Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Discuss John Butterfield’s Battle of the Bulge: Crisis in Command Vol. 1
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jeffd
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Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Post by jeffd » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:51 pm

Just realized Eric's announcement hadn't been officially posted here, so I'm doing so. From the blog:
Eric Lee Smith wrote:
Today we submitted a significant Battle of the Bulge update to the Apple iPad store, version 1.1 we call it. In consists of these items:
  • Game continuation option. When a game ends before December 28th, you have to option to ignore the victory – or defeat – and continue playing the game until the end December 28th. If both players agree (and are using version 1.1), you can continue the “Battle of the Bulge” scenario after normal victory determination. Victory will be assessed again at the end of 28 December (You won’t earn achievements during overtime play). Some games are so close and quite a few people have asked for this feature.
  • Messages to your opponent. At the end of your turn you have the option to write a short message to your opponent. This is not chat, rather it is a way to personalize each turn with a comment (“Cut off your guys at the Meuse, supply rules matter my friend.”).
  • AI improvements. Miguel continues to work on the AI making it more aware of supply, specific spaces, and more. AI Generals are more aware of supply and some feints. Decision making bugs fixed and tactical decisions improved. From Miguel: “The AI Generals have learned from previous encounters! Thanks to your feedback they have improved their Strategy and Tactics.”
  • Bug fixes. Nothing major, but minor fixes in a number of areas. Fixed bugs restoring Tutorial at certain key points.
No word yet on when the update might be approved. We'll let you know as soon as we hear anything.

Yojimbo252
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Re: Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Post by Yojimbo252 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:35 pm

Nice update.

Thank you.

s_Mylo
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Re: Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Post by s_Mylo » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:59 pm

2nd that...

Thanks,

Mylo

PKosnett
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Re: Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Post by PKosnett » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:08 am

Great news, especially on the Continuation option. Thank you! If the AI really learns to take fewer reckless risks for no gain, I will miss being able to lure the 4th ID to sure destruction every game.

daviddunham
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Re: Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Post by daviddunham » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:20 am

Version 1.1 is now in the App Store, featuring Game Center messages, “overtime,” AI improvements, and more.

Ratings reset with new versions, so please give the new build a rating or review.

Airshark
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Re: Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Post by Airshark » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:24 pm

I have the new version as of last night. In general, the new UI is a positive, gives a better "10-foot-view" of what's still available for operations. Like the continuation option, though I'd also like to be able to do it even after I've looked at the game review. In general, a worthwhile update.

On the AI front, though - it's a swing and a miss. The new AI is no more difficult to fool, it is still just as likely to get itself surrounded, and it still falls into precisely the same patterns of mistakes. Let me mention a few which are each killer mistakes that could be easily rectified:

With the AI playing the Allies, their #1 most predictable error is to move the 4th Infantry from Echternach to Kruchten, with nothing preventing the 212th Volksgrenadiers from just moving in behind them and cutting them off. Something I would never waste my time on against a live opponent, against the AI I make it a point to get the two VG divisions out of Kruchten early, giving the AI the opportunity to throw the 4th away and decide the battle for the South. The 4th ought to be virtually welded to that supply-giving board edge, and if anything should be prepared to move West for the purpose of keeping the Germans out of Arlon. I should also mention that with the AI playing the Germans, the 4th is conversely given far too much attention, often tying down five German divisions and sometimes even the Fuhrer Begleit panzers without doing anything more than sitting in Echternach.

Another big Allied AI mistake is moving the 2nd Infantry off the board edge from Monschau to Elsenborn. Not only does this invariably lead to the 2nd being surrounded (often by a single move from the 150th Pz Brigade), that divison is badly needed to defend Eupen, where a full-strength elite infantry division can often hold it against all comers. This is why when playing the Germans it's so important to jam the 12th SS Pz's group ahead rapidly - it clears Elsenborn for the 2nd to make its insane advance.

The AI apparently also gives little or no thought to preventing the exit of German divisions for VP, and it often abandons Liege and/or Verviers for no reason. It has a fascination for speculative attacks that leave important positions open (for example, I like leaving Lullange open as the Germans, knowing that Monty (or Patton) will often promptly take the vital 10th Armored out for a spin, leaving Bastogne easily captured behind it). It appears to have no regard for the defensive strength of terrain, giving up strong defensive positions like Eupen and Trois Ponts when menaced by superior numbers - even though the terrain would normally prevent a decisive use of those numbers against it.

I could go on, but I'll leave it at that. I'd be interested in an explanation of precisely what tweaks were involved this time around, because I frankly see no difference in difficulty.

boone737
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Re: Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Post by boone737 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:58 pm

I think the AI got worse. There were a couple of instances where I had the AI cut off and it moved from a supplied position to an unsupplied one for reasons unknown. Moreover, I've submitted a bug report since the move was from a contested space (the space I owned that cutoff AI units), through the cutoff unit's space (AI owned) to my occupied space.

This is the view at the start of my turn. You can see I haven't place reinforcements yet. 2 Pz left Trois Ponts for Ouffet. The next day, 9 Pz left Manhay for Stourmont.

Image

I guess the moves weren't illegal, but really really dumb.

Miguel_TSS
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Re: Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Post by Miguel_TSS » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:52 pm

Just as a reminder, while I love the game plays stories, please Submit a Bug Report when the AI does something you think is stupid. Should you feel so inspired, you can also send a second report near the game's end so I can see the long term effects of that decision.

None of the Generals in 1.1 or previous were created to be a "Perfect" or "Genius" Level human player. They are meant to provide a consistent play style and create interesting games. For 1.1 the goal for AI improvement was not directly difficulty, but rather to shore up some areas that were lacking. Two big areas were Passing and not knowing how to correctly correlate certain moves with Supply. As an advanced player you may not notice the change, but we found the Generals making better mid game decisions that should provide a more consistent challenge to early and mid level players.

As a sanity check, I played v1.1 as Axis vs Patton (BotB) this morning. Now, while one game isn't really a good sample size, I did try to do things a bit differently than my normal play style. 4th Infantry didn't put themselves in threat of being cut off ( I have seen it in previous builds ). While I did note some potentially premature moves out of Liege / Eupen / Verveirs, the moves turned out reasonable for preserving strength points and supply lines( but not VP ).

That being said, thanks for sharing your experience. Most of the AI reports that have been sent my way were about improving Axis Generals. It maybe time to take a much closer look at Allied Generals' personalities. Though, once again, Bug reports let me better explore the possibility of bugs in the overall architecture.

PS: Thanks for the bug report Boone737, I am investigating...

blahblah3502
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Re: Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Post by blahblah3502 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:41 pm

I've played vs the Patton, Monty, and the von Rundstedt AIs each once so far with the new update.

I personally think the quality of the AI , based on this admittedly small sample, has generally gone noticeably up with this update, so thanks for the hard work and progress on that. The von Runstedt AI even managed to score a early victory against me, to my surprise ( the AI had a few lucky rolls (though its strategy was sound too) and I am only a moderately good player at best). (I beat Patton with 78 VPs some time before Christmas without continuing the game and I beat Monty with 204 VPs (this got increasingly surreal) after continuing the game all the way to the end after an intial German victory)

On the other hand, I have seen the AI perform the same dumb errors that others have commented on - both Patton and Monty pushed their 4th Infantry Division north from its starting point for no reason, and so instantly allowing me to cut the 4th Infantry off from supply with Axis forces. There were one or two instances of the Allied AI players throwing a hapless lone unit to its death against overwhelming Axis forces, but nothing like as frequent as before the update. I also noticed in the extended (continued) battle that the advancing Allied forces didn't seem to be concerned about recapturing German-held VP towns ( whether they were occupied by German divisions or not). The von Runstedt performance was good except for the moment when the AI abandoned Bastogne the day after capturing it, allowing my Allied forces next door to swiftly return. I don't know why von R. did that, and I lost at the end of the day, so I didn't get to see if there was method in the madness.


Miguel_TSS wrote:Just as a reminder, while I love the game plays stories, please Submit a Bug Report when the AI does something you think is stupid. Should you feel so inspired, you can also send a second report near the game's end so I can see the long term effects of that decision.

None of the Generals in 1.1 or previous were created to be a "Perfect" or "Genius" Level human player. They are meant to provide a consistent play style and create interesting games. For 1.1 the goal for AI improvement was not directly difficulty, but rather to shore up some areas that were lacking. Two big areas were Passing and not knowing how to correctly correlate certain moves with Supply. As an advanced player you may not notice the change, but we found the Generals making better mid game decisions that should provide a more consistent challenge to early and mid level players.

As a sanity check, I played v1.1 as Axis vs Patton (BotB) this morning. Now, while one game isn't really a good sample size, I did try to do things a bit differently than my normal play style. 4th Infantry didn't put themselves in threat of being cut off ( I have seen it in previous builds ). While I did note some potentially premature moves out of Liege / Eupen / Verveirs, the moves turned out reasonable for preserving strength points and supply lines( but not VP ).

That being said, thanks for sharing your experience. Most of the AI reports that have been sent my way were about improving Axis Generals. It maybe time to take a much closer look at Allied Generals' personalities. Though, once again, Bug reports let me better explore the possibility of bugs in the overall architecture.

PS: Thanks for the bug report Boone737, I am investigating...

s_ron42na
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Re: Battle of the Bulge Version 1.1 Submitted

Post by s_ron42na » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:43 am

just wanted to say thanks for the ability to send a note when ending a move! For me, that's really all I need for chat.

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