Set time for LOS Tools

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It would be nice to be ale to set the time for the LOS and LOS Area Tools in the Tools window instead of it only showing the LOS at the current game time. This could be accomplished by adding a time field, which could be a copy of the Start/End/Assault time boxes from the Edit Task window. The time would default to the current game time, but the player could adjust the time as desired to check LOS for different times of the day. See the picture below for an idea of how this would look.

LOS Tool CO2.png

Note that this could also be simplified to 3/4 "times" in a day. Day/Night and Dawn/Dusk (not sure if those are different or the same) with a rotating selection in the box.

A lot of scenarios start at night/dawn and it would be useful to be able to check lines of sight when making your plan for the battle.

Edit: After some thought, there would need to be a "Set Weather Option" as well for this feature. I don't know how many different weather settings are coded in game, but if it's not too many you could have a box that cycles through all of them. If it's too many to realistically work through, you could just have a clear/current weather option.
 
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It would be nice to be ale to set the time for the LOS and LOS Area Tools in the Tools window instead of it only showing the LOS at the current game time. This could be accomplished by adding a time field, which could be a copy of the Start/End/Assault time boxes from the Edit Task window. The time would default to the current game time, but the player could adjust the time as desired to check LOS for different times of the day. See the picture below for an idea of how this would look.

View attachment 8426

Note that this could also be simplified to 3/4 "times" in a day. Day/Night and Dawn/Dusk (not sure if those are different or the same) with a rotating selection in the box.

A lot of scenarios start at night/dawn and it would be useful to be able to check lines of sight when making your plan for the battle.

Edit: After some thought, there would need to be a "Set Weather Option" as well for this feature. I don't know how many different weather settings are coded in game, but if it's not too many you could have a box that cycles through all of them. If it's too many to realistically work through, you could just have a clear/current weather option.
The tools in the game reflect real time intel based on "at this moment" observation capabilities available in WWII. Because the LOS is affected by available light, and the presence of mist, rain, fog, and snow there, divining into the future is more fantasy that reality.

The intel mode, can be set to "current," "recent" and "all" to reflect what was gathered in the past.

If one wants to position untis so they can fire on critical areas, the best available WWII tactic was to identify the area of interest and place any firing units at a higher location on the map than the spotted location..
 
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The real combatants had the advantage of being able to see the 3D contours with their own eyes. In game, you only get a 2D representation with sometimes very large contours (for instance, 100m in the First Clash at Veve scenario). So how do you determine the actual terrain contours in game since you can't see them with your own eyes and the game does not provide them at a resolution that is useful for planning?

1. You can use the LOS Tool the game provides to get slices of the map contours
2. You can use the LOS Area tool the game provides to get a representation of what can be seen from a certain location.
3. You can right click on the map and get the actual height of any point.
4. You can open the map in the map editor, but this basically only gives you the 3 tools above.

Below is a couple of screenshots of First Clash at Veve scenario. The top part is from the game and the bottom part is from Google Earth (the elevations are exaggerated at maximum in Google Earth).

One thing you can immediately see is that the ridge around Lophi in game is all one contour on the map (due to the 100m contours), while the actual contour from Google Earth is very complex. Without being able to see the 3D contours with their own eyes, it's impossible to determine where the ridge line is. The only way is to use one of the 4 methods listed above.

Veve Contours.png

I don't agree with the argument that games need to make it hard to figure things out because it was hard for the troops in the field to figure out in real life. These are games, not real life, and certain sacrifices need to be made to make the game playable (like not having a 3D map, not modeling every soldier, every round fired, etc.), and certain tools and information are provided to the player to overcome the sacrifices to realism that are required to make a playable game

The tools are already in game and display the full information you need during daylight hours (i.e. What can a unit see from this point?). It's a small change to allow for the tool to be used during any time in a game day and makes the game slightly easier to play while taking less time and causing less frustration to the player.

Give us 3D maps and I would entertain the argument that LOS should only be available for units in their current locations on the map. I know the challenges with doing that and why it won't happen in CO2. What I'm suggesting isn't a game breaker or essentially impossible to program (just how difficult it would be to implement I don't know), so I suggested it based on my experience playing the game. If certain players don't want to use the feature, they don't have to, but I bet every new player that picks up the game would find the option useful.
 

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One thing you can immediately see is that the ridge around Lophi in game is all one contour on the map (due to the 100m contours), while the actual contour from Google Earth is very complex. Without being able to see the 3D contours with their own eyes, it's impossible to determine where the ridge line is. The only way is to use one of the 4 methods listed above.

The highest elevation in the area is the top of a mountain range (way west of Lofoi, ~ 1,089 meters), the nearest top has a height of 822 meters. None of the major ridges are represented in that map.

View from the southwest, the 2 ridges (the village resides in a depression between them) offer a visual range of 15-16 km, where only the mountains in the background limit that visibility.:
Lofoi-Southwest-earth.jpg

What program/website did you use to display the Lofoi area? The hill (blue arrow) in your screenshot is not present in google earth, but your screen has more distinct/detailed depressions (especially the little ravine just right of Lofoi):

Lofoi-no-hill-titanium.jpg

View from the West, no hill in Google Earth (note: Earth uses more sources than Google maps):

Lofoi-west-no-hill.jpg

The highest elevations in the immediate area (red: rough visualization of the ridge lines):

Lofoi-ridge-lines.jpg

The Lofoi area is not accurately rendered in the game, instead of being packed between 2 major ridges, only the northern outskirts are on a slope, the depression/valley that spans through the center of Lofoi is not fully rendered.

Inaccuracies aside, I think a timed/future outlook would reduce the realism. The LoS tool already gives you the opportunity to check the visual ranges from any spot on the map, even if you have not positioned any of your units at the LoS start point.
This is already a very powerful tool/ability, which commanders did not have, at the time.


In reality, say if a divisional commander wanted to place a recon/early warning element on an elevated piece of land, then he needed detailed contour maps, if he wanted to pick the position himself. More than often, there were no accurate/detailed contour maps available, so the units had to actually go there and recon/assess or even draw the terrain layout, which they then reported/showed to the superior CO, who then formed a decision. In some situations combat units got in bad situations, as they encountered terrain features that were not outlined in any of their maps.
Like hills weren't indicated on some maps, unpaved roads indicated on maps had "disappeared", as they were either just tracks or abandoned + overgrown unpaved roads. Other roads were converted to farmland or to railroad embankments.

Quite a few US coys were issued copies of hastily produced maps (some even looked like maps that were hand-drawn from memory) with a number of major woods indicated but with 0 contour lines, when they entered Germany.

For instance, US and British intel/GSGS staff often relied on German road maps from the 1930s, which were sold at German gas stations or issued to members of automobile associations, for Allied bomber missions over Germany or for the thrust to Germany in 1944.

An almost unaltered commercial road map from 1935 that was used by Allied air units in 1943, 2 highways (1 was suspected to still be under construction) were added along with a number of other details, some roads and parts of the railroad network were superimposed with data from 1939 to gain a more recent/realistic map:

The map legend indicates that
  1. topographical maps (of German origin) were then superimposed to display some rough contour lines,
  2. the topography information derived from a German map collection (atlas) that displayed Germany and its borders from 1914 - 1926, and from a map from 1934
  3. the road network layout was taken from 2 official road maps (1937 + 1939), the highway layout from an official public highway map (1939) and the railway network info gathered from a public railway map (1939),
  4. additional general infos includ. more "recent" topogr. infos were taken from a map from 1934,
  5. and that other infos (say about power supply lines and other vital infrastructure) were based on intelligence reports from 1942:
1943_WWII_map_of_Hannover_Germany-resized.jpg

When they were lucky, they could rely on "Messtischblätter" (translates to "measureing table sheets" or "plane table sheets"), means artillery grids.
Problem:
While they were the most detailed maps regarding the street and building layouts, most of them were even older than the available road maps, they did not contain very detailed contour lines (if any) and were rarely available to the GSGS.

The following map is an original/official German artillery grid of the Hemelingen area (suburb of the city of Bremen) from 1925, the only detailed map of the area the British could muster:

2919Hemelingen1925Kopie-80-Prozent.jpg

Since recent versions of the grids covering Germany were secret documents kept in German archives, recent maps could not be obtained in 1943, ofc., so the Brits issued an edited version of the Hemelingen grid from 1925, in 1944. The edits could only be made when more aerial recon photographs became available in late 1943 and the following months. When clouds or weather conditions obscured parts of the view, particular obscured terrain features, bunker installations, buildings etc. would be missing, ofc., means not all areas could be updated. The Germans also used smoke generators to obscure harbors or other areas of interest, too (Hemelingen had a port, for instance, the port offered access to the North Sea).

The revised map from 1944 (it was just re-issued in 1951, most likely for British occupation forces, hence the new time stamp):

Map_of_pre_World_War_II_Germany_TK25_Hemelingen_2919-1944.jpg

2 major factories in the southwest "disappeared" (maybe closed/demolished after the economic crisis - 1929), a highway appeared, some minor roads and a number of town houses were added, but many of the 1925 buildings are missing in this edit, even though it would have been more likely that some residential areas expanded, but the GSGS map insists that they shrunk, so I'm not sure if these parts are accurate. I wouldn't rule out that parts of the population had moved to the city during the Great depression and left these partially rural areas.

In contrast, a number of Italian GSGS maps were very sophisticated, as terrain features had been effortfully plotted (Sicily, Cassible area):

bhc100110zoom.jpg


The few Allied maps that featured detailed contour lines on maps of Germany were often based on maps issued by the Land Statistical Offices (regional state agencies) before 1914, which were either confiscated by Allied occupational forces (eg. the French in the Rhineland), handed over to Allied authorities after the armistice in 1918 or even obtained from various sources in the 1900s. Others were based on official contour maps from the 1920s.
So the contours on most of those maps were very accurate, but the layout of the road networks + infrastructure could be very flawed (as some of these infos were based on material that was as old as 18 yrs or even older).
This made Allied map production in 1943/1944 quite difficult.

EDIT: The Germans experienced a similar problem in 1940 and 1941, during the creation of the Barbarossa plans, btw. There were many "dark spots" on German military maps covering the Russian theater, vital infos were missing, major roads on maps turned out to be unpaved dirt roads, double-track railway lines turned out to be projected upgrades only and still being single-track lines, etc.

So, I tend to think the map creaters of the COTA maps relied a bit too much on military/historic maps at times (which could contain a lot of errors) instead of focusing a bit more on modern topographical data.
Usually, hills and ridges don't diseappear after/within 79 years, maybe except for some terrain modifications that come with some large-scale projects (eg. highway routes/bridges, development of large residential areas = satellite towns, etc.) .
There are very few exceptions where modifications came close to terraforming, eg. the removal of a number of hills within the city limits in Qingdao, China, where the hills had been completely removed to make room for additional residential areas.
 
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The real combatants had the advantage of being able to see the 3D contours with their own eyes. In game, you only get a 2D representation with sometimes very large contours (for instance, 100m in the First Clash at Veve scenario). So how do you determine the actual terrain contours in game since you can't see them with your own eyes and the game does not provide them at a resolution that is useful for planning?

1. You can use the LOS Tool the game provides to get slices of the map contours
2. You can use the LOS Area tool the game provides to get a representation of what can be seen from a certain location.
3. You can right click on the map and get the actual height of any point.
4. You can open the map in the map editor, but this basically only gives you the 3 tools above.

Below is a couple of screenshots of First Clash at Veve scenario. The top part is from the game and the bottom part is from Google Earth (the elevations are exaggerated at maximum in Google Earth).

One thing you can immediately see is that the ridge around Lophi in game is all one contour on the map (due to the 100m contours), while the actual contour from Google Earth is very complex. Without being able to see the 3D contours with their own eyes, it's impossible to determine where the ridge line is. The only way is to use one of the 4 methods listed above.

View attachment 8427

I don't agree with the argument that games need to make it hard to figure things out because it was hard for the troops in the field to figure out in real life. These are games, not real life, and certain sacrifices need to be made to make the game playable (like not having a 3D map, not modeling every soldier, every round fired, etc.), and certain tools and information are provided to the player to overcome the sacrifices to realism that are required to make a playable game

The tools are already in game and display the full information you need during daylight hours (i.e. What can a unit see from this point?). It's a small change to allow for the tool to be used during any time in a game day and makes the game slightly easier to play while taking less time and causing less frustration to the player.

Give us 3D maps and I would entertain the argument that LOS should only be available for units in their current locations on the map. I know the challenges with doing that and why it won't happen in CO2. What I'm suggesting isn't a game breaker or essentially impossible to program (just how difficult it would be to implement I don't know), so I suggested it based on my experience playing the game. If certain players don't want to use the feature, they don't have to, but I bet every new player that picks up the game would find the option useful.
You switched the argument, because you originally asked for a tool that divines information from the future rather than something that is more realistic in real time.

At the time the game replicates, the tools available to make tactical observations were compasses, binoculars, maps (often less detailed than what is available in MapMaker, given that the terrain locations in MapMaker can be validated against near real time satellite images), and some optical range and height measuring tools.

Yes, there are difficulties with the terrain heights because they are drawn in a limited number of layers (15 if I recall correctly), in the instance of this map, that required 100-meter contours to get in the tallest object and the lowest point. Other maps that cover terrain without a drastic change in land rises are drawn in smaller increments, assuming the source material provides accurate data. The most defined topographic map I've encountered has 10-foot (3-meter) contour lines.

There has been some experimental work in transitioning GIS data into MapMaker, but transporting that data to a standard PC would require truncating it fro the software to perform calculations on a timely basis.

Basically, the more detailed the map, the slower the game runs.



The challenge of CO2 is to refight battles using the tools available to the commanders of that time instead of some Star Wars like fantasy assist.
 
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What program/website did you use to display the Lofoi area? The hill (blue arrow) in your screenshot is not present in google earth, but your screen has more distinct/detailed depressions (especially the little ravine just right of Lofoi):

I used Google Earth as stated with maximum elevation exaggeration. You can go to "Tools" Options" and enter a number of the elevation exaggeration. It allows you to better see subtle differences in elevation.

Inaccuracies aside, I think a timed/future outlook would reduce the realism. The LoS tool already gives you the opportunity to check the visual ranges from any spot on the map, even if you have not positioned any of your units at the LoS start point. This is already a very powerful tool/ability, which commanders did not have, at the time.

Nothing about the game is realistic. In most scenarios you are playing as a Division Commander or higher. To be realistic, you should have a paper map from the time period like the ones you show and a staff to feed you information via radio or messengers about what is happening instead of having a God's eye view of the battle. Having the LOS tools at all is unrealistic. Having full information about your troops in unrealistic. All of the Overlay tools are unrealistic. The Path finding tools are unrealistic. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.

But somehow allowing the LOS tools to be used during any game time breaks the realism of the game, even though you will get to use them anyway as soon as the game time increments to daylight, which doesn't break the realism somehow.

If you want to argue that the LOS Tools should be completely removed from the game because they're unrealistic, I could take the "realism" argument seriously. For me (and I guess many others), it would increase my frustration and decrease the amount of fun I have with the game. And If I don't have fun playing a game, I won't spend any money on it (nor will others). It is always a balance between competing design goals when making a game. It has to be enjoyable to play, and it also has to appeal to your desired audience. A war game that is fun but not very realistic can do well (e.g. Panzer Corps), but it's not the type of game I want to play.

Allowing the LOS Tools to be used any time during the game instead of restricting their use by the game time is a minuscule sacrifice to realism for a decrease in frustration and an increase in fun.
 
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You switched the argument, because you originally asked for a tool that divines information from the future rather than something that is more realistic in real time.

I haven't switched anything. I asked for a tool that is already available in the game to be available during the whole game instead of being restricted for use only sometimes during the game.

The challenge of CO2 is to refight battles using the tools available to the commanders of that time instead of some Star Wars like fantasy assist.

As I said in my previous post:

Nothing about the game is realistic. In most scenarios you are playing as a Division Commander or higher. To be realistic, you should have a paper map from the time period like the ones you show and a staff to feed you information via radio or messengers about what is happening instead of having a God's eye view of the battle. Having the LOS tools at all is unrealistic. Having full information about your troops in unrealistic. All of the Overlay tools are unrealistic. The Path finding tools are unrealistic. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.
If you want to play a game that is "realistic" instead of having all the "Star Wars like fantasy assist", then you should stop playing Command Ops 2 completely. I hear Radio General is much more "realistic" than Command Ops 2.
 
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I haven't switched anything. I asked for a tool that is already available in the game to be available during the whole game instead of being restricted for use only sometimes during the game.

It is a real time Line of Sight Tool. You can't see a lot of stuff in the distance when it's dark, misty, snowy, and / or rainy as you may be able to see at noon in perfect weather..

Thus the ranges for sighting vary at the time of day based on the lighting and weather conditions.

As a minimum you can see at least 100-meters any time of day or under any weather conditions, which in the darkest night and the worst weather, is unrealistic, but an advantage for the player..
 
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It is a real time Line of Sight Tool.

It's a tool that performs the following functions:
1. It calculates what can be seen on the game map with perfect visibility from the point selected on the map.
2. It decreases (if applicable) the values found in Step 1 by a certain amount due to phase (day/night) of day.
3. It decreases (if applicable) the values found in Step 2 by a certain amount due to weather.
4. Output result.

I'm not saying steps 1-3 are performed in exactly that order but it doesn't really matter.

What you called a "a real time Line of Sight Tool" is the game only providing results with the weather and phase (Steps 2 and 3) fixed at the conditions that were active in game when the point was selected on the map (Step 1). This doesn't mean that the tool can't be used in other ways.

I am suggesting a minor change. Allow the player to select both Steps 1 and 2 instead of just Step 1. I fail to see how this can even be acquainted to a change so vast it changes the game from one that is realistic to one that is a "Star Wars like fantasy assist." If people don't want to use it, nothing will force you.

In my view this minor change will slightly decrease player frustration with the game (Why won't this magic tool, which can somehow even show me conditions on the map that my digital troops can't even see, show the information I want?) and make it a little more fun while not impacting the "Realism" of the game in any significant way.

I think we have beaten the "Realism" argument to death. If you want to explain to me how having something like the Enemy -APer overlay or the Path tool doesn't make the game a "Star Wars like fantasy assist," but allowing the player to usefully use a tool that is already built into the game at all times instead of just parts of it does, I'm all ears.

One might even argue that having the LOS tools in the game at all is a "Star Wars like fantasy assist."
 
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It's a tool that performs the following functions:
1. It calculates what can be seen on the game map with perfect visibility from the point selected on the map.
2. It decreases (if applicable) the values found in Step 1 by a certain amount due to phase (day/night) of day.
3. It decreases (if applicable) the values found in Step 2 by a certain amount due to weather.
4. Output result.

I'm not saying steps 1-3 are performed in exactly that order but it doesn't really matter.

What you called a "a real time Line of Sight Tool" is the game only providing results with the weather and phase (Steps 2 and 3) fixed at the conditions that were active in game when the point was selected on the map (Step 1). This doesn't mean that the tool can't be used in other ways.

I am suggesting a minor change. Allow the player to select both Steps 1 and 2 instead of just Step 1. I fail to see how this can even be acquainted to a change so vast it changes the game from one that is realistic to one that is a "Star Wars like fantasy assist." If people don't want to use it, nothing will force you.

In my view this minor change will slightly decrease player frustration with the game (Why won't this magic tool, which can somehow even show me conditions on the map that my digital troops can't even see, show the information I want?) and make it a little more fun while not impacting the "Realism" of the game in any significant way.

I think we have beaten the "Realism" argument to death. If you want to explain to me how having something like the Enemy -APer overlay or the Path tool doesn't make the game a "Star Wars like fantasy assist," but allowing the player to usefully use a tool that is already built into the game at all times instead of just parts of it does, I'm all ears.

One might even argue that having the LOS tools in the game at all is a "Star Wars like fantasy assist."
Perhaps your graphics aren't working properly.

It does the first three steps in parallel.

It's all explained on Pages 38 and 39 of the Game manual.
 
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Perhaps your graphics aren't working properly.

It does the first three steps in parallel.

It's all explained on Pages 38 and 39 of the Game manual.

Your reading comprehension is lacking.

1. How the function actually works is not mentioned at all in the manual, just how to use the function and what the output is.
2. I specifically stated that "I'm not saying steps 1-3 are performed in exactly that order but it doesn't really matter."​

Thank you for reminding me why I never make feature requests on the publishers/developers message boards. In the last 30 or so years I have been playing computer games, there is always someone like you who seems to make it their mission to antagonize people who make suggestions that differ from what the existing game already provides, or thinks it makes the game (yes, game) less "real."

The worst of them all was the Battlefront Combat Mission message boards. If you even hinted that you thought the game needed to be modified in any way, you were crucified by the fanboys on the boards. I remember when they first came out with CM2 and they got rid of the "blue bar" that fully calculated a turn before starting to display it, which caused many issues with lag, stuttering and other things. A number of people argued that the blue bar should be added back and were driven off the boards by people who angrily told them that they should be happy with the game as is and that they didn't need that feature. Fast forward a little bit and the blue bar was quietly added back in by the developers with nobody issuing an apology for their behavior.

I only made one suggestion on the Battlefront Combat Mission message boards all the way back in CM1 days. I suggested having some way to tell which one of your units was taking causalities so you could know what parts of the turn replay to watch, thus making the game flow better and making it more fun. The toxic response I got made me quit using their message boards ever since. That was back in the early 2000's, or close to 20 years ago now.

Congratulations on your self appointed role as a Gatekeeper for suggestions being made to Dave. I'm sure he appreciates your efforts in disincentivizing people from offering suggestions. I have only been on this board for less than a week, but I have already had to put you on ignore and I won't be bothering to engage in any more conversation on this topic. I play games to have fun, and people like you suck all the fun out of them.
 
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Your reading comprehension is lacking.

1. How the function actually works is not mentioned at all in the manual, just how to use the function and what the output is.
2. I specifically stated that "I'm not saying steps 1-3 are performed in exactly that order but it doesn't really matter."​

Thank you for reminding me why I never make feature requests on the publishers/developers message boards. In the last 30 or so years I have been playing computer games, there is always someone like you who seems to make it their mission to antagonize people who make suggestions that differ from what the existing game already provides, or thinks it makes the game (yes, game) less "real."

The worst of them all was the Battlefront Combat Mission message boards. If you even hinted that you thought the game needed to be modified in any way, you were crucified by the fanboys on the boards. I remember when they first came out with CM2 and they got rid of the "blue bar" that fully calculated a turn before starting to display it, which caused many issues with lag, stuttering and other things. A number of people argued that the blue bar should be added back and were driven off the boards by people who angrily told them that they should be happy with the game as is and that they didn't need that feature. Fast forward a little bit and the blue bar was quietly added back in by the developers with nobody issuing an apology for their behavior.

I only made one suggestion on the Battlefront Combat Mission message boards all the way back in CM1 days. I suggested having some way to tell which one of your units was taking causalities so you could know what parts of the turn replay to watch, thus making the game flow better and making it more fun. The toxic response I got made me quit using their message boards ever since. That was back in the early 2000's, or close to 20 years ago now.

Congratulations on your self appointed role as a Gatekeeper for suggestions being made to Dave. I'm sure he appreciates your efforts in disincentivizing people from offering suggestions. I have only been on this board for less than a week, but I have already had to put you on ignore and I won't be bothering to engage in any more conversation on this topic. I play games to have fun, and people like you suck all the fun out of them.
What you define as a need already exists in the game..

The manual language is pretty explicit in what the LOS tool represents.

There was a significant amount of conversation in this forum already about how the LOS can be improved, part;icuarly as it related to night time interdiction of supply routing. That discussion shed a lot of light on why the tool works as it does, and what could be done to improve the feedback to more accurately reflect true LOS based on time of day and weather conditions. Those improvements were released in the 5.1.31 BETA on Steam, and drew no complaints from users.

You can wait for Dave if you wish.
 

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