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Just downloaded and have begun the operation. Many times over again, LOL. 

 

BLUF - I'm having a ball playing this and so far I have yet to complete the first mission. There are some hiccups but I'm having a good time with it.

 

The overall concept of the operation is definitely immersive, great job with that. The map looks very interesting and fits well with your story. I'm not a huge fan of fictitious nations in wargaming, probably from silly training scenarios with Krasnovia and/or Ahuristan and whoever else has been used in the past by the Army, but you did a good job making that piece believable.

 

A couple observations on play so far - not critiques negative or positive, just stating what I ran into:

 

First of all, I don't know enough about scenario building to even begin to comment on that, so all I can do is provide my gameplay experience and hope you can find it useful. This is also the first time I've ever tried an operation in SB.

 

After quite a few restarts, in all but maybe 2 of the starts I end up having to manually extract at least one of my tanks from the woods because it keeps getting stuck up against a tree if I leave the AI driver alone. I usually have to spend a couple minutes dealing with that distraction right off the bat to get everyone back together so I can begin my initial move across the LD. I'd like to be able to change the starting formation/location prior to jumping in to keep from having to do that. Even if you were to create a very small box to restrict setup but still allow players to change starting tactics/formation, it would go a long way toward preventing that distraction.

 

Another time I got my tanks out into that first open area right across the LD in order to consolidate and plan the attack forward, just as one of the enemy recon trucks drove right up into my formation. 4 turrets slew main guns to shoot the truck which was now right in the middle of my platoon as if it was one of us, and fortunately I hit the hold fire key just in time to prevent a major crossfire fratricide. Thankfully the enemy truck never fired at anybody or the tanks would have probably returned fire even under a hold fire posture. A nearby Pizzaro actually shot up the truck, how he did that without hitting any of my tanks is a miracle.

 

The Pizzaro platoon that moves along the same axis as the player platoon keeps getting mixed in with my tanks as I move forward, and it ends up turning into a game of bumper cars with the AI tank drivers as they intertwine. This again creates more distraction as I try to unscrew the situation to get my tanks back in control because now I find my own tank is all alone advancing forward. The terrain kind of forces the player to move the tanks pretty much along the same axis as the Pizzaro platoon unless the player is willing to go lumberjacking the tanks through the woods, which is something I don't like doing. Even if I hang a left after PL ALPHA and take the paved road into the village along the left side of the platoon boundary, my tanks still end up being channeled by the terrain back out in the open area right where the Pizzaros have been the whole time.

 

About the time I start to run into serious contact somewhere around PL BRAVO and my tanks take up good hull down positions to work on the threat, the Pizzaro platoon just keeps right on trucking and gets way out in front of the tanks and begins to take losses as a result. It makes me wonder what the TF commander is doing letting his IFV's get out in front of the tanks like that right in the middle of a gunfight. Whether it is intended or not in order to keep the player moving, it does make me feel like I need to push ahead again to protect the Pizzaros even though I'm right in the middle of an engagement and dealing with it just fine from where I'm at. The Pizzaros don't seem to mind getting out ahead of the tanks and leading the charge, but in this case they really need to find some cover until the tanks have dealt with the threat.

 

As I near the objective I start running into a few individual enemy vehicles buried deep in the woods on the south side of the objective, which is something I think happens way too unrealistically often in SB. Almost every time an enemy AI gunner manages to find a 2-pixel wide gap between the trees and gets a lucky shot at one of my tanks before my AI gunners will engage him, and now I'm down a tank or two because of it. That is the point when I hit the restart button. I'd like to see some infantry move into the woods and put some AT-4's in the grille doors of those tanks & PC's hiding in the trees, but by now the infantry platoon is combat ineffective because they got too far out in front of my tanks.

 

Nonetheless, I am having a great deal of fun playing this, even though I keep restarting it before completion. I really like your goal of keeping the player controllable force down to a single platoon. I keep thinking that one of these times everything will mesh just right and it will be a nice clean run at the objective. If there is any way at all to improve the movement logic of the Pizzaro platoon to be more tactically sound along with the player platoon movement, I think you will at that point have hit this one over the fence.

 

Nice job!

Edited by Orthos5
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@Orthos5 The key to scoring a major victory in any of the missions in this operation is to maintain a constant tempo, and to understand where you can trade security for speed. AI pathfinding is what it is, but setting your formation, spacing, and speed appropriately will pay dividends in the long run. Use of the assault tactic up to PL BRAVO is also useful for bypassing stuff that the mech infantry can easily kill. 

 

The objective itself is heavily defended, and there is no easy way to attack it. I've played this scenario probably 10x times during testing, and I have yet to end this mission with all 4x tanks fully mission capable. You will take a loss or two, but push through it. Missions are scored based on how quickly you seize the objective, not based on your combat power, so trading the potential for losses in return for tempo is an acceptable risk. 

 

I find that once you have a foothold south of the objective, using your TC to spot the enemy's vehicles (hold down shift and right click on the enemy vics when the red * appears) will do wonders to improving your Platoon's lethality. You can legitimately spot enemy PCs and Tanks before your gunner can, so use this to your advantage. Reporting them in this manner "calls them out" to the AI, so your gunners will scan in that general direction and be ready to fire when you start to crest the slight hill. 

 

Here is a copy of the plan that I use during this mission. I just played it again, and captured the objective in less than 25 minutes. This plan (or a variant of it) has gotten me a major victory 100% of the time that I have played. Take manual control when you need to, but follow the routes and you'll do fine. Critical parts are when you just cross PL Bravo, and when you are about the exit the woods south of the objective. Both of those points are when you should take manual control of the formation, IMO.

TS_PH_I.pln

Edited by Mirzayev
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23 hours ago, Orthos5 said:

Nonetheless, I am having a great deal of fun playing this, even though I keep restarting it before completion. I really like your goal of keeping the player controllable force down to a single platoon. I keep thinking that one of these times everything will mesh just right and it will be a nice clean run at the objective. If there is any way at all to improve the movement logic of the Pizzaro platoon to be more tactically sound along with the player platoon movement, I think you will at that point have hit this one over the fence.

Thank you for the great feedback.

 

I will look into the Pizzaro routes. I initially had them set on 'Engage' waypoints but they were stopping to engage everything along the way, and never made it into a position to support the tanks. I then set them on Assault and it seems they are really embracing that new idea, which is probably not a great thing. I'll mess with it to find a nice mix. 

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I almost don't want to suggest it because it would go against your intent of having the player control a single platoon, but maybe try giving that Pizzaro platoon to the player as well?

 

Just throwing out some ideas here, not trying to get you to change your vision at all, but one possible way to look at it through a different lens would be that the player is responsible for all that is happening within his own boundary but still has no control over anything else. It might also save you some designer pain and free you from having to keep tweaking their behavior and instead make it a player manageable task to own all within his boundary. I find it becomes less enjoyable to try to control an entire company or more in some of the larger scenarios so I definitely am not advocating that, but I'm thinking a platoon of tanks plus a platoon of infantry might be doable and still enjoyable. Maybe an additional way to add immersion would be to start the player into an XO tank or PC on the left side as the initial player controlled unit, and the CO tank/PC (AI controlled) gets added the right side, or vice-versa (CO is left and player controlled, XO goes right and is AI). That way you could say that the XO or CO fights with the left side and the CO/XO fights with the right and work that into the Paragraph V Command & Signal piece of your OPORD (i.e. - CO follows 2nd & 4th platoons, XO follows 1st and 3rd). That would also make your force structure more representative of an actual company level unit on the ground and support the goal of having the player work only with what is within his boundary a little more believable because now the XO or CO would in essence be the ones calling the shots within that boundary instead of 2 peer platoon leaders (who's in charge here?). I think this way the tank platoon would still be where the player fights from most if not all of the time, giving the attached infantry and the XO a series of move/hold orders to keep them a little safer behind the tanks until he needs them for a task.

 

On a side note and more of a Steel Beasts issue than anything else, in my next attempt I'm going to try to deal with the enemy armor buried in the woods from longer range and from the gunner's seat of a single tank (rotating through different tanks to spread out ammo usage). Tankers don't like to fight from inside woods because having your situational awareness reduced to within RPG & small arms range is not a good thing. Running right up the middle isn't working out very well, so I'm going to try to maintain more standoff distance and hunt around in the woodlines with the TIS from a distance, looking for the hot pixels to reveal their locations. The enemy gunner AI logic doesn't seem to try to target me from a longer distance when they are buried in the trees like that, so this might work. The thing I don't like about it though is that I feel as if I'm playing into the gamey limitations of a computer simulation rather than doing anything realistic. This will probably take a very long time to do, which means that the Pizzaros are going to keep moving on the objective alone (assuming they make it that far), and also pretty much kills any chance of my tanks making the objective within 30 minutes. This leads me back to my thought above about giving the infantry to the player so I could dismount them and run them through the woods to maybe try to get the tanks with their AT weapons. Not sure how well that would work either to make the 30 minute mark, but it could be used to present the player with an option - do I keep moving on the objective to make the 30 minute mark to get the higher score but subject myself to greater losses, or do I take a little more time (I think I could still make the 60 minute limit) and take the more methodical and safer approach (for the tankers anyway... 😬) of using the infantry to dislodge the hidden armor?

 

Anyway, I've never spent so much time and had as much fun trying to figure out how to beat a scenario than this one, so great work on that!

 

Cheers

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9 hours ago, Orthos5 said:

Anyway, I've never spent so much time and had as much fun trying to figure out how to beat a scenario than this one, so great work on that!

Thank you! This is great feedback. 

 

Time to go back to the drawing board...

 

BTW - I will release Operation #2 if this one gets 500 downloads, so hopefully will have time to do things better with the next one. 

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On 2/6/2021 at 5:54 AM, Apocalypse 31 said:

Thank you! This is great feedback. 

 

Time to go back to the drawing board...

 

BTW - I will release Operation #2 if this one gets 500 downloads, so hopefully will have time to do things better with the next one. 

 

Enjoyed the operation Apocalypse!  great work, nice small individual missions and variation of styles.

Somehow like ARMA3 meets Steel Beasts :)

 

The map choice is a bit too restrictive terrain but makes it a challenge.

 

I wish the operation feature of SB could include tracking of units, damage, casualties, ammo status etc, and have a custimisable resupply/repair sytem between missions; its really not practical to use operational events to track individual units survival between missions!

 

I'd be happy to script OPFOR side for some scenarios if you do make a new Operation, if it helps 👍

 

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1 hour ago, ben said:

Somehow like ARMA3 meets Steel Beasts

ehhhhhhhh. Not even close, really. Unfortunately. 

 

1 hour ago, ben said:

I wish the operation feature of SB could include tracking of units, damage, casualties, ammo status etc, and have a custimisable resupply/repair sytem between missions

It can. It's a massive amount of work. 

 

1 hour ago, ben said:

I'd be happy to script OPFOR side for some scenarios if you do make a new Operation, if it helps 👍

I may take you up on that. I said that I would produce Operation #2 when this one hits 500 downloads. 

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On 1/17/2021 at 4:28 PM, Apocalypse 31 said:

3A. The biggest gap is obviously the enduring force pool of units - I learned that you can have carry-over units, but it is a LOT of work and requires you to create an Operation Event and Scenario Event for EVERY vehicle that you wish to use.

Oh, Bloody Hell.

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