Reduce maximum orders group.. Option.

kipanderson

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Hi,
Well here we go... :).
Great to hear that Command Ops will be rushing on to more and even better.
As I am an unabashed Eastern Front fan, practically looking forward to next major outing.
Feature request for Command Ops 2.
Usual one for me.. an option to play Command Ops such that the maximum orders group is somewhere between battalion + and regiment/brigade -.
In tutorial videos I would start with the use of such an option turned on. Then once mastered in that form, closer to the “normal..” operational game format, then take them all the way with the option turned off.
The ability to give orders to entire divisors with one or two clicks does lead to Command Ops sometimes being admired more than immersed in and played.
And not just by me.. ; ).
Fantastic game system...!
All the best,
Kip.
 

john connor

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Why is it needed, Kip, when you can do this already - you can set yourself any orders rules you like? Just wondering what the thinking behind it is, given that. If it's to remedy 'weakness of the will' or something like that (if you have the option to command a Company you will be tempted to use it, even if you've set yourself a rule not to) then you just push the point of weakness back a tad - to when you press that new button. No?
 

kipanderson

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John, hi,
The reason is that when I had played COps for a while, a few games, it suddenly struck me that the friendly AI was indeed so good that it did often do quite a reasonable job.. so what was I there for;). You could give orders to regiments/brigades/divisions and they would copy Ok with very little human input.
Just sit back and admire.. :).
But that breaks the immersion.
It is about the role you play in the game/sim. In all the best wargames you play the role of a number of people, up and down by rank. The level where you order about battalion combat teams is the scale/role that I enjoy most in operational games. Also, in western operational games the most traditional, as it happens. Not that it matters.
It would turn Command Ops into a game scaled similarly to Panzer Campaigns or the old SPI games of ancient times ;).
I am not alone in thinking this. On the old forum others did have similar thoughts or had been through a stage when they did think like that.
One poster on the old form asked .. to paraphrase, maybe quote.. “what am I supposed to be doing ;)..” For the reasons I give above.
Fantastic system...
All the best,
Kip.
 

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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Just a practical implementation issue Kip. Are you saying that we should prevent the user from being able to order a Div or higher HQ? If so, how will they ever move? If you say then restrict the types of orders you give them, then which orders. I would contend that you have to give them at least defend and move orders. In which case, then how do I exclude their subordinate forces. At the moment that is done when the Player issues an order to the subordinate. The force is detached from the Div HQ's force group. But if you have not given an order then it is still part of the Div HQ FG. We could only apply the order to the HQ unit itself but then you wouldf have to move all its assets individually. That would get a tad tedious IMO. What do others think?
 

kipanderson

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Dave, hi,
Will get back to you.. but am in the UK and must get to bed and work tomorrow..
Back Friday evening or Saturday morning..
All the best,
Kip.
 

john connor

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What do I think? My tuppence worth: I think you shouldn't spend valuable development time on a 'feature' that is relatively unnecessary as anyone can decide for themselves who to issue orders to already.

I sort of understand Kip's point - he wants to force people to micro-manage (I think - or maybe he wants to force them not to - either way the point is the same - you can choose with complete freedom already) but I can't see how anything like this would help anyone, or make it more desirable. His rationale is that many people, he thinks, have looked at it and thought - 'why am I needed?' (and he has decided, in effect, that the solution is to make the AI 'worse' via a button that limits it!!) but, nice as it is to compliment the AI in that way, you only have to play the game a little to know that there's barely any scenarios you can win like that - I can't think of one where you can do that now. Pre-latest series of patches I even posted once a Joe's Bridge AAR where I gave only 5 orders the entire scenario and got a decisive vic (I thought that was a brilliant demonstration of a superb AI, by the way, not a problem). But I haven't been able to do that sort of thing recently (the enemy AI is definitely stronger now), and in any event, that's a tiny scenario, more a training thing.

To get the most out of this game you need to use a healthy mix of stand-off and micro orders. So, I, for one - whilst I get what Kip is getting at - completely disagree that you should put time into this. I'd much rather, for example, that you spent that time working on mount/dismount code, to name but one more essential feature.

Plus, the friendly AI is the great, defining feature of this game. It really is what marks it out as different from all the rest, it is THE unique selling point. Nothing else out there does AI like that, produces that kind of realism. If that's not what you want then there are several hundred click-fest games (with hexes and turn-based) for you to enjoy. No need to try to change this game so that it more closely resembles 'rivals' that have no AI worth speaking of at all. The AI is the glory of this game, Dave, what truly makes it a work of art and a joy to play - the AI is what makes it closer to a simulation. Please don't change that or spend time trying to mitigate something that is superb as is. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

On the other hand, if time isn't limited - if you're just sitting there on top of it all wondering what to do - then any feature and option adds choice, of course. Including this one. And there's no harm in asking, Kip.
 
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john connor

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joe 1.png So. A propos of this I tried Joe's bridge again. I got a Dec Vic on full speed with 7 orders (and no trying). It seemed (again) like a tribute to the AI again, BUT, it is not representative of the complexity of this game. You can't do this kind of thing with any larger scenarios (see my AAR thread in this forum about Race for Bastogne, for example). And, plus, of those seven orders, 1 (the first) was to the on-map boss (take the nth bank of the bridge) and all the rest were to smaller groupings of units, including 4 at Company level.
 

SuperIke

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I understand Kip's point. It's not entirely true that you can already micro-manage every unit if you wish: the on-map boss (to which all units you give orders attach to) has a finite staff capacity. Trying to micro-manage and give direct orders to all the units in most scenarios would quickly exceed the staff capacity of the on-map boss.

That being said, I do not wish to give orders to all the units - and I certainly don't want to be forced to do that out of a feeling that the AI is so good by itself that I'm feeling useless during a game! With all due respect to Panther Games for developing such a challenging AI, I still believe it will not always, in all circumstances, make the optimal command decision. That's a right I reserve for myself :)

So perhaps you could entertain the idea of a feature which would allow the on-map boss to have infinite staff capacity for the player who wants to give orders to all units, but for me it defeats the very purpose of the Command Ops engine philosophy: to make you feel as close as possible to what it is to be a true battlefield commander. True battlefield commanders do NOT give orders down to all companies in their corps or division no more than orchestra conductors play all instruments in lieu of the musicians. The battlefield commander develops a plan, assign key objectives, put some constraints and battle lines, and then lets this filter through the chain of command so that everyone gets a piece of the puzzle and focus on executing their part. And yes, sometimes the commander's intent is not well understood, not well executed and s..t happens. But that's life.

Traditional wargames, hex-based and turn-based, typically have you move every unit and counter like an all-powerful God. These games are much more of an abstraction of reality. Panzer Campaigns is a good example. I like Panzer Campaigns, I own quite a few and play them on a regular basis. But truth be told, I can only complete the short to medium length scenarios. Never been able to complete the monster campaigns with 450+ turns and hundreds of units to move (Normandy 44 is daunting in that regard). It's overwhelming, and that's why Command Ops for me feels so much more "real". There are times I feel pretty good giving orders to division only and not bother with the details, and at other times I feel compelled to take control of a specific battalion, or sometimes even companies when I need to secure a bridge in a very delicate situation.
 

john connor

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Great point, Superike - I forgot about command delay and how that limits a players options in terms of micromanaging at will. It's odd I forgot since I am one of those players who doesn't wholeheartedly agree with the 'command philosophy' in terms of how it affects command load on the on-map boss. So, when I play a big scenario I always now invent my own button to switch off command load for the on-map boss (by adjusting the staff capacity value in the estab editor for all those units that I know will, normally, be the on-map boss in any scenario - usually only one unit, sometimes 2 where there are staged para drops, as in the HTTR scenarios). So, if THAT could be implemented then I would go for that (only if there were time - it's not that important as it's already easy to implement yourself, as I do, using the estab editor - though if it were looked at officially then it would be great to also fix the other side of orders delay coming out of the on-map boss, via an option button which not only switched off command load for the on-map boss, but also switched off the delays brought about by excess distances from the on-map boss, something you can't fix by yourself).

Though Daz is in the middle of a masterful trashing of Axis opposition in the biggest scenario in the game - From the Meuse to the Rhine (see his excellent AAR in this forum) and is playing with all stock settings and managing to win apparently effortlessly, I must be in the category of lesser mortal, because I have had huge difficulties with command load in the very large scenarios, where default placements brought about by orders to battalion level will not result in you being able to cover as much land as you need to cover at times. For this reason, amongst others, I've started to tinker with the command load setting.

Because I disagree with you slightly, Superike, as to what the Command Ops engine philosophy is. I don't think the game is either good at, or designed, for example, to 'simulate' the experience of being the on-map boss level commander in any scenario larger than the very smallest. The most obvious reason for this is that you cannot give multiple commands to an HQ unit. You cannot just select your Corps commander and give orders to hold six towns, say. You can only give one order per unit. The way Dave has gotten round this limitation is by expecting you to give orders to units two levels lower than the on-map boss, and the costs of these orders are then credited to the on-map boss as if that was where they originated from. In this way, you get your Corps commander, say, to give multiple orders to his different Regiments or Brigades (Division is skipped). But you don't have to play the game for long to realise - as you've said, Superike - that you won't get very good results giving orders (in effect) only to Regiments or Brigades. In some circumstances (in all the scenarios fought on big maps with multiple objectives shifting over time, for example) you will not be able to function REALISTICALLY like this, because whereas in real life each Regimental commander would have been able to give each Bn a separate objective, yours will not do this - they will have only one objective per regiment. So the need to give orders at Bn level very quickly arises (and often at company level too in the very complex scenarios) in order to achieve a realistic effect, in order for the game to play as well as it can. And when you do that you are not wearing the hat of the Corps commander any longer. You are shifting perspective and role and wearing the hat of the Bn commander. Or at the very least, using the two-up mechanism of the engine, the Divisional Commander. And it is the great beauty and ingenuity of the game that it allows just this scaleable level of command. It's unique. However, when you do this, presently, your orders are still credited to the Corps commander, the on-map boss, for capacity and delay purposes. And this seems very wrong to me, a kind of confusion in what is going on. When I put on a Bn (or divisional) commander's hat I don't mind that person (in game) getting capacity penalties (say I group two extra support units into a Bn command span and thereby exceed the usual Bn command capacity of 4, then fair enough THAT Bn can get a capacity penalty resulting in slower orders) but why should the on-map boss ALSO incur penalties. The only reason can be if you're thinking that the game philosophy is that you are ALWAYS simulating command from the on-map boss role. But as I argued above the game doesn't do this well in larger scenarios when you will always have to command in more detail, wear the hat of a lower level commander for a while. Hence I tinker with command capacity to make it more realistic, I think. And a button to do that (and eradicate distance penalties for the on-map boss) would be very welcome.

Peter
 

kipanderson

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Hi,
Crikey... this is an example of why it would be way better to discuss these things in a pub.. ;).. it is all too easy to give the wrong impression of what you mean when posting on forum.
So...just to get one thing out of the way.. I do not in any way wish to dumb-down Command Ops. Not slightly, not in the margins ;).
The attraction of operational games for me is the challenge of having to “run knee deep in mud...” . i.e. the orders delays and workload limits on staff and such are a vital part that I do not wish to see go. Within the usually accepted limits such as a “single controlling mind..” I am keen to see wargames being as realistic as possible. (PS as an example.. I think you have units recover from fatigue too quickly... ;)... I would vote for it being more “realistic..” :).
I will give an example of my experience of Command Ops.
Typical is one of the bigger Bulge scenarios. The Germans are attacking and have number of options. I find I tend to launch regiment sized attacks allowing the friendly AI to do its stuff because for a medium skilled, non expert player there is no obvious advantage to be had from me getting down and planning the attack in detail. The AI does a reasonable or good enough job.
Far better if I know I have to issue the orders, have to immerse myself if the job is to be done.
In operational games I wish to be the guy, be it the divisional, the regimental/brigade commanders level, who issues the orders to the battalion battle groups. A limit on the number of orders issued, and also orders a delay is good too.
Dave.. I understand the point you make. But... with this option turned on it would clearly be only, or at least most suitable, for smaller scenarios. I would expect friendly forces of say one division or equivalent. Sometimes smaller. The aim would be order around all the units. But only at a pace that order delays and such allowed.
This is currently the case with the new Flashpoint Campaigns. It has orders delays, staff workload limits and such too.
In the tutorial I would start people with the option turned on, and small scenarios.. then of course, when more experienced move on bigger scenarios with the option turned off.
Quote from an email I sent earlier this week...

“In fact of the current generation of wargames I think two best, by a very wide margin, are Combat Mission and Command Ops. The new Flashpoint Campaigns Red Storm and then Scourge of War also "do what they do..." very well.”

But I rarely play Command Ops because it’s not as involving. Taking it down a scale, to ordering about battalion taskforces, not regiments with one click.. would make it more involving. Until skills have developed so far that you can easily spot the advantage in doing the more challenging attacks yourself even with the option turned off.
I do understand Dave has limited time.. clearly will have to wait and see if he thinks the effort is worth it.
All the best,
Kip.
 

SuperIke

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The most obvious reason for this is that you cannot give multiple commands to an HQ unit. You cannot just select your Corps commander and give orders to hold six towns, say. You can only give one order per unit. The way Dave has gotten round this limitation is by expecting you to give orders to units two levels lower than the on-map boss, and the costs of these orders are then credited to the on-map boss as if that was where they originated from. In this way, you get your Corps commander, say, to give multiple orders to his different Regiments or Brigades (Division is skipped). But you don't have to play the game for long to realise - as you've said, Superike - that you won't get very good results giving orders (in effect) only to Regiments or Brigades. In some circumstances (in all the scenarios fought on big maps with multiple objectives shifting over time, for example) you will not be able to function REALISTICALLY like this, because whereas in real life each Regimental commander would have been able to give each Bn a separate objective, yours will not do this - they will have only one objective per regiment.
Peter

Good arguments john. True indeed that you cannot assign "strategic-type" objectives to a regiment of holding a certain number of villages, or "capture this hilly area and form a line at the river". The orders you can give are of one purpose, very much tactical. In that sense, it is indeed not an entirely true depiction of reality. However at the level Command Ops is playing with, typically below divisional, I haven't found this to be a big issue. Moving to a different scale above divisions with corps or even armies would require some functionality like this.
 

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