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Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/11/2009 10:43:30 PM   
jeffreys

 

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I am reading over the AAR on Time of Wrath, and it sounds like it will be an excellent game. I noted however that at one point an air unit completely eliminated a ground division, something that strikes me as not being historical. I would suggest limiting the amount of damage an air unit can do to a ground unit, so that an attack by ground units is needed to completely eliminate another ground unit.

I do recall that on the earlier "Road to Victory" forum there was concern expressed about air units not being unique enough (too much like ground units with a very long range), and it seems that there is the potential for that to recur in Time of Wrath. My suggestion at that time was to have air units do damage mostly to a unit's effectiveness (with a small amount of damage to strength), and have that effectivenesss recover slowly with time. Something similar to the way naval bombardments do damage. Perhaps that idea is impracticable, or not a good idea for some other reason, but I do think that there should be some limitation on the damage that air units can do to ground units. Something that rewards the use of combined arms where air units need to work in conjunction with ground units in order to have their best effect.


< Message edited by jeffreys -- 7/11/2009 10:44:39 PM >


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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/12/2009 12:31:03 AM   
EdinHouston

 

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Makes a lot of sense. I like the idea of reduced effectiveness with some casualties, rather than wholesale destruction.

I remember reading about this issue with the original game, and its one of the things that caused me not to buy it.

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/12/2009 9:58:30 AM   
dooya

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jeffreys

I am reading over the AAR on Time of Wrath, and it sounds like it will be an excellent game. I noted however that at one point an air unit completely eliminated a ground division, something that strikes me as not being historical. I would suggest limiting the amount of damage an air unit can do to a ground unit, so that an attack by ground units is needed to completely eliminate another ground unit.

I do recall that on the earlier "Road to Victory" forum there was concern expressed about air units not being unique enough (too much like ground units with a very long range), and it seems that there is the potential for that to recur in Time of Wrath. My suggestion at that time was to have air units do damage mostly to a unit's effectiveness (with a small amount of damage to strength), and have that effectivenesss recover slowly with time. Something similar to the way naval bombardments do damage. Perhaps that idea is impracticable, or not a good idea for some other reason, but I do think that there should be some limitation on the damage that air units can do to ground units. Something that rewards the use of combined arms where air units need to work in conjunction with ground units in order to have their best effect.

The numerical and technological advantage of the Germans is really large in the Poland scenario. If I remember correctly, only units that were already weakened were destroyed by air attacks.

Furthermore, the AAR was done with an early beta build and a lot of balancing had been done since then.


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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/12/2009 1:00:59 PM   
Uxbridge


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We're using a house rule that no ground or air units are allowed to be attacked more than once per turn, except for target-units in cities. This has worked very nice and prevents heavy attacks from obliterating things in an unrealistic way, while, at the same time, it still allows for heavy attacks on prepared defences of places such as Warsaw or Stalingrad, or allows a player to clear the way for an invasion by obsessively bombing units in future supply-cities in coastal areas. If this or a similar limitation could be implemented in a future patch, many of the problems with too strong (or too weak) air forces can be solved.

Some 20 years back, I used to play a game from SPI/TSR called E.T.O. This game - it was a boardgame - had a very elegant way of handling air units in ground support roles. You could attack specific targets just as you do in RtW. In such cases the opponent could react with air units of his own. But there was also a slightly more subtle effect of air units. Before ground combat, there was a check to see whether the target hex lay within influence of any player's air power. I can't recall exactly how this was determined, and its not vital here. Suffice to say that by establishing whether the hex was out of reach of air units, contested or whether any side had air superiority, the ground combat resolution was affected.

Let's hypothetically assume that the game - in this case Time of Wrath - makes an overall calculation at the beginning of each nation's turn, and that it determines the air strength of each hex; possible in the same way as it checks supply. Let's also suppose that it gives each hex an accumulated "air combat value" (ACV), being the total of all air units able to reach it. This would be calculated with the strength and tech level of each friendly air unit as positive factors and the distance flown to get to the target hex as negative. A value would be achived for each hex. Then the same is done regarding enemy air assetts, with the latter being subtracted from the former. This will produce a final value for each hex: neutral, positive or negative.

Once combat is initiated, the game engine would take the above value into consideration. A neutral value doesn't change anything, a slight positive ACV for the attacker could, for example give a 5 % higher overall ground attack value, whereas a high ACV could give maybe as much as 10-15 % increased ground attack value. If the defender has superiority the attacking units are simply downgraded in the opposite way.

The ACV can also be used for other calculations. A very high enemy ACV in a hex could, for instance, reduce the ability to move friendly supply or degrade the number of AP:s of passing friendly units as the enemy have a lot of air units ”on interdiction”. Since all these calculations are done automatically, the players can concentrate on placing air units in favourably positions along the frontline and trying to combat the opponents units from doing the same. In fact, handled in this way, the air power of each side would have a profound effect upon the battlefields, but would demand no more micro-management from the players than moving his own air divisions and armies and battling with the opponent's air units.

Whoops, this turned out to be a long post, but once I started to write, I just couldn’t stop. Sorry for that.

Doomtrader, Dooya and all others developers, this is no suggestion what you should be working on the next week. It's only a suggestion how the air aspect of the game could be enhanced, if technically feasable, with new concepts in a future version of this great game.


< Message edited by Uxbridge -- 7/12/2009 3:31:20 PM >

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/12/2009 1:05:49 PM   
dooya

 

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quote:

[...]Doomtrader, Dooya and all others develpoers, this is no suggestion what you should be working on the next week. It's only a suggestion how the air aspect of the game could be enhanced, if technically feasable, with new concepts in a future version of this great game.

I do not belong to the development team; I was immodest enough to ask whether WI needs someone to do an preview AAR.


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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/12/2009 1:15:21 PM   
Uxbridge


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Oh, I see! Pardon me.

What, however, would you think about the suggestions above? Still hypothetically, of course.

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/12/2009 10:17:37 PM   
jeffreys

 

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In the sense of clarifying my earlier post slightly, I don't mean to contend that air power is too strong overall. I think that air power should be a big factor, but should not be able to eliminate ground units. If the damage that an air unit can do each ground unit were limited or reduced in some way (e.g. my suggestion in my original post which I do think is a good one ) then it could be balanced by allowing air units to perform several missions per turn against several targets, so that the overall importance of air power is preserved.

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/12/2009 10:35:05 PM   
Uxbridge


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The idea of substituting strength losses for loss of efficiency is a very good one, and, I think, something that would be possible to implement even in the short term, since it is already there when a naval unit bombards ground targets. Maybe there could be some limitation to this effect also, like that a ground unit could never be lowered more than 50 % due to air activity.

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/13/2009 2:07:30 AM   
SeaMonkey

 

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Uxbridge, this is a conversation we have had many times over at the SC forum, as the mechanics are the same.  I like your idea, but it excludes a focused air operation where all air assets are called upon to attack a certain local.  In your scenario those air assets would be spread out and could not be concentrated for maximum effort.

A little unrealistic, wouldn't you agree.  It also presents a disadvantage to the player, but I still kind of like the idea.  I could invision a transparent circle(shaded color) of effectiveness for each air unit and obviously where they overlap the (density of the chosen color is higher) greater the the effort on those hexes.  You understand that the players would have to manipulate the deployment of each allotted air unit to achieve this, kind of cumbersome perhaps?

What we have decided over at SC(its by no means unanimous) is that air units, or any combat unit for that matter can never completely destroy a unit the magnitude of what is represented here at ToW, but they are rendered "combat ineffective".  I would suggest that since ToW has the retreat feature, the unit should retreat if it is at 1 strength in lieu of being eliminated.  Further effective air attacks would conclude with additional retreats so the defending unit could actually be walked out of the picture, so to speak, with that remaining one strength.

Now you do understand that a zone of control exerted in a possible retreat hex by an enemy ground unit would effectively eliminate the defending unit just as if it had been attacked by that enemy unit.  So you see how the initiating player could maneuver his ground forces to cause a defending unit's demise without actually attacking that unit.  If the defending one strength unit does happen to escape enemy ZoCs then I agree that an attack by a ground unit should be the culmination of that unit's elimination.

Now in addition to the above process and keeping in mind that in reality large formations of combat troops rarily were completely annihilated, unless of course surrounded, we at SC relegate those units to the build Q at a reduced cost to bring back on to the map.

This represents a cadre of equipment and men that have escaped and were reformed in the rear areas and therefor the player should not have to pay the full price to build a new unit.

< Message edited by SeaMonkey -- 7/13/2009 2:17:43 AM >

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/13/2009 6:25:58 AM   
jeffreys

 

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I agree with SeaMonkey that large combat units were rarely completely anhililated, and that the eliminated result can best be thought of as rendering a unit combat ineffective. Still, he fact remains that for units as large as divisions or corps in World War II, air power alone was not enought to acheive this result. Nor could air power alone usually cause such a large unit to retreat. Air power was, however, extremely effective when used in conjunction with ground attack, as well as being very powerful in interfering with supply lines, interfering with unit movement, and for "recon" work. Air power could certainly be one of the decisive factors in a campaign, but it had to be used in conjunction with ground units as part of a combined arms operation to be truly effective. It is my hope that Time of Wrath will reflect this need for combined arms, thereby adding to the historical accuracy and playability of what looks to be shaping up as an outstanding game.

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/13/2009 8:51:06 AM   
Uxbridge


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SeaMonkey

Uxbridge, this is a conversation we have had many times over at the SC forum, as the mechanics are the same.  I like your idea, but it excludes a focused air operation where all air assets are called upon to attack a certain local.  In your scenario those air assets would be spread out and could not be concentrated for maximum effort.


No, I was a bit unclear here. In my version, the mechanics present in ToW today would still be the same. You could still use the air units to attack ground targets, recon and battle with opposing air units. What I was looking for was an additional effect on all ground combats withing the operational radius of air units. This would neither expend AP:s on behalf of the air units, nor matter whether those units are enemy or friendly. In fact, I would rather see the air effect as being almost the same as the weather effect.


quote:

ORIGINAL: SeaMonkey
A little unrealistic, wouldn't you agree. It also presents a disadvantage to the player, but I still kind of like the idea. I could invision a transparent circle(shaded color) of effectiveness for each air unit and obviously where they overlap the (density of the chosen color is higher) greater the the effort on those hexes. You understand that the players would have to manipulate the deployment of each allotted air unit to achieve this, kind of cumbersome perhaps?


No, I don't think it unrealistic, rather the opposite. And it's not cumbersome either. You simply move the units to places where the ground effort is to be most prominent and the system will work by itself. When you say it represents a disadvantage to the player, I suppose you're thinking of a person playing against the AI. I have to admit that all my thinking is human vs human. I can't see any problem with the AI handling a system like this, however, since it's "thinking" would be based upon directed ground support anyway. What you mean with the human player being at a disadvantage, I don't fully understand.


< Message edited by Uxbridge -- 7/13/2009 9:14:39 AM >

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/13/2009 9:07:44 AM   
Uxbridge


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jeffreys

I agree with SeaMonkey that large combat units were rarely completely anhililated, and that the eliminated result can best be thought of as rendering a unit combat ineffective. Still, he fact remains that for units as large as divisions or corps in World War II, air power alone was not enought to acheive this result. Nor could air power alone usually cause such a large unit to retreat. Air power was, however, extremely effective when used in conjunction with ground attack, as well as being very powerful in interfering with supply lines, interfering with unit movement, and for "recon" work. Air power could certainly be one of the decisive factors in a campaign, but it had to be used in conjunction with ground units as part of a combined arms operation to be truly effective. It is my hope that Time of Wrath will reflect this need for combined arms, thereby adding to the historical accuracy and playability of what looks to be shaping up as an outstanding game.


Fully in agreement with this. If something like my suggested system were to be implemented in the future, together with your suggestion of a lowered effectivness rather than casualties for ground units, the air component of the game would become more realistic.

< Message edited by Uxbridge -- 7/13/2009 9:09:46 AM >

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/13/2009 9:39:37 AM   
doomtrader


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As I already written it several times the game engine has got it's limitation. Also our development team together with our beta team (and I would like to thanks them once again) is very limited.
We have got some ideas about possible solutions which can be made, but we are not large enough (in quantity terms), so we decided to wait for a gamers feedback.

ATM possible solutions are as follows (of course our great ideas are always limitated by programmers ):
1. If unit has got less than X points of strength it can't be attacked by air unit
2. As above but with % of maximum strength
3. Air attacks reducing effectivity
4. Land unit can be attacked X times in land turn
5. any mix of the above

Of course, where are two people there are three opinions.

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/13/2009 10:52:47 AM   
cpdeyoung


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One more person, another opinon. I do not feel this is a problem, and given the nature of the game/simulation, think it works well as designed. The "destruction" of a unit can be seen as a severe loss of effectivness. If it goes beyond the point of replacements you can always purchase a new unit and give it the same name. Hitler was fond of creating units and not establishing their OOB to "normal" standards. This lack of funding is well represented in ToW when units arrive with almost no strength. Within the timescale, and game model, this all works.

The "destruction" of a land unit by air does not feel as wrong in gameplay as it sounds. All just one players opinion, of course.

Chuck

< Message edited by cpdeyoung -- 7/13/2009 10:53:01 AM >

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/13/2009 10:58:24 AM   
Uxbridge


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quote:

ORIGINAL: doomtrader

As I already written it several times the game engine has got it's limitation. Also our development team together with our beta team (and I would like to thanks them once again) is very limited.
We have got some ideas about possible solutions which can be made, but we are not large enough (in quantity terms), so we decided to wait for a gamers feedback.

ATM possible solutions are as follows (of course our great ideas are always limitated by programmers ):
1. If unit has got less than X points of strength it can't be attacked by air unit
2. As above but with % of maximum strength
3. Air attacks reducing effectivity
4. Land unit can be attacked X times in land turn
5. any mix of the above

Of course, where are two people there are three opinions.


Don't change anything yet, but wait for reactions after ToW have been out some months. Only when we have the entire picture can we give you any really considered views.

As far as the 5 solutions goes, speaking on top of my head, I would nevertheless suggest:

1. No. Once a nation's PP-pool gets low, it will not replace fully, and getting below a certain level (if this level ins't too low) can be a way to avoid air attacks. If battered to a very low state a nation's air units will suddenly become invulnerable.
2. No. For the same reason as above, although I wouldn't mind the restriction as much as in the case of air units.
3. Yes. Much better than causing casualties. The effect should last only during the present player's turn, not for the upcoming opponents turn.
4. Yes. Reduce the number of times a land unit can be attacked to 1 (or possible 2). It has worked fine in our games. The same limitation should apply to air units, otherwise it is easy to establish air superiority for the player who allocates his units to a theatre first. Maybe this is easy to do without having to change anything else.



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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/13/2009 2:11:37 PM   
doomtrader


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Uxbridge.

You are completly right.
This is one of the issues that we would like to get some feedback.

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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/15/2009 6:55:26 AM   
jeffreys

 

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For whatever my opinion is worth (probably not much) I think that Uxbridge makes a convincing argument that that air units should not be prohibited from attacking low strength land units. It's probably also no great surprise to anyone who's been reading this thread that I like the idea of having the main effect of air attacks on land units be to reduce effectivity, with only a small reduction of strength.

I disagree though with limiting the number of times a unit can be attacked. I do think though, that it might make sense to limit the amount of damage that can be done by subsequent attacks. For example, it might be possible to have each attack cause a maximum percentage decrease in the target's remaining effectiveness.

Let's say hypothetically that the limit was a 50% reduction per attack (note that I just pulled the number 50% out of my ear, it is not based on anything except ease of calculation). Then the first attack could reduce the unit's effectiveness by a maximum of 50% (or less if the attack did less than maximum damage). If the unit started at 100%, it might be down as low as 50%, and the best the second attack could do would be to reduce another 50% so that it's now down to 25% effectiveness. A third attack might reduce it to 12.5%, and a fourth attack to 6.25%, and so on.

The player has the choice to continue doing this as long as he has available air units, but the law of diminishing returns sets in fairly quickly and the player will need to prioritize his targets so that he doesn't waste valuable air assets that would be useful elsewhere. The effect would be to limit the number of times in a turn that any unit is likely to be attacked from the air, but it leaves the decision up to the player, and the target would still need to be finished off by a ground unit.

Moving slightly off topic, I also feel that there should not be a limit on how many times each turn a unit can be attacked by opposing ground units (though of course each attacking unit can only participate in one multi-unit attack each turn). This gives the player a mechanism to concentrate his attacks at a point that he considers vital, and in a game without stacking I feel it is important to have such a mechanism. Of course the need to maneuver units into and out of position to attack, and the number of action points that a unit possesses, will put limits on how many attacks can actually be made each turn, but I don't feel that there is a need to impose any "artificial" limits.


< Message edited by jeffreys -- 7/15/2009 7:18:14 PM >


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RE: Airplanes Destroying Divisions - 7/15/2009 3:21:41 PM   
Berkut

 

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I very much liked the idea of air units having a "zone of effect" type of impact on play, possibly in addition to being specifically targetted. A combination of the two (where specifically targeting could in fact have devastating effect, but reduce the ability to provide the more general support) would be very cool.

Further, the effect of airpower in WW2 was *extremely* variable. Weather, local supply conditions, lack of good communication, friendly fire - even the best and most technical of air forces had many examples where expected air support simply did not show up, or examples where it was devastatingly effective.

This should be represented in the model, with the results CRTs for air attacks have a LOT of variability - especially targetted attacks (if there were a system that modeled both targetted and not targetted). Make the choice to expend your air unit attacking that exposed infantry division not obvious - the player should not be certain that it is worth the cost, and making the outcome range be potentially as bad as "nothing happens - you wasted the attack" even when it is Germans attacking Poles, should give some pause to the choice.

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