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A covered arc issue


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I'm in agreement with gunnergoz. I usually use the cover arc command to prevent units from attacking. When I want units to attack, I almost always let the AI make the decision. There are times on defense that I've had cover arcs come in handy to prevent my guys from shooting until the enemy is close enough that I don't mind giving my position away.

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Really, the knee-jerk, reactionary, conspiracy theorist side of my brain is hearing that Battlefront wants to put the AI in control of everything.

Well... the experts don't classify Paranoia as a healthy mental state of mind, do they? :D

That is, the TacAI or whatever we're calling it, is actually the GOD in charge of my battle . . . and the frogs in the pot seem to agree. The rational side of thought tells me that this cannot really be true. My orders are MY orders . . . the AI is the GOD of my ENEMY . . . but I am in control of my fate and that of the troops under MY command. At least, when playing the . . . AI.

You have no idea what the game would play like if the TacAI was disabled and units did EXACTLY what you asked them to do. In short, the game would be completely unplayable and you would be screaming at us to put it back in as quickly as possible. If it wouldn't, then I assure you we wouldn't have put many months of coding, testing, and tweaking into the TacAI. We have no financial incentive to put in features that players don't want (even if they think they don't want them).

The trick is to make the TacAI largely do what you would have done had you been micromanaging every single second of that unit's existence. It's extremely hard to do, and we do make tweaks/changes over time to refine the behavior. But sometimes we do have to act in the best interests of the player despite the player's unfounded self confidence that he knows best :D

To open up at greater ranges only gives away your position, wastes ammo and brings down a world of hurt, from the enemy, and the company commander.

I've already said this a number of times... if it can be shown there is a routine disobedience of Cover Arcs, then gentlemen... start your complaining! Until then, let's not get nickers in a twist about it. So far there's been been a lot of fear mongering and not a lot of proof that there is some sort of problem to fix.

The TacAI didn't pay sixty bucks for this game. I did.

True, but I suspect the person that did pay the money would be demanding a refund if we gave him exactly what he's asking for. With nearly 20 years making games under my belt, and seeing how customers react to certain types of changes, call my pessimism about customers knowing best a bit more than a hunch ;)

Steve

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In a recent game I had an immobilized but not abandoned Stug sit for 10 minutes in plain sight of several Bazooka teams on short covered arcs. But by short I mean like 20 meters. The Stug was about 100m away. In that same game I had a Sherman slavishly stick to a covered arc to his 2 o'clock while a Stug blasted away at him from his 10 o'clock. I know he was aware of the Stug because he could see it when I selected him. The Sherman was saved by a brave Ironwood tree.

My experience with covered arcs is that they are obeyed slavishly about 98% of the time, even to the point that units will ignore enemies shooting at them. But I've also noticed that units will sometimes "forget" their covered arc. This seems to happen more frequently to units out of C2 so I assumed it was intended behavior.

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Definitely "nothing is ever 100%" is an intended behavior. The real world is a mysterious place of variability, so nothing in the game produces absolute behavior by design. Though of course conditions can arise that effectively there's no variation, but that's just because the chances of an noticeable (tangible) difference are so small that one is not likely to see it happen.

Steve

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Just as an aside, if your pixeltruppen do disobey your orders does it help if you have some of them shot as an example to the rest?

Decimation did not help the Italians in WW1 but go ahead and try. :D

You can also threaten to unplug their universe and send them screaming into the void...until you boot up again. :D :D

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Just as an aside, if your pixeltruppen do disobey your orders does it help if you have some of them shot as an example to the rest?

I couldn't find the command to do this, but letting them open fire on an enemy tank commander a couple hundred meters away nets a similar result.

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No and no one is arguing for 100% unpredictability, either. Like you say, it is about finding a balance. But there is no doubt that some will find it hard to give up "total control" no matter what is done. Total control games remind me too much of RTS twitch fests the marketing people like to call "strategy games." :D

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The idea of total control is clearly nonsense, though. You have to let the little dude go for a whole minute on their own! During that time they need to make all sorts of decisions :)

One useful thing, I think, is that it seems about right for them to have the same amount of control that they would have in real life if receiving orders from a CO. No-one could sanely argue that the player should make every decision for each soldier: that would be nuts. The balance we're looking for is giving them CO-like orders and having them make squad-like responses and decisions.

IMHO.

GaJ

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Clearly, I'm being facetious in my responses in this thread. I have never said that I want absolute obedience. That should be clear . . . and I think I stated it a number of times. However, I do want to feel as though I am in total control of the command of my troops. I find the suggested slide toward letting the AI take control to be a disconcerting proposition.

It is actually funny to hear some people make all sorts of excuses for what the AI does or does not do. Hey, we all rationalize things . . . but just call a spade a spade. The AT team in question made a mistake. They jumped the gun. They disobeyed orders. They pissed off their CO.

Anyhow, GunnerGoz, chill out, man. It's just a game. Play it your way . . . just . . . please don't give Battlefront any further ideas about removing these cover arc things. Removing them would be a huge mistake. Improving them . . . well, I believe that is what MOST of us are hoping for . . . and what Steve here is working toward.

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POS has posted an interesting jpg. showing a Sherman with a very short arc ignoring a StugIII come out from behind a building immediately in line from it up a road a few hundred yards away. The Stug straightens up and kills the Sherman. OS arcs obviously are effective for stopping firing .....

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Ran a few tests and could not get the shrek team to fire outside its covered arc except when I drove the tank right next to the team with just the bocage separating them and then it threw a grenade. Even tried running the team to bocage with covered arc set on final waypoint and they still would not fire. Tried several times with tank on tank and could not get them to fire outside of covered arc. Not sure what the magic formula is.

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Clearly, I'm being facetious in my responses in this thread. I have never said that I want absolute obedience. That should be clear . . . and I think I stated it a number of times. However, I do want to feel as though I am in total control of the command of my troops. I find the suggested slide toward letting the AI take control to be a disconcerting proposition.

It is actually funny to hear some people make all sorts of excuses for what the AI does or does not do. Hey, we all rationalize things . . . but just call a spade a spade. The AT team in question made a mistake. They jumped the gun. They disobeyed orders. They pissed off their CO.

Anyhow, GunnerGoz, chill out, man. It's just a game. Play it your way . . . just . . . please don't give Battlefront any further ideas about removing these cover arc things. Removing them would be a huge mistake. Improving them . . . well, I believe that is what MOST of us are hoping for . . . and what Steve here is working toward.

AFAIK, No one is advocating "a slide toward letting the AI take control." No one is making "excuses for what the AI does or does not do." No one is advocating "removing these cover arcs." Improving the cover arc "is what MOST of us are hoping for." Where did you get these far out ideas?

I was of the impression that every one posting here has found one flaw or another in the cover arc and wants its performance improved or enhanced. Until it is, many of us find workarounds for it - like not using it, except under narrow circumstances where it is not as likely to have a bad outcome.

Yes, the Tac AI isn't perfect and they are working on it. But that's no cause for you to jump on someone simply because they figured out before you did that the cover arc command isn't working right yet.

You are entirely correct about one thing, friend: "Chill out" is good advice and it cuts both ways.

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Really, the knee-jerk, reactionary, conspiracy theorist side of my brain is hearing that Battlefront wants to put the AI in control of everything. That is, the TacAI or whatever we're calling it, is actually the GOD in charge of my battle . . . and the frogs in the pot seem to agree. The rational side of thought tells me that this cannot really be true. My orders are MY orders . . . the AI is the GOD of my ENEMY . . . but I am in control of my fate and that of the troops under MY command. At least, when playing the . . . AI.

I will not willingly submit to any computer overlord.

Anyhow, another thing that occurs to me with regard to AT teams and cover arcs.

When I gave a cover arc to my AT teams in CMx1, I set my zookers to fire at 50 yards and my schrecks to fire at 75. It's my Company/Platoon/Fire-Team, those are how I train MY people. Sure, these weapons could kill targets at further ranges, but the probability of a hit at those ranges was (as I understand it), historically quite difficult. In MY company, I lay down the LAW (so to speak). WE don't open up on ANYTHING without a high-percentage probability of a hit/kill. Period. To open up at greater ranges only gives away your position, wastes ammo and brings down a world of hurt, from the enemy, and the company commander.

I understand that mistakes are going to be made, but the dice roll on whether MY (well trained) SOLDIERS disobey MY ORDERS better be pretty effing slim. Sure, I expect the occasional act of disobedeince and for reality's sake, I want those occasions to crop up. However, I want the greater percentage of my orders to be set in stone with the percentage of disobedience on a sliding scale depending on various factors (training, panic, fatique, etc.). I trust that this is how Battlefront has designed the game . . . but when I hear the disobeince in the OP's post excused (even championed) by a member of the design team . . . it makes me wonder.

I am the one in command here. If I turn out to be a $hitty commander and order my soldiers to do what may turn out to be stupid things, then I will lose.

I want to bear responsibility for my successes and failures. I don't want the AI in charge of my fate.

The TacAI didn't pay sixty bucks for this game. I did.

It sounds like you should of spent your money elsewhere, you will never get that type of control in this game, Steve has made it clear once again for those of us that forget that fact .

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I would be interested in adding another wrinkle to this.

I, for one, accept that there should be a chance that a team might accidentally take an abandoned AFV, etc. under fire (so long as it isn't brewed up, etc.) if they have just sighted it and not had the target under observation at the time it was hit and abandoned.

BUT

If said team advanced up to/though/in the same position as a team that had had the target under observation and had seen it hit and abandoned, then I would expect the original team to have clued in the new team as to what had taken place, so the new team would not view the abandoned tank at a threat.

So if a unit move up and is in visual/vocal contact with a unit that has had the area under observation, there should be a chance of the new team inheriting some knowledge about that area of the battle field.

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AFAIK, No one is advocating "a slide toward letting the AI take control." No one is making "excuses for what the AI does or does not do." No one is advocating "removing these cover arcs." Improving the cover arc "is what MOST of us are hoping for." Where did you get these far out ideas?

I have no idea either. It's not like anything we're doing now is anything different that we've done since before any of you even knew CM existed. We're not at all interested in taking away reasonable player control. And I for one can not imagine the game without Cover Arcs, which is probably why nobody has even remotely suggested they be removed.

I was of the impression that every one posting here has found one flaw or another in the cover arc and wants its performance improved or enhanced.

Correct. What's really needed, though, is to figure out what specific circumstances exist where the TacAI is ignoring the Cover Arc but there's no reasonable explanation for it. "The unit screwed up" is a perfectly reasonable reason, BTW, provided that the unit's don't always screw up.

Look at BigJ62's post and he said he can't figure out how to get them to ignore the Cover Arc. So there must have been something about GaJ's specific situation that caused the arc to be ignored. Until it's more repeatable and identifiable, this is a discussion about a mountain that might very well be a molehill.

You are entirely correct about one thing, friend: "Chill out" is good advice and it cuts both ways.

Indeed.

Steve

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The trick with cover arcs in almost all cases is to set them a little wider. You just have to pay attention to the center point if you are trying to point an AFVs main guns at the place you expect the other guy to be.

Doesn't work, you can only set the arc to 180 degrees... When a tank drives right through the entire arc, stops behind the shrek roughly 20 meters away, and the shrek does not fire, there is a problem. I'll try making up some tests showing this happen and send them to Battlefront.

Personally I've given up on covered arcs - this happened to me with RPGs in CMSF (I thought it was just the poor squads there) and then again with veteran German Shrek teams.

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Doesn't work, you can only set the arc to 180 degrees...

Well actually, you can also set one to 360°, although I don't know if that is helpful in the situation presently under consideration.

When a tank drives right through the entire arc, stops behind the shrek roughly 20 meters away, and the shrek does not fire, there is a problem.

Hmmm. This makes me wonder if some kind of reaction time is involved.

Michael

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