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Volcano

TGIF 2014: scenario list, discussion, and house rules

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Also I disagree with the team picking and the mission being given out early. The reason is that the players who show up, should be able the pick what tank or PC that they would like use. Not be forced. Also there was no problems before when the mission was given on the same night. Most of the time the mission starts 40 minutes after the meeting time, I noticed this happens also when the mission is given to us earlier in the week. So really it doesn't matter. The CO should be able to plan and be able to adjust to what ever is put in front of him. My personal opinion is that TGIF should stay like it was.

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Also I disagree with the team picking and the mission being given out early. The reason is that the players who show up, should be able the pick what tank or PC that they would like use. Not be forced. Also there was no problems before when the mission was given on the same night. Most of the time the mission starts 40 minutes after the meeting time, I noticed this happens also when the mission is given to us earlier in the week. So really it doesn't matter. The CO should be able to plan and be able to adjust to what ever is put in front of him. My personal opinion is that TGIF should stay like it was.

Actually, there was a problem. In the 9 months I've been doing TGIF, the same "cadre" of 3-4 people have volunteered to CO week after week. That's fine with me, but on the nights that they aren't in attendance or don't feel like CO'ing for whatever reason, no one else volunteers. Instead, the organizers have to ask around for an awkward minute or two, until someone finally succumbs. If you're correct that it's wrong to ask someone to crew a vehicle other than the one of their choice, then it's wrong to ask someone to CO if they don't wish to. But where would that leave us? As CO, what would you think if, at some critical phase of a mission, you needed someone to handle a particular platoon and they refused because they "only want to crew vehicle X"?

A couple of months ago, I agreed to CO a mission after no one else stepped forward, and it prompted me to post about what I think is a better way of doing things. As luck would have it, the TGIF organizers already were preparing something along the same lines. If they decide to discontinue the advance-notice missions, it's okay with me. I'll still attend and enjoy the missions as I have in the past, although I think it's a lost opportunity for an improved SB experience (which I do not mean as criticism of you or the other CO "cadre"; I explained my reasons in the earlier post).

I also expressed earlier why I have no desire to do the ad hoc CO thing, however. In the future I can just decline when asked. If we can't ask people occasionally to step outside their comfort zone or compromise on preferences -- like vehicle choice -- for the good of the collective endeavor, why should anyone agree to CO if disinclined?

As for the pre-mission time, I agree that in the two pre-planned missions I CO'ed, the briefing phase took too long, but that was entirely my fault, not an inherent fault of the advance-notice "system." I hope that I will improve with further experience. But in the two missions in which I did not CO (I think Brun CO'd my team both times), I believe we got a solid, detailed plan and quickly. That was definitely the case 3 weeks ago. I don't remember the earlier Kursk mission as clearly, but it certainly seemed to launch quickly (I didn't even have time to finish all the initial routes for my units). I wasn't at the last TGIF, so I can't say either way for that one. But I have to wonder, based on past experience, whether the majority of delay happened in the Planning Phase or, instead, in the Assembly Area (or before the mission is even up on the server). Plus, that was a rather complicated mission, so perhaps not a good point of comparison with other briefing durations.

Edited by MDF

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Actually, there was a problem. In the 9 months I've been doing TGIF, the same "cadre" of 3-4 people have volunteered to CO week after week. That's fine with me, but on the nights that they aren't in attendance or don't feel like CO'ing for whatever reason, no one else volunteers. Instead, the organizers have to ask around for an awkward minute or two, until someone finally succumbs. If you're correct that it's wrong to ask someone to crew a vehicle other than the one of their choice, then it's wrong to ask someone to CO if they don't wish to. But where would that leave us? As CO, what would you think if, at some critical phase of a mission, you needed someone to handle a particular platoon and they refused because they "only want to crew vehicle X"?

A couple of months ago, I agreed to CO a mission after no one else stepped forward, and it prompted me to post about what I think is a better way of doing things. As luck would have it, the TGIF organizers already were preparing something along the same lines. If they decide to discontinue the advance-notice missions, it's okay with me. I'll still attend and enjoy the missions as I have in the past, although I think it's a lost opportunity for an improved SB experience (which I do not mean as criticism of you or the other CO "cadre"; I explained my reasons in the earlier post).

I also expressed earlier why I have no desire to do the ad hoc CO thing, however. In the future I can just decline when asked. If we can't ask people occasionally to step outside their comfort zone or compromise on preferences -- like vehicle choice -- for the good of the collective endeavor, why should anyone agree to CO if disinclined?

As for the pre-mission time, I agree that in the two pre-planned missions I CO'ed, the briefing phase took too long, but that was entirely my fault, not an inherent fault of the advance-notice "system." I hope that I will improve with further experience. But in the two missions in which I did not CO (I think Brun CO'd my team both times), I believe we got a solid, detailed plan and quickly. That was definitely the case 3 weeks ago. I don't remember the earlier Kursk mission as clearly, but it certainly seemed to launch quickly (I didn't even have time to finish all the initial routes for my units). I wasn't at the last TGIF, so I can't say either way for that one. But I have to wonder, based on past experience, whether the majority of delay happened in the Planning Phase or, instead, in the Assembly Area (or before the mission is even up on the server). Plus, that was a rather complicated mission, so perhaps not a good point of comparison with other briefing durations.

The CO picking the teams is not asking the players to play the vehicle that the player would like to play. TGIF has been going just fine years before you or I got here. So I don't think the changes is going to make a difference. It will eventually go back to the way it has been, it always has in the past. Players show up, choose the team of their choice. Players choose a command position if they want to and players go have fun shooting each other after 40 minutes of planning and going back to collect players who dropped out. No big deal.

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BTW, a concern here:

One problem with posting the scenario a week ahead is the temptation/tendency for the CO of the other side to meticulously study the enemy's side. This should NOT be done, do NOT look over the enemy's side. If we find that this is happening from this point onward then I will stop posting the mission in advance because it will have proven detrimental to fairness.

Maybe it has happened to this point because scenarios were not password protected, or perhaps there was a bit of unknown whether it is accepted or not, but forget about the past -- this applies from this point onward: please do not study the enemy's side as it just isn't fair (password or not). Everything you need to know about the enemy is revealed in the briefing and/or through on map enemy map contacts in the Planning Phase.

Hey, how you doing, long time no see.

As I recall, after multiple pissing festivals and all manner of fun and carnage, we settled on a draft before the game ( immediately preceding) and we released the scenario for that week the night before.That's how we did it when I was stewarding TGIF the first couple of years after Nikatori left, and he ran it the same way.If we didn't draft, oftimes they were lopsided battles, and after a million complaints we had to, was the only approach everyone would accept.We added the "release the scenario the night before" thing, because any earlier than that, that is exactly what COs were doing,what you mentioned,picking apart the enemy set-up.

The one Major difference is Back then we had a new scenario every week, so NOBODY ever got to see it till the night before. But yeah, after awhile, it became difficult to get a fresh scenario every week, but I think we managed that until I handed it off to Sean.Anyway good luck, and I may pop in after I get the update installed.

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As one of the guilty parties in "Intel-Gate" (with respect to the UN Safe Zone mission), I will abide by the rule going forward. I feel comfortable that other CO's will abide by the same honor system.

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11 APR scenario:

Convoy Ops 02-3011

NOTES:

  • DO NOT study the enemy's side or else these missions will no longer be posted in advance. You can LOOK BUT DO NOT TOUCH. In other words, anything short of just looking at the other side without clicking on anything (ie. to evaluate unit composition, conditions and events, routes, waypoints, spawns, specific locations) is WRONG.
  • To avoid passwords, open the scenario in Network Session as HOST and choose the side you want to play and go to planning phase.

Edited by Volcano

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4 APR scenario:

!OBJ PV - MP_3011

Disclaimer: this scenario hasn't been played in ages, it likely has rough edges.

NOTE: To avoid passwords, open the scenario in Network Session as HOST and choose the side you want to play and go to planning phase.

Any chance of reposting the link (or PM'ing it to me)?

Just watched the video and it looked intriguing - esp. if the assault bridges had been used.

BTW: Apologies to Assassin - I was typing text in TS at the time and I guess one of the letters was an old whisper key.

Will ensure I delete all whisper lists before quitting TS from now on.

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Any chance of reposting the link (or PM'ing it to me)?

Just watched the video and it looked intriguing - esp. if the assault bridges had been used.

EDIT: nevermind....I see that you already figured out that the bridging had not been employed,

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The full video is still uploading to Youtube, but I had to post these now. :D

First is an embarrassing bit of AI driving:

SkNtar3.gif

Here is the real hero of the day, Connaugh, saving me from getting shot in the back by Brun as I hobbled towards the objective after I needlessly damaged my suspension by taking a "short cut" that nearly cost us the game.

bQ025o6.jpg

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I just did a test and there's a decent chance that single recon guy hiding in the building further down the road could have killed or disabled the truck if I went that way instead of cutting across country...

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Another interesting mission.

Given how closely-contested the battle was, I can only imagine what might have been had two of our combat vehicles not spawned in the water. :Crash:

Although we lost by a whisker, I did achieve my personal objective: the Blue Apache got zero kills.:cool3:

My only three suggestions:

1) deploy all red QRF units (except 2S1's) as individual vehicles rather than platoons/sections. (For that matter, might as well split up the Blue AFVs, too.)

2) In the briefing, inform that there is a penalty zone near the edge of the map.

3) remove the trigger for the IED, or at least tell the Red commander where, if anywhere, it is located.

In case you're interested, I edited the scenario to implement these suggestions -- see attached.

56e83d01d243e_ConvoyOps02-3011MDFedits_z

Convoy Ops 02-3011 [MDF edits].zip

Edited by MDF
Better syntax

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Thanks for the feedback, but I already made some other changes to the scenario since then (I usually work on the scenario while we are playing it actually). I will look at making some of these other changes on top of that.

In regards to deployment zones and starting units: it is a small circle and you are intended to be a quick reaction force that moves from that circle to reactionary positions. I don't agree 100% with splitting all the tanks and PCs into single vehicles here because I think it is this is too much micromanagement for such a small deployment zone and the situation. Well, I should say that I can see how single vehicles would help have better control over exact deployment so that vehicles could be placed south of the river, but it was not my intent that they could start south of the river so I moved the zone north a tad since. That said, I will improve the starting unit situation though: I will split vehicles up into sections (they are now 4 vehicle platoons instead of 3 vehicle platoons) -- section units makes sense to me for those units -- and the recon will be split into single vehicles since they should spread out immediately. I am just not a big fan of splitting platoons into individual vehicles at the start unless it is a deliberate defense with battle positions type situation because I feel it confuses people too much. I guess that is just my personal taste as a scenario designer.

#2 and #3 are good suggestions, I will do them. I think the IED trigger was a carry over from the original Convoy Ops 1 scenario (which we get played at some point).

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Here is the real hero of the day, Connaugh, saving me from getting shot in the back by Brun as I hobbled towards the objective after I needlessly damaged my suspension by taking a "short cut" that nearly cost us the game.

Wow, I didn't even notice that in the AAR -- it seems that the final result was even closer than I thought (11 seconds AND something almost killed the truck). :luxhello:

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Just a couple of counter-considerations:

In regards to deployment zones and starting units: it is a small circle and you are intended to be a quick reaction force that moves from that circle to reactionary positions. I don't agree 100% with splitting all the tanks and PCs into single vehicles here because I think it is this is too much micromanagement for such a small deployment zone and the situation.

I understand what you're getting at, but there is nothing you can do to prevent the players from splitting up these units immediately after mission start (well, I suppose you could do some rather iron-fisted stuff with the editor, like imposing a penalty if a platoon has less than x vehicles). In my experience with TGIF games, it is rare for different players in the same TO&E platoon to act as a unit. So, as much as I admire your intentions, the platoons are going to scatter anyway. If, to the contrary, the CO actually decides to enforce the formal chain of command, then presumably the team will pursue your design objective (platoons situated en mass) without the straitjacket of bloc-deployment.

Thus, the only thing accomplished by deploying platoons as a bloc is potentially to deprive a commander of sensible initial deployment options. Moreover, at least for me personally as mission designer, I wouldn't want to insulate players from the consequences of poor tactical decisions. If micromanagement is a bad idea, let them learn the hard way.

Ultimately, though, this isn't a micromanagement issue. By deploying platoons in a bloc, you are not delegating responsibility to a human. You are delegating it to the AI, and in urbanized terrain that gives the AI formation pathfinding absolute fits. This risks vehicles getting stuck on buildings or wandering into ponds in the initial seconds of the mission while moving into formation, and in any event, impose an unnecessary level of frustration and delay. Even if you have humans in every vehicle in a bloc-deployed platoon, the first thing they will do in this mission is to steer around a building or pond to get into some sensible position, which splits them from the platoon formation anyway. And, most likely, they will be off on their separate way to pursue whatever individual goal has been assigned to them.

I will split vehicles up into sections (they are now 4 vehicle platoons instead of 3 vehicle platoons) -- section units makes sense to me for those units -- and the recon will be split into single vehicles since they should spread out immediately.

I suppose that will suffice, but I would strongly urge you to split the 2S6 section as well.

I am just not a big fan of splitting platoons into individual vehicles at the start unless it is a deliberate defense with battle positions type situation because I feel it confuses people too much.

In my limited experience, the main source of confusion in this regard concerns the ownership of vehicles. Less experienced players (including myself, from time to time) get confused because your platoon icon is dark blue but you can't control it because you're in the 2, 3, or 4 vehicle. Or you control the bravo section, which appears dark blue but then find that you can't control the second vehicle because the platoon CO owns it. When the vehicles are deployed individually, however, you can see exactly what you own (unless there are multiple humans in the vehicle, but that is rare for missions of this size).

One other suggestion for the mission, which I forgot to mention yesterday -- remove all of the small ponds from the map. Unfortunately, whatever they add from an aesthetic or terrain-realism POV is wiped out by the AI's penchant for driving into water. We almost lost our entire artillery battery to a small, very deep waterhole that was partially obscured by a contour line. Fortunately, 2S1s are amphibious. We did lose our second Tunguska in this manner, however.

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I reviewed the AAR from Friday night and I took a few screen shots. I'm not sure if this was done intentionally at the beginning by red. The platoons formations was in a wedge facing east which would have cause one of their vehicles to slide into the water.

SS_16_07_16.jpg.17af6965e479f6665a6a0c41

SS_16_08_03.jpg.7b93d7fb5df64d69682679d0

SS_16_08_10.jpg.706e049ece7221d9b0e11200

SS_16_07_16.jpg.17af6965e479f6665a6a0c41

SS_16_08_03.jpg.7b93d7fb5df64d69682679d0

SS_16_08_10.jpg.706e049ece7221d9b0e11200

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I reviewed the AAR from Friday night and I took a few screen shots. I'm not sure if this was done intentionally at the beginning by red. The platoons formations was in a wedge facing east which would have cause one of their vehicles to slide into the water.

I deployed them in line formation facing roughly south in my saved .pln, after visually inspecting them to make sure all were safely on land and that the platoon had Stay tactics, To protect even further, I placed the Stay battle position LOS bubble very close by to ensure it was clear. During the planning phase, 3 different guys (me, Fidel, Toyguy) also independently checked visually that all vehicles were on land.

So,this deployment decision was not one which we took lightly or as to which we were careless. For some reason, when the mission started, they reverted to the east-facing wedge in your screenshots.

Afterwards, a few people mentioned that they had noticed the kind of default spawning behavior shown in your screenies. As a matter of habit, I always inspect my platoon formations and "footprint" before every mission start (having been burnt one TGIF when 2 of my vehicles spawned in water). I never previously noticed this odd spawning behavior.

Edited by MDF

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Yes, of course everyone can split units into single vehicles as soon as the scenario starts -- it doesn't matter, I am not a fan of placing single units into deployment zones unless it is a deliberate defense and you need to split up to site each vehicle in a battle position. Sorry, I am against it because someone can simply make the case that all scenarios should have all vehicles split into single vehicles and that is just silly and unnecessary to me.

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As far as the starting formations go, I'd recommend keeping whatever formation they default to in the scenario if you're going to be spawning near buildings or water. Hopefully some day that'll be fixed.

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hi all, if I may add that if you watch the ARR, at the start, before the timer starts all three leo's where on the land in line formation facing south. As was said, this was check by a few people before we started. If you then move the time slider one notch after game start the platoon jumps to the wedge formation and faces east. This resulted in one of the Leo's dropping in to the water.

I'm sure this is a known issue or bug, but I have recently come across a smiler type of bug in a game I am developing. The cause was the movement prediction algorithm missing the initial starting state message for a spatial and reverting to its last know position. Which in this case was the initial game state.

If the problem is something smiler here, the server is sending the initial( or last know) platoon state to the client on game start. Thus causing the jump if the clients changes never made it to the server for some reason ( do movement state messages in the planning stage use UDP or TCP?). Perhaps the initial state of the platoon should be sent to the server and updated on all clients just prior to the game/clock starting. This would ensure all clients and the servers 'plan' are synced before any 'in game' state changes are exchanged. This would require the server to query each client for the state of owned units and building a new game state and issuing that new stat to all clients just prior to game start. In my code this adds a couple of seconds to the start up process for all clients, but prevents random movements on game start. no water to fall in to in space but a star can be just as deadly if an entire fleet decides to jump a light second down well!

I'm sure the E-Sim coders have thought of this sorry, but I got geeked out there for a moment. As I dont know the code for SB and can only guess at the methods and order of process used at this stage of the game, what I said is just an educated guess.

s!

Edited by fidelthefallguy
Typos and missing bits...

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