From: Daly City CA USA
I really like the idea of making tying the number of air-support required, to the number of engines.
Not sure how do-able it is. But I -really- like the idea.
Well, speaking as someone whose only programming experience amounts to an incomplete Basic game back around 1982 . . . I couldn't really say, though it doesn't sound as if this would have broken the bank during development, so I'd guess Wood could turn the trick if he wanted to. I just think there's something approaching entrenched opposition to the notion of making a lot of fundamental change to the core concept of this simulation. For whatever reason, the notion of "appropriate abstraction at the given scale" seems to have an inertial grip on everyone involved with the project.
Mike's notion is fine, it's hard to argue with that logic. The change would help to ultimately curtail the air model in general on the land-based side, that's for sure; it would give Allied engineering assets added responsibility while forcing that player to more carefully plan for his counteroffensive, another plus; it would also tend to curtail early Japanese over-expansion somewhat, especially were this change wedded to a judicious re-editing of the potential size of some bases, and the latter could be accomplished in the editor, so there's no problem there. That's all on the plus side.
I can't think of a single demerit.
A possible further addition might be to make it easier to better disrupt base functionality by letting bombers hit supply stockpiles more often the higher the airbase level. That might sound illogical, but the purpose of this mechanic would be to better simulate the temporary loss of the more complex support necessary to keep the larger aircraft flying on a regular basis. The key to this alteration having the actual intended effect would be to then also change the way supply is expended and air support is required at bases.
At present it doesn't appear as if supply is expended to make inoperational planes operational over and above the supply required presently by the air-support units at that base. If so, that's a mistake. In any event, there appears to be a surplus of supply in the game for the Japanese, and it also seems to be the case that it's too easy to move this supply where it's actually needed, especially for the Japanese. If increased amounts of supply were required at airbases to properly maintain the planes parked there, then we could logically assume it would require more supply to bring and keep a 4E plane on line than it would to bring and to keep a 1E plane on line.
It would help further (already mentioned any number of times in various threads) to change the rule which allows 250 support points to operate any kind of base containing any number of planes. This rule was ill-bred. A requirement of so many air-support factors per engine would make more sense, per Mike's suggestion, and this would serve to impact both sides more or less equally. On the Japanese side the player would now be harder pressed (somewhat) to properly "engineer" whatever forward larger bases he planned to operate, with the desired increase in supply which is now required to maintain those additional air-support units as well. All to the good, as this would slow down the Japanese side of the land-based air-model equation as well as to begin to more properly address those real-life issues of logisitcal concern which plagued the Japanese throughout the war. On the Allied side of the board, this change would give added meaning and purpose to all those marvelous base forces the Allies are blessed with, and at the same time increase their need to provide increased supply to their even more complex (i.e. containing 4E bombers) and thus more supply-ravenous-still airbases, thereby similarly slow down their air operations, too. Eventually the Allies, with thoughtful play, will be able to surmount this new hurdle of logistics better than could the Japanese, but then that's only right and proper and follows a parallel path with history.
It's been suggested that 4E bombers require more air support than 1E planes and 2E planes. But I wonder if this progression of support requirement upward should be arithmetic or more geometric of nature. For instance, I'd not hedge by requiring 4E bombers to require just 3x the supply necessary to keep fighters aloft, but require something more like 6x the supply and air support required to keep these monsters flying over and above the operational needs of fighters.
This would also set the stage to address a problem regarding the supply model that's bothered me from scratch, namely, that the Japanese and Allies in the game consume supply at the same rate. What the correct rate might be I don't profess know exactly, and in game this could probably only be approximately ascertained from repeated play by serious players. But an increase in supply requirements, along the lines I suggest above, seems warranted given the disparity of supply "needs" and actual expenditure between Japanese forces and the Americans for sure. Were I to create a baseline for this, I'd say that if the Japanese consumed one supply point for a given game function then it should probably be the case that the Chinese only be required to consume 1/2 of a supply point for that same function, Australian, New Zealand, Dutch and British units consume 2x that baseline requirement, while Americans gobble up supply points at a rate of 3x or even 4x that rate.
I know one thing for sure. In this respect the model doesn't have it right now.
Back to airbases specifically.
The present game requirement of supplies to maintain offensive missions based on level-bomber loadouts may or may not make sense. I haven't done the math, maybe someone else would. I'd say on general principles it ought to cost more supply to operate a fighter bomber than a fighter, though, and possibly require an extra 1/2 support point to keep that fighter bomber operational turn to turn above the needs of a fighter.
That strikes me as a more sensible approach.
There's a lot to look at, most of which would require either a new engine or and/or a new editor. For instance, why weren't planes developed to have distinct mission-accuracy ratings assigned? That is, why is an aircraft's mission equally rated to hit a moving target at sea as it is to hit a stationary target on land? Certainly no one would argue that the logic of having both rated the same is anything other than dubious. A change in this area might well help to correct the air model's penchant for giving odd and overly-robust results. Level bombers, for instance, on Naval Attack missions now might be more accurately rated for the real-life effect they actually had in this role, meanwhile allowing us to independently further fine-tune their abilities vis-a-vis missions assigned to impact land targets.
Do I hear any argument in opposition to that? Any discussion to make that seed of an idea better still?
And we haven't begun to address the problems of the naval air model. Or the naval surface model. Or the land model.
Speaking of the land model, does anyone but myself question the wisdom of designing "railroads" to all work the same for all kinds of units? For instance, was a "railroad" in real-life Sotheast Asia, say, able to move a division as fast from point A to point B as a "railroad" could from Los Angleles to San Francisco? And why does a battalion-sized unit move at the same rate along that RR line as does one of divisional size?
And so on.
You know, the list of ways to better articulate the game model would not be difficult to expand were any encouragement by Matrix offered whatsoever. Volunteers to do so would scurry quickly out of the woodwork. This ought to have been the developmental attitude coming into the project. Instead, the developers apparently felt more comfortable to pursue a half-baked rehash of UV, replete with nearly all of the intrinsic system problems (that nobody with half a brain and a straight face could deny) which plagued (and still plague today) that otherwise venerable title. In light of this realization I just don't see Wood, much less Gary, and disregard completely Joel going to the trouble of making the requisite changes to transform WitP into something very much more sophisticated than what we have today. I'd really like to believe that that isn't true. So please, Matrix, prove me to be wrong.