Unit strength and objective control

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by Doolan, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. Doolan

    Doolan Member

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    Hello everyone!

    Sorry if this is more or less commonly known, but I have searched around and I couldn't find anything on the subject, so here goes: is unit strength taken into account when calculating the occupation of objectives?

    I'll give a quick example — in one of the smallish scenarios, I was defending an objective with a full battalion, including two light armour companies. All units were in command, well supplied, and essentially full strength.

    Just within the objective radius there were three German infantry companies that had been routed twice, were almost wiped out (red with a tiny yellow corner in the status box for strength) and were essentially cowering deep into a forest (so I couldn't shoot them to ribbons without moving outside the town).

    And yet, the objective was contested (no green outline), when I would argue my control of it was basically undisputed, as German strength was reduced to trading insults from behind rocks.

    Now, in larger scenarios with relatively open objectives, I have no issue, but in smaller maps with abundant cover and concealment, and with comparatively large objective areas, I find that my games frequently end up splitting battalions into companies and rather inefficiently ordering them to scatter to push the enemy away inch by inch until they are just outside range, so it's 20% battle, 80% chasing enemies from rock to rock shouting "shoo!" so they don't cheese-assault my objectives in the last two hours.

    Has anyone experienced this?

    Cheers, and thanks for reading!
     
  2. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Doolan, thanks for the feedback. If the objective is a secure objective then you need a 10:1 combat power ratio within the objective perimeter. Routed units have low CP so you should be right there. But it is best to evict any enemy from the perimeter. I appreciate what you are saying about the impact of close or covered terrain. What would you recommend?

    BTW if the objective type is a Defend then all you need do is exist within the objective to achieve it. You don't need to achieve a 10:1 combat power ratio. Also note that its combat power and not just firepower or persQty. So it takes into account unit effectiveness etc.
     
  3. Doolan

    Doolan Member

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    Hey Dave! Thanks bunches for the swift reply :)

    To be completely honest I haven't a clue — it's a very difficult problem to solve.

    So, once it's made clear that I don't have a satisfactory answer, here are the only approaches I can think of at the moment:

    - Lower the "weight" for the calculations of units not only based on strength, but also organisation, level of the HQ unit they are in range of, and perhaps deployment status (the latter may help avoid last-second rushes, as it would force units to linger in the objective? It would also make recently-routed units count less, as they would not be properly deployed). Similarly, it could be made so units in retreat recovery or rout recovery counted even less.

    - The previous option may bring some balance, but does not directly address the issue of cover, so:
    - Maybe units would be required to have LOS to the objective counter? I am aware this would increase processor stress quite a bit, so it is problematic, and rain or night engagements would complicate matters further (perhaps simply a direct and unobstructed line, weather and time of day not taken into account?)
    - Perhaps add a sort of "feathering" or "smoothing" to objective areas, so being close to the objective nets more control than lying on the edges. This may have issues in cases in which the objective marker is in the open, but still, it would be reasonable to assume that the unit in the nearest cover would have a stronger claim on the marker?

    The way I see it, the issue as it stands is twofold:
    a) Hidden units being difficult to track when capturing objectives, and calling for excessive company micromanagement to flush them out, and
    b) The AI exploiting this by doing last-minute timid rushes to the edge of an objective with a single company, contesting the objective without any time for the player to react.

    I suppose a compromise could be automating the "seek and destroy" behaviour of units defending within an objective area: if the player issues a "defend" order within the bounds of an objective marker, the units assigned to defence could, perhaps via a toggle in the task options, actively attempt to evict enemy units from the objective area, searching around and whatnot. The AI could perhaps prioritise the use of recon companies first, then other attack / probe troops, while leaving more defensive units in situ. Think of it as a sort of automated picket duty, maybe?

    That's all I can think of at the moment, but I am sure other people in the forums will have much better solutions.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    For such situations, I recommended rectangular objectives a couple of years ago (there are no rectangular obj in the ScenMaker yet, correct? I haven't checked :p), and I am convinced that they can avoid game situations (say an AI unit hanging out in woods where it's barely inside the circle of a secure-objective) where the AI is being tempted to crawl back and forth (in an almost gamey fashion) near or barely inside objectives, maybe even with the player not being able to do something about it, if he doesn't have a foot unit in the area.

    If these rectangular objectives are resized to put the "weight" (for points calculation/victory points) for city objectives on the actual city "grounds" and say some additional 200 - 300 meters (that was basically the usual combat range for engagements with rifles in WWI and WWII) as kill zone / space for defensive positions (sandbags, foxholes, primitive trenches etc.), there will be less problems.
    If an Inf unit has say 12-24 hrs for digging in (means preparing aforementioned defenses) in or right in front of a city environment, this should have a strong impact on its ability to defend successfully. An Inf Coy's organic mortar section won't be able to suppress/wear down the defenders sufficiently. Right now, it feels a little bit like enemy AI units rush in (preferably at night), pop up in side streets, and kick ass.

    What are the exact "ingredients" for combat power?
    I am asking, because I have a couple of scenarios in mind. Let's say I have a German Inf company with a strong HMG section and several inf gun platoons, or even better - an entire inf gun Coy, defending a town or village, and a US Inf Coy sitting in the woods, but still inside the objective circle. With that particular line-up it will be really hard for say such US Inf Coy or even a US para Coy to rush out of the woods, run through open terrain and reach the outskirts of the city, even if the defenders have no sophisticated defenses/trenches. So, basically the US Coy will never be able to really challenge city grounds, and will be routed before it can even reach the city, if there's a clear LOS and if the visibility is favourable for the German defenders, most likely. The weapons loadout should be considered for the secure objectives.
    Example: Some 40 troops rather resembling a bag of stragglers than an effective group of soldiers can't really challenge a big objective area. What they can do, though, is to create a holdup for advancing or trespassing enemy units , pretty much in the same fashion as the German "mini-Kampfgruppe" in Arnheim (comprising of 6-7 men, and which created somewhat of a holdup for the advancing UK paras).

    On the other hand, with a preparatory barrage or with a smoke screen (this game really needs smoke screens), such US plan would be more promising, as the unit could try to use such smoke cover.
     
    #4 GoodGuy, Jun 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015

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