From: Somewhere deep in appalachian valley in PA
One way I have always looked at artillery given the current system is a 1/3 rule. I typically think to myself when building a scenario how much artillery would be available, let's say a Soviet assault has a regiment worth of artillery to support it, so in-game I purchase 1/3 of that. It helps simulate the limited availability of batteries which the current system cannot account for.
My vote has always been for bigger maps with all artillery on the map. In the past I created a Bm-21 on-map unit, and it was a thing of beauty to watch fire off all its missiles.
Bigger map + all on map artillery would be good too, AB can escape from all those issues of abstraction of off map arty. Plus, this can appeal to Eugen's Wargame franchise fans as the way of artillery control will similar with Wargame. How much do you think would be the proper maximum size? 30km x 30km or 25km x 25km? Some artillery will lose merit of longer range (like 203mms like Pion/Malka) but I guess something should be sacrificed for such feature. My personal wish is 25km x 25km, as 30km x 30km might too big.
If air-assault and heliborne troops are introduced, I guess such increased map size would be inevitable anyway. So I think this is really a good idea to increase total map size now.
At the same time, how about leaving the maximum play zone as 15km x 15km, but introducing add additional space of depth of 0~10km to West and East if game is West-East game, or North and South if the game is North-South game, as representation of artillery zone? Or, it might be possible to induce such additional space to all 4 directions (North South West East). But I think 2-direction representation might be better. Anyway, the key is, in such artillery zones, only artillery units can be placed, but I think artillery units should be able to maneuver inside battle zone as well. By letting artillery units able to maneuver battle zone and artillery zone, players and AI can depict the in-map arty (arty in FLOT) and off-map arty (arty in FEBA).
In this case, it can be assumed as 15km x 15km battle zone as FLOT, and additional spaces can be regarded as FEBA. There is no distinctive boundary between FLOT and FEBA in reality, and concept and size of FLOT and FEBA varies a lot. But let's just assume it for the convenience in AB.
If increasing map size induce burden to the game's speed or FPS, such "additional zone" approach might reduce the burden to game engine's memory spending and calculation amount. However, regardless of game speed and memory issue, I think introduction of FEBA might be a good idea.
Let the map selection give an option of applying FEBA zone depth of 0~10km. In FEBA zone, players can deploy recon, artillery, gunships and helicopters, airstrikes, and resupply station (if this game introduce resupply in the future).
Normal units cannot go into enemy FEBA or friendly FEBA, both deployment phase and during in-game. Only artillery and recon units can move in both FEBA and FLOT zone. Helicopters and gunships can fly and hover over any place of FEBA and FLOT. This issue can solve the current issue of small map: gunships are forced to engage in very close range in small map. From FEBA, gunships can use ATGMs from far without worrying about AA fire, even during 2km x 2km game. As such, FEBA idea would bring much realistic doctrine / operation of gunships, regardless of map size. Player and AI can place gunship BP inside FLOT and inside FEBA, this way players and AI can operate helicopters much realistic by switching long range ATGMs and short range rockets/guns. Right now, it is only possible to try such thing in big size games.
Allowing recons to infiltrate and move inside friendly & enemy FEBA would increase the importance of recon and counter recon. With improved AI for recon (which I suggested in https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4718276), this will make game much more interesting and dynamic, and will be more close to realistic description of recon tab infantry (recon, light infantry, and SF teams) and recon vehicles. Of course, heliborne for recon infantry should be allowed in FEBA zone.
Resupply station in FEBA zone will allow a better & realistic description of resupply operation. Of course, such resupply operation should be only allowed to "big size games" as FMs indicates such field resupply operation is only possible from battalion size. Let units can go inside FEBA zone only if its destination is inside resupply zone and resupply station. Units heading to resupply station only can use road network, not fields, and they can suffer traffic jam (use quick move algorithm for those movements) Or, movement to FEBA resupply station of 'normal units' can be totally automated by AI only to use road network (use quick move algorithm for those movements), and make player/AI cannot control units once the "resupply" button is clicked for target unit.
Such resupply station in FEBA will prevent unrealistic abusing of resupply, as units should escape from front line move to FEBA resupply station. This will create empty space on the line, so the decision should be careful. Some of SB Pro scenarios well depicted this feature.
Resupply station can be depicted as a group of trucks and ARVs. Let those vehicles available to purchase from support tab, only from total force point and map size is greater than specific number. But they should be only controlled by AI, like helicopters, by designating two or three resupply station point on the FEBA zone only near the road (within 2~3 tiles from any road) if there is road in the map. Let those resupply vehicles can be attacked and damaged by all weapons and artillery, air strike and gunship weapons. This way, players & AI will take more care about placing if resupply station.
My wish is increase play map to maximum 25km x 25km, or at least 20km x 20km and induce 0~10km depth FEBA zone. Well, this will depends on game engine's ability to depict such wide map.
To describe the "penetration" situation, let 'normal units' can move into opposite's FEBA zone once they reached the opposite end of the map. Once enemy 'normal' units move into friendly FEBA zone, then let friendly 'normal units' can go into friendly FEBA zone to counter enemy "penetration".
However, if things become too complicated due to FEBA concept, then let's just increase map size and make all units (including arty) as in-map units like 22sec commented. I'm just brainstorming for better description of battlefield.
< Message edited by exsonic01 -- 11/18/2019 5:06:28 PM >