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Submarine Tutorial 1.4 - 11/3/2020 4:53:32 PM   
ShadowB


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So you have the most basic diesel submarine to intercept a frigate in shallow-ish waters (one with an ASW helo, to boot). But you can't really get to the shallows before the frigate is upon you.

You have minimal tools, essentially 1960-grade 35-knot torpedoes in a 1999 scenario. First time I do this, I approach the Turkish warship at 4 knots just above the layer and have an enemy torpedo in the water before I can do anything. Hugging the seafloor and playing dead full stop is useless against such torpedo.

What am I supposed to do? If I go below the layer before I'm spotted, I may not even see the frigate at all. Am I supposed to not move at all from my starting position and wait for the frigate to come by, wait further for it to pass and fire torpedoes up its baffles? As tactical as that might sound, it's also boring as hell and ignores the fact I have a mobile platform.

Needless to say, automatic evasion is worth less than seafloor dirt.

I understand it's all about getting in the right position, but if that merely means moving a dozen nautical miles from the starting position and waiting, well, that's not very interactive, is it?

I presume it's next to impossible to get it right the first time, because the extreme caution required (while still playing Russian roulette) means that without foreknowledge, the target may well slip away while you twiddled your thumbs on the seafloor.

And then the scenario arguably loses its worth, since a second time you're inevitably privy to details only attainable by putting your submarine in mortal danger with probable fatal results. Not that my second attempt fared much better.

So I failed for a third time, barely moving since the scenario does 99% of the positioning. The Turkish frigate sailed by and I fired torpedoes. 35 knots vs. the vessel's 30. Apparently I wasn't quite enough in its baffles (which might've required me to not move at all and play the role of seafloor torpedo turret, yawn). Dodged one torpedo manually, but mine were utterly incapable to catching an alert frigate. Second enemy torpedo, presumably air-launched, got me, but everything was lost at that point anyway.

Failed a fourth time. This time barely moved forward and waited for the frigate to pass, my terrible sensors and intel unable to make the extremely accurate prediction required to have me end up in its baffles AND in the scarce range necessary to do anything about it with my terrible torpedoes. I reacquired too late, failing at the extremely-cautious-but-still-Russian-roulette, the torps petered out well before their max kinematic range (10-ish vs. 30 nm), and the target escaped.

< Message edited by ShadowB -- 11/4/2020 11:29:48 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/3/2020 5:00:12 PM   
.Sirius


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Hi

War is never on equal terms, you work with what you have

_____________________________

Paul aka Sirius
Command Developer
Warfaresims
Cold War Data Base 1946-1979 Author

Old radar men never die - Their echoes fade away in accordance with the inverse fourth power law

(in reply to ShadowB)
Post #: 2
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/3/2020 5:19:09 PM   
ShadowB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: .Sirius

Hi

War is never on equal terms, you work with what you have

Sure, but that's beside the point.

How is this scenario sensible, interesting or even interactive? Let alone as a tutorial "exam"? The player has terrible assets and intelligence, and the requirement to achieve a very precise position to fire torpedoes in the frigate's baffles, remain unnoticed and escape retaliation.

Said position is 99% granted by the scenario's starting position (not exactly a virtue on its part), but the remainder is a matter of pure blind luck, because the target's position is only 100% accurate in the brief time it's in sight of the allied spy. A spy you can move, but only so far.

After that, the target changes course as well, and the sub's sensors can never gain a 100% accurate fix. Save for the periscope, which means taking many spins on that Russian roulette to trace an accurate enough line to position the sub and be able to act with, again, terrible torpedoes, without dying in the attempt. And you may well be detected and sunk beforehand, by chance.

So overall, how is this scenario NOT predominantly a roll of dice?

< Message edited by ShadowB -- 11/3/2020 5:20:45 PM >

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RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/3/2020 8:19:38 PM   
thewood1

 

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Spoiler:

I have never played that one before. Just tried it and I took the bearing of the ship based on observation from the ground unit. Estimated where its active sonar would most likely detect me, and traveled at periscope depth to charge batteries to that point. Because the enemy was only equipped with hull sonar and doesn't have a towed array, I knew that even at max depth, I would see him coming without him seeing me. Used the hint in the briefing about active sonar and assumed it meant the ship was pinging. Thats a huge advantage for me.

So dropped to max depth where I estimated the ship to show up and sat doggo on the bottom. I then just waited at speed 0 until I got a contact. I knew it was the enemy ship based on the bearing and estimated speed that eventually showed up. Waited until he was 2 nm away because of the slow and short-range torps. Fired and watched him try to run away. He out ran my torps the first time, but knew was coming through again so shift position a little and let him get within 1 nm and killed him. The only caveat is that if I had been more than 10 degrees off in my first estimate of the ships course, I would have had to move. I think I had more than enough time to creep to a new position, but it increases the risk of being detected.

If that ship hadn't been pinging, I would probably have tried the same thing, but maybe not have gone so deep. I tried doing it hands off, but screwed up the WRA on the first torp shots. Had to intervene on the second ones.

So the keys here are to be in a position where you see him before he sees you. Then fire at very close range. If he wasn't pinging like a broken bell, this would have been harder, but doable.

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RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/3/2020 8:29:17 PM   
thewood1

 

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btw, I think this is far from a terrible scenario. Whether you "win" or "lose", its teaches a lot about how older sub technology works and the tactics you need to apply to get the most out of them.

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RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/3/2020 9:09:41 PM   
cmanouser1

 

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I just played it and succeeded on the first try. It's a great tutorial because it tests your understanding of the concepts.
It's a trivial scenario provided you understand well the submarine mechanics, which doesn't seem to be the case based on what you wrote. Have you read the manual's (accessible from the launcher) chapters on submarines? Please also have a look at this guide in 3 parts: I, II, III.

Couple things:
- How to figure out where the ship will be:
a) you have a spy asset near the ship. You should move that asset so that you follow the ship as long as possible. You should then estimate the ship's speed and bearing (the game doesn't do it for you in that case because the spy doesn't have those capabilities): simply look at the ship's position, put a reference point (right click -> mark position), wait for say 1 minute, then look again and mark position. With 2 points and the timings, you can estimate what you need.
b) the ship is broadcasting its position with active sonar, you can detect that from extremely far away. Just peak over the layer (at 0 kt!) sometimes to detect it more easily.
- How to hide and know when to shoot: switch the map view to BMNG layer and deactivate Sentinel layer. This is because the sea floor is better depicted on BMNG. Notice your sub's starting position is in deep waters, but north there is some shallow water. Go there at cruise or flank speed, before you're in the range of the ship's sonar. You want to go there and hide on the sea floor, which is easier than hiding without the floor. Go to a position that is on the path of the ship (remember, you just estimated that path). Because you also estimated the ship's speed, you know when the ship will be there. Then, you should periodically go above layer (at 0kt!) to check if the ship is arriving, and correct your position when you hear its active sonar. You go below layer when moving to correct. Once the ship has passed above you, go above layer (at 0kt) and fire your torpedoes in its baffles.
Always point towards the ship to minimise your cross-section (check the signature part of the database to see why); don't show your full length to its sonar! This isn't too important in this one though as the ship has terrible sensors, just good practice.

Notice the ship only has a hull sonar, putting you at a major advantage when under the layer. I also never used the periscope and the first prediction doesn't need to be that accurate at all as you have ample time to correct your position.

Finally, it is unfair to call the scenario "terrible" when the issue comes from you not understanding it well. I hope these guidelines will help you in that regard.

< Message edited by cmanouser1 -- 11/3/2020 9:31:51 PM >

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RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/3/2020 9:50:39 PM   
thewood1

 

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"Finally, it is unfair to call the scenario "terrible" when the issue comes from you not understanding it well. I hope these guidelines will help you in that regard."

I think there is a lot of this going around lately.

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RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/3/2020 10:41:21 PM   
ShadowB


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From: Buenos Aires
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Here's the thing.

To begin with, the initial estimation can very well be completely off because the frigate changes course (from 250-ish to 210-ish) at some point beyond the spy's visual range and beyond where it can move to follow it.

When you do spot him on passives, there's a small-ish but meaningful and constant margin of error. You can't estimate an accurate course on that, not on the level of precision required to put you in the baffles close enough use your vintage torpedoes. Using reference points without a periscope precision gives you plenty of margin of error. So you don't know exactly where nor how far to move. You have to dive deep since you're within enemy sonar range, and your estimation when you pop up can be just inaccurate enough to see the frigate inexorably out of reach. It can pass a mere 2-3 nautical miles from your position, and it'll be too late to fire by the time you're in the baffles.

quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

Spoiler:

I have never played that one before. Just tried it and I took the bearing of the ship based on observation from the ground unit. Estimated where its active sonar would most likely detect me, and traveled at periscope depth to charge batteries to that point. Because the enemy was only equipped with hull sonar and doesn't have a towed array, I knew that even at max depth, I would see him coming without him seeing me. Used the hint in the briefing about active sonar and assumed it meant the ship was pinging. Thats a huge advantage for me.

So dropped to max depth where I estimated the ship to show up and sat doggo on the bottom. I then just waited at speed 0 until I got a contact. I knew it was the enemy ship based on the bearing and estimated speed that eventually showed up. Waited until he was 2 nm away because of the slow and short-range torps. Fired and watched him try to run away. He out ran my torps the first time, but knew was coming through again so shift position a little and let him get within 1 nm and killed him. The only caveat is that if I had been more than 10 degrees off in my first estimate of the ships course, I would have had to move. I think I had more than enough time to creep to a new position, but it increases the risk of being detected.

If that ship hadn't been pinging, I would probably have tried the same thing, but maybe not have gone so deep. I tried doing it hands off, but screwed up the WRA on the first torp shots. Had to intervene on the second ones.

So the keys here are to be in a position where you see him before he sees you. Then fire at very close range. If he wasn't pinging like a broken bell, this would have been harder, but doable.

You were extremely lucky if you tipped off the frigate, missed it, and still it didn't counterattack with torpedoes nor its onboard helo. It hasn't been remotely so lenient to me.

-----

So on my fifth try I did it. I still believe there's a significant chance factor in the target's approach due to lacking suitable intel, and you're forced to maneuver when the target's well within your torpedo range to get in its baffles before it slips away, a context common sense would say is suicidal. There's no way to tell how far you can push your luck, and I feel a real skipper would have more information. Against every instinct, I dared to creep closer (hugging the seafloor) when the frigate was within 1-2 nautical miles, banging away with its active sonar.

But it didn't detect me, and praying I was in its baffles (again no indicators anywhere I could find), I fired no less than four torpedoes at it as it was halfway from exiting their practical range envelope. The fish weren't detected and I realized I could more effectively wire-guide from periscope depth.

The primary lesson that sticks is that any submarine would be crazy to use torpedoes against a contemporary warship. Especially one with a helo.

The rest was far too unpredictable: I wasn't taught how far into a sonar envelope I can move, at which depth nor at which speed. Crucially, nor how my vessel's detectability interacts with the capabilities of the target's systems. All I know is that the enemy had a maximum sonar range of 35 nm and a bunch of figures in decibels as far as my submarine's signatures are concerned. Nothing usable other than the implicit suggestion not to show your side to sonar, which I already knew. I also had no concrete idea on how speed and depth and other ocean conditions interacted with all that.

I'm sure it's all simulated, but it's all incredibly obscure to the player, and it severely limits decision-making when all you know is that slow is good, deep is good, and both are best. It would really pay off to have more information on how far you can bend those rules, because strict adherence means missing targets in critical situations like this one. As it stands, you can only push the envelope blindly, safe in the knowledge you can save and reload if the game inescrutably decides you have pushed too far. That's not very rewarding.

< Message edited by ShadowB -- 11/3/2020 10:45:21 PM >

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RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/3/2020 11:35:46 PM   
thewood1

 

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Not sure what to say. I never even went into the ships baffles. The ship came at me on a course a few miles off the center of the channel just as I expected. I made a bunch of mistakes and still got through it on one try. There is no way you should be having that kind of problem against a peer ship that is pinging away and you have a recon asset to give you a peek at its speed and course.

If you aren't going to learn from it and then get your knickers in a twist when you can't "win", this game will be nothing but frustration for you.

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RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/3/2020 11:44:17 PM   
Rory Noonan

 

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Feel free to reconfigure the scenario to your liking with the scenario editor.

_____________________________


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RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 11:31:38 AM   
ShadowB


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From: Buenos Aires
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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

Not sure what to say. I never even went into the ships baffles. The ship came at me on a course a few miles off the center of the channel just as I expected. I made a bunch of mistakes and still got through it on one try. There is no way you should be having that kind of problem against a peer ship that is pinging away and you have a recon asset to give you a peek at its speed and course.

If you aren't going to learn from it and then get your knickers in a twist when you can't "win", this game will be nothing but frustration for you.

As I said, I was surprised that your frigate didn't counterattack as mercilessly as mine did against my sub.

Perhaps it was something else that I missed. Perhaps on my earlier attempts I engaged a couple nautical miles too far, whereas you were closer and, regardless of angle, managed to spook the target into evading, giving you the upper hand. It would all be over before the ship allowed itself to fire a torpedo, and the helo had a chance to take off.

I had assumed there would be no margin of error, that I would be immediately fired upon if the torpedo launch was detected, regardless of range, and apparently I was mistaken. Maybe it's tangentially related to the target's OODA cycle, a combination of its delay to act and its priorities in the given circumstances (torpedo in close proximity).

That's a valid lesson, though I still think especially submarines should have more usable information (particularly dynamic info on their own detectability vs. specific systems) at their disposal to know how much they can push the basic primers. All in order to reduce a bunch of guesswork I doubt a real skipper has to go through.

< Message edited by ShadowB -- 11/4/2020 11:37:09 AM >

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RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 12:17:21 PM   
thewood1

 

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A real skipper just has other people doing the guess work for them. We probably have as much if not more info and better comms than they do. We have a HUGE advantage of immediate comms with the land unit to help set up the ambush. We also have a stupid enemy pinging away and giving itself away over 20 miles from the ambush. We also have the ability to test out out systems against the enemy over and over again.

I ran the scenario three more times last night just to see if my first run through was a fluke. The first two I did even better by killing the ship on the first salvo. The last one I position the sub slight off more to the right just to make sure I could get into a better position. No issues on that one either. I plan on playing with active ship sonar off today and see how it goes.

(in reply to ShadowB)
Post #: 12
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 1:34:06 PM   
ShadowB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

A real skipper just has other people doing the guess work for them. We probably have as much if not more info and better comms than they do. We have a HUGE advantage of immediate comms with the land unit to help set up the ambush. We also have a stupid enemy pinging away and giving itself away over 20 miles from the ambush. We also have the ability to test out out systems against the enemy over and over again.

I ran the scenario three more times last night just to see if my first run through was a fluke. The first two I did even better by killing the ship on the first salvo. The last one I position the sub slight off more to the right just to make sure I could get into a better position. No issues on that one either. I plan on playing with active ship sonar off today and see how it goes.

Sure, a real skipper has a crew of various experts. We don't, and I doubt the CMO DB is representative of how much militaries know about each other. Our experts are represented by the interface, and it needs to say more.

My request for additional information is a general one, at this point centered on technology and how to compare systems in practical terms. The game has those numbers, doesn't show them to the player and I think it could stand to be less obscure without losing realism.

It's a matter which applies to any mission, but in this particular case, I don't know how my sub's signature and detectability measures up to the target's systems. I've only learned through trial and error, and that feels off, particularly considering the knowledge is only useful as far as this specific Greek sub and that specific Turkish frigate are concerned. Change the combatants and I'm in the dark again, not knowing how far I can push my luck.

I'll bring up Cold Waters, which does tell you how detectable your submarine is in present conditions (speed, depth, angle, sea state) versus a specific, identified target. If that's fantasy, I'll take your word for it, but I believe we could have more usable comparative information to make better decisions instead of creeping in fear at all times. That can very well be insufficient for many missions.

My concern with in-mission intel evaporated when I realized a baffles shot wasn't mandatory, because a precise course estimate is no longer necessary. There was no indication in the tutorials that I could exploit reaction times like that. And this is, in the end, a tutorial, not a regular scenario which can rightly expect full knowledge of every mechanic.

PS: To bring some substance to my information concerns... In a generic fashion, I know I'm safest but generally blindest in the layer, but how far can I push my speed versus X or Y system? Under the layer I'm safer versus vessels without towed array or sonobuoys, but just how safe? How fast can I go versus X or Y vessel? Cavitation is bad, but how far from safe is it to go at maximum speed without cavitating? Those are some questions I believe the game should at least hint at. It teaches the general concepts, but nothing about the details, nor does the interface provide feedback on these ever-changing factors.

< Message edited by ShadowB -- 11/4/2020 1:45:44 PM >

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Post #: 13
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 1:45:46 PM   
thewood1

 

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I am sure that skippers have guidelines based on speed, depth, etc. But there are no hard rules. Just like in CMO, its experience of the skipper and the crew as what their actual detectability is. Every sub in the db has listed sonar profiles at various aspects for different sonar frequencies. Thats the first thing I check out in a scenario with subs.

And I do a lot of testing to know where the difference in detectability is compared to the sown range circles. For instance, in this scenario, I saw the green active sonar range line. I estimated the speed of the ship. I know that actual detection range is less than the shown range line. So I made sure to set the sub to creep inside the line and then stop a few nm inside the line. Because the ship was pinging, I knew that staying straight on and deep would limit detectability. Most of this just seems like common sense to me. Its why its a tutorial.

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RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 1:59:12 PM   
thewood1

 

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The best way to learn is that once you are done with the tutorial, play again and flip back and forth between sides. Its an awesome capability and the best way to understand some of the details. I do this all the time when I am not sure why something happened.

You are not going to learn every detail or be an expert in naval warfare from doing some tutorials. It takes a lot of practice. And the best part is you get an infinite number of redo's.

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Post #: 15
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 2:02:26 PM   
ShadowB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

Every sub in the db has listed sonar profiles at various aspects for different sonar frequencies. Thats the first thing I check out in a scenario with subs.

Yes, that's one of the things I highlighted. How is a bunch of decibel values usable? How do I know how they compare to 19XX sonar technology with a given maximum range?

I'm sure a clearer picture can be attained through testing and sacrificing countless submarines, but things could stand to be more informative without all that. In the end, what is a mostly scripted scenario worth, from a reward perspective, if it can only be won with specific knowledge gained from several previous failures?

The game could crunch the numbers and provide a rough estimate of detection probability in current circumstances, which I'm sure is what experienced sailors have in their head (never having died in the process to gather the info). The player, on the other hand, has insufficient data to calculate anything as far as detection's concerned.

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 16
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 2:10:27 PM   
dcpollay


Posts: 505
Joined: 11/22/2012
From: Upstate New York USA
Status: online
quote:

ORIGINAL: ShadowB

Here's the thing.

To begin with, the initial estimation can very well be completely off because the frigate changes course (from 250-ish to 210-ish) at some point beyond the spy's visual range and beyond where it can move to follow it.

When you do spot him on passives, there's a small-ish but meaningful and constant margin of error. You can't estimate an accurate course on that, not on the level of precision required to put you in the baffles close enough use your vintage torpedoes. Using reference points without a periscope precision gives you plenty of margin of error. So you don't know exactly where nor how far to move. You have to dive deep since you're within enemy sonar range, and your estimation when you pop up can be just inaccurate enough to see the frigate inexorably out of reach. It can pass a mere 2-3 nautical miles from your position, and it'll be too late to fire by the time you're in the baffles.



You were extremely lucky if you tipped off the frigate, missed it, and still it didn't counterattack with torpedoes nor its onboard helo. It hasn't been remotely so lenient to me.

-----

So on my fifth try I did it. I still believe there's a significant chance factor in the target's approach due to lacking suitable intel, and you're forced to maneuver when the target's well within your torpedo range to get in its baffles before it slips away, a context common sense would say is suicidal. There's no way to tell how far you can push your luck, and I feel a real skipper would have more information. Against every instinct, I dared to creep closer (hugging the seafloor) when the frigate was within 1-2 nautical miles, banging away with its active sonar.

But it didn't detect me, and praying I was in its baffles (again no indicators anywhere I could find), I fired no less than four torpedoes at it as it was halfway from exiting their practical range envelope. The fish weren't detected and I realized I could more effectively wire-guide from periscope depth.

The primary lesson that sticks is that any submarine would be crazy to use torpedoes against a contemporary warship. Especially one with a helo.

The rest was far too unpredictable: I wasn't taught how far into a sonar envelope I can move, at which depth nor at which speed. Crucially, nor how my vessel's detectability interacts with the capabilities of the target's systems. All I know is that the enemy had a maximum sonar range of 35 nm and a bunch of figures in decibels as far as my submarine's signatures are concerned. Nothing usable other than the implicit suggestion not to show your side to sonar, which I already knew. I also had no concrete idea on how speed and depth and other ocean conditions interacted with all that.

I'm sure it's all simulated, but it's all incredibly obscure to the player, and it severely limits decision-making when all you know is that slow is good, deep is good, and both are best. It would really pay off to have more information on how far you can bend those rules, because strict adherence means missing targets in critical situations like this one. As it stands, you can only push the envelope blindly, safe in the knowledge you can save and reload if the game inescrutably decides you have pushed too far. That's not very rewarding.



<Written (slowly) as others posted....>

Welcome to submarine warfare! I have not played this tutorial yet, but all of the things you are talking about here are real tactical problems that a submarine commander faces. There is an element of luck in positioning, water and sonar conditions that can affect an engagement. Targets can change course and speed. There are a lot of elements that are out of the commander's (and the player's) control.

What additional information do you think a real-life skipper would have? Unless it is a 1st-rate power, the sub will not have any information other than a starting point for their search, and sonar and a periscope. The sub is otherwise cut off from the world. Passive sonar is inherently not precise, and sticking a periscope up in the air is an invitation to trouble.

Why are you trying to maneuver into the ship's baffles? Is it a specific requirement of the scenario? A far better shot is to get into position ahead of the target and shoot so the ship is driving into the torpedo rather than away.

From your post it seems like you are expecting the scenario to give you answers to the tactical problems. The scenario won't do that, because there are no answers. There is no particular limit to the sonar envelope, or a specific speed or depth at which the sub can move without detection. There is no "amount" by which you can bend those rules. The performance specs in the database are just a starting point for an estimate. Nor can those answers be put into a manual, because they change with every scenario, location, or time period, including within the span of any given scenario. What the tutorial does provide, beyond mechanics, is an opportunity for the player to test their tactics that they have developed (or guessed at) through outside research. This is a game that will require you to learn concepts on your own - you cannot just read the manual and win.

The good news is, pretty much all of us went through this process that you're experiencing. We all had to learn not only game mechanics, but the concepts underlying what the game is simulating. As a new player, you should expect to have problems. Once you have some experience and things start to click, it will all (mostly) be better! That challenge is part of the attraction of the game for me.

< Message edited by dcpollay -- 11/4/2020 2:22:27 PM >


_____________________________

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Formerly known as Colonel Mustard, before I got Slitherine Syndrome.

(in reply to ShadowB)
Post #: 17
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 2:17:23 PM   
thewood1

 

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Joined: 11/27/2005
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Thank you. You stated that much better than I have been trying to do.

(in reply to dcpollay)
Post #: 18
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 5:29:59 PM   
thewood1

 

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"From your post it seems like you are expecting the scenario to give you answers to the tactical problems. The scenario won't do that, because there are no answers. There is no particular limit to the sonar envelope, or a specific speed or depth at which the sub can move without detection. There is no "amount" by which you can bend those rules. The performance specs in the database are just a starting point for an estimate. Nor can those answers be put into a manual, because they change with every scenario, location, or time period, including within the span of any given scenario. What the tutorial does provide, beyond mechanics, is an opportunity for the player to test their tactics that they have developed (or guessed at) through outside research. This is a game that will require you to learn concepts on your own - you cannot just read the manual and win."

There some threads on the forum that could using the posting of this bit. Maybe even pin it to the top. Extremely articulate rant. It probably extends to other games as well.

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 19
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 7:38:17 PM   
ShadowB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: dcpollay

Why are you trying to maneuver into the ship's baffles? Is it a specific requirement of the scenario? A far better shot is to get into position ahead of the target and shoot so the ship is driving into the torpedo rather than away.

As I mentioned earlier, that became my objective since my first attempts saw swift, merciless counterattacks when I launched in a way the frigate could pick up the transient. I thought it'd always be like that, so I assumed I inevitably needed a baffles shot. In the end, all I needed was a close-up shot, no matter the angle, which was far more achievable.

I completed the following scenarios on my first try, perhaps being more cavalier, daring to run at Cruise or even Full speed closing in on an enemy sub as long as I could keep the layers in my favour (and being wary of staying out from under the layer if the target had a towed array).

Now I'm on the doorstep of the second exam. We'll see how that goes.

(in reply to dcpollay)
Post #: 20
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 7:53:43 PM   
thewood1

 

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"I completed the following scenarios on my first try, perhaps being more cavalier, daring to run at Cruise or even Full speed closing in on an enemy sub as long as I could keep the layers in my favour (and being wary of staying out from under the layer if the target had a towed array)."

This what I talked about in the other sub complaint thread. Players just get impatient. I actually don't play a lot of ASW-focused scenarios because I can't stand staring at the screen. If there is one type of scenario that you can't cut corners in, its ASW scenarios, from either perspective.

(in reply to ShadowB)
Post #: 21
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 9:51:28 PM   
ShadowB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

This what I talked about in the other sub complaint thread. Players just get impatient. I actually don't play a lot of ASW-focused scenarios because I can't stand staring at the screen. If there is one type of scenario that you can't cut corners in, its ASW scenarios, from either perspective.

It's not a matter of impatience unless the scenario is (arguably unrealistically, outside of a tutorial) built for permanent creeping. Sometimes you need to catch up with things. My cavalier dashes didn't get my sub detected, so I ultimately disagree with dcpollay's statement that the basic tenets can't be pushed.

Within any given circumstances where enemy presence isn't overwhelming, there are more liberal combinations of depth and speed which are relatively safe at certain times, and sometimes they're even necessary. Of course the general circumstances change, but it's always system versus system, with distance/depth plus thermocline quirks in the way, and little else.

I'll have to grudgingly accept that the game won't help me uncover the details, and it'll be a matter of copious trial and error.

< Message edited by ShadowB -- 11/4/2020 9:57:56 PM >

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 22
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 9:59:35 PM   
thewood1

 

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Its mostly playing through all the tutorials and smaller scenarios, as well as not getting bent out of shape because the scenario beat you.

(in reply to ShadowB)
Post #: 23
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 10:03:43 PM   
ShadowB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

Its mostly playing through all the tutorials and smaller scenarios, as well as not getting bent out of shape because the scenario beat you.

To be clear, I'm not bent out of shape. I'm not disparaging the game. CMO is great.

I'm just highlighting an area which I believe could be improved: dynamic, actionable information in regards to detectability.

And I should best leave it at that.

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 24
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 10:17:28 PM   
thewood1

 

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So when did you change the title of the thread and remove the "Terrible Scenario" comment. So lets not leave it at that. I think it was still up as of this morning. That seems to be a pretty text book example of getting bent out of shape. Pretty insulting comment for a scenario designer to hear.

(in reply to ShadowB)
Post #: 25
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/4/2020 11:29:34 PM   
ShadowB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

So when did you change the title of the thread and remove the "Terrible Scenario" comment. So lets not leave it at that. I think it was still up as of this morning. That seems to be a pretty text book example of getting bent out of shape. Pretty insulting comment for a scenario designer to hear.

I did get frustrated at first because I thought the game was demanding something very difficult to achieve with imperfect intel on a first try (a baffles shot). Then I realized I was wrong (publicly saying so), and my remark was unfair, so at the very least I removed its mention from the title. I'll probably remove the same remark from the end of my first post too.

From then on, after admitting more than once that I had been wrong in my assumptions, I moved on to my request to have more information on the submarine side in general, because other games (Cold Waters) give it and it prevents needless trial and error.

That's all.

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 26
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/5/2020 12:54:25 AM   
dcpollay


Posts: 505
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From: Upstate New York USA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

"I completed the following scenarios on my first try, perhaps being more cavalier, daring to run at Cruise or even Full speed closing in on an enemy sub as long as I could keep the layers in my favour (and being wary of staying out from under the layer if the target had a towed array)."

This what I talked about in the other sub complaint thread. Players just get impatient. I actually don't play a lot of ASW-focused scenarios because I can't stand staring at the screen. If there is one type of scenario that you can't cut corners in, its ASW scenarios, from either perspective.

I'm a screen-starer myself. I need things to go SLOWLY. I can't handle 100 planes and missiles in the air dashing around. And yes, impatience is a big problem. Sub warfare unfolds SLOWLY. Speed = Noise = Death Sentence. As a submariner, if you need to catch up with something in a combat zone, you have pretty much already failed in your mission.

Submarines are made to creep. Any other speed is just to get home in time for happy hour.

_____________________________

"It's all according to how your boogaloo situation stands, you understand."

Formerly known as Colonel Mustard, before I got Slitherine Syndrome.

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 27
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/5/2020 1:01:48 AM   
dcpollay


Posts: 505
Joined: 11/22/2012
From: Upstate New York USA
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: ShadowB

quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

This what I talked about in the other sub complaint thread. Players just get impatient. I actually don't play a lot of ASW-focused scenarios because I can't stand staring at the screen. If there is one type of scenario that you can't cut corners in, its ASW scenarios, from either perspective.

It's not a matter of impatience unless the scenario is (arguably unrealistically, outside of a tutorial) built for permanent creeping. Sometimes you need to catch up with things. My cavalier dashes didn't get my sub detected, so I ultimately disagree with dcpollay's statement that the basic tenets can't be pushed.

Within any given circumstances where enemy presence isn't overwhelming, there are more liberal combinations of depth and speed which are relatively safe at certain times, and sometimes they're even necessary. Of course the general circumstances change, but it's always system versus system, with distance/depth plus thermocline quirks in the way, and little else.

I'll have to grudgingly accept that the game won't help me uncover the details, and it'll be a matter of copious trial and error.

Let's be clear here - It is not that you can't "push the tenets", as you say. You can, because the limits are not fixed. The key is that, just as in real life, you don't know when you are pushing them too far. In this game, you could make an aggressive move in the same scenario 3 or 4 times and get away with it, but the next time you could do the same thing and get caught. The "little else" that you refer to is actually a lot of variables, either abstracted or realistically modelled, and they have a large impact on your results.

_____________________________

"It's all according to how your boogaloo situation stands, you understand."

Formerly known as Colonel Mustard, before I got Slitherine Syndrome.

(in reply to ShadowB)
Post #: 28
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/5/2020 7:46:06 AM   
thewood1

 

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I still think that there are players that expect a boardgame-like fixed parameter puzzle. CMO, as I suspect is true in real-life naval operations, is about managing chaos and risk. Its very similar to a lot of initial complaints about Combat Mission by BFC. There is a lot of fuzziness around the edges. There is no single answer for any scenario.

A game like CMO is a hugely multivariate world. There is no set, "If I do this, then this will happen." You are constantly playing risk management and risk mitigation. This simple tutorial scenario is a great example. It is very risky to estimate the ship course and move your sub to get there in time. But the scenario designer built a perfect set of subtle hints to mitigate the risk. To someone not being rash and paying attention, the scenario is not that difficult. But to a player expecting a set piece tactical puzzle, its a frustrating and unexpectedly terrible scenario.

Just look at a few of the threads around the main forum and the tech section. There are a small cadre of people who expect the game to provide very specific information on the interaction of all the variables to provide the tactical answer for them. I also think they have a skewed view of what info is actually available to commanders in real-life. Yet they keep pushing the devs to add a constant stream of detailed info that will prevent them from doing things that they shouldn't do tactically.

It just comes down to a philosophy on what this game is; A simulation of operational decision-making based on unprecedented detail to teach a player naval tactics through application and experience, or a complex puzzle where getting a high score is the ultimate goal. The former will have some forgiveness in outcomes and details if they walk away feeling satisfied they learned something. The latter want a narrow path set for them that forces decisions within a very narrow band. The latter also want to feel that every detail matters to the outcome regardless of the innocuousness of the detail. They can't play the game without knowing every detail and mechanism that can possibly lead to a high score and a "win".

Its a conundrum for most wargame designers to try and cater to both sides and everything in between. And that is what's unique about CMO and its devs. They have added unprecedented detail without losing the operational decision-making that is the core of CMO. They have done a great job adding the detail while recognizing the ability to plan effectively. But they done it through innumerable options available to the player. Its why an experienced player spends more time planning than executing, by far. But planning has become very complex, due to all the options in things like ROE, WRA, refueling plans, disengagement, basing, logistics, etc.

But the planning aspect of the game is also what frustrates new players. If you look at this tutorial, its a good example. There are only three units in it. How difficult can it be to plan? But most players will not really take much notice of the spy unit and its key to the scenario. They won't take a detailed review of the sub's capabilities and the ship's capabilities. They won't consider the old military adage of choosing the environment you want to fight in. Some players will just jump in and draw a course and hope for the best.

So the response to the scenario is that the game should have told the player exactly what parameters for the encounter should be. In this case, the player wasn't focused on learning in a tutorial, they were focused on winning. Some players just write off the "loss" and others tell the devs its a terrible scenario and fix it or dosumfink. And the message the devs get is that they need to add more options, more messages, more switches. That's for the devs to decide. But at this point, playing CMO has become a function of switch/option management. There are probably 3-4 threads active right now where the player thinks the solution is "one more option or switch. Every single option and switch makes it that much more difficult for new players to grasp how to play.

Just look at the mythical Advanced Mission Planner (AMP). Look at the people who are really pushing for it. These are the same people who want every detail of every unit and its activities detailed. So theoretically, they want all that detail, then they want to not have to deal with it. I can guarantee two things about the AMP from my perspective. The first is it will increase the switchology and difficulty for inexperienced players immensely. To the point its a game within a game. Second, the same people who are pushing for the AMP will then spend the next two years complaining that its not doing X, Y, or Z exactly the way they should do it. Its the old micro-manage without micro-management story. The AMP fans say they want it to limit micro-management, yet will spend two years micro-managing the AMP. It comes down to that some players are attracted to CMO and its detail actually love micro-managing, but won't admit it.

(in reply to dcpollay)
Post #: 29
RE: Submarine Tutorial 1.4 (terrible scenario) - 11/5/2020 12:33:56 PM   
c3k

 

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FWIW, my impression after the first play of this "tutorial" was bit like the OP's.

I played it over and over and over. Finally, I realized that it was teaching me something, so that was good.

Is it a "balanced" scenario (whatever that is)? No. The submarine must move to be at an intercept point and it must get there in a specific amount of time. Thus, the speed and direction of movement are dictated. (It took several trial runs to determine the enemy ship's course.)

The next piece if figuring out if the depth at which the submarine moves makes any difference. It's been awhile, so I think it had to be snorkeling, but that could've just been my desire to get the batteries charged up.

Finally, having determined the intercept point and successfully arrived, you've got to learn what depth will work for waiting without being discovered.

After the final part (the post-final ;) ), you've got to escape...if your torps missed. Or, if the torps were underway but a helo was airborne.

That created more opportunities to learn.

Had this been real-life, I would've left a dozen or two submarine hulks scattered about the bottom of the Med. (Obviously, I would've survived to re-captain yet another eager crew.)

So, was it frustrating? Yes. It is hard to win. But, as a tutorial, it taught me some lessons.

FWIW.

(in reply to thewood1)
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