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flyinj
03-08-2010, 12:49 PM
I hadn't even heard about this game, until I read this piece on it put up today over at Rock Paper Shotgun:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/03/07/wot-i-think-achtung-panzer/

It sounds amazing... Combat Mission + Close Combat + Overarching campaign. Has anyone played this?

Janster
03-08-2010, 01:10 PM
Tried the demo, my backlog is too large to accomondate this game, but I think if you want a good single player experience, this might be the best since Close combat, sans the multiplayer goodness.

Ezdaar
03-08-2010, 01:37 PM
I've only played a bit so far, but for under $20 you can't go wrong. There is a nice writeup about it on RPS right now.

I really hope they come out with another tank sim using some of the stuff from AP.

Incendiary Lemon
03-08-2010, 01:38 PM
Looking forward to checking it out. Graviteam did great work with their Tank sims.

JoshV
03-08-2010, 01:41 PM
I downloaded the demo, but I have a tough time acclimating to euro UI and the 'tutorial' is not a tutorial. You'll need to read the manual to learn to play the game. I didn't have the patience for it.

JMR
03-08-2010, 05:15 PM
I didn't see any tool tips so I nuked it right away.

Jason Lutes
03-08-2010, 06:21 PM
I didn't see any tool tips so I nuked it right away.
I'm seeing tooltips...

bmsardou
03-08-2010, 06:50 PM
Posting to confirm is does indeed have tooltips.

This game has a lot of good things going for it. I am entertained and extremely pleased at the price. With the atmosphere, smart inclusion of battle between 2D map and tactical 3D, and detailed modeling of armor, this isn't a game that is only worth it because they want $20. I think it's worth more and its just a great price. I would recommend the manual though as things definitely begin being a little cryptic.

Eduardo X
03-08-2010, 11:20 PM
Woah, $20? I thought this was a full $50 for no good reason other than it looks really good.

Benhur
03-09-2010, 04:59 AM
I was interested in this one until I found out you can't save during (hour-long) battles. No thanks.

moss_icon
03-09-2010, 05:22 AM
Having played two battles in the full game, I am very excited about this. So much detail and many clever touches. I liked how when one of my half tracks broke a track, an infantry man hopped down and started whacking it with a massive sledgehammer. The manual is essential, I had 3 false starts before I got to grips with things.

skyride
03-09-2010, 08:40 AM
My friend has been raving about it. I wanted to wait and see if it held up and according to him, he's still loving it. He's a huge Combat Mission fanboy btw. His last email has some details:



Yeah...my #1 tactical wargame simulator...beats the crap out of anything else out there, including Close Combat Series, Combat Mission Series (Battlefront)...Theatre of War series (Battlefront). There are 6 Operations in the game (2 German, 4 Russian), the strategic part is done in turn based mode like in Medieval Total War and once units from both sides are engaged tactical battle starts. Some operations are shorter 5/8 turns ... there are two that are 15 turns long. Keep in mind that based on config settings a tactical battle can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours ( I play with 2 hours per battle, of course if you break the enemy earlier the tactical battler is over faster). I have finished the 1st German operation 8 turns, I'm now playing the 15 turn operation as German. Lots of units to control but the best part is you don't micro manage teams. You control each individual vehicle or squad of infantry....you can give them move order, or designate area of fire but you don't individually select target for each unit... You get artillery on-board support (artillery observer) or Air Support (Air observer unit). The important thing is that you have control over the whole sector of your forces...what this means is that it's important to position your forces correctly if you want to surround the enemy from multiple sides so that the tactical battle will be easier. AI will do the same thing to you of course...

AP is historically accurate tactical wargame simulator...you play with historically accurate order of the battle (units), with historically accurate weather and time of the day conditions. You play during the day and during the night, if you want you can play only day battles (this is configuration option) however since this takes place in early March it's all winter and bleak weather on the Eastern Front.

There is excellent support from Graviteam (devs) on the paradox forum for this wargame and there is add-on coming called Operation Star (As German you get to play with Waffen SS "DasReich" division which had Tiger tanks in the operation, in the original game you are part of 6th Panzer Division...assuming you play German side). Also there is Kursk Operation add-on planned, nice summer weather in the Russian Steppe with clear blue sky and plenty of armor on both sides...

The best part is that AP only costs about $20, I would suggest getting it from either impulsedriven or gamersgate, graviteam really deserve support.

P.S. I know him in RL, he really doesn't work for the company who made this game ;)

RepoMan
03-09-2010, 08:55 AM
Wow. This is going to crack my backlog even if I'm just buying it to support the devs. Sounds super awesome.

lesslucid
03-09-2010, 09:15 PM
There's a fairly positive review at outofeight, too, although with some caveats:

http://www.outofeight.info/2010/03/achtung-panzer-kharkov-1943-review.html

JoshV
03-09-2010, 09:22 PM
I want to like this game. I really do. I may have to crack open the dreaded manual and look at it more closely.

Incendiary Lemon
03-11-2010, 10:40 PM
I'm really liking the Demo.

The odds are stacked against you, your up against armored recon units and tank platoons and most of your units can only field one anti tank gun. With clever play, and a bit of luck, you can whittle down the Germans and survive long enough for your own armor reserve to show up.

It really is an updated Close Combat as far as formula goes. It avoids the mistakes of Theatre of War, Officers, and the other recent remakes. It doesn't offer any radical changes to the formula, the jump to 3D is really enough paired with a compelling campaign engine so your not fighting the same set pieces over and over again.

tiohn
03-12-2010, 10:46 AM
There's a fairly positive review at outofeight, too, although with some caveats:

http://www.outofeight.info/2010/03/achtung-panzer-kharkov-1943-review.html

Never forget that James Allen is the guy who gave a perfect score to CM: Shock Force and failed to mention that he had worked on the game, putting himself in much the same league as the Wargamer.com "reviews" of anything released by Matrix.

skyride
03-12-2010, 10:50 AM
How is the 3D engine? Graphics looks barely passable from screenshots. Are the sound effects good?

Incendiary Lemon
03-12-2010, 01:30 PM
How is the 3D engine? Graphics looks barely passable from screenshots. Are the sound effects good?

The graphics are decent for a wargame. The real beauty is the physics engine. Everything is destructible and it's a joy to watch your artillery barrages topple trees. The HQ units communicate using flares so at night you can watch for red flares to know when the enemy is coming or green if they're retreating. As operations progress and you fight over the same ground the signs of battle accumulate. Destroyed PzIIs, burnt out T-34s, cratered fields, fallen trees. It looks like the engine still doesn't support AA. That's the one issue which really bothered me.

The sounds are pretty decent. You can pickup the chatter of a tank as it advances. Mortars and artillery sound appropriate. When you get into a full scale firefight it sounds suitably impressive. Small arms fire, yelling infantry, explosive ordinance going off.

Graviteam used the same engine for their tank sims and they simply ported their damage modeling system over. Armoured vehicles get tracked, engines disabled, gun mounts damaged, crew injured. Occasionally you'll get that lucky hit and something will go up in flames. Crew will bail out and make a run for safety if their tank is disabled. Sometimes they won't move quickly enough.

LOS is critical as is armor facing. If your shooting down on a open topped vehicle, well, it won't last long.

-

The campaign system is great though. You will get into engagements where it makes sense to pull back to fight on better ground or to simply rest and refit your forces. It's always a valid choice because your men are your most important currency and you need to preserve them as best you can. Because there's no in mission save I tend to play carefully but at the same time I don't just reload if something goes south. AP encourages you to withdraw and make it up in the next battle.

-

As far as complaints go. I'm pretty sure the friendly Tank AI is crazy. They like to get themselves into trouble. I think part of the problem is that you've only got four of them in the demo and that encourages micromanagement but AP doesn't really allow for that level of control. You give general orders and the AI takes care of the rest so there really isn't a way to intervene effectively when they do something idiotic. Best as I can tell you can't string together waypoints.

In general though that appears to be a good thing. You don't get overwhelmed babysitting your units. With the infantry all you really need to do is point them in the right direction and tell them when to advance.

I do need figure out the priority targeting system. I'd have a T-34 wasting it's shell's on a APC when a PzIII was clearly a greater threat.

Incendiary Lemon
03-12-2010, 01:35 PM
From RPS (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/03/07/wot-i-think-achtung-panzer/comment-page-1/#comment-414076)


While my main force tackles a concentration of German infantry and halftracks dug in west of Sokolovo, I send a single SMG squad and a T-60 light tank north to secure two distant victory locations. After about ten minutes of trudging/trundling they reach the first one (happily, unnoccupied) and set off for the second. The next time I check their progress, I see only one icon. Assuming the grunts have fallen behind, I do a quick aerial search only to realise the infantry are in fact perched atop the tiny T-60. The clever buggers, exhausted after tabbing across miles of snow and ice, have decided to hitch a ride.

A bit later that same T-60 is immobilised on the edge of a pine wood. Iíve given up on it, but it seems the crew havenít. When the coast is clear, one of them jumps out and starts belting the broken track with a sledgehammer. Heís still doing it when the battle ends, but I appreciate the enthusiasm.

Itís details like these that make AP so special.

Brian Rubin
03-12-2010, 01:37 PM
That makes me wanna buy the game right now.

Incendiary Lemon
03-12-2010, 01:48 PM
That makes me wanna buy the game right now.

If you liked Close Combat I think it's an easy sell.

I'd add that while GUI is fairly conventional they do use the Russian style of counters which takes a little while to get used to.

moss_icon
03-12-2010, 03:23 PM
using NATO counters would be kind of inappropriate i suppose.

jpinard
03-12-2010, 08:03 PM
This sonds really great. Thanks for posting the info here.

lesslucid
03-12-2010, 11:21 PM
Never forget that James Allen is the guy who gave a perfect score to CM: Shock Force and failed to mention that he had worked on the game, putting himself in much the same league as the Wargamer.com "reviews" of anything released by Matrix.

So that's why wargamer is always so positive about matrix stuff!

I was always puzzled by his strangely positive review of Shock Force... that's pretty dodgy. Well, I guess I'd better be more careful of his reviews in future.

Is there actually any reliable source of information and reviews on the net that focuses on wargames?

MMcGlumphy
03-13-2010, 12:06 PM
Is there actually any reliable source of information and reviews on the net that focuses on wargames?

I read the opinions on the comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical newsgroup for general grognard discussions about the games that release. Granted, they are a picky, ranty lot. Here's the Google reader link...

http://groups.google.com/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical/topics?hl=en&gvc=2

skyride
03-13-2010, 12:53 PM
Thanks for the impressions. I'm convinced enough to give it a try as soon as I finish my current playlist.

Incendiary Lemon
03-13-2010, 05:05 PM
Night battles are fantastic. Your spotting range drops to about nothing which makes offensive movements, chancy.

The Germans were attempting to move into a small village I was defending. It was quite small, shaped like an L with a road running parallel to it. A frozen creek bounded two sides of it which effectively blocked off that approach. Infantry could cross the ice but tanks and APCs were forced through two very narrow choke points. The primary attack would come along the road where it turned into the town.

They didn't see my positions until they were almost onto of them. A column of APCs was moving slowly down the road headlights on. In a minute they were driving past the infantry I dug in alongside the road. My troops let loose with moltov cocktails which sent the open top APCs up in flames.

The Germans scrambled to get a picture of my positions. Illumination flares started dropping in. With their troops hopeless caught up in my defensive lines artillery support was impossible. It was fun to watch, burning wrecks everywhere. German soldiers sprinting for cover. Tracer rounds skipping across the snow. The whump of my AT gun hammering the tanks as they sped across the plain towards the road and the battlefield.

If I fought that same engagement in daylight the Germans would have been far more successful. The APCs would have opened up with MGs at a range, the HQ unit would have called in artillery, and while I may have been able to fight them off I would have suffered heavy casualties in the process.

JaguarUSF
03-13-2010, 05:51 PM
Never forget that James Allen is the guy who gave a perfect score to CM: Shock Force and failed to mention that he had worked on the game

"Worked on the game," huh?

Actually, I did a couple of maps using the beta editor while doing the preview that were included in the final build. That's all.

Please get your facts straight before resorting to slander. Thank you.

Kalle
03-13-2010, 07:36 PM
You know, working on the game would make giving CM:SF a perfect score understandable. It would still be bad, but I could see the logic in the decision. If that wasn't the case then I can only assume that truly awful judgement was at play.

tiohn
03-13-2010, 07:41 PM
"Worked on the game," huh?

Actually, I did a couple of maps using the beta editor while doing the preview that were included in the final build. That's all.

Please get your facts straight before resorting to slander. Thank you.

That sounds like you worked on it to me. Your work was featured in the final product. Either way, my point is that you should have mentioned that in your review.

Peter Frazier
03-14-2010, 01:32 AM
I had a quick go of this and have been left with a luke-warm impression. I had a night skirmish playing as the Germans. Most of it involved running around blind trying to find the Soviet forces. I wiped out a few squads and spent a few minutes chasing another squad Benny Hill style around the map.
The interface didn't feel too responsive and I felt limited in being able to quickly orient myself and zoom in like the Total War series. The music is truly awful, one tune sounded like a synth demo made by an untalented youth. Trying to escape the music, my way out to the options menu forced me to end the game so there's an NKVD battalion that's grateful to the composer.
Is there a way to increase the scale of units, much as combat mission allowed? Otherwise it suffers from the SupCom2 problem where you are basically zoomed out playing with icons.

moss_icon
03-14-2010, 01:53 AM
the game is not good at quick impressions.

smithcorp
03-14-2010, 07:24 PM
I'm really enjoying this game, though I like the tactical aspect better than the strategic part (I'm better at tactical than strategic). It has a learning curve for sure and would really benefit from a Wiki. By browsing different forums its possible to find out how most things work (or are supposed to work), but the manual is extremely light on and the tooltips and UI are of limited use, or take some getting used to.

Night battles are fantastic and this is the first game of this type I've found that features them. I like the dumb luck of a halftrack that brushes past some of my ambushes and manages to get right into my position and I like that I cant give really specific orders.

I'm like some vodka swilling Ruski shouting "attack, retreat, defend" without any nuance and then waiting to see what happens, rather than telling individual soldiers to fire at other individual soldiers. It's nice too to see the AI retreat when things go bad, rather than throwing everything at you like in Theatre of War.

smith

belgerog
03-17-2010, 03:39 PM
By browsing different forums its possible to find out how most things work (or are supposed to work), but the manual is extremely light on and the tooltips and UI are of limited use, or take some getting used to.

smith

Could you link to some forums with tips and guides? I played and won two battles but I don't know if I understand what's happening. Not very hard when you have a tank and your enemy has almost no AT guns.

moss_icon
03-17-2010, 04:21 PM
the early battles in the first operation are easy. unfortunately in my third one i had APCs vs T-34s, and things were never the same.

Kalle
03-17-2010, 04:30 PM
Heh, that was my first battle. T-34's massacred my first APC squad that I had dismounted in the woods but one of the tanks threw a track in the terrain. The remaining two tanks rolled up to the tiny village where I had put two squads of pioneers thinking, mistakenly, that they would have some decent hand-held AT weapons. Mines, molotvs, something! This was not the case but one tank rolled past a house where the occupants managed to shoot off a fuel line or something so the crew was forced to bail. The remaning tank shot up a pioneer APC but otherwise did fuck-all. Then the battle ended.

It was a clusterfuck and I had no idea what the hell I was doing or that the damn tanks could engage so quickly and spot dismounted infantry in the woods so easily, but the battle ended with two disabled tanks at the price of one and a half squads of infantry and a minor loss as the tanks had taken a bunch of VP locations around the village.

Strollen
03-17-2010, 04:46 PM
the game is not good at quick impressions.


I download the demo and had the same impression. I really liked the Combat Mission series and while this is clearly a similar game, the lack of instruction put it on the too hard category.

I remember downloading the Combat Mission demo and while it also was a complicated game, the demo had enough instructions/hand holding to get me started, and I quickly bought it

At $20 Panzer-Achtung would be a no-brainer purchase if I had any confidence that I could figure out how the game works. If anybody has contact with the developers, please tell them to develop some document and tutorial for the demo. I'll give it one much shot if they do that.

MrCoffee
03-17-2010, 04:59 PM
Doing a quick google you can find the manual, Linky (http://www.videogamer.com/pc/achtung_panzer_kharkov_1943/download/AchtungPanzer_Manual_English.html)

smithcorp
03-18-2010, 05:42 PM
Could you link to some forums with tips and guides? I played and won two battles but I don't know if I understand what's happening. Not very hard when you have a tank and your enemy has almost no AT guns.

Hmm, not enough posts yet to post links. I'll PM you the info I was trying to post and attempt to get my post count up!

smithcorp
03-18-2010, 06:05 PM
Okay, some lateral thinking about posting these links:

Sure. The two developer/publisher forums are here and contain many gems scattered around the threads, mostly elicited in response to player questions (put http in front of the next two):
forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=494

graviteam.com/forum/index.php?board=3.0

Another good source is the Wargamer forum here (again a few threads):

wargamer.com/forums/tt.aspx?forumid=110 (put www in front)

And finally, some great information and experiences at this excellent blog:

kriegsimulation.blogspot.com/ (http etc in front)

The manual isn't really up to much (I've read it a few times and it seems to only scratch the surface) - I've learned most by reading other players' experiences and playing the game. Lots of mysteries still.

smith

MrCoffee
03-18-2010, 07:20 PM
Hmm, not enough posts yet to post links. I'll PM you the info I was trying to post and attempt to get my post count up!

Just post a lot of dino pictures and you will have the necessary post count in minutes.

Lake
03-19-2010, 06:33 AM
Okay, some lateral thinking about posting these links:

Sure. The two developer/publisher forums are here and contain many gems scattered around the threads, mostly elicited in response to player questions (put http in front of the next two):
forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=494

graviteam.com/forum/index.php?board=3.0

Another good source is the Wargamer forum here (again a few threads):

wargamer.com/forums/tt.aspx?forumid=110 (put www in front)

And finally, some great information and experiences at this excellent blog:

kriegsimulation.blogspot.com/ (http etc in front)

The manual isn't really up to much (I've read it a few times and it seems to only scratch the surface) - I've learned most by reading other players' experiences and playing the game. Lots of mysteries still.

smith

Making it easier.


http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=494

http://graviteam.com/forum/index.php?board=3.0

http://wargamer.com/forums/tt.aspx?forumid=110

http://kriegsimulation.blogspot.com/

belgerog
03-19-2010, 06:11 PM
Okay, some lateral thinking about posting these links:

[...]

Lots of mysteries still.

smith

Thanks! Lake too.

Yeah, I think this game suffers a lot from lack of documentation. I tried creating a simple scenario, that at least lets you put the units you want on the battelfield and try their abilities out. You can also control weather conditions, etc. I'm sure someone will make a good guide soon.

Brian Rucker
01-06-2011, 06:25 AM
Aha, I have found the proper Achtung Panzer thread after needlessly shitting up the CM: Normandy one!

Okay, questions.

How do observers and spotters work? I know these both work with off-board assets (not arty that's on the map for example) but I'm not sure how to call in strikes. It can't be a simple "shoot over there" command, can it, because then if I selected the whole platoon I'd be calling in support whether or not I needed it? I tried using my aircraft spotter on some Russian infantry positions the other night but all he did was shoot his half-track's MG. Could have been the weather, it was snowing, but it seems odd there's not a special button for calling in off-board assets. At least not one I could find.

Otherwise I'm having a blast. This "no fiddly bits", micro-managing, approach to combat works for me. Things move quickly but are granular enough to make for dramatic situations at a human scale. The 1-to-1 scale for maps and troops, and the huge size of some of the arenas, make for combat maneuvering with a point and purpose. The sense that the operational map is merely an extension of the tactical one creates more logical and varied scenarios on the fly.

The graphics are fantastic for this kind of game too. I always liked CM's we-go system but real time, when scales are this big, works fine as well. Even better because the scale of the battle is so large. I just wish there were some way to play battles back and see all the things you missed when things got hairy.

Eric Majkut
01-06-2011, 07:40 AM
I recently picked this up and I'm not sure what to think. Graphically it's really nice and I love the depth of the simulation, but holy crap is the interface awful. I'm CONSTANTLY frustrated by having to fight with the camera, fight with the controls, etc. Also, combat is over way too fast. In Combat Mission, units slug it out for a while to allow for things to unfold a bit. In this it seems like one unit wipes out or routes another within a minute of contact every time.

Also, who makes a game like this and doesn't include a proper tutorial? It's inexcusable. And don't tell me the half assed text boxes that pop up are a "tutorial". :P

Brian Rucker
01-06-2011, 08:28 AM
The camera is odd and inconsistent.

The best way I've found to handle everything is by organizing my troops at the get go, similar to how I handled setting up in CM. Just lay 'em out squad by squad, in a line, for each platoon. You learn quickly what you have.

Then you look at the map and decide where you need to go, what you need to defend, how the landscape is laid out, where the enemy is likely to go and so forth.

By the time you're done with this the camera is going to be less of a problem. You won't be thinking in terms of compass directions but objectives and units which you can readily identify and orient yourself with. Use the shortcut to toggle between units and "Q" to zoom in on one. Now you can pan around using the <- and -> keys. Toggle "Q" off to slide right and left with the arrows or to move around freely.

Sounds hinky but in practice it works pretty well for me.

The battles only seem longer in CM, I think, because it's that much slower in play. You have more time to review the "We-Go" turn in movie mode. I kinda like that too. You don't miss out on all the drama going on. However, it also is pretty crazy unrealistic. No commander can really be everywhere at once like that.

But a playback after the battle would be great!

Incendiary Lemon
01-06-2011, 09:36 AM
How do observers and spotters work?

Select the spotter, and click on the target.

There are a few wrinkles though. First it takes time for the guns to reset. It will take five minutes the first time but once they're zeroed in they can respond much more quickly.

LOS is also crucial. You can blind fire, just clicking on the target, but your arty is far more accurate when the observers have a direct LOS to the target.

You can't always pull that off though and so the best way around that is patience. There will be a green flash on the minimap indicating where the shells are about to fall. If it's wrong or off target you can quickly readjust by selecting fire support again and clicking on the target. After a try or two you'll get something that's pretty close.

-

FYI - Pressing the middle mouse button will allow you to adjust the camera on the fly.

flyinj
01-06-2011, 10:03 AM
So, I picked this up again yesterday as I'd lost my physical copy. I'm having a crazy problem. Whenever I go into a tactical battle, I get no graphics at all except unit text labels.

I installed patch #7E, disabled HDR and checked hide desktop, and still I only get text labels and no graphics when going into a tactical battle.

I'm at a loss of what to do

System:

2.6 quad core
5770 with latest drivers
Win7 64 4 gig

Pumpkinhead
01-06-2011, 10:52 AM
Could be a video card specific issue. I have Win 7 with a 5770 and have the same problem.

Tim James
01-06-2011, 11:12 AM
The second thing I always do for something like that is to downgrade my video card driver by one or two versions.

Eduardo X
01-06-2011, 11:34 AM
Are the binoculars on? If so, turn them off and see if that fixes it.

flyinj
01-06-2011, 11:52 AM
Do binoculars default to on? I'll check that when I get home

malchior
01-06-2011, 12:40 PM
From the readme from Patch 7e --


Attention! The patch requires DirectX February 2010 update to function correctly.
Please update your DirectX version from here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2da43d38-db71-4c1b-bc6a-9b6652cd92a3&displayLang=en

Perhaps that is part of the problem?

Edit: If you install 5.17 it installs the February update...

Brian Rucker
01-07-2011, 07:03 AM
Just started the Russian intro scenario. Both my German intro playthroughs were interesting, varied, and fun but tended towards outright slaughter. I always seemed to have the edge in numbers, expertise and, obviously, firepower. Using basic tactics, and a little aggressive creativity, the AI was usually on the run.

Playing defense is much more challenging and it seems Achtung Panzer is almost better suited for that given the ability to accelerate time. Instead of putzing around after setting up you can just let things rip until there's a contact or event you want to respond to. The Germans do some interesting and unexpected maneuvering. Given the size of the maps in many encounters this is actually meaningful.

When I was playing the Germans I'd often take what would seem like the obvious route to a target, heedless of ambush threats, because I wanted to get there quickly or without having to go off-road and risk getting my unit tangled up in terrain or having to deal with malfunctions. I think I lost more units to trees, fences and sheds than to Russian AT efforts.

That makes ambushing a real possibility rather than some obvious positioning on a small map which is always anticipated. There's so much territory out there to defend that a player can rationalize, often correctly, that perhaps the defenders have set up somewhere else so the risk is worth it.

The AI seems to do the same thing. It will roll along towards objectives fairly aggressively but not at all predictably. This makes guessing where an attack is coming from a big part of the game. Then you have to factor in what you need to defend, how you're going to try to mutually support your platoons or if that's even possible given the other considerations, how much to place on possible routes of ambush or approach, how much to put into deeper defense, whether you really want to use all available units or preserve some out of the line of fire, etc.

I had a really dramatic skirmish last night. A German recon platoon was probing around the outskirts of a city. I had three infantry platoons I could have positioned aggressively around the obvious approach but I didn't want to fatigue them all or burn up ammunition and men. This is going to be a long siege.

So I set up two platoons around objectives in the rear, in case the Germans maneuvered around my forward positions, and set one up to ambush the armored scouts on the most obvious route into the city. I did borrow a second AT gun from a reserve platoon however and set that up with the main forward group (along with two infantry squads and a commander) on a heavily wooded knoll that loomed over a split in the road.

Two other squads was set up in a treeline nearby with the second commander of the forward platoon.

The Germans split up and immediately, out of sight in this night-time encounter, began grabbing unclaimed flags nearby. I didn't dare move even though it looked as if my forward position was about to be both bypassed and flanked. Well, it was a gamble. And I did have my reserves in position to my rear. And then I heard them. Half-track engines, the clatter of tracks, faint voices shouting commands in German. Headlight beams cut through the trees ahead as a pair of scout vehicles with the troops still mounted up rolled right into my ambush.

The AT guns opened up and blew the lead vehicle away. Small arms fire killed the whole unit as the other killed its lights and reversed away. One boisterous Russian squad ignored the orders to hold their position and charged down on the burning wreck to kill anything that moved. Nothing did. So they gamely trotted back up the hill and settled down.

The next hour was cat and mouse as the outlaying German units converged on my forward position from different directions. The AT-crews got a workout hauling the guns from one side of the knoll to the other as the rumble of engines and tracks came from here, and then there, then over here again. Two more half-tracks and a scout car were destroyed in the scattered assaults. The flickering, menacing, fire from the first kill illuminated the scene and became a key reference point as I oriented to the numerous threats.

At one point things quieted down enough that the split off squads had a chance to counter-attack and try to retake a German held flag nearby. They snuck through the woods and silently reclaimed it. Taking up defensive positions.

Just as the clock for the battle was winding down the Germans counter-attacked my advance. Two more halftracks, this time with lights out and crews dismounted, rumbled down the forest path. It was a pitched fight. My men were unable to harm the half-tracks, even when a hidden Ruskie managed to lob not one but three molotovs at one nearby - they just splashed off its external armored hide. However my defensively positioned riflemen did make short work of the dismounted scouts. Soon the demoralized half-tracks drove off in a hurry.

The skirmish ended up as a minor victory for me. No territory lost as the Germans had to retreat.

Lum
01-07-2011, 08:59 AM
Things I learned from this thread necro:

People... still post on Usenet?

Brian Rucker
01-08-2011, 04:46 AM
Seemed better to be posting about Achtung Panzer in the Achtung Panzer thread. A momentary lapse in judgment on my part I guess?

Anyhow, I'm constantly surprised by how all the moving parts come together here. And that it's so kinetically fun while also being a hyper-realistic, but not over complicated, simulation of company level (though each individual soldier is rendered if not directly controlled) WWII warfare. It may not have as many toys in the box but it's just starting out.

I can't believe I didn't pick up on this sooner. When I look around the 'net I find scattered AARs and forum threads, and a handful of reviews, but nothing like the attention AP should have gotten.

Eduardo X
01-08-2011, 07:56 AM
With it's $20 price tag, I think people just didn't think it was gonna be good, like it deserved to be a budget release.

I'm still having trouble getting into it, especially with its non-NATO counters.

Brian Rucker
01-08-2011, 09:48 AM
There are only a handful of unit types. I didn't find that too hard to sort out. What is difficult for me, still, are the camera controls (I keep hitting the wrong ones or get all turned around) and how the controls work together.

For example, the command "Don't Fire" is actually "Hide". This is how you get your guys to go prone behind cover. They'll do that automatically, of course, if someone's shooting at them but otherwise this is the command to issue.

How does an Ambush work? Use "Don't Fire" then just wait for something to get close and they'll automatically spring it. And/or set up very narrow arcs of fire so they'll only engage targets approaching from a certain direction that get close. And/or use the Priority Target command so they'll (probably - depending on unit experience) wait for a specific target to get close and shoot at that first.

How do I get my guys to take cover in buildings? Use the Defend command, toggle Mount (as you would if they were getting in a vehicle), and let them run around until they find comfy spots.

Now the AI will often get guys into buildings nearby on its own but not always. If you want to be specific you sometimes have to be.

Then there are the basic movement commands, Attack (there), Defend (there) and Move (there), and the conditional modifiers ( (use) Roads, (use) Cover and Quick (ly)). I wouldn't have known if I hadn't read it in an interview that the AI gets more rope to maneuver with Attack than Move, for example, and is more likely to pick its own targets or find cover.

And then there's another confusing part in that you need to expand to advanced options (a tiny little green arrow) every time to get access to all the button commands you might want.

Also, the commands selected by default when you switch between units don't reflect the unit's current orders. They're showing you the last orders you issued.

You have to issue a movement command (to somewhere) in order for new conditions to take precedence. Just clicking the Attack button doesn't do anything. You need to specify where you want them to attack.

If you want the AI to react to an immediate threat the best bet is the "Cancel Orders" button which drops conditions and orders. The AI will react anyhow, to some extent, but will still be trying to move to an objective as it fights. Often I find myself using "Cancel Orders" if I stumble into an ambush or find a target of opportunity.

Not all of this is obvious stuff. But you can figure it out if you check different forums, read some badly translated guides and interviews, or just mess around with it yourself.

Still, the actual game itself? Not complicated and actually very, very, intuitive and logical. It's the interface that's the hurdle.

Someone needs, badly, to write up a strategy/tips guide in English. Maybe when the expansion/sequel Operation Star comes out?

belgerog
01-13-2011, 11:04 AM
I've got back to this game recently, I got it when it came out but didn't play much back then.

This is probably due to the fact that I'm very much a newbie when it comes to wargames, but I have trouble figuring out what's going on in the game, and how to actually have your units do what you want them to do. I've just read Brian's post above, and had no idea of most of those things. The only thing I had figured out is that the selected formation only takes effect when you give a move order. Before that I thought every platoon had to have the same formation.

I tend to like when strategy games give you a clear way to do actions, as well as clear feedback on what happens when your units attempt the actions. I also like when there's imperfect information in a game. Those two things might seem contradictory, but having played CM:BB, I think it's possible to have both.

Because of the we-go system, you can have a better idea of what's going on and act accordingly, and perhaps more importantly, know why something you did was a good choice or not. This works very well with subordinate AIs, as they'll react by themselves and avoid excessive micro, but you'll also know what's happening. It really helped me understand the game's system and play accordingly instead of vaguely giving orders and trying to make sense of what happens.

I get that it's not realistic at all, that probably a lot what actually happens in battle is outside the control of a commander, but I guess that's too much realism for me, and I'd rather have more input.

Of course, I think I must have played only around 5 tactical battles or so, and I haven't read the manual, so these are only my initial impressions. I'll come back to it having read the tips above. Still, in CM I "got" the game faster.

IndridCold
01-13-2011, 01:38 PM
Really, really want to like this game, but I've so far only tried the demo and it isn't completely grabbing me yet. Based on posts here and on other forums, it seems the full game is far better than the demo.

Some potentially useful things I have managed to figure out though:

1. Turn on "tutorial mode" on your profile by opening the profiles box at the operations screen and clicking on the box at the bottom of the dialog that has a question mark in it. Once that's turned on, some useful tooltips appear describing many of the UI buttons and features.

2. Press and Hold the 'Z' key to pan the camera with your mouse.

3. Press and Hold the 'C' key to rotate the camera with your mouse.

I think I'm going to spend some more time with this...I really think there is a great game behind a somewhat obtuse UI.

Brian Rucker
01-13-2011, 01:55 PM
It's Close Combat but with actual ballistic modeling. And some stuff that seems weird or buggy is actually just a poorly explained feature (or at least poorly explained via the manual - I didn't notice the tutorial!). I remember one Q&A I translated through Google from French or Russian where a guy was asking why his LoS/LoF indicator was red when his guys could shoot at a target. Turns out that the indicator looks at all the guys in a squad and tells you, on average, whether they can see a location. In reality each pair of eyes checks independently and might spot something the rest of the squad can't. Sometimes things that don't even show up long enough to get spotted by the player might be seen by a trooper or tanker in time for them to get a shot off.

It's a quirky game but since CC I haven't played a tactical wargame that got my blood flowing the same way as AP does.

Janster
01-15-2011, 10:29 PM
Having serious problems with this game :(
I can accept that its hard to move tanks and vehicles in forest, but in open land, I expect them to go where I say, and face where I want them too, instead its almost hopeless to make my vehicles do what I want.

Severe pathfinding and unit AI problems, but concept is very fun tho.

Incendiary Lemon
01-16-2011, 12:18 AM
I expect them to go where I say, and face where I want them too, instead its almost hopeless to make my vehicles do what I want.

It's certainly an issue, can I ask though... are you using the Attack or the Move command? Move forces them to follow your orders. If you choose Attack they're alarming independent.



2. Press and Hold the 'Z' key to pan the camera with your mouse.

3. Press and Hold the 'C' key to rotate the camera with your mouse.

I think the easiest way to manipulate the camera is with the middle mouse button. Hold it down and you can twist the camera every which way like any conventional RTS. WASD will also let you move the camera along the cardinal points.

The button layout is generally something else but you do get use to it fairly quickly. I love the armor diagram you can pull up though... will your 45mm Artillery Gun penetrate a PZIII at 1000 meters? Plug it in and find out.




It's a quirky game but since CC I haven't played a tactical wargame that got my blood flowing the same way as AP does.

Seconded, I must have played a dozen spiritual sequels but none got this much right or for that matter even bettered Close Combat.

Janster
01-16-2011, 03:12 AM
I am confused on how these different commands work, attack move , take cover move, regular move, I do agree that regular move yields best results.
However, the tanks are seriously hard to get to do what you want when you want them to do small move corrections.
One last thing...accuracy, seriously, the tanks fire on the enemy and they use HE shots, and miss terribly... And we're not just talking about small misses, no, they fire haplessly into elevations in terrain, or they really just miss enormously, to the point that the turret could not possibly have fired and hit in such a manner, the shell would have to have made a 45 degree turn mid flight.

Ohwell, I will play some more and see, I really love the sustained campaigns.

Brian Rucker
01-16-2011, 04:45 AM
I am confused on how these different commands work, attack move , take cover move, regular move, I do agree that regular move yields best results.

Look for the little green Up arrow on the top right of the UI pane. Now you're going to see many more options for how to organize your unit. Take special notice of the column, line and irregular formation options and under them the choice of single, double or triple column or lines.

When you seeing vehicles doing some crazy stuff odds are they're trying to get into a formation you don't even realize exists if you haven't expanded your options. The defaults are a single column for move orders and a single row for attack orders (normal dispersion).

Often I'll find myself picking the irregular formation when time is of the essence in the middle of a fight. This way your troops and vehicles immediately start trying to fight towards or move into a spot without dancing around and getting arranged.

That said, the downside of irregular formations is that you might have units exposing themselves without supporting fire or driving off-road and into potential trouble as they rush towards a goal.

Other things to look at are the conditions of movement. Cover and Use Road will sometimes have units behaving in ways that seem odd as they try to get organized (see above) while following orders.

Cover is really interesting. Units may seem to be moving in completely the wrong direction but, get down to ground level, and look around. They're probably using elevation to block LOS to the target. I've had tanks running at 90 degrees to where I thought they'd go because they wanted to get as close as possible, under cover of a barely perceptible rise in terrain, to the target before being seen.

Edit: Infantry may use elevation like that, though I haven't seen it, but they're more likely to find other kinds of cover more acceptable like trees or ditches. So in effect, telling a unit to "move under cover" may mean different things depending on whether you're talking about infantry or vehicles.


However, the tanks are seriously hard to get to do what you want when you want them to do small move corrections.

The idea of the game is that you're issuing general orders not individually commanding units. I've seen the developer answer questions along these lines say, "If your whole battle's success depends on the precise placement or destruction of an individual unit, your strategy has bigger problems." For the most part AI does a surprisingly smart job but there are times it doesn't. I tend to chalk that up to an inexperienced crew though sometimes, well, even the best AIs have brain farts.


One last thing...accuracy, seriously, the tanks fire on the enemy and they use HE shots, and miss terribly... And we're not just talking about small misses, no, they fire haplessly into elevations in terrain, or they really just miss enormously, to the point that the turret could not possibly have fired and hit in such a manner, the shell would have to have made a 45 degree turn mid flight.

I haven't seen that yet. The developers based this engine on a tank sim so all the physics, supposedly, are based on individual shells and trajectories. There's not, say, a separate "to hit" and second "'scatter" roll or something that would account for what you're talking about.

Edit: There might have been something else going on at the same time. Other more distant units firing? Some unseen infantry unit lobbing a grenade? It's also possible that the turret animation isn't syncing correctly. But, like I said, I haven't seen that yet.

Edit2: Oh, I know! The crew may be shooting at units they can see but which haven't been exposed enough to show up on your monitor yet. Sometimes there won't seem to be a target a tank's decided to shoot at (seeming to ignore my preferred targets) and it takes a few moments for enough of them to be "seen" (often as dead bodies when they are) and rendered.


Ohwell, I will play some more and see, I really love the sustained campaigns.

Hang in there. I'd be playing now but for LoTRO. Trying to keep up with the Jonses (level grind) over there is sucking down all my free time.

Janster
01-16-2011, 07:40 AM
Thank you for the cleanup :)

I had a suspicion I was not to micro in this game, it seemed eventually that I'm more in general command...so I agree on that.

I will try to use more generalised approach and see what happens, also I have noticed and used the formations tab a tad.

Your idea of them shooting at things I haven't seen might be a very valid idea, I would suspect they are shooting at suspected enemy rather than confirmed then.

Fair enough, also your taste in games is really varied, I wasn't expecting to get tips from a Lotro fan ;)

Wife has been trying to make me play, but last time I tried I ended up shuffling mail in hobbitville....

Brian Rucker
01-16-2011, 10:15 AM
*laughs* Wargaming, roleplaying, back in the day it was barely a leap from one to the other for us old timers.

Incendiary Lemon
01-16-2011, 12:02 PM
FYI: For whatever reason you can't place infantry in houses during the deployment phase. Make sure you go back and order them to take cover as soon as the battle starts. Houses are generally the best cover available; They offer solid protection against air burst shells and your soldiers are largely undetectable once they're inside.