Some more for you guys, I apologize for the delay, but my attention managed to get diverted into other things for a while. Then when I dropped back in here I got distracted catching up on the ongoing debate regarding the beta changes and air model, etc, etc.
My two cents on the issue is that I dont think there is anything fundementally broken in the system, but that the data used in stock isnt necessarily ideal for creating realistic results, leading to issues like too high operational tempos, etc.
So, in light of that, and since the last post was on aircraft weapons, I thought I would make this post about the changes to aircraft themselves, as well as air production, research.
One of the first things I did when I started on Mk2 was creating a spreadsheet to handle aircraft data, and to automatically calculate things like Extended and Normal ranges, Endurance, as well as useful non-game data like fuel efficiency and drop tank range effects which I could use to make sure all the data was sensible.
A lot of ranges were tweaked a little, and of course any new aircraft or non-historical models just had them extrapolated. The general pattern for ranges in stock is that Normal is 75% of Extended, which is ~70-95% of Maximum depending on aircraft type (though note that the game automatically halves Ext and Normal ranges since they involve a return trip. I chose to keep these ratios, though I did consider dropping the Ext/Normal ratio to 60% or so since it would push up Ops losses as a result, but so far there does not seem to be a need for it. As a general rule Extended was set as 80% of Maximum, with the except of recon aircraft which are at 95% and bombers with space for internal fuel which are at 70-75%.
Service ratings were completely redone, with all seeing increases. An interesting discovery I made while working using the .csv files is that although service rating is capped at 5 in the editor, if a value greater than this is used on a .csv and the scenario repackaged, the game will happily recognize that value. Im still doing tests on this, but if it works as advertised, then the likely values for service ratings will be something like below. Note that these are just guidelines, every plane will be asessed individually.
3 - Radial Single Engine (F4F, etc)
4 - 'Difficult' Radial Single Engine (A7M, B5N1), Radial Twin Engine (A-20, Ki-48), Inline Single Engine (Spitfire, Ki-61)
5 - Large Radial Twin Engine (B25, G4M, Ki-21), Inline Twin Engine (P-38), Jet-Prop Hybrids (FR-1)
6 - Four Engine (B-17), Jets (P-80)
I should note that the differences between 4 and 5 for example are much lower than those between 2 and 3, because of how SR works. What happens is that the SR is used to divide 100 to work out how much wear the aircraft can take before it needs maintenance; this is visible on the Planes tab of a squadron. So SR3 is 33, SR4 is 25, SR5 is 20 and SR6 is 16/17. As a result, I might even push up the upper end of the scale to SR8, which is 12/13. Probably something that needs a lot of testing.
My ongoing game with csatahajos uses the early version of this with everything rated from 3 to 5, and it has a noticable but realistic effect on sortie tempo; its possible to stage strikes with 100% operational squadrons, but dont expect to do so for several days in a row, availability will quickly drop to ~70-80% for single engine bombers, and less for the bigger stuff. Couple this with Babes style AV support limits for real fun.
Another thing that I had issue with was the marked difference between the way MVR values for the allied and japanese planes varied. Take for example a comparison of the F6F3 and the A6M5. The F6F-3 is rated as 17-17-17-17-14, with the A6M5 as 29-29-29-23-17. This just seems off, especially as even though both aircraft had superchargers, decreasing air density would result in reduced maneuvering ability even if engine power was unaffected; instead the values are constant until the critical altitude is reached and then drop off.
The same 2 aircraft under the new system I use are as follows; 24-22-20-18-14 for the F6F-3, and 31-28-25-20-13 for the A6M5. These are probably the most fluid part of the changes to aircraft right now, and have gone through about 6-7 iterations so far, with more to come as I get a chance to do more testing. In brief, I try to account for wing loading and general manuverability (the base value), the effects of super/turbochargers (fall off with altitude, point of steeper falloff), along with the effect of reduced air pressure resulting in less manueverability, with acrobatic aircraft suffering more.
An intesting side effect of testing this was that the stratospheric sweep effect is much less noticable, especially in the early war; even an unlayered CAP will do resonably against them, though layered is always better. I have yet to see how it plays out with late-war aircraft like the P-51H, etc.
Production and Research
Without going into too much detail on industrial changes, suffice to say that as a result of Japan having less HI overall, each point invested into aircraft will be that much more 'expensive'. This, coupled with the fact that the repair cost for each engine factory type can be different (from ~1000 supplies for Ha-33/35, to ~3000-4000 supplies for late war versions), should allow a more realistic representation of the limitations faced historically.
When it comes to R&D, I identified 2 main things that caused unrealistic results as Japan; the first was the sheer number of R&D centers, meaning you could easily afford to use 5-10 on an aircraft you really wanted, each at the 'optimum' size of 30-40. By cutting the number of R&D centers to two dozen or so, the player is forced to be much more selective about what to research, assuming realistic R&D is on of course. The second was the crazy ability to 'upgrade' an R&D plant without damage to any plane in an upgrade path. This was dealt with by removing the natural upgrade paths for all IJ aircraft; the ones ones where a shift like that is permitted is within subvariants (Ki-44-Ia to -Ib and -Ic), or when moving to an 'alternative version' (G4M1 to G4M1-L).
Comments and questions on the above would be appreciated. I will explain industrial changes in more depth next time, and might dabble into shipbuilding aswell.
You got me really hyped at some of the items you intended for this mod. Is it still alive?