Author Topic: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?  (Read 736 times)

JenniferinaMAD

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Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« on: 18 May 2017, 17:13:28 »
Is it possible to set a level of Forced Withdrawal for AI vehicles in between the full set of conditions and not using them at all?

In particular, my issue is with how easy it is to 'kill' Princess vehicles whenever FW is in effect through motive crits. (I play AtB campaigns). I like that vehicles get abandoned when things are bad, or there'd never be any salvage ever. But I don't really think they should be abandoned just because the wheels fell off. I think they should keep fighting until some other FW criteria is also met (armour breach, weapon loss, engine hit, maybe turret lock?).

The way I see it, an immobilised Behemoth with a few side armour dings isn't that much less dangerous than a pristine one (even though it is easier to hit), so why is it abandoned immediately?

I do like that motive crits are a thing, and in general prefer the TW rules to most of the TacOps changes. It's just this one issue (that otherwise fine tanks are abandoned) that bothers me.

Are there any options to fine tune this behaviour without changing too much else?


Snimm

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #1 on: 19 May 2017, 11:05:29 »
I don't think you can get that specific at this time.
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Kovax

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #2 on: 19 May 2017, 11:25:27 »
I've wondered the same thing: should a vehicle be abandoned as soon as it's immobilized, regardless of armor condition?  In my opinion, any vehicle should have a high chance of bailing if it's got less than 5 points of armor on any location or some other critical damage effect.  At that point, any further common Medium Laser or AC/5 hits will go internal, and the crew is likely to be annihilated one way or another, so getting out makes sense.  When you've got 40 points of armor in every location, and are still capable of keeping the enemy at bay with your own big guns, bailing and trusting in the protection of that sturdy starched uniform and a pistol doesn't seem like such a great alternative.

Ideally, having a LOW chance to bail if immobilized (re-checked each turn that the unit takes damage), but increasing drastically as armor is depleted below a certain threshold, would give a more realistic indication of crew morale.  I haven't checked to see if there's an official optional morale check already defined.

Also, I'd love to see some kind of optional threshold where an entire AI force would begin to fall back, rather than as an individual thing for crippled units.  The current options seem to be an all-or-nothing choice between having the force as a whole fight to the last functioning unit, or else abruptly forcing an unrealistic cease-fire at some specific condition.  If I'm "winning big" as a commander, I'm not about to let badly damaged enemy units simply walk, limp, or crawl away if I can help it, otherwise I'm probably going to end up fighting them again after they're repaired.  If I'm losing, I'm (generally) not going to fight to the death, but I'm probably not going to be able to negotiate a cease-fire that's far more valuable to me than to them, so I'm going to have to conduct a fighting retreat, if possible.  In my opinion, the AI should have to make the same decision, and withdraw whatever units it can under fire.

arlith

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #3 on: 19 May 2017, 15:25:32 »
There's really two different problems here.  First is, how does the bot handle withdrawing?  Right now, it's simply, "is the unit crippled or not?"  This relies completely upon the forced withdrawal rules in TW.  There's really no additional logic.  So, actually implementing some logic regarding morale and withdrawing for Princess is something that could be done.

Since Princess doesn't really have any withdrawal logic, it relies purely on the in  TW for determining if a unit is crippled.  There may be situations where these rules could use some tweaking, like with vehicles & motive hits.  I think that this is the quickest and easiest way to address the original problem.
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JenniferinaMAD

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #4 on: 19 May 2017, 18:06:36 »
It is possible for Princess to change the withdrawal status of a unit, and it is possible to manually set all units to be withdrawing from the get go.

So I would think, it is possible to add an additional check to set multiple units to withdraw during the game. The issue would be adding a trigger, be it with automatic checks or manual function calls for the chat window.

Speaking of which, can princess be adjusted during the game using chat commands? I.e. can its variables be changed like when first adding the bot? Or does some loading/compiling step require that this all be done beforehand?

BlueThing

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #5 on: 19 May 2017, 20:01:38 »
I've wondered the same thing: should a vehicle be abandoned as soon as it's immobilized, regardless of armor condition?  In my opinion, any vehicle should have a high chance of bailing if it's got less than 5 points of armor on any location or some other critical damage effect.  At that point, any further common Medium Laser or AC/5 hits will go internal, and the crew is likely to be annihilated one way or another, so getting out makes sense.  When you've got 40 points of armor in every location, and are still capable of keeping the enemy at bay with your own big guns, bailing and trusting in the protection of that sturdy starched uniform and a pistol doesn't seem like such a great alternative.

Ideally, having a LOW chance to bail if immobilized (re-checked each turn that the unit takes damage), but increasing drastically as armor is depleted below a certain threshold, would give a more realistic indication of crew morale.  I haven't checked to see if there's an official optional morale check already defined.

Also, I'd love to see some kind of optional threshold where an entire AI force would begin to fall back, rather than as an individual thing for crippled units.  The current options seem to be an all-or-nothing choice between having the force as a whole fight to the last functioning unit, or else abruptly forcing an unrealistic cease-fire at some specific condition.  If I'm "winning big" as a commander, I'm not about to let badly damaged enemy units simply walk, limp, or crawl away if I can help it, otherwise I'm probably going to end up fighting them again after they're repaired.  If I'm losing, I'm (generally) not going to fight to the death, but I'm probably not going to be able to negotiate a cease-fire that's far more valuable to me than to them, so I'm going to have to conduct a fighting retreat, if possible.  In my opinion, the AI should have to make the same decision, and withdraw whatever units it can under fire.
A couple of things:

1) I really like vehicles being abandoned when they are immobile. That is the correct behavior for the majority of vehicles, since they will be hit by effectively all incoming fire. Very heavily armored vehicles are the exception to this, but by and large I think it is better to assume abandoning than fighting as a default.

2) For campaigns, I've always played 3025 era as chivalric, with the ability to withdraw in exchange for leaving some salvage you might have taken off the field (or might have been destroyed by further combat). From a gameplay perspective, this can be negotiated between rounds. There are exceptions to this (e.g. Wolf's Dragoons versus Kurita), but I consider it the norm. From a winning the war perspective, this may not always be optimal, but from the perspective of units on the ground, the ability to receive quarter is a huge benefit. This is especially true for mercenaries, who can gain valuable salvage and avoid taking more damage.


JenniferinaMAD

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #6 on: 20 May 2017, 03:32:24 »
I'm certainly not asking for the current way to be removed, but the option to change it would be nice.

As it is, LBX cannons can far too easily render even medium to light tanks immobile without denting the armour all that much, nevermind anything not tracked, meaning even assault vees with FW on are a special kind of redshirt.

The mech crippling rules also deal less in how imminent their death is and more in how well they can still contribute.

E.g.: It takes two sensor crits to cause a mech to be crippled, when even one sensor crit very likely means your pilot could be killed by the very next SRM. The determining factor isn't that the pilot could die any second, but that the mech can't shoot anymore.

I think vehicle crippling rules should likewise focus more how much of its capabilities the vehicle has lost rather than how likely it is to die in the next volley. 

BLOODWOLF

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #7 on: 20 May 2017, 12:34:25 »
Pfarland had this question a while ago (modify princess' behavior/give her commands in MM) and Netzilla explained that you can only give her behavior commands if your on her team.  So if she's the opfor then she is just going to, "You are not my boss."

Kovax

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #8 on: 22 May 2017, 14:39:25 »
So far, the only way to handle a situation where the AI side is clearly beaten, and is in the process of being annihilated completely, is to kick the 'bot and replace them with one set on "Withdraw".  That's a manual decision by the player, and it would be a significant improvement, in my opinion, if one could set scenario conditions to set a threshold where that happens, and have it occur automatically.  Units that CAN withdraw will do so, and those that can't will either eject or die trying to stand.  When you've managed to beat up 3 'Mechs to the point where they're "motive kills", or close to it (11+ to stand), I really hate to see the scenario end abruptly and have them carted off by the OPFOR on a truck while my own 'Mechs and vehicles stand there and simply let them go.

A player option to call a cease-fire, which the 'bot might accept or reject based in part on the condition of its own units and on the degree of "legality" of both sides, would be another possible addition, and more in line with keeping with the "chivalry" aspect.  Pirates would typically neither offer nor expect quarter, where House units would (normally) be much more willing to allow their opponent to surrender the field, and take offense if not offered the same civility.

....you do know the underlying purposes behind "chivalry"?  Women and children go first, so if there's an ambush, the men have time to draw weapons and defend the family.  Women walk on the side of the road to block hidden threats, while the men stand toward the middle to present their shielded side to oncoming traffic.  It seems harsh and cruel at first glance, but as long as everyone follows the rules, it makes it pointless to stage an ambush, since all it's going to do is piss off the guys with the weapons.  By putting the weak at risk, it actually made travel safer for everyone.  There were hard practical reasons for doing things which we now consider "polite", and no longer even consider the reasoning behind it.

JenniferinaMAD

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #9 on: 22 May 2017, 16:01:40 »
That doesn't sound like the purpose of chivalry and more like an exploitation of those who follow it as a code.

It's not going to work against say, wolves, or enemies who aren't chivalrous, so chivalrous knights, i.e. those who took seriously their charge to protect the weak, couldn't risk doing it.

Kovax

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #10 on: 24 May 2017, 09:40:53 »
That doesn't sound like the purpose of chivalry and more like an exploitation of those who follow it as a code.

It's not going to work against say, wolves, or enemies who aren't chivalrous, so chivalrous knights, i.e. those who took seriously their charge to protect the weak, couldn't risk doing it.
On the contrary, wolves won't attack a group of humans (but may attack an isolated individual), so that doesn't apply.

Bandits are exactly the reason why this was developed, because there's no point in ambushing a party if you're not going to take out the armed element by surprise.  Killing or incapacitating a couple of women or children at the start isn't going to change the odds of the fight, so you're looking at a rather likely prospect of a tough struggle with some or all of your own party being killed or wounded, so that defeats the whole point of an ambush.  If the ambush isn't going to gain you anything, or at an unacceptable price, you don't do it.  The roads become (relatively) safe, and oddly enough, the women and children are actually SAFER by being placed at risk.

The armed men typically presented their shielded sides to any visible threat (oncoming traffic on the road), while the women and children served as human shields on the other side against unseen threats.

Then you have the rules about knights, their duty to their lieges, and the rights of inheritance, all designed to provide troops on demand for the ruler without having to personally oversee all of the scattered landholdings in an age with limited communication.  It all makes practical sense when viewed in perspective.  That element has been somewhat recaptured in the "classic" Battletech universe, where the limits of transportation and communication lead to a return to "neo-feudalism", with many of the same problems that were addressed by "chivalry".
« Last Edit: 24 May 2017, 09:44:16 by Kovax »

JenniferinaMAD

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #11 on: 24 May 2017, 10:32:29 »
Predators would love easy pickings from the weaker parts of the herd. Its why herd animals that do adopt defensive formations do the opposite of what you suggest, i.e. have the strong adults shield the young.

The approach you suggest relies on the enemy wanting to take all of your group (and being fully rational). It will do nothing if the foe is happy to just seize or kill some of the weaker elements, like animals, raiding parties or assassins might.
Gambling with the lives of the people you're meant to protect is not chivalrous. It may have been done, and it may have worked, but any benefit to the human shields was a side effect at best.

Kovax

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #12 on: 24 May 2017, 11:21:58 »
OK, name an animal in continental Europe that's going to attack any sizable group of humans?  Only one that I can think of, and that's "humans".

Grabbing a child or woman from the fringe of the group doesn't gain you anything, because you can't run off with them in tow anywhere near as fast as the angry guys with the sharp objects can follow.  The loot of any worth is either with the men or in a cart, so you can't run up, grab something, and run away.  Unless it's a wartime situation near the border or really serious feud, there's nothing to be gained by killing the weaker members of the party.  Why would you attack them?  Practice?  Fun?  Are you going to come back later after the rest of the "herd" has moved on, and eat the body?

If you can't kill, incapacitate, or drive off the men defending the party without serious losses, war is about the only motive that would drive you to take that risk.
« Last Edit: 24 May 2017, 11:24:12 by Kovax »

Simon Landmine

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #13 on: 24 May 2017, 12:02:58 »
OK, name an animal in continental Europe that's going to attack any sizable group of humans?

Angry wild boar. Get too close to one, and it'll take on anything. And, quite often, win.
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JenniferinaMAD

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #14 on: 24 May 2017, 20:40:15 »
Boars, as said, and wolf packs will attack sizable groups of prey. The best way to keep wolves at bay is a line of torches, i.e. have defenders, at the edge of the group.

And there are plenty of reasons to not have to kill every last one. Riders could grab a few people, ride off and then ransom them back, sell them into slavery or simply use them as hostages. Raiders with bows wouldn't care who catches the first arrows, and the more panic they create the better.

There are also practical issues. If an attack happens, do you really want to have to shuffle your civilians out the way while you're trying to setup a defensive line? And putting actual scouts at the edge of your formation would give you better odds of seeing the attack coming.

The main reason to want to put your armed defenders at the centre would be if you don't have enough to cover the entire perimeter, so they can be ready to react in any direction as quickly as possible. But that's an entirely different motivation.


Simon Landmine

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #15 on: 25 May 2017, 09:05:57 »
Sending the women and children to trip any ambush so that the men have time to ready a counter-attack would mean that they likely had no dependents left to defend, and any counter-attack would be revenge rather than defence. (In BT terms, putting the J-27s at the front of the convoy so that the 'escort' 'mechs and tanks can get into position once the supplies are lost ...)

Using the people one is sworn to protect as a shield is also entirely contrary to any historical concept of chivalry.

(Also, "women and children first" is somewhat post-chivalric - it dates from the mid-nineteenth century, apparently.)
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Schugger

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #16 on: 22 June 2017, 06:05:34 »
I "think" you can modify the bot settings in MHQ that vehicle crews become less likely to abandon their vehicles with one of those slide bars

A couple of things:

1) I really like vehicles being abandoned when they are immobile. That is the correct behavior for the majority of vehicles, since they will be hit by effectively all incoming fire. Very heavily armored vehicles are the exception to this, but by and large I think it is better to assume abandoning than fighting as a default.
...

This!
Ask any tankcrew what they would do if their vehicle becomes immobile under enemy fire. Mot likely answer - GTFO!
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Simon Landmine

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #17 on: 22 June 2017, 10:52:22 »
Ask any tankcrew what they would do if their vehicle becomes immobile under enemy fire. Mot likely answer - GTFO!

[grin] Get out and find a ditch?
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CDAT

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #18 on: 23 June 2017, 02:20:26 »
I "think" you can modify the bot settings in MHQ that vehicle crews become less likely to abandon their vehicles with one of those slide bars

This!
Ask any tankcrew what they would do if their vehicle becomes immobile under enemy fire. Mot likely answer - GTFO!

Ask any real tanker not infantry playing as vehicle crews and the reply will be.
Death before dismount. It is not just a motto, but a way of life.

Ask any infantry playing as vehicle crews and they will tell you to dismount before leaving the motor pool, as those things are just bullet magnets.

Now in all seriousness in a modern battle field in my M1. If in combat and my track is taken out so that I am now immobile, I am staying in the tank "Death before dismount", but real combat is not like BattleTech combat with its magic armor that wears away, the Abrams armor is just as strong after getting hit ten times as it is the first time, untell it is not. Joys of all or nothing armor.

Schugger

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #19 on: 23 June 2017, 03:43:56 »
Ok, just out of interest as the last time I was sitting in a tank was about 27 years ago, is it really SOP to stay in your tank if you become immobilized?
Could make sense if the OPFOR only has AK-47s, RPGs and IEDs, but what if they have accsess ATM?
About to start an Atb campaign? But sadlly overwhelmed with the options you get there. Have no clue?
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Kovax

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #20 on: 23 June 2017, 10:04:21 »
Staying with the tank or bailing likely depends to some degree on where your own supporting infantry and other tanks are at the time.  If you're sitting out there, outflanked and with no protection, then the first enemy anti-tank weapon within range is practically a guaranteed hit, and perhaps you're better off somewhere else.  If you've got other tanks and infantry around you, and you're not moving, you're actually not a prime target anymore, since the "other" guys don't know whether you're still in the tank or if it's abandoned.  As long as it isn't moving or shooting, it's not a threat and they're less likely to shoot at it, so you're probably a lot safer in the tank than out there with the flying bullets and shrapnel.

I'm sure it also depends on the morale of the unit and the doctrine of the nation's army.  I've heard of directly opposite cases, where bailing was either strongly encouraged or actively discouraged, by various nations.  As an example, in the years leading up to WWII, Hungary purchased close to 100 "tankettes" from Italy, mainly for crew training purposes while they worked on licensing a design to build "real" tanks.  When Hungary got involved in Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, the extremely limited production rate of the new tanks led to a decision to send some of the remaining tankettes into combat.  The crews were instructed that if enemy tanks were sighted, to bail and run for cover immediately, as the tankettes were completely outclassed by the opposing armor and the trained crews were far more valuable than the pathetic hardware.

Simply put, if the tank is still protecting you, then you stay.  If the tank has turned into nothing more than a shot magnet, you bail.  If the tank is still partly functional, then it depends on your combat doctrine and training.

CDAT

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Re: Adjusting Forced Withdrawal for Vees?
« Reply #21 on: 23 June 2017, 23:47:51 »
Staying with the tank or bailing likely depends to some degree on where your own supporting infantry and other tanks are at the time.  If you're sitting out there, outflanked and with no protection, then the first enemy anti-tank weapon within range is practically a guaranteed hit, and perhaps you're better off somewhere else.  If you've got other tanks and infantry around you, and you're not moving, you're actually not a prime target anymore, since the "other" guys don't know whether you're still in the tank or if it's abandoned.  As long as it isn't moving or shooting, it's not a threat and they're less likely to shoot at it, so you're probably a lot safer in the tank than out there with the flying bullets and shrapnel.

I'm sure it also depends on the morale of the unit and the doctrine of the nation's army.  I've heard of directly opposite cases, where bailing was either strongly encouraged or actively discouraged, by various nations.  As an example, in the years leading up to WWII, Hungary purchased close to 100 "tankettes" from Italy, mainly for crew training purposes while they worked on licensing a design to build "real" tanks.  When Hungary got involved in Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, the extremely limited production rate of the new tanks led to a decision to send some of the remaining tankettes into combat.  The crews were instructed that if enemy tanks were sighted, to bail and run for cover immediately, as the tankettes were completely outclassed by the opposing armor and the trained crews were far more valuable than the pathetic hardware.

Simply put, if the tank is still protecting you, then you stay.  If the tank has turned into nothing more than a shot magnet, you bail.  If the tank is still partly functional, then it depends on your combat doctrine and training.
I think that you hit one of the big points with the moral of the unit, the second big point you alluded to with the tankettes, that being the trust in the equipment. I had absolute trust in my tank and crew, so we would have stayed and become a pill box if we could still help out, or even if we could not really help out in the battle we would be a LP/OP (more OP as hard to hear over). After the battle you then see if you can fix the vehicle or not, but to my old crew as long as we had the ability to resist we would not surrender and abandoning the tank would be a form of surrender. Now if command said that it was time to fall back that is a different story, at this point you do abandon the tank and hope that you can hitch a ride on another one. As for the shot magnet part it depends on what shots it is drawing, small arms no problem, light auto cannons not a big issue (messes up sights and likely give the crew head aches, long distance and/or not main line at weapons, more of an issue and here is where the moral really starts to kick in. You know that it can take you out, but is it better for all to stay put and shoot, move (wait cant do this), and communicate or to bail? My guess (and every circumstance will be different) is that overall it is better to stay put and keep fighting even if all you are really doing is drawing fire, that lets the rest of your platoon move easier and get better shots. Now if they are bring in weapons that are know to be a one shot on you, and/or can get right up close/hit you from the most vulnerable side and there is nothing you can do about it, at this point my thought is who are you fighting, what is the likely hood that you can E&E,if taken prisoner what will happen to you (and more important your crew)? Switching back to the BattleTech universe (to keep real politics out of it) if I was fighting Davion, Steiner, Marik (not as part of civil war), or other mercenaries most likely would surrender/abandon earlier, if I was fighting Liao or Kurita (as a mercenary during the death to all mercenaries), I would not give up and only try to E&E if I thought we had a good chance.