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Theatre of War series The most historically accurate RTS games

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  #1  
Old 04-01-2011, 08:43 AM
nodlew nodlew is offline
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Default Couple of questions, need some help.

Hey there. Just got TOW: KOREA, and it is the first time I've ever got a TOW game to run half-decently on my computer. Don't know if it's the extra Ram or an improved game engine, but anyway, I still have a few difficulties/questions.

First, I have finished the stock US campaign on Veteran, and found it to be pretty easy. The enemy is easy to defeat then I just chase them, never allowing them to resupply until they are out of fuel or surrounded and can't retreat and scratch one battle group--next. Rinse repeat. So I would like to generate my own campaign to make things more challenging, perhaps fighting the Soviets at a numerical disadvantage. But I would like to at least have the use of the M46 Patton tanks in my Battle Groups, since the Soviets seem to have access to Stalin 3s and worse. But when I go into the Order of Battle screen to select my units I see Shermans, Chaffees, and Jacksons, but no Pattons. ? I made sure to make my campaign start date late enough that M46s would be available. Any one know what I'm doing wrong?

Second, I am having some trouble with game crashes. If anyone knows some tweaks to make the game run more stably, please point me to them. System is:

Windows Vista™ Ultimate (6.0, Build 6002) Service Pack 2 (6002.vistasp2_gdr.101014-0432)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Dell Inc.
System Model: Inspiron 530s
BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E4600 @ 2.40GHz (2 CPUs), ~2.4GHz
Memory: 3326MB RAM
Page File: 1389MB used, 5876MB available
DirectX Version: DirectX 11
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT

General Gripes:

Why can't I load a machine gun or a mortar on a truck, or a helicopter?

Why can't tanks and recon armored cars tow artillery, or carry a few infantry on the hull?

Why are rifles and submachine guns destroying my half-tracks, not to mention my Tank Destroyers?

Why can't I see the AT gun that is right in front of my tank after carefully inching up to it using the terrain for cover?

Why can't my infantry see the AT gun that is right in front of them after carefully crawling five hundred yards to a position overlooking the damn thing?

Why do 45mm Russian pea-shooter AT guns shoot holes in the frontal armor of my Shermans like they are made of cardboard?

Why did the AT gun blast my tank after I used mortars to create a giant smoke-screen to prevent just that from happening?

When I think of more, I'll add them. Fun game, but some of the stupid shit can really make ya wanna throw something.
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  #2  
Old 04-02-2011, 06:26 AM
nodlew nodlew is offline
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Ok, so my M8s can tow artillery pieces. My mistake.

This is not the friendliest or liveliest of forums is it?
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  #3  
Old 04-02-2011, 03:27 PM
Sneaksie Sneaksie is offline
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Hello. Usually you can get your answer here If you don't get an answer that doesn't mean that people are unfriendly, they just don't know.

While in battle, press F4 key to see detailed damage info and hit vectors. This way you can understand what's happened in most cases, i.e. why halftrack was destroyed by rifle fire or why this silly AT gun just knocked out your fancy tank.

Why can't I see the AT gun that is right in front of my tank after carefully inching up to it using the terrain for cover?
This depends on situation as there are many factors influencing that. After all, it's much harder to overlook a moving big tank than an AT gun behind some foliage. You can use LOS line to understand where you can see and where you can't (click on the, say, ground attack order button and survey the area looking at the line being shown from the selected unit to mouse cursor). Green is an area close to unit where it ignores foliage and can see through it, red is normal LOS and black means there your unit can't see.

45mm AT guns have some APCR ammo if i'm not mistaken, at close ranges this would be enough for a Sherman front plate. Use F4 key to clarify this.

Units can see through a foliage or smoke if they are close to its edge, while an enemy far away won't be able to see them. This makes ambushes possible (i.e. hiding an AT gun directly behind a bush). Becouse of this, lay a smokescreen between your and enemy units and not directly on top of enemy units or close (several meters) to them.

To summarize, yeah, stupid things can happen and make you want to smash something fragile and completely unrelated to the game itself, like monitor, but in general this is a fun game when you get into it.
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  #4  
Old 04-02-2011, 05:58 PM
nodlew nodlew is offline
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Sneaksie,

I appreciate you taking the time to reply to my post. I had just about given up hope that anyone was ever going to.

Having played the game some more I'm beginning to appreciate some of the finer points. Some of my frustrations were the result of my not being aware of some physical realities being modeled in the game. Once aware that it is being modeled, and in what way, I can learn to work with it. For instance, the severe effect that skill levels have on the performance of my units. Bad drivers are really something to watch in action. I like it though, it gives me more details to obsess over, like switching out crew members to get the best possible crew in a tank that has an especially dangerous and important task to accomplish.

I'm beginning to get the hang of how the unit icons are reflecting how well a targeting unit can see the target, etc.

I still don't like it when I am looking dead at an AT gun that I've been stalking for 45 minutes and I'm finally in perfect position, just peeking out of cover to blow it away and it literally vanishes into thin air, then reappears. I know it's an attempt to make things realistic and challenging, but...anyway. It has forced me to make better use of my infantry so that I have a low-silhouetted target under observation from multiple vantage points before I move in to kill it. Those AT guns and SU 76s are really just plain deadly--difficult to hit, and they reload much faster than my tanks do.

edit--I think I understand why the Devs implemented "disappearing enemy". In game I am looking at not what I can see, but what my units can see. Units that duck, turn, scratch their testicles, etc. might suddenly lose sight of the enemy unit and if no one has it in view at that moment it "disappears" so that I cannot see it either. I actually like this now that I understand it, although when it happens to you for the first time it seems very strange, almost like a bug in the game. The effect of this is that I as the commander can only make tactical decisions based on real time info on the battlefield. If a tank is lost sight of by my units, I might think I know exactly where it is and make decisions based on that, but there is a possibility I could be wrong--it might move. As I sneak up on it, I might find it sneaking up on me. So that's fog of war, its good for gameplay.

I still cannot use the Campaign Generator to create a campaign that starts later than 1950. The date selection button lists only 1950, so I still cannot play a campaign that allows me to use M46 Patton tanks. I'm good with the Shermans, etc. I've won a campaign against the Russians on Veteran Difficulty without too much, trouble, but, damn it, the Pershing series of tanks is my favorite kind of tank and I want to play a campaign with them. Anyone else had this problem? Anyway, with Historical Units Off, I should be able to choose from all of the US units, shouldn't I? Is this a bug or what?

I've Googled this, but not found any references to the issue as yet.

After reading, I've learned that the Shermans were quite vulnerable to the 45mm AT guns. Still, they seem a little TOO vulnerable.

I placed the smoke screen between the AT gun and the path my tank followed. I used multiple smoke rounds, the gun should have been blinded. Anyway, I'll have to experiment.

Last edited by nodlew; 04-05-2011 at 02:52 AM.
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  #5  
Old 04-03-2011, 07:51 AM
nodlew nodlew is offline
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Default Tow: Korea bug reports and comments/observations

The following posts are gleaned from another thread, in edited form. They detail some things I have learned about the game and include questions and comments and bug reports that I have made that are intended for the Devs in particular.

I want to say first, that no one should get the wrong impression. I like this game very much and have been playing it avidly for days. The more I master its finer points the more I appreciate the work and care that has gone into making it, and I recommend it highly to anyone who enjoys military RTS games that require tactical knowledge and skill, patience, forethought, and creativity. It is a very good game. But, in my opinion, to make it a great one, it requires some fixing, and perhaps some addition and expansion.

The following comments began with me trying to figure out how to introduce M46 tanks into my campaigns:

1
Quote (from Sneaksie):
Quote:
Run it Editor.exe (it is located in MissionEditor fodler), left-click Templates menu and then Load Army Template, choose an XML file from Generator\CAMPAIGNS\USA folder (or PRK folder). Edit army pool using the list on the right as you see fit (placement of these units on the empty map doesn't mean anything in case of Army template). Make sure to use Save Army Template command to save your changes.



Thank you for providing this information. Now I can play campaigns pitting heavy US tanks vs. the Soviet heavies. Much appreciated--this issue was driving me crazy. And I'm already crazy.

2
Spoke too soon. I created a user campaign, USA vs. USSR using the Campaign Generator. I then edited the USA_infantry_template_m46.xml file to add the M46 Patton as a Reserve Unit. When I loaded the campaign, the Patton tanks were available in the Order Of Battle list. Then I launched the campaign and moved my Battle Groups into engagement with the enemy. After starting the battle, when I went into the Order of Battle menu to choose my units, the M46 tanks were gone, and it was the same old Shermans, Chaffees, and Jacksons.

Frustrating.

Can you suggest what I might be doing wrong? Please?

3
Default Found a Work Around, plus a Bug
In order for the extra units to be available, I have to move my units into engagement, then save the game, exit, open the Mission Editor, and then save the .XML file into the campaign folder. I have saved a copy of the edited .XML file under a different name. It is then only necessary to open the file, save as...and save it as the file I want to replace. This is tiresome, but it is the only way I have found to get the tanks I want available in game.

To cap off my troubles, the Patton is bugged in the game. The Patton is armed, in game, with two .30 cal brownings, coaxial and bow machine guns. This is correct, I suppose. Although it is a shame that none of the tanks sport working heavy AA machine guns, which were (are) indispensable to their armament. However, the Patton, less its MA Deuce, is even worse off. None of its machine guns work because the Patton is carrying five boxes of .50 cal ammo and no .30 cal ammo, and I haven't yet figured out how to fix the issue. It doesn't seem to be possible to make the change using the Mission Editor, so I suppose it will have to be done by directly editing the .XML file. Any suggestions are welcome.

How do these things get by quality control? Don't they play the game before they put it on the market?

3
Using the Mission Editor it is possible to change the amount of a certain type of ammunition a tank, or other unit, will carry. For instance, I could change the tank to carry ten more APCR rounds at the expense of ten other shells of other types.

Apparently, it is not possible to change the Type of ammunition. So I couldn't load my M4 with 90mm ammo (which I wouldn't want to do anyway). Neither can I fix my M46 so that it has functional machine guns. The XML files are links to the data files that store that kind of stuff--the available loadouts for different units. In the case of the M46, the info I need to change is located at data/items/magazines/12_7mm_browning_m2_hmg and I would need to change that last line to be /7_62mm_browning_m1919a4. And I could change it also to have some armor piercing ammo...if I could change it. Which I can't, because I believe the file in question is located within the Data.SFS file--and I believe these files are encrypted to prevent the game from being hacked, as well as to prevent users like me from taking it upon themselves to fix the damn game for themselves rather than wait weeks or months for a patch.

And before I leave off and give it a rest, can anyone tell me why Shermans are not armed with M2 HB mgs? They are one of the primary features that made the Sherman an exceptional infantry support tank, in spite of its draw-backs in main gun fire power and armor protection. And beyond that, is it possible to make tank commanders use the AA mgs on the tanks that have them? Surely they are not just for show? If Men of War can manage to do this brilliantly, surely it is not beyond the abilities of the coders of TOW: Korea, the game touted as the "most realistic wargame ever made".

So will this too be included in a patch?

EDIT
I'm going to continue to list what I perceive to be bugs in the game in the hopes that the Devs will take notice and fix them in a patch. Hopefully soon.

New bug: .30 cal Browning teams will not move out with their guns. They act like fixed gun emplacements. Strange--I decided to try to use them since I figured they would be more mobile than the .50s. Quite the opposite. The .50s at least will pick up their guns and go places.

This has got to be a bug as well--US 75mm Recoilless Rifle teams will not move with their weapons either. It's a defensive weapon, sure, but it's man portable by design for Christ's sake. Total weight 114 lbs. Between two soldiers, that's extremely portable.

Summary of bugs so far:

I should just delete this first thing in brackets, but what the heck, someone else might not have fully read the manual either. Anyway, OK, I get it that the CANCEL command is not only stop, but Cease Fire.

{Units (notably field guns and mortars, but also tanks, probably everything...) do not respond to the Hold Fire command. To make them cease fire it is necessary to give them a movement order, wait until they start to move, and then order them to halt. This is not good for game immersion.}

Patton has no coax or bow machine gun ammo.

Browning .30 cal immovable.

US 75mm RR immovable.

No working .50 cals (any heavy mgs on any tanks?) on US tanks--notably Patton and Jackson/Slugger which both have the guns modeled.

Sherman has no .50 cal, although this may be due to the fact that it was only usable when the gunner was standing on the rear deck of the tank and so introduces complications with animations, etc.

Should be able to carry mortars, and all other man portable heavy weapons on trucks, half-tracks, and helicopters, although the Devs may have done this by design to increase challenge at the expense of realism. Note--the challenge can always be increased by increasing the enemy's strength, morale, quality, etc. without introducing artificial limitations on the player's tactical options that stifle creativity and pragmatism on his part.

Will continue to update.

Last edited by nodlew; 04-03-2011 at 03:22 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-03-2011, 07:54 AM
Sneaksie Sneaksie is offline
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I suggest playing as North Korea or USSR, i think you'll find 45mm AT guns to be nearly useless Enemy weaponry always seems to be more deadly than yours, there is even a name for this effect, but i can't recall it right now.

I'll try to ask developers about adding M46 to a campaign and other your questions on Monday.
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  #7  
Old 04-03-2011, 08:41 AM
nodlew nodlew is offline
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Thanks for all of your help, Sneaksie. Didn't think anyone else was in here right now, as it is 4:01am on the East Coast, USA. Provincial thinking--I forget sometimes it is a different time of day in some other part of the world. You could be in Russia for all I know.

Thank you for mentioning the campaign thing to the Devs. Please take a look at my Bug Report and mention at least the obvious glitches like no MG ammo, and {Hold Fire being broken}--not broken as noted above, Cancel command doubles as Cease Fire.



I will have to try out the Soviets. The Russians I have grown very fond of since the end of antagonism between us. I've killed lots of pretend Germans as the Russians. Guess I'll have to kill some pretend Americans, though it might pain me to do so.

I am having trouble making the campaigns more challenging. The last one I tried I was US vs. Soviets. I gave the Sovs all of their available battle groups and took only three myself. I attacked the Sov tank brigade and expected a tough fight, but they didn't even have a single tank, nothing but AT guns, infantry, artillery, etc. I, of course, had every big gun available. The Sov Battle Groups, once defeated, are essentially wiped out and absorbed by their remaining Battle Groups. The only things that hurt me are mortars and those RPG-2s. Especially the mortars, they seem to have an endless supply of ammunition. One Russian mortar seems to fire an entire barrage with every shot. The whole game becomes "Survive the mortars" until they are destroyed or out of ammo, then just destroy them piece by piece until they are all gone. The AI, in the defense at least, does not behave intelligently. They sit and wait to be destroyed. At the most, they send out artillery spotters who are easily identified and neutralized once you know what's up. They don't counter attack. I never lose, and usually my casualties are very light. Maybe I need to learn how to set up the campaigns better, maybe I'm not giving them experienced troops or something.

AT guns are no longer much of a problem. I was being too rash in my attacks. I can send out one Scout/Sniper, spot the guns and weaken or destroy them with mortar fire, or snipe them with tanks. Actually I'm not even using all of my assets. I could use helicopters to scout the enemy, but that is way too easy, seems like cheating. I use them for ferrying troops and evacuating wounded.

Anyway, talk at ya later.

Last edited by Sneaksie; 04-03-2011 at 04:00 PM. Reason: Political or religious agitation and propaganda, appeal to overthrows of power
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  #8  
Old 04-03-2011, 05:12 PM
Sneaksie Sneaksie is offline
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Yes, we're Russian company after all
So Hold Fire command works normally for you?
I think tank brigade uses all of it's assets while on the offensive, so you can wait a turn if and give them a chance to attack if you find the game too easy. By the way, what level of difficulty you are choosing?
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:25 AM
nodlew nodlew is offline
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Hey there.

Hold Fire works fine. All of the Unit Commands in the console seem to work fine, although I would prefer it if, after selecting a particular formation for my tanks or infantry, those units would maintain the formation I chose for them rather than defaulting to a Line formation which strings them out in a thin line. The Formation command should be like the Stance command, it should remain in effect until changed by the player.

Unable to get the campaigns up to a challenging difficulty playing the Americans, I broke down and am now playing the Leap of the Tiger campaign on Veteran Difficulty--I have never played the game on anything but the hardest setting. Why would I? As the PRK I have fought four battles now, attacking US forces in prepared defensive positions and have had about as easy a time of it as before--have not lost a battle, take light casualties. Half the time I do not require air support and almost never, unless fighting a very large force, do I need reinforcements. I have had a couple of surprises that could have turned out very badly for me, but luck seems to be on my side consistently. I was ambushed by two 57mm AT guns while engaging a Patton tank to my front. I lost one t-34, but destroyed the Patton and was able to withdraw my other tanks out of the AT guns' line of fire. Then it was a simple, if time-consuming, task to destroy them. The Koreans seem almost impervious to mortar fire, where the US and Russians seem to be very vulnerable to it. The Korean mortars are much more responsive than those of the US, and they seem more accurate.

Perhaps I am fighting green and demoralized troops--they are, as a general rule in rout from a previous battle. Half the time when I run into enemy tanks I am looking through my gun sights at their engine compartments as them mill around in circles. They stand no chance against my tanks which are creeping forward, using the terrain, crewed by veterans. As the Koreans, I am losing all respect for the M46 tank. I have been surprised by them several times, but even my SU 76mm SPGs knock out the Patton turrets with a couple of shots--these turrets seem particularly weak. And, of course, the fact that they have no machine gun ammo does not help matters for them. The T-34 85 in game seems like the ideal medium tank. Better armored than any of the competition, even the Patton, given the vulnerable turret, much faster and more maneuverable than the American tanks, with a gun that knocks them out with one or two shots.

The campaign is fun, but I have a very hard time believing that I will ever be seriously challenged. One mission worried me a little bit--I had to defend against an American armored assault and I had no tanks available. But by clever placement of my infantry and anti-tank guns I destroyed the attacking force and took insignificant casualties, not even losing a single AT gun. The Americans just blundered into my trap like a bunch of lemmings running off of a cliff. I am sure the AI is using tactics, but I hope I am not seeing the best tactics it is capable of, or the only truly daunting campaigns will have to be scripted, one shot deals.

Keep in mind, I cut my teeth on Men of War, where the game expects you to defeat an entire Company with tanks, emplaced defenses--the works--with a five man recon team. I prefer this of course, it is much more allied with reality. But it is proving just a tad too easy.

As a final note, I understand why you edited my post. This is an Official Forum and I suppose you cannot be seen to take sides in political things. However, to correct your word usage, what I said re North Korea does not qualify as Propaganda. An individual expressing his views purely as such is not Propagandizing. Propaganda is public speech or dissemination of media by an individual or a group which is patently biased and intended to sway opinion at large in a particular manner to achieve the ends of that individual or group. My opinions may be biased, as all are to some degree, but not patently so, and I have no ends, political or otherwise, to be served by them other than self-expression.

Here in the US, propaganda is an evil word, not to be used lightly, being associated as it is with regimes and groups that demonstrate a complete lack of scruple in their activities, and a total disregard for the truth. Regimes, as it happens, like North Korea.

Last edited by nodlew; 04-04-2011 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:57 AM
nodlew nodlew is offline
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One final thing before I forget. I think it would improve the game if it were possible for the player to Toggle Icons On/Off while playing a mission. Turning off the icons in settings results, for me anyway, in my troops becoming virtually invisible. Even during the Deployment Phase with all of my units bunched together in a small village, I can hardly see a tank in order to position it, much less a rifle squad. Even zoomed in right on top of the units, selecting them with the mouse cursor is problematic (difficult). The result is not an increase in realism from a commander's point of view, but rather to put the progress of the mission completely in the hands of the AI, as the enemy is essentially invisible to the player along with his own forces.

So, at least on my computer with my 17" monitor at 1440 x 900, turning off the icons completely is not an option. It would be very nice, however, at various times to be able to turn the icons off and watch the action on screen without all of the blue and red balloons. This would be very nice for screen shots as well. Or is this another section of the manual that I failed to take note of?
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