From: Toronto, Canada
ORIGINAL: Joel Billings
FYI, when development on WitE began in 2000, Gary and Keith discussed and planned to have a system where every item moved down a rail line (supplies, men, factories, etc) would be tracked per hex, and there would be limits on what could be moved. Keith implemented a system but found it either wasn't working or was way too slow (or both). Work was put on hold in 2001 and when Gary restarted his work in 2007 he thought Keith's system was still in the game. He told me recently he spent most of a day looking for the code, only to discover that Keith had gotten rid of it due to the problems he had had with it. At that point we concluded it just wasn't feasible and decided to live with a simpler system. Many have identified this weakness of the game system which allows too much to be concentrated in one area. One advantage that the Soviets had was that they had an extensive rail net to work with (east/west and north/south). The Germans faced the problem that they only had select lines running east/west at first. While eventually I'm sure they repaired/re-gauged additional rail, I'm sure it was quite awhile before they could match the Soviets. In fact at the moment I think the Germans are getting the better deal with rail than the Soviets, at least in the first few years. Recently Pavel has started to experiment with rules that makes HQ's create depots in nearby cities on a rail line, with the idea that eventually limits can be placed on how much can go through any given city. This might allow us to create some density issues without having to track everything going through every hex. However, this could have a radical impact on gameplay and it's likely something that we'll first experiment with fully in WitW. I thought you might be interested in hearing some of the background from the dev side.
Wow, a special thanks to Joel for posting! It feels great to know that the Big Guys are lookin' in on us every now & then, & I'm also always very interested to hear snippets like this about the game design & development process (in the "strategic timescale"). Thanks again!
I guess on the forums we often end up talking about the things we don't like, and it often seems pretty negative overall, so maybe now's a good time to mention I love the game. Love love love the game. Love the supply system, love the orbats, love the units, love the map, love the GUI, love the "rhythms" of the game, love the Editor (haven't used this one yet, but back in War in Russia my mass-produced "StuG II", a kind of baby Hetzer on a Pz II chassis with a 50mm L60 gun) was the saviour of the German Infantry. But anyway... thanks for making such an awesome game!!!
Surely have put in >500h if not close to 1000h in on GGWitE in this calendar year, and I've no doubt that many of the regs here are in the same boat if not more so. Surely have put in many 1000's of hours playing just GG/SSI games alone. Favourite wargames of the 1990's: War in Russia, Steel Panthers (series) & Clash of Steel. Must mention COS as it was a real gem (in which I believe JB was involved?). If I spent more time playing WIR, I for sure played many, many, many more games of COS _with friends_ as it was eminently playable (a couple hours, or less if your buddy kept quitting). Everything pretty much just worked, none of the abstractions really bothered us, great CRT, the pleasing "geometry" of ZOC's, encirclement & destruction in detail (of units OOS) was there. Outstanding product.
And if everything boils down to logistics (which in some sense, it does) a game that asks for 2 hours out of your life can get played more than a game that takes 1,000 hours (250 turns * 2 players * 2 hours per player turn).
Like everybody else, I'm excited to hear about War in the West and any other plans for this amazing engine & system surrounding it. If I could reveal a few of my deepest, darkest fantasies, & toss them into the stratosphere (more for the catharsis of doing so than in any expectation that anybody in particular ought to pay attention to them):
1) would love the core awesomeness of the GGWitE system to be preserved and ported to a "War in the _World_", whole world 1939-45 game. Actually since we're fantasising here it's '33-45 & has production & diplomacy (kinda like Days of Decision was to World in Flames). Game is dialed back up to Corps level from Div level (à la COS) and is playable in a Third Reich-ey amount of time, i.e. if you n' your buddies can hammer down for a weekend & put 20-30 hours together, you can get 'er done. In the world we live in (where not everybody is quite like *US*, and where even we sadly can't afford to spend all our time gaming), I think 24 hours is a good time requirement target for a playable, accessible wargame.
2) would love the full awesomeness of the GGWitE system to be fully preserved & expanded to cover a Div-level "War in the World", again, fantasising here, it's 1933-45 & has production & diplomacy. Kinda like World in Flames (+DoD etc.) but with the great GGWitE system which, having been refined over decades as a computer game, one can only imagine is less of a godawful nightmare to code & maintain than WiF (& hey, I'm really pulling for the Matrix WiF project and don't want to say anything bad about those guys & have a lot of admiration for the main guy & sympathy for his struggles, but after a decade or so you start getting antsy, that's all). Since such a monster would take several thousand hours to play, it would have to be multiplayer, played over the network.
Not sure what the basic mechanism would be to keep things moving in the Monster (Game #2) but here's my thought. Each side has a roster of players assigned commands, and perhaps a "General Staff", which is guys on the bench, but who fiddle with a few things like maybe run the production system, allocate reinforcements, develop operational plans, etc., all subject to permissions from the Supreme Commander. At this scale, a player might be an Army Group (Front) commander. In technical terms, that player is also a user of the system with certain permissions to do certain things. The idea is that your superior also has your permissions, and also further permissions, including the ability to replace you. So if the commander of AGN is failing to get his turns in on time, OKH can cover for him to keep the game moving, but if this keeps happening, OKH may well get cross, boot him & replace him with a guy from the General Staff.
I guess this is the point in the post where it should be getting traditional for me to apologise for going off-topic, so sorry for that, and a big thanks to GG (God of Games), 2by3, Matrix & all you guys for doing all the amazing things you do! Love you guys!
GGWitE = GröKAZ ("Greatest Wargame of All Time") - thx to GG, Company & Community for continuing to make it even better!