Interesting - several of us had a detailed discussion about exactly (well reeeeeally close) this idea in Aug-Sep 2005. Subsequently we decided it was too big a change for the current model. But if there is ever a WITP_II this idea is still in the files!
Realizing you guys are working the Civil War and Eastern Front games I'd still like to propose a blip in the business model for WITP:
Stop doing patches now. We've gotten full value for our purchase price. Instead, start development on an add-on pack (maybe $30ish) to add a tactical combat module on the side of the game, not in the mainline code. What I'm envisioning:
1. Something very like Steel Panthers. Take each 60-mile hex and drill down to a standardized hex field that's a compromize in scale between large-urban and atoll. Scroll screen or single-screen at your option. For islands, provide at least three hexes of border to stage invasion waves.
2. Provide a terrain tile set that accomodates needed terrain, plus movement rules.
3. Design 25-50 (whatever works for cost/retail price ratio) "detail" hex maps of popular combat hexes--Saipan, Singapore, Adak, whatever. Provide a simple user-design kit for us out here to finish the library. I know that in the forum's denizens there's someone who is the world's greatest expert on Canton Island as well as all other bases in the game. Google Earth could probably help as well. Let the fans finish the library after you lock in top-line parameters. You lock in a naming system, a call-library, and the entry variable/exit variable structure.
4. Use existing game variables--unit names, sizes, morale, disruption, supply--as input into the module. Take exit variables as well as retreat hex x,y locations back to the master map after the hex ownership is resolved.
5. When combat begins in a hex where a detail map is in the library offer the player the option to use the module or resolve under the current model.
6. For fortification, use an earned fortification-point account in combo with fort structures (pillboxes, trenches, tunnels, etc.) to let the player buy fortifications. Drag&drop tiles to show fort. structures. Scale levels non-linearly (Fort. level 1 to 2 gives more points in the drawing account than 8 to 9 does.) Let the player defend supply dumps, beaches, etc. as he sees fit with the fort. points he's earned under the curent model rules.
7. To do this you'd need a master library of maps, and then copy a new one into active use and let it be deformed during play. Fort. levels, rubble, fire in cities, etc. if you want to get fancy. But let me inherit the result of combat and choose what to do with it.
8. Unless split, confine an LCU in one hex only. Make me choose choke points. Allow flanking, feints, etc.
9. This sytem lets attackers mass for a breakthrough at the risk of CAS and arty tearing up the beachhead or penetrating force. But it also makes the fortification system less of a back-breaker for attackers. Play with the cost of fort. points however you like, but make it possible to break through if the player is smart tactically.
10. Devise new surrender/retreat rules to fit detailed terrain. Let me leave my amphibs beached for retreat at risk of having them attacked by defender.
The pros of this model are:
1. Revenue for additional work and capability. The add-on would be optional for current fans but I think most would buy it.
2. Let the fans do some of the work. For many this would be a key appeal of the add-on. I can see competitions for most-accurate maps, largest independent library, etc. Fixed hex-plot size and tile set would make integrating fan-produced maps easy as well as allow players to mix&match amongst designers.
3. It doesn't make you integrate new capability into spagetti code. Hand existing LCU variable quantaties into the module, and take combat results for same variables back out and update the DB with them.
4. Allows use of a licensed existing tactical engine (with modifications) rather than development of an all-new one.
5. Overcomes the unrealistic effect of fortifications. Right now a level 5 fort applies to every square inch of Saipan (for example.) Well, I've been to Saipan and that just isn't possible. Let my engineers earn fortification points, and I'll put them where they'll do the most good. Conversely, on offense, make me schedule my landing waves properly and make me defend a beachhead from concentrated, terrain-specific counter-attack.
I'm sure there are lots of holes in this idea (recon for starters) as well as points I haven't considered. Any comments?
P.S. I'd pay $250-$300 for a WITP2 that offered an open, player-scriptable AI as well as some other, mostly graphic and reduced-clicking, features. Just in case you're doing market research.
< Message edited by Snowman999 -- 9/21/2007 3:01:58 AM >