Spotting is the process of seeing or trying to see enemy units. A unit that has been seen by the enemy is seen ("a seen enemy"). A unit which is spotted but not fully seen is called a contact. The general term embracing both levels of detection is spotted.
Contacts and Confirmed Enemies Edit
There are two levels of spottedness in CMx2: a confirmed enemy unit ("seen"), and a contact. An infantry unit will be confirmed only when the spotting unit can actually see one of its men. (Vehicles are much easier to see.) A confirmed enemy unit is indicated on the user interface by a floating icon; the icon shows the enemy unit's basic type (up until Elite difficulty level), and can be selected. Units automatically fire at confirmed enemies they know of, unless you give orders that would prevent it.
Contacts are possible but not certain enemy units: there may or may not be a unit in the action spot. Contacts are shown on the user interface as non-floating icons with question marks. The opacity of a contact icon is calibrated to how certain your troops are that something is there: a very translucent contact is less certain than one that is fully opaque. Because the contact icon does not float, it can often be hard to see as it will be imbedded in local terrain. The TacAI will not automatically fire at contacts. (You can order units to fire at an action spot with area fire.) Contacts will be automatically placed at the last known location of previously seen enemy units.
Rules for Spotting Edit
Spotting is influenced by many things:
- the movement status (if any) of the observing unit: generally, the faster a unit moves, the less it sees
- the movement status (if any) of the enemy unit: generally, the faster a unit moves, the easier it is to spot
- the terrain the enemy unit is in: concealment makes spotting harder
- hiding units spot more poorly
- hidden units are harder to spot
- the presence of terrain, smoke, etc. in between the two units
- a unit which is firing is easier to spot
- a unit which is firing spots more poorly
- vehicles are much easier to spot than infantry
Vehicles are loud, and will often be spotted long before you would see any infantry in the same position. This is true both for contact and seen status. Thus, if you see a contact icon show up off on a flank distant from any unit, or behind a hedgerow at moderate range, it's probably a vehicle. Another thing you may see is a contact icon that is moving. This is the sign of a moving vehicle which your men can hear but not see.
Spotting and C2 Edit
In CMx1, the model for sharing spotting was very simple: the entire side shared all spotting information. If a single radioless scout way off on a hill saw something, a tank halfway across the map immediately could see it (and fire at it) too. This model, sometimes disparaged as "borg sighting", had the advantage of being easy to understand and program.
In CMx2, outside of Basic Training difficulty, things are different. CMx2 uses so-called relative spotting: each individual unit has its own private set of seen enemies and contacts. When a any friendly unit is selected, the user interface shows that unit's own spotting set. There is also an "overall" view that the player gets, which is the union of the all of the spotting sets of that player's units, with some of the contacts removed. This is what you see on the user interface when no unit is selected.
You can see which of your units can see an enemy unit by selecting that unit: all of your units that currently see it will have their icons highlighted.