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  #1  
Old July 28th, 2022, 08:59 PM

ctcharger ctcharger is offline
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Beer Just rebooted this game and wow!

I have been playing the boardgame MBT by GMT PBEM style using VASSAL and while I like it, it is getting a bit much doing everything manual. I have had this game for a while but didn't play it much. I decided this time I would actually read the release notes and wow! Much has changed! So I read the rules and played 2 battle scenarios based on Scenario 1 and 2 from MBT. Had a great time, the fog of war is just great and how the units interact with enemy units is great to watch. The AI let an APC get within 2 hexes before it started shooting. My Dragon team nailed it though the next turn. I had a T-72 get hit numerous times for NE. However, it turned and fled which was a mistake. Getting shot at from guys in woods you can't see, enemy tanks nailing my guys on the first shot, but then my guys started hitting on the first shot and I actually held the field but taking too many losses. The huge advantage is that I played these out in maybe 90 minutes. I especially like the opportunity fire updates that are available. I need to explore that more closely especially if I play against real people.

I did have one question, is it possible to click on a hex and check LOS from it? I know I can do it if I have someone there but not just an empty hex or an enemy occupied hex.
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Old July 29th, 2022, 03:42 PM

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Thumbs up Re: Just rebooted this game and wow!

One the major benefits I see is switching Nationalities. The Canadian units deployed to West Germany have an interesting organization. It's a simple matter to click their flag and off you go. I also like being able to select the units purchased for both sides. Not so great for fog of war in that regard but knowing that the AI will be playing with a realistic organization is worth it and not that unrealistic. And who doesn't like playing with British tanks?!?
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Old July 30th, 2022, 07:39 AM

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Default Re: Just rebooted this game and wow!

Played a Soviet advance against the Canadians in 1987 using the German countryside map. Great fun, fought them to a draw but took heavy losses. I swear one Soviet T-55 could not miss, sheesh. For me, the Delay mission is the hardest, how long do you hang in there and when do you retreat. Great challenge. I can see a campaign game making the game even more realistic. Watching the Soviets chase down my crews was tough to watch, if we were playing a campaign, I would have to fight to keep those guys alive and get them off the map. Many historical battles happen that way for one reason or another.

Now I am off to see how the British do against the rampaging Soviets.
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Old August 19th, 2022, 05:28 PM

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Default Re: Just rebooted this game and wow!

"WOW!" is a common commit among players that have returned to the game. I myself haven't played in quite awhile, looking forward to playing again. I took a leave of absence for almost a year because my computer broke down. Not only that but I got sick of the cheating A/I. I thought the A/I was pretty good until it started cheating. Probably wasn't the poor old A/I's fault, it was probably poor sportsmanship on my part.
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Old August 20th, 2022, 01:02 PM
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Exclamation Re: Just rebooted this game and wow!

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Originally Posted by Dion View Post
"WOW!" is a common commit among players that have returned to the game. I myself haven't played in quite awhile, looking forward to playing again. I took a leave of absence for almost a year because my computer broke down. Not only that but I got sick of the cheating A/I. I thought the A/I was pretty good until it started cheating. Probably wasn't the poor old A/I's fault, it was probably poor sportsmanship on my part.
I will explain this again for what feels like the 10,00th time

The game IS NOT CODED TO CHEAT

Is that clear enough?

The game takes all the variables of experience, morale, suppression, whether one side or the other or both have moved and a host of other factors and what happens in the game is determined by the games randon number generator.

It's not entirely random. A highly experienced unsuppressed unit that has not moved has GENERALLY a better chance of hitting their target than a low experience unit that has just moved ( for example )

BUT

S**t happens in the game just like RL and sometimes "impossible" things can happen as I recall from a Squad Leader game played ( it seems like ) EONS ago. My opponent moved his leader onto a road to retrieve a MG and I took a long shot that required either a roll of snake eyes or boxcars ( I forget which )....... but that's what I rolled

He was NOT happy

S**t happens

The randon number generator is what has kept people playing SP for a quarter century.

If you save a game then play out the turn then load the save game and play out the turn again you will not get 100% the same results and SOMETIMES your get lucky with the random number generator against the AI ( and nobody complains about that )...... and sometimes the same thing happens for the AI
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Old August 20th, 2022, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Just rebooted this game and wow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dion View Post
"WOW!" is a common commit among players that have returned to the game. I myself haven't played in quite awhile, looking forward to playing again. I took a leave of absence for almost a year because my computer broke down. Not only that but I got sick of the cheating A/I. I thought the A/I was pretty good until it started cheating. Probably wasn't the poor old A/I's fault, it was probably poor sportsmanship on my part.
I have been playing as well as coding the games for 20+ odd years now, and so would by now have twigged any such cheat code if it existed.

Now the original MSDOS SSI code (SP1, 2 and so on) acually did have a little cheat for the AI artillery, which we found and deleted. That cheat code would teleport artillery strikes to a slightly "better" impact zone much nearer your troops if they were spotted by it and the arty was about to fall nearby but not quite near enough. Again, all gone now in our games since we got rid of that original bit of SSI DOS code ages ago.

Additionally, the SSI code used your actual troop positions as a hint matrix for plotting any pre-game stonks, so those tended to land mostly inside or nearby the area you had deployed inside (and yes, having everyone sitting at say the South of the map with a spotter waay off in the North, totally messed with that algorithm!). Not there now, our AI plot uses randomness and things like road junctions, objective hexes and the intended assault axis of advance etc in its arty plotting and has since we got the DOS code and found that and culled it.

There was also a bit of code in the AI routines which it used to decide things like whether to drop off its passengers, or maybe to stop for now based on nearness of enemy units. That worked even on non-spotted enemy, but not now - it only responds based on known enemy units nearby. No more "AI spidey sense"!

And finally The old SSI AI buy routine bought some troops for the AI that came for free (but would be worth VP if killed of course) - typically a mortar and an AA/SPAA section, not much but the old SSI games were only 100 units each or whatever. Now replaced naturally, the AI only has the correct points to spend in our versions of the games.

So - what exactly are these "cheats" the AI allegedly does?

I'd really like to know, so it could be addressed, if real.
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Old August 21st, 2022, 06:54 PM

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Default Re: Just rebooted this game and wow!

It was one step ahead of me for every turn for about a year. I can understand for a game or two, but every game for about a year? It may have been my computer or an incredible coincidence, as it was happening with other games too. I think the sun had something to do with it, because when I got pissed everything in my apartment that the sun was shinning on, stopped working. Either that or it was an act of god, because like I say, it happened with other games too. I hope it didn't sound like I was complaining because a real good A\I is a lot better than a poor A\I. The A\I is very realistic, I just have to pretend I'm playing an opponent with a lot of experience.
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Old August 21st, 2022, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: Just rebooted this game and wow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobhack View Post
Now the original MSDOS SSI code (SP1, 2 and so on) acually did have a little cheat for the AI artillery...

Additionally, the SSI code used your actual troop positions as a hint matrix for plotting any pre-game stonks...

There was also a bit of code in the AI routines which it used to decide things like whether to drop off its passengers, or maybe to stop for now based on nearness of enemy units...
Are there any other "war stories" you can tell us?

I can't help but wonder if the AI cheating in the old SSI code was due to:

A.) Not enough CPU cycles in 1995 to do an AI that did a lot of deep thinking -- the SP2 reqs were for a 486 DX/2 66 MHz -- but I think it was "kinda sorta" playable on 386s.

B.) Not enough time to code everything, remember the team also had to now make OBAT files for fifty years (1950-2000) for about two dozen nations; in an era before the internet.
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Old August 21st, 2022, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: Just rebooted this game and wow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSheppard View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobhack View Post
Now the original MSDOS SSI code (SP1, 2 and so on) acually did have a little cheat for the AI artillery...

Additionally, the SSI code used your actual troop positions as a hint matrix for plotting any pre-game stonks...

There was also a bit of code in the AI routines which it used to decide things like whether to drop off its passengers, or maybe to stop for now based on nearness of enemy units...
Are there any other "war stories" you can tell us?

I can't help but wonder if the AI cheating in the old SSI code was due to:

A.) Not enough CPU cycles in 1995 to do an AI that did a lot of deep thinking -- the SP2 reqs were for a 486 DX/2 66 MHz -- but I think it was "kinda sorta" playable on 386s.

B.) Not enough time to code everything, remember the team also had to now make OBAT files for fifty years (1950-2000) for about two dozen nations; in an era before the internet.
Likely a shortcut to make the AI more competetive with restricted CPUs of the day and also memory. PBEM replay as I recollect was brought in as a patch to SP1 after a year or so and it required a hefty (for the day!) RAM upgrade to - IIRC - 2MB.

Those were the days when you had multiple MSDOS boots using different calls to HIMEM and other such routines (there was some other one than HIMEM) for handling of memory above 640K, sound card setups etc. And DR_DOS was briefly the king O/S over Microsofts since you could make a boot loader script that asked you which config.sys setup you wanted, Microsofts one (of the day) needed fiddling IIRC with config.sys(es) since it couldnt ask a question on bootup, so you had to have several on disk and renamed the file(s) and rebooted for the particular game (like Task Force 1942). And DR_DOS was cheaper than MSDOS as well if I remember it right.
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  #10  
Old August 22nd, 2022, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Just rebooted this game and wow!

[quote=Mobhack;853077]
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSheppard View Post
Likely a shortcut to make the AI more competetive with restricted CPUs of the day and also memory. PBEM replay as I recollect was brought in as a patch to SP1 after a year or so and it required a hefty (for the day!) RAM upgrade to - IIRC - 2MB.
Also, back then development cycles were severely compressed -- we've gotten used to games taking three or four years to be released today; something possible only because video game consoles took over enough of the market to force graphical stasis.

Back then, you might have a year or less to code a game. So shortcuts had to be taken.

Quote:
Those were the days when you had multiple MSDOS boots using different calls to HIMEM and other such routines (there was some other one than HIMEM) for handling of memory above 640K, sound card setups etc.
Now there's stuff I haven't heard in a long time...I do remember QEMM being the best for automagically moving everything into different areas to magically open up enough convnetional memory to run jst about everything with no need for boot disks.
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