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idea: variabel force setup at start

 
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idea: variabel force setup at start - 7/8/2010 10:53:54 AM   
janh

 

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I actually got an idea from discussions over at the War in Russia forum that might be very interesting for this game:

One thing that probably makes the games against both AI and PBEM more static than historically, especially in the first year of Japanese expansions, is the fact the both side perfectly know the opposing force setup too well. Historically, I believe both sides had reasonably good understanding of the each others navy, but not so much about the exact specs and capabilities of each sides ships. I conclude from a lot of literature that particularly the Japanese were at an advantage since they kept their details better covered up, and the US was stumbling a more in the dark.
I assume it was even worse regarding LBA and LCU information, placement and organization.

Of course not knowing exactly how much Japan had in 1941, nor where is was placed and headed, must have been a distinct advantage that helped the speedy progress till mid 1942. And kept the allies in the toe, especially in regard to sending ABDA and USN forces into engagements against the invasion convoys. I recall initially (and perhaps still) a major problem with playing against AI in the historical war scenario, namely that a lot of the initial Japanese invasion TFs come along badly escorted. Historically, this would make sense of course. But since any player knows the initial TOE and setup, this is one example where the game gets easily predictable and those TFs can be harvested quickly.

I don't know whether it is possible, or whether it would require to be done in a patch, but it would surely make this game much more dynamic and add a much bigger factor of uncertainty if at the beginning force setups of the japanese could be either varied by the player before start of the game, or if forces of both sides would be "randomized" a bit: Say all LBA and LCU get an "appearance variation" factor, that can delay or accelerate the arrival by a random number of turns. Same could be done for US.
Any kind of changing the initial force setup I would bet would make both sides more cautious and lead to extremely exciting campaigns of.

More extreme could be the idea to allow for minor alternation of the properties of aircraft, ground unit/vehicle or ship specs, so that players would initially have to figure out how well "say the Oscar does against the Warhawk"...




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RE: idea: variabel force setup at start - 7/8/2010 5:50:15 PM   
topeverest

 

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I think you are describing many of the public and private mods out there where starting and/or future forces are changed. Note there also is a variable setup option available.

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RE: idea: variabel force setup at start - 7/8/2010 6:58:03 PM   
JWE

 

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janh,
Unfortunately, given the way the engine is structured, this is not possible. The way it works is scenario data driven, not executable driven, so not even a patch will be able to do it.

For an alternative start, one needs to define a completely new set of TF data, with new Ship content, and with Airgroups adjusted to new missions, and with LCUs (and new LCUs) in the right place and re-identified to the new TFs and with new planning targets. And once a new scenario is set up with alternative-1, it is cast in stone, just as the stock opening day moves.

It takes maybe 2 or 3 days (weeks) to develop an alternative opening day scen, and involves substantial changes to the Ship, TF, Airgroup, and Location files. Yes, if you launch the game, you can change the destinations of all the “magic move” TFs (and do the clickfest for all the KB airgroups to change mission and target). But you can’t add LCUs, or change their planning target (you can, but it will go to ‘0’) without editor assistance.

If you have an opponent that trusts you, you can make a new opening day scen, give him/her some new intelligence (including a lot of useless and misdirective crap) and play it out. Remember, it’s only the opening day moves that are defined. After that, you can go boogie till ya puke.


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RE: idea: variabel force setup at start - 7/8/2010 10:50:59 PM   
janh

 

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Thanks guys, that's good information. Sounds like this would be more of an idea for the WITP 2 wishlist then. I think it would add a lot of replay value for PBEM, and a lot of pepper for AI games. --Jan

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RE: idea: variabel force setup at start - 7/9/2010 2:26:11 AM   
michaelm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: janh

Thanks guys, that's good information. Sounds like this would be more of an idea for the WITP 2 wishlist then. I think it would add a lot of replay value for PBEM, and a lot of pepper for AI games. --Jan

The original WITP had a few variable start-up positions for the campaign scenario but they were hard-coded positions. When we did AE, it was decided that we wanted to keep away from hard-coding data into the game as much as possible, plus if we needed to move a location or two, the re-positions might need to be recalculated with the a chance of an error creeping in.

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RE: idea: variabel force setup at start - 7/9/2010 9:48:42 AM   
janh

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: michaelm
The original WITP had a few variable start-up positions for the campaign scenario but they were hard-coded positions. When we did AE, it was decided that we wanted to keep away from hard-coding data into the game as much as possible, plus if we needed to move a location or two, the re-positions might need to be recalculated with the a chance of an error creeping in.


I imagine for a game of this complexity it is hard to do such things without the risk of undesired side-effects. But I am sure it would be possible some way or another. Maybe every unit could get two more descriptors, appearance probability and time. Then you could add that to the existing units, and add an array of ghost units to all locations -- units that should normally appear much later in game. If you balance it, some thrusts would get weaker, some stronger, but overall it would be close to historical totals (although also deviation here would be interesting). I assume with the present implementation of the AI, i.e. static scripting, this could be a problem. If you ever update the AI scripting language and make it dynamic functions, class and variable based, with more customizable triggers etc, then it would actually not matter so much which units would be present or arrive a couple of weeks later. AI could be scripted to test what forces it has available, what forces neighboring theaters could send, and when reinforcements might be expected, and thereupon pick a target and strategy with the units it presently find in the region of a specific headquarters.

Another interesting approach would be slight random modifications of aircraft/ship/vehicle/weapons properties. For instance if you could for each unit type and certain categories choose to randomize values by a user-chosen amount (10,20,30%). If the updated database would be merged into the savegame, that could work as well.

Of course this is not historic, but it adds to the game. After all the War in the Pacific wasn't fought with the perfect knowledge where the allied forces where waiting in what strength and with what equipment, that is capable of handling out so much damage, when the Japanese advanced. Nor did the allied so well know what was coming at them. AE players now of course have near perfect intel. Sounds to me like this would be a very desirable feature for this game.



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RE: idea: variabel force setup at start - 7/9/2010 2:51:23 PM   
topeverest

 

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I have not found standard starting posistions to be a problem. Remember that a half dozen Empire naval TF's essentially are free setup with their expanded move capacities. This is a highly flexible start for the game IMO.

Perhaps the most simple solution if you want to add more flexibility is to offer the Japanese more of these via the editor

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RE: idea: variabel force setup at start - 7/9/2010 4:43:43 PM   
janh

 

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No, we are not talking about a problem, but rather a new feature.
I think of setting up the starting ops by moving whole armies and fleets to a different location. Imagine some would prefer to have major parts of the Kwangtun army readied to be loaded on transports to AUS, or Java, right Dec. 7 41? Or Someone would prefer to just seal of Philippines, bomb the US LBA there into the ground but send only minimal ground forces -- the rest already being deployed in Vietnam for a fast move towards India. Or think of the AUS having strong forward deployments at the beginning where the Japs wouldn't have expected them (for whatever reason, a "what if scenario").
I was thinking of adding uncertainty to the force strengths, disposition and capabilities of both sides.

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