Home » PLAYER'S HQ 1.13 » v1.13 General Gameplay Talk » Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions (back to game after 1 year, finding it very 'challenging')
Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341047] Tue, 19 May 2015 15:50 Go to next message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
I did not discover this old classic, nor the astoundingly well-done 1.13 mod until about a year ago, and you'll note I got a bit active on here around then. Back then, I seemed to have "got the hang of it" and got as far as a nice foothold in Arulco (captured all of Chitzena, and Drassen, repelled counterattack, captured all of Cambria, hired up to about 15 mercs, had everyone well kitted with fancy gear . . . got to the point of rarely having to use reloads for disastrous engagements).

I do not recall what difficulty I used to play at, but I want to say it was Experienced. Now, that was a different machine (machine is dead now) and I believe a preceding version of the game. I'm playing with the latest beta build of 1.13 . . .

I do not recall exactly which one I installed, but I have two changelog files in my 1.13 directory:

ChangeLog_data_2233
and
ChangeLog_data_7816, so I'm guessing I have 7816 installed.


I have a number of questions about the game, and I'll use this thread as a common place to ask ones that come up and which I'm unable to answer by looking around. I'd really like to finish at least one play through on this game. One question in particular is really bugging me.

In the interest of figuring out if I am committing user error and simply do not understand the full nature of the new chance to hit rule system I'm playing with, or if I just do not like a game that is this much of an advantage to computer opponents:

Why are my mercs such crap at hitting, whereas basic early game enemy seem to be pretty well amazing crack shots? (Experienced difficulty with no significant changes made to the chance to hit rules; only changed a few things like Bobby Ray shipment factors, slight changes to food values, all using the editor).

Example of how an engagement plays out:

My four man team (one IMP merc, Thor, Barry and MD) have cleared Omerta, and (amazingly) killed all 3 or 4 enemies without anyone getting shot. I accomplished this by making reasonable use of the END, DEL, L, weapon-resting (mostly while prone) mechanisms as well as things like 'baiting' the AI out into the open. This was with all starting pistols (9x19 and .38s). I head off south, and then west, and encounter a group of 4 baddies in the farmhouse sector (B9 or B10 is it?, the one with the chicken coop in northeast corner and the cornfields east and south of it.

On arrival I put my IMP Merc "Doosh" (Lvl 4, Squadleader, Scout) about midway along the north-south axis, Barry just north of him in the rocks, Thor south of him, and MD just behind and slightly south of Thor.

First thing, Barry spots an enemy between him and the farmhouse. I check cover view (END), switch to run, get behind a rock, crouch, look to rest weapon on rock, and fire fully-aimed (with a Makarov) shot was out of range but hey, good cover here . . . missed twice.

Doosh also gets into cover and puts his binocs in right hand and scans for the others, sees them west of the cornfields.

Thor goes into stealth and heads out to greet them, MD behind him.

Doosh, then switches to crouch, puts pistol in right hand, fires one shot. Might have hit.

So, that gives you a sense of my mastery (or lack thereof) of the tactical dynamics in the game: fast forward one or two turns . . . synthesis, my mercs firing from cover with weapons rested, them well-rested and fed, morale good (although firing pistol slightly out of effective range), no wounds, and reasonable MRK (85 and higher) seem to rarely hit (it is true that the high MRK mercs do seem to hit more, but still, even they hit rather rarely it seems). Indeed, it almost seems random as to whether taking the effort to get a "better" shot (enemy in my green zone, taking careful aim and weapon rested on a surface) makes any difference. Perhaps it is just anecdotal and I really need to record the data to say with certainty, but it seems that, whereas the AI runs up, readys weapon at standing fires wildly three times and hits once quite often, my guys almost NEVER do that, and almost ALWAYS are quite careful about how they set up their shots (and these are mercs with MRK and AGI in the 70s and 80s) and nonethless miss >50% of the time.

So, what sort of bonuses is the AI getting on Experienced difficulty and what lines in the code might I consider changing to adjust "Experienced" to be a bit less advantageous for the AI in shooting?

[Updated on: Tue, 19 May 2015 16:21]

Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341048 is a reply to message #341047] Tue, 19 May 2015 16:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
Should have clarified this is all with NCTH.
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341049 is a reply to message #341048] Tue, 19 May 2015 17:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2602
Registered:May 2009
AI soldiers don't get a bonus to CTH (<CthConstantsAimDifficulty> and <CthConstantsBaseDifficulty> are both 0.0 in "DifficultySettings.xml") unless they are elites ("ELITE_CTH_BONUS_PERCENT" = 10 in "Ja2_Options.INI").

With crappy pistols that have poor accuracy by design you can't expect to reliably hit something especially out of range. Enemy soldiers just send a lot of bullets your way and some of them hit. If they fire 20 bullets and only 10 percent hit it's still 2 bullets in your mercs. Without proper armor - and at game start you don't have that - a single hit can cause a bad wound. It can be frustrating but the only real solution is to get better guns with more range, preferable of a type that the mercs have traits for.

In my current play through on experienced and of course NCTH I'm using a weapon progression mod. This provides soldiers and militia with auto pistols, SMGs and rifles from the start. It's a very rough start for the player but once he got some of these he can do much better (after he repaired the guns of course ;) ).



Wildfire Maps Mod 6.07 on SVN: https://ja2svn.mooo.com/source/ja2/branches/Wanne/JA2%201.13%20Wildfire%206.06%20-%20Maps%20MOD

Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341051 is a reply to message #341049] Tue, 19 May 2015 18:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
No fooling. So my best bet is to just run and gun and not worry about going prone, resting weapon, etc., etc.?
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341052 is a reply to message #341051] Tue, 19 May 2015 19:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
So what exactly IS the difference between Novice and Experienced difficulty? What file(s) should I look in to see how they are configured?
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341055 is a reply to message #341052] Tue, 19 May 2015 19:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2602
Registered:May 2009
I almost only use prone position when I'm using a gun with a bipod. The rest of the time I use crouched stance and cover wherever possible. I try to use shotguns with buckshot and automatic weapons when I can get them. When CTH is low I can always fire a volley aiming for the legs. The recoil will drive the gun up anyway which provides the chance to hit the torso or head.

Most of the difficulty settings are in DifficultySettings.xml and Ja2_Options.INI.



Wildfire Maps Mod 6.07 on SVN: https://ja2svn.mooo.com/source/ja2/branches/Wanne/JA2%201.13%20Wildfire%206.06%20-%20Maps%20MOD

Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341056 is a reply to message #341055] Tue, 19 May 2015 19:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
I also thought that shooting burst at legs was a good choice, but I haven't observed it to help much. Will try not going prone so often. Shotguns are so slow though! 12 AP just to pump the next shell, that is rough.

I'll have a look in that file and see what I can see, thanks SS.
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341058 is a reply to message #341056] Tue, 19 May 2015 21:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tyxe

 
Messages:77
Registered:May 2012
Location: France
On experienced difficulty you should be able win quite easily.
You must do something wrong because with a single quite good merc equiped with an ok auto weapon (like Lucky with his Colt9m on Expert, NcTH, only standard option and playing without cheesing and reloading)i'm able to win without any difficulty the first battle and the second is also winnable but challenging.
I don't say that to brag, i just must have played this game much more than you.
It should be an indication you can become much better (without any "cheesing").

My playstyle is : i always end my turn behind cover (i almost never fire not being behind cover and when it is the case i'm always prone and the enemies far), i end up every turns with all my mercs prone 90% of the time (unless behind 100% cover like a wall) and i mostly fire from the prone position (at least 2/3 of all my shots). A good knowledge of the maps is a huge help here
Having a good auto weapon (without any accessories needed) at the start like the MP5A4 (the one you used to always have before when creating an IMP with not a marksmanship under 80 i think)or/and a ginfighter if you have only guns help tremendously.

On a sidenote it is much MUCH easier to hit now with the default NCtH than before (it was really too hard 2 years ago to the point if you did not have scope it was almost impossible).
It has progressively become easier and easier to hit with NCtH to the point it is as easy as with the old CTH now (i briefly test it to make a quick comparison, old folks that did not try NtCtH in the last 12 months would be very surprised, it has nothing to do with what it was).
Not need to say default NCtH has become too damn easy now, at least to my taste(not an issue though because i can customize the CTH ini like i want).

Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341059 is a reply to message #341058] Tue, 19 May 2015 23:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
Good stuff Tyxe, sounds like you play quite a bit different than me; namely you shoot less often and reserve APs to get back into cover it sounds like. I'll try that.

I've been having a look at DifficultySettings.xml and have created a little "modded Experienced" version that I put up on Dropbox:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nfmqcouwa0gtjud/DifficultySettings.xml?dl=0

In my install this comes from:

C:\GOG Games Modded\Jagged Alliance 2 1.13\Data-1.13\TableData

Before you download and plug that one into your equivalent directory, I recommend copying the existing one and pasting it so you'll have something like:

C:\GOG Games Modded\Jagged Alliance 2 1.13\Data-1.13\TableData\DifficultySettings - OriginalCopy

i.e., you'll keep a copy of the original Difficulty Settings . . .

In my version, I've added comments to virtually every variable in one of the Difficulty /tags (Experienced) to assist with sorting out how the Difficulty settings actually differ.

So, for example, for the "Experienced" difficulty /tag, the two variables "CthConstantsAimDifficulty" and "CthConstantsBaseDifficulty" now look like this:

Quote:
<CthConstantsAimDifficulty>30.0</CthConstantsAimDifficulty>
<!-- Novice 30.0 Default 0.0 Expert 20.0 Insane 50.0 -->
<CthConstantsBaseDifficulty>30.0</CthConstantsBaseDifficulty>
<!-- Novice 30.0 Default 0.0 Expert 20.0 Insane 50.0 -->


This was a little bit of cutting and pasting, and I figured someone else might like to have it so I put it on dropbox. It is possible I made some errors.

For that version that is at the dropbox link, I made two changes to the difficulty settings (well, "three" if you count adding one word to a description.

1 & 2: I changed the default values for those two CTH variables as you can see in the quote above.
3: I added the word "modified" in the description for the Experienced difficulty setting.

I was going to just make a whole new difficulty level, but based on comments by Flugente on IRC that will lead to crashes without also adjusting some other scripts, so I figured I'd try this first.

There are some interesting 'anomalies' in the difficulty settings, most notably the lack of a clear sequential order in the CTH variables that is in line with the actual difficulty settings. Meaning: one would expect the CTH values to go from smaller at easiest difficulties and progress consistently to larger at higher difficulties. Flugente notes that the CTH formula in NCTH is complicated though, so who knows.

One thing we can say for certain: the enemy combatants DO have different chances to hit at different difficulty levels, so I am thankful to have confirmed I'm not insane in having made that general observation.

I'm going to play with it this way, i.e., with all default "Experienced" settings, except for the CTH variables changed to the values for default Novice, and see how that feels. Anyone else, feel free to give it a whirl, though as I noted above, do make a copy of your original DifficultySettings.xml file first.
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341066 is a reply to message #341059] Wed, 20 May 2015 07:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
M16AMachinegun

 
Messages:305
Registered:September 2013
a character's level does a surprisingly huge amount to make that person kick ass.

A lv1 with great stats will hit less than a lv5 with 80's in all relevant stats.
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341068 is a reply to message #341059] Wed, 20 May 2015 09:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2602
Registered:May 2009
Anthropoid wrote on Tue, 19 May 2015 22:48

Quote:
<CthConstantsAimDifficulty>30.0</CthConstantsAimDifficulty>
<!-- Novice 30.0 Default 0.0 Expert 20.0 Insane 50.0 -->
<CthConstantsBaseDifficulty>30.0</CthConstantsBaseDifficulty>
<!-- Novice 30.0 Default 0.0 Expert 20.0 Insane 50.0 -->


I think you just made your life harder by giving the AI a 30 percent bonus to CTH on experienced. That's even higher than the expert setting.


M16AMachinegun wrote on Wed, 20 May 2015 06:03
a character's level does a surprisingly huge amount to make that person kick ass.

A lv1 with great stats will hit less than a lv5 with 80's in all relevant stats.

This is because experience plays the biggest role in base CTH calculation (BASE_EXP = 3.0 in CTHConstants.ini). Base CTH is responsible for one third of the total CTH value. For aiming the biggest role is marksmanship followed by dexterity.
Also experience is important for shooting at moving targets and accurate counter force during autofire. That's why experienced mercs are so important.



Wildfire Maps Mod 6.07 on SVN: https://ja2svn.mooo.com/source/ja2/branches/Wanne/JA2%201.13%20Wildfire%206.06%20-%20Maps%20MOD

Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341076 is a reply to message #341068] Thu, 21 May 2015 03:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
So you think (as I couldn't disagree) that "base CTH for enemy combatants is highest at 1000 and lowest at -1000?"

If that IS the case then the order of base enemy combatant base to hit going from smallest to largest goes like this:
Experienced = 0.0
Expert = 20.0
Novice = 30.0
Insane = 50.0

In IRC, Flugente's response to this apparent anomaly was "That is why I do not play with NCTH . . ." and "the formula for CTH in NCTH are complex" and 'I wouldn't assume that the larger value always means greater chance to hit and the smaller value always means lesser chance to hit.

I don't even remember for sure what distinguishes NCTH from OCTH, so I'm still rather in the dark here!

ADDIT: time I think to waste some time on some 'tests' by seting those values to -1000 and seeing how the Admins in omerta do, versus +1000 and see how they do ;)

[Updated on: Thu, 21 May 2015 03:12]

Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341078 is a reply to message #341076] Thu, 21 May 2015 04:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
M16AMachinegun

 
Messages:305
Registered:September 2013
novice is -30 not +30
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341079 is a reply to message #341078] Thu, 21 May 2015 09:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2602
Registered:May 2009
M16AMachinegun wrote on Thu, 21 May 2015 03:37
novice is -30 not +30

Yup, on Novice the enemy gets a penalty for base and aim CTH.



Wildfire Maps Mod 6.07 on SVN: https://ja2svn.mooo.com/source/ja2/branches/Wanne/JA2%201.13%20Wildfire%206.06%20-%20Maps%20MOD

Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341103 is a reply to message #341079] Fri, 22 May 2015 17:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
Argh!

Quote:
<!-- CTHConstants Settings -->
<CthConstantsAimDifficulty>-30.0</CthConstantsAimDifficulty>
<CthConstantsBaseDifficulty>-30.0</CthConstantsBaseDifficulty>


You see, this is why the Chicago style manual and virtually every formatting guide used in the publishing world calls for this type of formatting:

P < -0.05

AND NOT this type:

P<-0.05

;)

-=-=-=
And yes, I do realize that in this instance a space before the minus sign would likely mess up the XML
-=-=-=-

Well that explains it then! Thanks M16. Good to know I was correct that enemy does get boni on Experienced, even if I was too blind to notice that minus sign in the file.

ADDIT: did a bit of play on OCTH with Experienced settings (but enemy getting +30 !!). Amazing how much more balanced it is to me.

Can someone point me to the threads that discuss the development of NCTH and what it is doing and such?

For those of you who have already played the game a lot, maybe playing against a highly advantaged AI (meaning using NCTH) is more fun and is getting more life out of the game for you than using all of your knowledge along with an AI that is on a level playing field or disadvantaged to have a total cakewalk.

But for those of us who are relatively new, proposing OCTH with maybe Experienced if they are looking for a bit more challenge seems wise.

[Updated on: Fri, 22 May 2015 18:13]

Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341162 is a reply to message #341103] Mon, 25 May 2015 17:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
M16AMachinegun

 
Messages:305
Registered:September 2013
I dunno dude, some of the most fun i've had in this game was playing on INSANE difficulty with enemy base/aim at -50. Zerg rush out the wazoo!
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341260 is a reply to message #341162] Sat, 30 May 2015 16:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
deknegt

 
Messages:140
Registered:June 2007
Location: Doetinchem, Netherlands

M16AMachinegun wrote on Mon, 25 May 2015 16:49
I dunno dude, some of the most fun i've had in this game was playing on INSANE difficulty with enemy base/aim at -50. Zerg rush out the wazoo!


I personally love the ridiculously hard challenge of trying to beat an enemy that has a huge advantage over you both in personell and RNG-bias.

Playing ironman, you're basically reduced to hiding behind a blind corner, set up a shooting-congaline, popping one off, and just shooting everyone that comes around the corner.
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341306 is a reply to message #341260] Tue, 02 June 2015 03:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
So few more questions, sort of random, but I figure I'll just use this thread as my place to ask questions:

1. What sort of LBE gear do you guys tend to use for your radio man? I'm guessing there are some clever permutations that maximize the minimum number of slots and even allow things like a bladder?

For my radio IMP, I made him a Marksman and Athletic. Calico 900 is pretty decent for early game and I figure the dude doesn't need to be a CQB specialist since he is a precious commodity.

2. Exhaustion from firing a big MG like a RPK: I reset a lot of the IMP starting inventories so that weapons like SKS are available to a Sniper specialist and RPK to a full machinegunner (as well as a few boxes of ammo). I've noticed that, even though I've lowered the strength to carry one kilo by one-tenth of a point (lowered to 0.9 from 1.0) and even though I dialed down one or two other settings that I'd think would impact it, AND even when I drop all excess weight before combat . . . anyone who fires on full auto seems good for about . . . maybe 4 rounds before they are just totally exhausted. This is even when they are ONLY firing prone with weapon readied before firing ("L" key at target) and even with the bipod.

I thought it was maybe the heavy weight of the weapon, but I noticed it happen with a mini-uzi as well.

The SKS seems to wear the guy out quick too.

Any suggestion on settings I can dial around to try to find my favored level of exhaustion? Getting exhausted from firing on full auto seems reasonable to me . . . but IMHO (and naive opinion at that, so if any of you are experienced with full auto weapon usage do correct me here), it should take 3 or 4 full magazines to wear down a trained machine gunner no?
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341312 is a reply to message #341306] Tue, 02 June 2015 09:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2602
Registered:May 2009
Anthropoid wrote on Tue, 02 June 2015 02:16

2. Exhaustion from firing a big MG like a RPK: I reset a lot of the IMP starting inventories so that weapons like SKS are available to a Sniper specialist and RPK to a full machinegunner (as well as a few boxes of ammo). I've noticed that, even though I've lowered the strength to carry one kilo by one-tenth of a point (lowered to 0.9 from 1.0) and even though I dialed down one or two other settings that I'd think would impact it, AND even when I drop all excess weight before combat . . . anyone who fires on full auto seems good for about . . . maybe 4 rounds before they are just totally exhausted. This is even when they are ONLY firing prone with weapon readied before firing ("L" key at target) and even with the bipod.

Don't overload your mercs. It will drain them of breath points fast. Always keep load level below 100 percent while fighting.



Wildfire Maps Mod 6.07 on SVN: https://ja2svn.mooo.com/source/ja2/branches/Wanne/JA2%201.13%20Wildfire%206.06%20-%20Maps%20MOD

Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341315 is a reply to message #341312] Tue, 02 June 2015 13:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Flugente

 
Messages:3476
Registered:April 2009
Location: Germany
1. In stock 1.13, I use a TT Utility vest (best vest imho), a SAW leg puch for ammo and just stick the canteen to the blank leg.
2. There is a feature (don't know the name, just search for 'weight' in the ini) that causes breath loss when firing a gun depending on weight and stance. Personally, the default value seems to be way too high, so I lower it drastically or just turn it off altogether.



I know now that it could never work between us, as much as we wanted to, it could never be! Not because you're a rabbit, but because you're black.

If you want, you can donate to me. This will not affect how and what I code, and I will not code specific features in return. I will be thankful though.


Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341317 is a reply to message #341315] Tue, 02 June 2015 16:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
M16AMachinegun

 
Messages:305
Registered:September 2013
ENERGY_COST_FOR_WEAPON_WEIGHT = 100
ENERGY_COST_FOR_WEAPON_RECOIL_KICK = 100

These what you mean, Flug?
What do you turn them down to?
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341320 is a reply to message #341317] Tue, 02 June 2015 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Flugente

 
Messages:3476
Registered:April 2009
Location: Germany
I set both to 10. Might be a bit too low, as its now barely noticable, but is fine for me.



I know now that it could never work between us, as much as we wanted to, it could never be! Not because you're a rabbit, but because you're black.

If you want, you can donate to me. This will not affect how and what I code, and I will not code specific features in return. I will be thankful though.


Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341323 is a reply to message #341320] Wed, 03 June 2015 05:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
Thanks gentlemen.
Re: Why my mercs cannot hit broadside of a barn . . . and other questions[message #341324 is a reply to message #341323] Wed, 03 June 2015 13:21 Go to previous message
Anthropoid

 
Messages:145
Registered:February 2014
How do I cycle between optics modes? For example, if I have a reflex and ACOG 4x both attached?

ADDIT: from CptWinky on IRC: Period key.

Thanks!

[Updated on: Wed, 03 June 2015 13:45]

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