a larger command delay (or equivalent), to simulate sending a runner over to the squad to give them the more specific orders.

Thus, you'd have the same set of movement orders as before as default, but with a corridor of movement allowed between the two points as is abstracted now, while more specific orders could be issued in a second set, allowing more precise control of troops when warranted.

I honestly don't see how you do away with waypoints, but I think one could safely allow some fuzziness to enter into the system without dire consequences.

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