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Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 12/31/2011 1:04:41 PM   
LoBaron


Posts: 4776
Joined: 1/26/2003
From: Vienna, Austria
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When posting in the war room I had the idea to post a more concrete version here in the tech forum
because this is the location where the latest discussion took place and here is where bugs are reported.

Usually I don´t like to link my own threads, but in this case if you are interested in a constructive
debate, please read it first. The reason is that this post is more or less a continuation of the other.

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2997103

To point at something specific when talking about the dangers of patching, here comes my favourite
"how do I render a game feature obsolete" story, which has an unsurprising, but also well hidden,
relation to the current "CAP with high number of planes" debate.


Pilot training is borked. Completely. Before you flame me please read to the end.

The only part of WitP AE where I feel the term "completely borked" does justice (so not
some slight inconsistency the average 24/7 forum ranter immediately dubs as "sh**"
but the term "not perfect" is much more apropriate), is the combination of off/on map pilot training.

I do not want to revive a discussion, Matrix Games will not provide the tools/money for a complete
overhaul, and the chance that a radical change with the limited ressources available will make
the situation to worse instead of improving it, is pretty high, based on my experience with similar
situations.

Its just an example, and I think its a pretty good one.


Training is split into two parts, off map and on map training. These parts depend on each other,
both are responsible for a certain task in the training process.

The off map part prepares the ground for the on map training, the on map training completes the
job and releases the pilots into battle or reserve.

There was put much thought into both training models.

Basically the initial intention was to enable a representation of the differences in pilot quality
over the war years by the off map part (so to reflect the situation where the IJN/IJA initial advantge in pilot
quality deteriorates over the years while the Allies increase in quality), and then to enable the player
to reduce this gap partially by on map training.

I think the goal was to provide historical accuracy, but still leave it in the players´ hands to
avoid or pursue historical fates.


Very early in the patch process a forum outcry demanded to change on map pilot training. Many players supported
the opinion that pilot training (on map) was too slow to have the required impact.

These players were mostly Allied players who were the first to experience what being hit by exp/skill 80 elite
pilots feels like, while at the same time being able to field 40-50exp/skill pilots only.
There were a lot of expert opinions stating "pilot training does not take this long in real life", "you gain
knowledge faster in training than in combat", "what is a feature for when the impact is neglectable",
and so on.

It was very soon decided that the root cause of the problem lies in the ammount of time required to train
pilots on map, as well as the exp/skill threshold where the training speed is capped. Opposing opinions
either pointing out other root causes or suggesting that it could also be player related where shut down
quick, and a patch provided the solution: on map training now produces 70/70/70 skill pilots
(e.g. 70exp, 70air, 70def) within 3-4 months.

Not bad. Finally the Allies were able to produce pilots close to Japanese prewar quality with their own
training program and overcome the initial Japanese superiority in experts.


Great is it? Don´t think so.

Here is a list of other potential root causes and side effects the training speed increase had:

1) Other potential root causes (please note that a root cause often is not singular but a combination
of the potential root causes):


A) player behaviour: many Allied players tried to put on resistance in situations where pure situational
analysis should have told them they will lose, because they were in a new situation.

B) the magnifying glass effect: every effect if it is not a closed system in itself has additional variables
at work besides the observed ones.
In this case: the inferiority was caused by worse training of the Allied pilots and the slow on map training,
true, but it was further enhanced by the initially extreme exp/skill of the Japanese side, the better
plane quality of the Japanese side, the numerical advantage of the Japanese side, and the better initial
logistics situation of the Japanese side.

C) The average skill of the Japanese players was generally higher, because it takes more exp to play Japanese,
but also needs more time investement and so dedication to a game. The Japanese player is aware that a working training
routine needs to be implemented in case he wants to see ´45. The average Allied player is not.

D) Exp and skill is modelled into the game with very distinct effects. Low skill has the tendency to result
in failed dice rolls, whereas a skill above the mid-70´s leads to such a high percentage of successful dicerolls.
I think above a certain threshold high exp/skill does not reflect reality in a correct way anymore, but
is rather the abstraction of what in real life would be a combination of very high skill AND unbelievable luck.
Here the system is not variable enough IMHO


2) The side effects of the on map training speed increase:

A) It mothballs the off map training. Completely: The off map training already had its difficulties before the
patch. Off map should provide a basis for on map training, not an alternative to it.
But certain functions in on map training (such as high training effect when exp is low and a slow down when
exp is high) already worked contrary to what was actually desired by the off map training part - which was to
produce a pilot skill curve over the years comparable to the real war.

The speed increase for on map training made off map training obsolete. It does not matter if you harvest pilots with
an average exp of 5-10. The time difference required when comparing to a pilot harvest of avg 40 can be measured in days.

B) The same forum members complaining about the training issue back when they were whacked around as Allied players,
and profited immediately from the patch implementation, now complain that the Japanese player profites from the
same modification and can field uncounted numbers of 70/70 pilots, assign them to high performance plane types,
and keep up resistance in late war never ever witnessed in reality.

C) As described in the potential root cause part, high exp/skill values overpower mission success. Castor Troy tested
and found out that this threshold is somewhere in the 70´s range. Accidentially, thats just about the threshold you can
train your pilots to.
This can lead to an above average number of success rolls, and these range from def skill (pilots are able to evade
close to every attack and so suffer low losses), to navT (5 torpedo runs, 1 hit on average), grdB
(hey, somebody just whacked 100 fighters on the ground, how unfair),...
and enables high number elite strikes to be so homogenous that with good coordination they don´t suffer losses
anymore.
OOOPS



The bottom line is:

The root causes for the initially extreme losses for Allied PBEM players were manifold. One of those root causes
was low pilot quality. But in adressing the pilot quality issue alone by boosting on map training, without paying
attention to the sideeffects ,produced imbalances late war, obsoleted a whole part of the game, and resulted in a
situation where WWII is a combat of veteran against veteran from the beginning to the very end, and that is most
probably an incremental part of the current "my CAP dos not kill as advertised" situation.


I´d really like that everybody who currently runs amok because a certain number of planes is able
to penetrate a high performance CAP umbrella, and everybody who claims that large strike packages often do not
suffer "historically correct" losses, to consider why this might be the case.
Besides a maximum attacks threshold. Because theres a LOT to consider in a game this complex, and its often
not an issue with the simultation but with the input variables (e.g. pilot skill or plane quality).


And if this has been considered, the next thought should be put into the following question:
If I up the maximum attack threshold, will I


- solve the issue described?
- solve an issue that only exists because there are other underlying root causes not adressed by the fix?
- hide potential underlying root causes, up to a point where those aren´t even solvable anymore?
- produce unrealistic results in another situation which is governed by the same variables?


Because if the answer is "all of the above", it is definitely the wrong fix.


I do not want to discourage continuous support and improvement of the game. But please, lets take it
slow. These changes happen too fast and affect too many parts of a system.
If this proceeds it is the sure way to destroy more than is gained. I talk from experience, this is my job.



Thanks for your patience reading this,
and I wish everybody on our forum a happy new year!!

_____________________________

Post #: 1
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 12/31/2011 4:41:24 PM   
Crackaces


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A freind of mine Gene Bellinger host a website focused on Systems Thinking for which your arguement derives.. you might find the site interesting ..

I would be intersted in the non-partisian thoughts from other players that are deep into campaign games whether the IJ is fielding 70 level exp pilots with high defensive skills .. I think that is a good point to explore ..

One thing you do not explore and that is whether having better IJ experinced pilots that although not historical, possiably makes the game better ..if so then the pilot training differences might have been implemented as a switch rather than a forced changed .."-better pilot training"



< Message edited by Crackaces -- 12/31/2011 4:47:23 PM >

(in reply to LoBaron)
Post #: 2
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 12/31/2011 5:03:40 PM   
Don Bowen


Posts: 8181
Joined: 7/13/2000
From: Georgetown, Texas, USA
Status: online

I really do not know if the pilot training has gotten out of balance. I suspect it may have, simply because players like to have things go smoothly and "their way" and will frequently ask for changes that make things easier rather than more accurate.

I do believe that such changes should be play tested before full release. We no longer have dedicated play testers as we had during the development cycle. That is why, I believe, the latest releases are betas - so the community at large can test them and recommend changes.

So, this would be the time and place for people to comment on both individual changes and on game balance from multiple changes.

(in reply to Crackaces)
Post #: 3
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 12/31/2011 6:39:41 PM   
witpqs


Posts: 26007
Joined: 10/4/2004
From: Argleton
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Don Bowen

I really do not know if the pilot training has gotten out of balance. I suspect it may have, simply because players like to have things go smoothly and "their way" and will frequently ask for changes that make things easier rather than more accurate.

I do believe that such changes should be play tested before full release. We no longer have dedicated play testers as we had during the development cycle. That is why, I believe, the latest releases are betas - so the community at large can test them and recommend changes.

So, this would be the time and place for people to comment on both individual changes and on game balance from multiple changes.


Well put. I would just like to mention that all the interface type changes that make it easier for the player to execute a task are fantastic and should not be viewed as a problem. Whether or not pilot training occurs too fast or too slowly, or has a ceiling that is too high or too low, and so on is certainly a valid discussion.

(in reply to Don Bowen)
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RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 12/31/2011 9:31:33 PM   
GreyJoy


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Joined: 3/18/2011
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For whatp it worth me and rader are starting to test the new exe made by michealm.....hope we can get some interesring results....

(in reply to witpqs)
Post #: 5
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/1/2012 1:20:42 PM   
LoBaron


Posts: 4776
Joined: 1/26/2003
From: Vienna, Austria
Status: offline
Don, I think it got out of balance. Not because of the training speed effects themselves, but because of the impact on a wide variety of
situations. High skill adds a completely new flavour to air combat in attack and defense. As long as its used as an abstracted
method to simulate the initial superiority of the Japanese pilots its a temporary tool to work with.
As soon as those pilots can be produced en masse and at will, it starts to affect the stats of the different airframes and results of engagements
as it exaggerates effectiveness. I do not think that because this afffects both sides this effect balances out.

You posted in another thread that there is a high random factor present in the calculations. I agree, and this should be the case, as it reflects the
the high randomness in reality when complex situations are concerned that happen fast - events that do not take days or weeks, but minutes or
hours (butterfly effect comes to mind, though probably not as distinct as it is usually understood).
I think a high average in specific input variables, as is possible to force with pilot training, partly removes the potential of the game engine to
produce a wide variety of results, as well as leads to - in this context - "realistic" results only when taking the highly unrealistic prerequisites into
account.

"I suspect it may have, simply because players like to have things go smoothly and "their way" and will frequently ask for changes that make things easier rather than more accurate. "
This observation is very close to the truth!

witpqs, absolutely, the interface changes are sensational and I do not want to miss them.
There is a fundamental difference between interface changes/improvements and high impact changes with the potential to affect a wide variety of gameplay
situations.

Crackaces, indeed interesting, that website reminds me very much of work (shudder). I guess to make the game better is exactly what we all here
thrive for. It depends on what exactly we want to achieve, or what we expect the game to be like. This is what I wanted to express with my thread in the war room.

< Message edited by LoBaron -- 1/1/2012 2:14:05 PM >


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RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/1/2012 1:48:40 PM   
LoBaron


Posts: 4776
Joined: 1/26/2003
From: Vienna, Austria
Status: offline
Just a graph to show what I am referring to, and why I think we got such high delta between historical
behaviour and the game (purely for demonstrational purpuses, not actual data, but I guess it comes close):

My assumption that the average pilot is: average. Independent of how good the training is, there are some born
to fly and aggressive enough to make it count. The majority just prefers to live another day and like flying.
A value of 75+, IMHO, is always a top ace, highly aggressive, very talented, well trained and with a lot of experience.
The average pilot may be around 45-55. This would reflect real life figures.

What we are able to fast-train on both sides does in no way reflect these figures.




Edit: I noted that the ingame averages are probably a bit too high in this graph. It does not affect what I want
to demonstrate though.
Also, please note that pilot quality is wrong, I should have dubbed it "avg. pilot skill(s)", as its the skill variables
which are used in actual combat.

< Message edited by LoBaron -- 1/1/2012 2:13:29 PM >


_____________________________


(in reply to LoBaron)
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RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/1/2012 4:03:26 PM   
witpqs


Posts: 26007
Joined: 10/4/2004
From: Argleton
Status: offline
I written several times going back probably more than a year that I think the contribution of skill above roughly 70ish is probably too great and should show more severe diminishing returns, with the possible exception of air to air combat.

(in reply to LoBaron)
Post #: 8
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/1/2012 4:39:37 PM   
LoBaron


Posts: 4776
Joined: 1/26/2003
From: Vienna, Austria
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

I written several times going back probably more than a year that I think the contribution of skill above roughly 70ish is probably too great and should show more severe diminishing returns, with the possible exception of air to air combat.


Exactly. And I always agreed with you that this is responsible for certain in game effects, and shared the opinion there is something wrong.
The question is whether it is the input variable or the model behind it, and this is the point where we have different opinions.

IIRC you see the issue in the formulas where the value 70 is inserted. This could be correct as well.

But my opinion is: We have the wrong impression what "70" represents when it defines the skill of a human being.
I think 70 is extremely high.

A skill value is representation of basic talent AND training, and not only training.
Talent is extremely important. It ranges from physical talent (eyesight, physical strenght to cope with g effects,...) to
intellectual capabilities (easy grasp of situational awareness, ability to concentrate, communication skill,...).
Some can be improved but only within the limits of the human being.

Based on the above it should be completely impossible that more than a handful of pilots are even able to reach a skill
70 in anything. A conservative guess would be about 15-20 percent. In the game you can train every single pilot
to this level, in more than one skill (e.g. 70air/70def). It isn´t exactly news that in WWII 5-10% of fighter pilots accounted
for 90% of the A2A kills.


The only way to implement something comparable ingame would be, to either significantly tone down pilot training but leave skill gain
through combat untouched - and so to shift weight back to the currently obsolete off map training -, or (or in addition to the above)
to add a hidden individual cap to the skill gain per pilot. Though I have serious doubts that the second change is small enough to be
implemented this late.


< Message edited by LoBaron -- 1/1/2012 4:45:35 PM >


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Post #: 9
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/1/2012 5:14:02 PM   
Crackaces


Posts: 3858
Joined: 7/9/2011
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quote:

ORIGINAL: LoBaron

quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

I written several times going back probably more than a year that I think the contribution of skill above roughly 70ish is probably too great and should show more severe diminishing returns, with the possible exception of air to air combat.


Exactly. And I always agreed with you that this is responsible for certain in game effects, and shared the opinion there is something wrong.
The question is whether it is the input variable or the model behind it, and this is the point where we have different opinions.

IIRC you see the issue in the formulas where the value 70 is inserted. This could be correct as well.

But my opinion is: We have the wrong impression what "70" represents when it defines the skill of a human being.
I think 70 is extremely high.

A skill value is representation of basic talent AND training, and not only training.
Talent is extremely important. It ranges from physical talent (eyesight, physical strenght to cope with g effects,...) to
intellectual capabilities (easy grasp of situational awareness, ability to concentrate, communication skill,...).
Some can be improved but only within the limits of the human being.

Based on the above it should be completely impossible that more than a handful of pilots are even able to reach a skill
70 in anything. A conservative guess would be about 15-20 percent. In the game you can train every single pilot
to this level, in more than one skill (e.g. 70air/70def). It isn´t exactly news that in WWII 5-10% of fighter pilots accounted
for 90% of the A2A kills.


The only way to implement something comparable ingame would be, to either significantly tone down pilot training but leave skill gain
through combat untouched - and so to shift weight back to the currently obsolete off map training -, or (or in addition to the above)
to add a hidden individual cap to the skill gain per pilot. Though I have serious doubts that the second change is small enough to be
implemented this late.



I am not sure if you have flown an airplane or not .. but here are some thoughts ..

1. Take off and landings are easy to teach about 10 hours ..it takes 3 -4 months in this game if you do not want serious op losses ...

2. Actually the areobatics and maneuver are easy to teach given some abilites [like not geting air sick and not hitting the panic button] ...pulling G's does not take talent just adaptation ..turning one's head while pulling G's takes a lot of adaptation ..pulling G's, turning ones head, and have complete situational awareness takes experience .. If you want such an experince take "upset training" [no it does not have to do with stomach upsets but it does happen ]

3. The real hard part .. air combat awareness .. thinking in 4D -- adding movement and time to the 3D equation .. intuitively visualizing "the circles of apollonius" in real time that takes talent and honed skills. Some never get it .. others have the talent, skills, and abilites to excell Chuck Yeager for example ..

The big problem is hitting a turning foe because the guns need to be pointed where the target will be -- not where it is currently .. easier if you sitting in the 6 o'clock but still a real difficult skill to learn ..especally in a turning match because you have to point blind to lead the target or time perfectly a rolling turn toward the target with a burst ...

But WitP AE is a game not a similation!! The real key is does it present a contest that players enjoy ... not does it perfectly simulate operational conditions for WWII ... Just a thought ..

(in reply to LoBaron)
Post #: 10
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/1/2012 8:01:17 PM   
PaxMondo


Posts: 9750
Joined: 6/6/2008
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quote:

ORIGINAL: LoBaron

[The only way to implement something comparable ingame would be, to either significantly tone down pilot training but leave skill gain
through combat untouched - and so to shift weight back to the currently obsolete off map training -, or (or in addition to the above)
to add a hidden individual cap to the skill gain per pilot. Though I have serious doubts that the second change is small enough to be
implemented this late.


I don't see frequent skill gain from combat ... exp yes, skills no. In fact, i would characterize skill gain as rare from my games. exp gains are from combat kills. So, fighter groups can gain exp pretty steadily if they win. Bomber groups gain exp very slowly, and from my games skill only through training.

I'm ok with dynamic conceptually. Train <=> skill, combat <=> exp.

However, we need to tune the bombers/patrol/non-fighter planes exp gain. I've had 1E bomber groups in China doing ground attack missions for months, starting exp/skill 50/50 and maybe gain 1-2 pts exp/skill after 6 months. That's a bit light. And patrol/transport groups never increase in my games.

Then as you state, tone down the training gains for exp (a lot) and for skills (somewhat).

I think we have all the right variables in play, its just that they need tuning. Not nerfing, tuning.

_____________________________

Pax

(in reply to LoBaron)
Post #: 11
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/1/2012 8:28:51 PM   
witpqs


Posts: 26007
Joined: 10/4/2004
From: Argleton
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: LoBaron

quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

I written several times going back probably more than a year that I think the contribution of skill above roughly 70ish is probably too great and should show more severe diminishing returns, with the possible exception of air to air combat.


Exactly. And I always agreed with you that this is responsible for certain in game effects, and shared the opinion there is something wrong.
The question is whether it is the input variable or the model behind it, and this is the point where we have different opinions.

IIRC you see the issue in the formulas where the value 70 is inserted. This could be correct as well.

But my opinion is: We have the wrong impression what "70" represents when it defines the skill of a human being.
I think 70 is extremely high.

A skill value is representation of basic talent AND training, and not only training.
Talent is extremely important. It ranges from physical talent (eyesight, physical strenght to cope with g effects,...) to
intellectual capabilities (easy grasp of situational awareness, ability to concentrate, communication skill,...).
Some can be improved but only within the limits of the human being.

Based on the above it should be completely impossible that more than a handful of pilots are even able to reach a skill
70 in anything. A conservative guess would be about 15-20 percent. In the game you can train every single pilot
to this level, in more than one skill (e.g. 70air/70def). It isn´t exactly news that in WWII 5-10% of fighter pilots accounted
for 90% of the A2A kills.


The only way to implement something comparable ingame would be, to either significantly tone down pilot training but leave skill gain
through combat untouched - and so to shift weight back to the currently obsolete off map training -, or (or in addition to the above)
to add a hidden individual cap to the skill gain per pilot. Though I have serious doubts that the second change is small enough to be
implemented this late.



First of all it's critical to recognize that "around 70+" (I said "70ish" above) is where it seems like things start to get extreme, 75, 80, etc. seem to have much more pronounced effects.

We have to look at what "70" means in the game, not what we feel it means in terms of training, skills, etc. 70 is used for things like what chances certain air units have of carrying certain types of bombs, and perhaps other things that the developers have not revealed to us (I do not have inside knowledge, I am simply being open-minded to the prospect of undisclosed effects).

One of the issues to deal with is that players will find ways to get their pilots up to the 70+ range. If the 70+ range is yielding out of reality results, then I think addressing that would be better than trying to simply stop their being many 70+ pilots.

Very important: remember too that the pilot databases were not changed from WITP to AE so there are no skills in the pilot databases, only experience. So the pilots arriving in WITP as 'hot pilots' arrive in AE with perhaps hot experience but not so hot skills.

(in reply to LoBaron)
Post #: 12
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/1/2012 9:05:29 PM   
pompack


Posts: 2582
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From: University Park, Texas
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I have to say that I am simply not seeing rapid pilot training. The game (scen 2 as Allies) was started about nine weeks ago with the current beta as of that time. The Allied training plan is to set all practical units in India, OZ and US to train at 100% in the skill of choice with a leader of at least 62 (whatever the first leader characteristic is) and harvest at skill level 72. Between 7dec41 and 1jul42 the Allies harvested exactly THREE pilots. Instead of rapid, the training pace seems very slow compared to past versions.

But then again I also managed to lose three carriers, the usual places and everything in the Pacific (including Tahiti) except PH, NZ and Pago Pago (I think Pago Pago is still there because it amuses my oponent to watch the garrison starve). So maybe it's simply player skill instead of the the training algorithms

(in reply to witpqs)
Post #: 13
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/1/2012 9:26:50 PM   
ADB123

 

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I'm a bit confused as to your overall point. Is it that some modifications to AE slip in too quickly? Or is it that on-map training is too beneficial for the Allies?

If your point is that some modifications to AE slip in too quickly, then I tend to agree with you.

If your point is that on-map training is too beneficial for the Allies, then as someone who has been playing an Allied pbem and two Japanese pbems for several years, I have to disagree in the sense that the Japanese player can make use of the on-map training routine as easily as the Allied player. And given how easy it is for the Japanese to suddenly lose large quantities of expert pilots thanks to Chance in the game, on-map training isn't something that a Japanese player can afford to ignore.

So my input is that you appear to have a generally good point, but you took an approach to your discussion that gives the appearance of bias, which weakens the overall effect.


(in reply to LoBaron)
Post #: 14
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 6:23:06 AM   
LoBaron


Posts: 4776
Joined: 1/26/2003
From: Vienna, Austria
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crackaces
I am not sure if you have flown an airplane or not .. but here are some thoughts ..

1. Take off and landings are easy to teach about 10 hours ..it takes 3 -4 months in this game if you do not want serious op losses ...

2. Actually the areobatics and maneuver are easy to teach given some abilites [like not geting air sick and not hitting the panic button] ...pulling G's does not take talent just adaptation ..turning one's head while pulling G's takes a lot of adaptation ..pulling G's, turning ones head, and have complete situational awareness takes experience .. If you want such an experince take "upset training" [no it does not have to do with stomach upsets but it does happen ]


I have flown airplanes (although I do not -yet- own a pilot license). I know the instrument
panel layouts of about 30-40 different a/c by heart, and I could land anything the size of a
Bonanza or a C172 without ruining the plane.

This is what I was pointing to. The skill required for handling some easy stuff like a Cessna and
the skill to keep an artificially unstable high performance plane under control in a combat enviroment,
are two different things.

quote:


3. The real hard part .. air combat awareness .. thinking in 4D -- adding movement and time to the 3D equation .. intuitively visualizing "the circles of apollonius" in real time that takes talent and honed skills. Some never get it .. others have the talent, skills, and abilites to excell Chuck Yeager for example ..

The big problem is hitting a turning foe because the guns need to be pointed where the target will be -- not where it is currently .. easier if you sitting in the 6 o'clock but still a real difficult skill to learn ..especally in a turning match because you have to point blind to lead the target or time perfectly a rolling turn toward the target with a burst ...


This is what I see too. And it is increased by something often forgotten:

WWII was not about selecting the very best of the very best for the few spaces available (like it may be today
in services like the USN air arm).
WWII was about getting the average guys so far they don´t wet their pants when they spot a bogey
and get a sufficient feel for torque that they don´t ground loop just because they open the throttle
too fast when taking off from a jungle strip.

Nobody would know Chuck Yeager, or Hans-Joachim Marseille, or Alexander Pokryshkin, or Douglas Bader,
if they had talent available to 80% of the other flyers.

quote:


But WitP AE is a game not a similation!! The real key is does it present a contest that players enjoy ... not does it perfectly simulate operational conditions for WWII ... Just a thought ..


Maybe. But WitP AE tries to get as close to a simulation as possible. If one part is simulated as close
as possible (e.g. the relative performance of a Fletcher and a Kagero class DD ), and another part is
completely different from reality, then I wonder how people can expect their results to be historical.

And thats what many on this forum do, run battles with ahistorical input variables and demand those
battles to yield historical results.

It is one or the other, gentlemen. Both is impossible.


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Post #: 15
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 6:27:33 AM   
LoBaron


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pompack, thanks for the input!

I think the difference between you observation and mine lies not so much in
a training speed difference, but your fixed "harvest level" of 72, which is pretty difficult
to reach. If you increase the bandwith to, say, 67-72 (which is what I personally use as a harvest
limit) the results are much better.

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Post #: 16
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 6:45:09 AM   
LoBaron


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ADB123

I'm a bit confused as to your overall point. Is it that some modifications to AE slip in too quickly?
If your point is that some modifications to AE slip in too quickly, then I tend to agree with you.


This is my point exactly. Thanks for noticing, because I think it slipped a bit in my OP.
My main point is to show that changes without thorough analysis of consequences lead to issues
with the game (such as happened with off map training).


quote:


Or is it that on-map training is too beneficial for the Allies?


No. Rather it is that on map training with the current speed is too beneficial to the Allies
early war, and too beneficial for the Japanese late war.

I want to show the futility of requsting ahistorical (balanced) features, in this case pilot skill, and
then complaining about ahistorical game behaviour. Which is a common habit on this forum.

quote:


If your point is that on-map training is too beneficial for the Allies, then as someone who has been playing an Allied pbem and two Japanese pbems for several years, I have to disagree in the sense that the Japanese player can make use of the on-map training routine as easily as the Allied player. And given how easy it is for the Japanese to suddenly lose large quantities of expert pilots thanks to Chance in the game, on-map training isn't something that a Japanese player can afford to ignore.

So my input is that you appear to have a generally good point, but you took an approach to your discussion that gives the appearance of bias, which weakens the overall effect.


I admit my experience playing the Japanese side is limited to small scenarios.
But I protest against being called biased. I have no interest in unbalancing the game, rather
I have interest to force both, the Allied player and the Japanese player into historical
constrains to enable historical play.

That might be different from the expectations of others. There is a very broad variety of
expectations around here...




Theres a lot of complaining on this forum that battle A is not historical and at the
same time device/skill/number combination B is overpowered.
My main line of reasoning is: You cannot have both. If you prefer balanced over historical,
don´t expect what you attempt to play out historical. This is what many here seem to forget.

< Message edited by LoBaron -- 1/2/2012 7:23:31 AM >


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Post #: 17
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 6:46:18 AM   
LoBaron


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quote:

ORIGINAL: PaxMondo
I think we have all the right variables in play, its just that they need tuning. Not nerfing, tuning.


This.


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Post #: 18
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 11:21:07 AM   
ADB123

 

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quote:

I admit my experience playing the Japanese side is limited to small scenarios.
But I protest against being called biased. I have no interest in unbalancing the game, rather
I have interest to force both, the Allied player and the Japanese player into historical
constrains to enable historical play.


Sorry, I didn't intend to say that you were biased, only that the way that you presented your argument gave the appearance that you were biased because you emphasized the Allied side. It was an issue of the writing style that you chose, not your message.

(in reply to LoBaron)
Post #: 19
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 12:21:55 PM   
LoBaron


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Point taken, but this was a sideffect of a deliberately chosen example.

I just tried to demonstrate something with this discussion:

We have to be very slow and careful in implementing high impact changes to the game.

Even more since there is no team available anymore for the ammount of playtest required for evaluation.
And even more since there are not so many people around who complain about a certain aspect of the game
and at the same time are aware what "high impact change" actually means.

Pilot training was just an example to show how many game aspects are affected by a change
that looks harmless on first glance, and how difficult it is to evaluate whether a proposed solution
is the right one.

Even in a discussion kept civil and with great input as this one, it is immediately obvious that it is hard
to reach a consensus on root cause(s) or possible solution(s) for a specific topic as complex as pilot training.
And this although I recon the knowledge about - and the willingness to invest time and thought in - the game engine
in here to be pretty much above average.


The reasons for these difficulties are many, but the most obvious are:

- Different overall preferences (balance, historical accuracy, a mix of both,...)
- Different reasons for playing (winning, replaying history, "doing better" than history)
- Different comfort level with regards to complexity
- Different background (variing knowledge on topics like WWII, air warfare, programming, bugixing, etc.)
- Different exp with the GC and the game engine
- A complex topic with lots of interacting variables.
- The huge timespan between the start and the end of the game (months - years, so a bugfix at the beginning
could produce an issue discovered months later)

The game will never satisfy everybody and it will always be a compromise of the above.


I think we have to keep that in mind when running around and requesting gameplay modifications
because we specifically dislike something.

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Post #: 20
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 2:33:47 PM   
PaxMondo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: LoBaron

I think we have to keep that in mind when running around and requesting gameplay modifications
because we specifically dislike something.

+1

Having said that, and agreeing with you 100%, let's go back to your example of pilot training. Maybe you need to start a separate thread (if I understand you correctly, your aim in this thread is simply to get everyone on the Mike Solli path: "piano, piano" ... translated as "GO SLOW!" with respect to asking for changes.

So, I also agree with you that pilot training needs examination. It can be improved, it is a huge impact upon game play and balance, and if we are thoughtful, the fixes can be within Michael's scope (meaning we need to work within the scope of what is there now, which is a lot, and limit ourselves to "tuning"/"tweeking" which is still a lot. Being as you are the "beta - team air Guru", what specific suggestions would you make for changes and testing procedures based upon your understanding of how pilot training is currently implemented? We've got lots of other fairly sharp people here as well to share inputs (Damian, George, Andy, et.al., not to mention Michael), particularly on the testing. More than anything else, we need a test plan to be sure whatever is recommended we can be sure we have looked at enough game situations to be sure the changes are at least no worse than current, and better in MOST cases. I am particularly concerned with tweeking the air unit mission experience/skill advancement. Changes to this need to well tested as they are most prone to player gaming ....

Looking forward to your thoughts ...

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Post #: 21
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 3:29:25 PM   
Crackaces


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quote:

I have flown airplanes (although I do not -yet- own a pilot license). I know the instrument
panel layouts of about 30-40 different a/c by heart, and I could land anything the size of a
Bonanza or a C172 without ruining the plane.

This is what I was pointing to. The skill required for handling some easy stuff like a Cessna and
the skill to keep an artificially unstable high performance plane under control in a combat enviroment,
are two different things.


Actually flying a "artificially unstable high performance " airplane is not that much harder ... with a little help.. newbies get a chance to " spin" an aerobatic aircraft ... http://www.aircombat.com/ In as little as 3 hours with the help of an experinced instructor one can put a rank amateur in the cross hairs ..that is what happened over the Marianas ...

BTW) I do have a Commercial Ticket, was the owner of N231JM (no I did not crash it .. they guy I sold it to crashed it ).. a Mooney .. I wrote in the MOA and MAPA .. I have reposted some articles in this forum to discuss "turbocharging" and high altitude flight ...

Precise aerobatic maneuvers can be taught to a private pilot in about 10 hours .. I did recurrent yearly "upset" training to get a break on insurance and have some fun .. that is the context is which I write ... Having no military experince behind the stick, but a lot of civilian experince along with aerobatic experince .. The problem is not flying per se ..

What cannot be taught so rapidly is ACM and requires expeirnced pilots to teach it .. [the game has it right in taking out level 80 pilots into TRACOM ] it is not learned out of a book or flying aerobatics ...BTW) What Thatch did was to simplify ACM at the sacrifice of indepedence ..
Anyway .... the problem the Japanese had went so much deeper ..

The Japaneese training system focused on "Top Guns," while the USN / USAAF focused on thousands of average pilots for which a few arose to kill the few skilled IJ pilots that came out of the system. Two battles Coral Sea and Midway stripped the elite out of the force and the Marians reduce the pool to "bus drivers ..." Even if Japan decided to change teh system .. Implemeneting a system that took average joes and turned out fighter pilots would have taken a cultural and instituional change that was not going to happen before the war was over ..

BTW) Now that fighters are so few today compared to the thousands of fighters in WWII we have a similar system to weed out medirocre and we train very few to be very good ...

Anyway .. WitP AE is a game not a similation ...

(in reply to PaxMondo)
Post #: 22
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 3:58:48 PM   
Sardaukar


Posts: 9793
Joined: 11/28/2001
From: Finland/Israel
Status: online
I basically agree with what has been said here.

I think there should be some limits with Exp and Skills gained by training.

Someone with skills in 70+ (and especially exp) whould be already an ace. 80% of pilots should be around 50 exp/50 skills.

BTW, I think Bergerud got it right in "Fire in the Sky" that real killer of IJNAF aviation were battles around Solomon's & Papua New Guinea & Rabaul. IJNAF lost quite massive number of pilots there compared to relatively few carrier battles. Even in Midway, IJN was able to rescue most of the pilots despite losing CVs (according to Shattered Sword).

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Post #: 23
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 4:45:24 PM   
GreyJoy


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Agree at 100% with you both in Pilot training and on the general problem of changes which nobody really knows the long term effects.

Particularly on pilot training...i think if we tune down the ability of gaining skill points on training to a CAP around 55 the whole game would completely change prespective.
But again i don't know the techical aspects of the game that good so i am not able to provide anything more depth...

What i know is that in my game (August 1944) the USAAF, USN, RAF and RAAF are littleraly swimming with thousands of fighter pilots well above 55 exp and 70 A2A skill...so to say that we have thousands of Hartmanns....which is just not good

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Post #: 24
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 5:02:08 PM   
Sardaukar


Posts: 9793
Joined: 11/28/2001
From: Finland/Israel
Status: online
quote:

ORIGINAL: GreyJoy

What i know is that in my game (August 1944) the USAAF, USN, RAF and RAAF are littleraly swimming with thousands of fighter pilots well above 55 exp and 70 A2A skill...so to say that we have thousands of Hartmanns....which is just not good


Well...55 exp & 70 in A2A skills would indeed be fully trained pilot with *exceptional* A2A skills and already some experience. I agree that effect might be bit too big...and very few pilots should come out of training with skills over 50.

I think some sort of "limiter" that would restrict 70-80% of pilots to certain treshold in skills depending on their Exp in training. But this could of course open up another can of worms..like ASW not hitting anything etc...


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Post #: 25
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 5:27:46 PM   
Crackaces


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My pontification was to clarify where I believe LoBaron does not understand the fundemental problem. Although he is pointing out intended and unintended consequinces with great authority, I do not believe the problem is some long training period to fly "unstable aircarft" -- it is ACM. If in fact some sort of realistic moddling of pilot training it is focused around learning to shoot some other guy down and more so preventing getting shot down -- not learning how to fly ..

My point being .. simple transport aircraft based at Alice Springs . assign the guy a route from Alice Springs to Tennant Creek .. in 3 months this guy cannot realibly get there without a good probablity of crashing the aircraft .. operations losses are completly off the chart .. but setting a system based on "skill" and "experience" has this untended effect .. If I fly 400 miles back to the same base I might get a loss . if I fly the same miles to another base .. kiss that plane good bye ... If I had a student that flew for 3 months straight after solo and could not fly 200 miles without risking an accident .. I wold ask them to find another hobby ...

Anyway .. its a game .. not a similation .. it is a game ..




Attachment (1)

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Post #: 26
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 7:12:32 PM   
LoBaron


Posts: 4776
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From: Vienna, Austria
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Crackaces

My pontification was to clarify where I believe LoBaron does not understand the fundemental problem. Although he is pointing out intended and unintended consequinces with great authority, I do not believe the problem is some long training period to fly "unstable aircarft" -- it is ACM. If in fact some sort of realistic moddling of pilot training it is focused around learning to shoot some other guy down and more so preventing getting shot down -- not learning how to fly ..

My point being .. simple transport aircraft based at Alice Springs . assign the guy a route from Alice Springs to Tennant Creek .. in 3 months this guy cannot realibly get there without a good probablity of crashing the aircraft .. operations losses are completly off the chart .. but setting a system based on "skill" and "experience" has this untended effect .. If I fly 400 miles back to the same base I might get a loss . if I fly the same miles to another base .. kiss that plane good bye ... If I had a student that flew for 3 months straight after solo and could not fly 200 miles without risking an accident .. I wold ask them to find another hobby ...

Anyway .. its a game .. not a similation .. it is a game ..


Crackaces, op losses are a bit off topic IMHO but please consider this:

You are used to modern day flight. Higly reliable engines, GPS, VOR in case you want more navigational fun, CAT III ILS systems, perfect communication,
advanced autopilot, exact charts, reliable weather report, optimized training methods. And you personally probably got an ammount of flying hours any
trainee could have dreamt of back then.

We are talking about something that by now has happened close to 70 years ago.

Nothing of the above was available. Planes failed all the time or got lost in weather, there were no external navigational aids to speak of, handdrawn charts
with landmarks, engine or electric failures,...

Thats a bit of a difference.

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Post #: 27
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 7:40:22 PM   
Crackaces


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quote:

ORIGINAL: LoBaron


quote:

ORIGINAL: Crackaces

My pontification was to clarify where I believe LoBaron does not understand the fundemental problem. Although he is pointing out intended and unintended consequinces with great authority, I do not believe the problem is some long training period to fly "unstable aircarft" -- it is ACM. If in fact some sort of realistic moddling of pilot training it is focused around learning to shoot some other guy down and more so preventing getting shot down -- not learning how to fly ..

My point being .. simple transport aircraft based at Alice Springs . assign the guy a route from Alice Springs to Tennant Creek .. in 3 months this guy cannot realibly get there without a good probablity of crashing the aircraft .. operations losses are completly off the chart .. but setting a system based on "skill" and "experience" has this untended effect .. If I fly 400 miles back to the same base I might get a loss . if I fly the same miles to another base .. kiss that plane good bye ... If I had a student that flew for 3 months straight after solo and could not fly 200 miles without risking an accident .. I wold ask them to find another hobby ...

Anyway .. its a game .. not a similation .. it is a game ..


Crackaces, op losses are a bit off topic IMHO but please consider this:

You are used to modern day flight. Higly reliable engines, GPS, VOR in case you want more navigational fun, CAT III ILS systems, perfect communication,
advanced autopilot, exact charts, reliable weather report, optimized training methods. And you personally probably got an ammount of flying hours any
trainee could have dreamt of back then.

We are talking about something that by now has happened close to 70 years ago.

Nothing of the above was available. Planes failed all the time or got lost in weather, there were no external navigational aids to speak of, handdrawn charts
with landmarks, engine or electric failures,...

Thats a bit of a difference.


LoBaron ... I have a few hours in a Maule .. I do know what it is like to fly without glass Never crashed because I did not have a VOR or CAT III ILS ..[actually LAAS now is availble for the Private Pilot -- CAT III requires instrumentation,special training and check out only for the big boys ....] Anyway I successfullu flew with only a radio and a compass/DG .. and IFR .. [I Follow Railroad ]

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Post #: 28
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 8:55:37 PM   
LoBaron


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I like the idea. Could be something to pursue over quite some time, and it definitely gives ground for an interesting discussion.

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Post #: 29
RE: Why Everything is more Complicated than it Seems - 1/2/2012 9:30:19 PM   
LoBaron


Posts: 4776
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Based on your experience, how would you rate your flying skills/experience compared to a WWII pilot
after type conversion to a fighter a/c (which comes close to on map training) and transfer to, say, Australia or NG?

I think you are far better than the average trained WWII pilot in skill, knowledge about your enviroment, geographical
and meteorological training and you fly more forgiving planes. You do not sound like a 19 year old kid that adored aircraft
from a distance until 1940, and operated something with an engine for the first time 1 year ago, then got thrown into a
thunderstorm infested area nobody has maps of.

The Maule must be great to fly, you probably are able to hit every tiny landing strip with that plane.
Wonderful approach speed and -characteristics. To be honest I envy you.

Warhawk must have been a b**** to fly compared o that.

Shores in "Bloody Shambles" tells some stories of newcomers to Australia wrecking more than 50% of their P40Es
in landing accidents and navigational errors on their way to through Australia to Darwin and Perth at war´s outbreak.
And that wasn´t even Java yet.

We should be able to train fast, but only to a certain level, beyond that there should be a mechanism to generate large gaps
between trained pilots and gifted ones. A difference between 70 and 85 A2A skill does not account for that IMHO.

I think we will not come to a consensus completely, though with your obvious experience you can reflect on the situation
better than I am able to, and I do see your point.









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