From: Vermont, USA
[QUOTE]Originally posted by IronDuke
[B]Firstly, my compliments. The game engine looks to be developing really well, and the inclusion and release of a scenario editor will really round it off. Everything I've seen from logistics to the orders and modes etc looks really impressive and My money is yours when you're ready.
Thanks for your interest and your kind words.
[QUOTE][B]My only (very mild) qualm would concern the combat engine. Could you tell us a little more about this? In particular, how the differences between armour types is reflected? I read in an earlier thread that armour values are set and then adjusted proportionally in line with the unit losses, but would this make it theoretically possible for two or three battalions of Stuarts to defeat a Tiger battalion? (On this note, the long range Anti-tank flag looks a real step forward, not all operational games have reflected this advantage).
Hopefully without getting too long-winded, I'll try to cover the key points in response to your questions. I'm trying to compress about forty pages of documentation into one reply, so take a deep breath and try to bear with me. :)
Let's use your example of a two or three battalions of Stuarts fighting a Tiger battalion.
Whenever such a battle is joined, there will be up to three combat "pulses" in each round. The first is the long-range anti-tank pulse, during which only units with the LRAT flag can participate. In this instance, we would have Tigers firing at Stuarts and the Stuarts trying to close in. At the end of each pulse, the involved units have to make a check to keep fighting or retreat/break-off, so units can possibly break off an attack after receiving LRAT fire. We then have the Armor pulse and finally the Assault pulse. The way to think about this is that each pulse represents a range band within which new weapon systems come into play. In fact, the LRAT pulse actually looks at terrain across into the sector of the adjacent hex that the attacking unit started from to calculate line of sight. Of course, indirect support such as air, naval and artillery support can happen throughout combat depending on the available targets and the coordination rolls.
Now, each time we have units firing at each other, we compare their strengths to determine the basic odds of the combat. The strength values are modified by a number of things, including mode, terrain, the difference in intel, coordination, situation, TO&E, supply/fuel, fatigue, etc. Once we've come up with a final strength value for each side, we come up with the odds and calculate losses and results. Off the cuff, let's assume the designer rated the Stuarts as Armor Attack 7 and the Tigers as Armor Defense 14. Assuming no other modifiers (we can say it's in open terrain, with equal intel, all attacks from one hex and everyone's in tactical mode... a meeting engagement) that would give us 21 : 14 or 2:1 odds (we round up from .5) and likely around 3% losses for the Stuarts and 5% for the Tigers. That's all well and good if Stuarts were fighting Stuarts, but there's more to it than that...
Now, beyond the base strength we also have a value called TTL (Tank Tech Level). This ranges from 1-10 and covers the effects of armor technology throughout the war. By our current scale, the Stuart is Level 4 while the Tiger is Level 8. This means the Stuarts will be taking 60% more than the base losses and the Tigers will be taking 60% less than the base losses (this would give us an adjusted 5% for the Stuarts against 2% for the Tigers).
In addition, we have Unit TQ (Total Quality), which is a mix of leadership, training and morale. A TQ difference between units in a battle can also have an effect on losses. Let's say the Stuarts are manned by well trained crews and give them a TQ of 5. We'll say the Tigers are a crack unit with a TQ of 7. If the Tigers pass a TQ check, they will be able to exploit that advantage, increasing the losses for the Stuarts by 2% and decreasing their own by 1% (we're now at 7% for the Stuarts against 1% for the Tigers).
There is also a chance for an outstanding tactical success or disaster, but those are fairly rare so we won't worry about it.
In the end, there's a good chance that the pulses will unfold as follows:
LRAT: (21:14, 2:1 Odds) Stuarts take 7% losses vs. Tiger's 0% (Stuarts are not LRAT capable). Stuarts check vs. TQ 7 (first round bonus of 1), one unit breaks off. Tiger has an easy check vs. TQ 8 and stays.
Armor: (14:14, 1:1 Odds) Stuarts take 8% losses vs. Tiger's 1% (Odds dropping to 1:1 increased losses for Stuarts). Stuarts check vs. TQ 7 and stay around. Tiger checks (additional bonus for the attacker having only 1:1 odds now) and stays.
Assault: (14:14, 1:1 Odds) Stuarts take 6% losses vs. Tiger's 2% (we'll say the Tiger unit failed the TQ differential check to increase/decrease losses this pulse). Stuarts check vs. TQ 7, one unit breaks off.
End result, 2 of 3 Stuarts break off. Stuart 1 takes 7% losses. Stuarts 2 and 3 take 21% losses. Tiger takes 3% losses. Of course, if the rolls went against the probabilities, the results could vary. The TTL effect hower is not based on chance so the worst the Tigers would do is likely 2% losses per pulse while the Stuarts lose 5% per pulse. On the other extreme, if the Tigers did everything right and the Stuarts suffered a rare Tactical Disaster, their losses could in theory double. The results shown above are likely to be pretty much the norm though.
Clearly, a lot does depend on the designer assigning reasonable values, but that's the case in every wargame. For example, if the Stuarts had US Tactical Fighter Bombers supporting them and we place this scenario in 1944/45 when air support is more effective and coordinated (instead of in 1943 in North Africa or some such), then the Tigers would likely be in more trouble.
Now, these results are a bit bloody but each combat round does represent an hour of combat and if the combat continued to the next round, we would have supply and fatigue effects to consider as well as TO&E loss effects, etc. Units that break-off can also re-join the combat if it continues on long enough and so on.
I hope this helps make it clear that there is a lot more going on in combat than I can quickly explain here and that we are definitely considering certain effects beyond the straightforward strength values. For combat against armor in particular, TTL values are quite important and unit TQ is important in more situations than I can mention. :)
You mention the values are assigned, do the scenario designers make the judgements about the comparitive firepower of German and Allied infantry units etc, or does the game come with a preset series of recommendations along the lines of "for every Panther in the unit add 3 to the Anti tank value, for every Sherman 75 add 2 etc"
We actually had a long discussion on this in the design team and the end result was that we decided to not do a full standardized list in favor of certain guidelines that keep all designers in the same ballpark. Those same guidelines as well as a bunch of official scenarios spanning quite a few of the war's theaters and time period, should give players/designers an excellent reference for their own work.
If the game isn't hardcoded with the relative values, some sort of guide might allow standardisation in scenarios and prevent various models of weapon being more effective in some scenarions than others as a result.
Well, for example, here's a summary of the suggested TTL values. This should promote some discussion... :)
Battlefields Suggested TTL Values
TTL1: Late WWI, post-WWI light tanks, light (4 wheels) armored cars Molotov Cocktails, Grenades
TTL2: PzI, PzII, British light MkII-VII, T-26A,BT-1, armored cars, Anti-Tank rifles
TTL3: Pz 35-38, Luchs,PzJg I, M11-39, HA-GO,OTSU, CHI-HA,Turan I-II Cruiser serie ,R/H 35-39, T26B,T-60, Puma, heavy Anti-Tank rifles, Inf Light Anti-Tank guns
TTL4: PzIIIE/F, PzIVE, Stug III A-F, M13-40,Semovente, SHINTO CHI-HA, Turan III, M3/5 Stuart, Crusader Mk II, Char D serie,T-50, T-70, BT-5, BT-7 Inf AT Guns
TTL5: PzIIIH,, Marder serie,M15-42, Semovente M41-42, Grant, Crusader Mk III, Matilda, Valentine, Churchill MKI-V, Cromwell MkI-III, Somua, Char B1bis,SU 76 Motor towed AT Guns, early Bazooka/Panzerfaust
TTL6: PzIIIJ, PzIVF2,Stug III-G-H, Nashorn, Hetzer, M4 Sherman 75mm, M10, Churchill MkVI-VII, Cromwell MkIV-VII, Achilles, T-34/76, KV-1, SU-85 ~70mm Anti-Tank guns and very high velocity ~50mm Anti-Tank guns, mid-range Bazooka/Panzerfaust
TTL7: PzIVH, Panther D-1-A, Jagdpanzer IV, Elefant, M4/76 Sherman, M-18, M-36, Archer, T-34/85, KV-85, SU-100, SU-152~70mm high velocity Anti-Tank guns, late war Bazooka/Panzerfaust/Panzerschreck
TTL8: Tiger, Panther G, Jagdpanther, Challenger, Sherman Firefly, M4 Sherman Jumbo, JSU-122, JSU-152 ~80mm Anti-Tank guns
TTL9: Jagdtiger, Comet, Pershing, JS-II, ~90mm Anti-Tank guns
TTL10: King Tiger, JS-III (hypothetical), ~100mm Anti-Tank guns
Otherwise, I wish you all the best for the earliest possible release. :)