Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

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TheElf
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Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by TheElf »

I posted this in response to Al Boone's determined inquiries. Hope this helps. See this thread for more:

tm.asp?m=2219116

Quite simply, don't overstack, and there will be no restrictions. Conversely when you see your AFs are overstacked, just realize that your AF is not operating as efficiently as it might. That is a perfectly natural state for an AF.

If you are new to the game, these rules are not entirely new. Some of them existed in WitP before AE. We've just enhanced them a bit to temper Uber Air Operations. If you attempt to streamline ALL your AFs to maximum efficiency other AFs will likely become overstacked as a result.

There are some benefits to these restrictions. Units will not fly all their A/C (read pilots) all the time and their Fatigue will not suffer as a result. A more normal pace of ops will result than if unchecked.

From the manual:
If a base has less Aviation Support than is required, level bomber offensive missions are reduced by 25%.

- Aviation support isn't just the wrench-turners. It is an abstraction of all things needed to support a plane. Armorers, plane captains, crew drivers, fuel bowsers, ground support equipment, the list goes on and on. Of all types, Level bombers were the most support intensive. This is why this restriction exists. Support your Bombers properly(nothing new here) and it won't be an issue.

If an Airfield has too many aircraft (physical space) or groups (administrative) present, then the airfield is deemed overstacked. And is indicated by an ‘*’ next to the airfield.
An overstacked airfield affects how many aircraft can be launched, casualties from attacks and aircraft repairs.


- Overstacked is not a curse word. It's a fact of life. Don't fixate on the "administrative" word. As designers we INTENDED for AFs to be overstacked. It was part of our effort to slow things down, and defang Air combat a bit.

A 9+ airfield does not suffer from overstacking.
Here is your out. If you can achieve this through any combination of AF building, and HQ manipulation you can be free of the overstacking rule and have a most efficient AF.

An example:

Saipan: Built to Size 4 AF with a 20th Bomber Command radius of 5 will give you a Size 9 AF. Overstack to your hearts content. No penalty. As long as the best Air HQ of the same command as the base which is within range can add its command radius to the number of groups that can be administrated, otherwise if not in the same command, the nearest HQ will add ½ its command radius to the number of groups. At which point you will NOT have a 9 AF and suffer restrictions.

An airfield can operate 50 single engine (or 25 two engine, or 12 four engine) planes per AF size or 1 group per AF size.


- It can also operate more than 50 per AF size or more than the number of groups = or greater than the AF size, but at a penalty. But as I have been trying to say the penalty is intended...

In addition, groups at rest or in training only count as 1/3 for the purposes of counting aircraft at the base, and don’t count at all against the number of groups. Split groups only count as individual groups if they are attached to different HQs.

Here is how you mitigate the overstacking. Without juggling groups. Station 6 groups at a size 4 AF. Set 3 to rest and voila! ( 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 on training + 3 groups on ops), you have four groups, but you haven't moved any groups out. Alternatively you could set them all to CAP or Naval attack and suffer a penalty, but all groups would fly some, most, but not ALL of their complement each phase. It might just be that even with the penalty you'll get more A/c airborne than standing down half your force! Think about it.

Remember if you are seeing something other than what you expect there are OTHER ways to restrict operations.


-Level Bombers have to pass 3 checks to fly all their non-overstacked complements. They are:

An experience test»»
A leadership test»»
A morale test in order to fly all of their planes»»

For each test failed, the number of bombers that fly the Mission will be reduced by 25%.


So, don't fly a 40 EXP Bomber unit with a crappy 25 Air Rating LDR, with Morale in the can, and you'll avoid these penalties.

Then there is this:
-If a base has less Aviation Support than is required, level bomber offensive missions are reduced by 25%.

So just because you are expecting to see one thing from your units when you solve the overstacking issue, doesn't necessarily mean you'll get all your LBA into the fight.

"Why are level bombers so roughly treated?" you might ask. Because they didn't operate from forward AFs that were just captured. Generally they operated from rear area bases that had natural or man-made buffers between them and the enemy. Generally. We are trying to limit the pace of Air operations. Somewhat restrictive rules for LBA was a key ingredient.
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by scott64 »

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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by dasboot1960 »

BRAVO Mr. Elf, and I think its good you put it here. It's not always 'fog of war'. Just as likely it's 'friction of war'. Given certain neccesities, there's no escaping it; it doesn't fit a (known) set of parameters, the only thing predictable about it is that it will exist, and is sometimes unavoidable. It's probably too political to suggest that those who insist conflict should be totally predictable are most culpable for lost wars, but there it is......Not all of the 'unknowables' should be determined on a combat resolution die roll. I hate it and I love it, that's why it's good.[&o][&o][&o]
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by Yamato hugger »

ORIGINAL: TheElf


If an Airfield has too many aircraft (physical space) or groups (administrative) present, then the airfield is deemed overstacked. And is indicated by an ‘*’ next to the airfield.
An overstacked airfield affects how many aircraft can be launched, casualties from attacks and aircraft repairs.


- Overstacked is not a curse word. It's a fact of life. Don't fixate on the "administrative" word. As designers we INTENDED for AFs to be overstacked. It was part of our effort to slow things down, and defang Air combat a bit.

Its been done. Its called War Plan Orange, and it wasnt terribly popular.

"Those that are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it" - truer words were never spoken I guess.
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by TAIL GUNNER »

-Level Bombers have to pass 3 checks to fly all their non-overstacked complements. They are:

An experience test»»
A leadership test»»
A morale test in order to fly all of their planes»»

For each test failed, the number of bombers that fly the Mission will be reduced by 25%.

So, don't fly a 40 EXP Bomber unit with a crappy 25 Air Rating LDR, with Morale in the can, and you'll avoid these penalties.

Never understood the logic behind these penalties....and probably never will.

If a group is ordered to fly a mission, by God they better do as ordered or court martials will be issued.....or heads will roll in the Japanese case.
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by witpqs »

Think of the leadership test as getting the orders straight through the chain of command - in time to carry them out! [:D]

Think of the experience test as getting sorted out (proper ordnance, navigation, equipment checked, etc.) in time for the mission. [>:]

Think of the morale test as not turning back when climbing out due to 'an equipment problem'. [;)]
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by TheElf »

ORIGINAL: Yamato hugger

ORIGINAL: TheElf


If an Airfield has too many aircraft (physical space) or groups (administrative) present, then the airfield is deemed overstacked. And is indicated by an ‘*’ next to the airfield.
An overstacked airfield affects how many aircraft can be launched, casualties from attacks and aircraft repairs.


- Overstacked is not a curse word. It's a fact of life. Don't fixate on the "administrative" word. As designers we INTENDED for AFs to be overstacked. It was part of our effort to slow things down, and defang Air combat a bit.

Its been done. Its called War Plan Orange, and it wasnt terribly popular.

"Those that are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it" - truer words were never spoken I guess.

I've never purchased nor played WPO. That right there obviates your unsolicited commentary.

Again YH, insightful, informed ad hominem. I salute you. Keep up the great AE support.
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by herwin »

ORIGINAL: witpqs

Think of the leadership test as getting the orders straight through the chain of command - in time to carry them out! [:D]

Think of the experience test as getting sorted out (proper ordnance, navigation, equipment checked, etc.) in time for the mission. [>:]

Think of the morale test as not turning back when climbing out due to 'an equipment problem'. [;)]

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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by Yamato hugger »

ORIGINAL: TheElf

Again YH, insightful, informed ad hominem. I salute you. Keep up the great AE support.

I dont work for Matrix. It isnt my job to sell this game. I am just voicing my personal opinion. You on the other hand havent explained why you feel the rule is justified or where the historical precedence of it comes from. In the other thread I posted your response from late Feb where you admitted that you didnt agree with the rule either and were willing to make changes to it. So why you are doing all this pretending now is beyond me. No personal attack intended, but seems a little two faced to me on your part when you question the rule yourself, and then turn around and try to make it look like you have supported this from the start when you didnt.

At least I dont lie to people and try to make my point sound better by trying to discredit the others opinion. I posted my reasons for being against the rule, you have yet to post one why you think its justified. I have given you ample opportunity to do so. You have yet to.

But I guess its easier for you to make attacks on me rather than to defend your position. I support AE by trying to make it a better game, and in my opinion removal of this rule will do that. So the way I see it, I am doing more to support AE than you are [8D]
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by Erik Rutins »

YH,

If you keep picking fights with the Devs, you're going to get a vacation from the forum.

Your initial reply was trolling, pure and simple. Consider yourself warned.

Regards,

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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by Graymane »

ORIGINAL: TheElf
A 9+ airfield does not suffer from overstacking.
Here is your out. If you can achieve this through any combination of AF building, and HQ manipulation you can be free of the overstacking rule and have a most efficient AF.

An example:

Saipan: Built to Size 4 AF with a 20th Bomber Command radius of 5 will give you a Size 9 AF. Overstack to your hearts content. No penalty. As long as the best Air HQ of the same command as the base which is within range can add its command radius to the number of groups that can be administrated, otherwise if not in the same command, the nearest HQ will add ½ its command radius to the number of groups. At which point you will NOT have a 9 AF and suffer restrictions.

I don't understand this bit from reading the manual. This is what it actually says "...best Air HQ of the same command as the base which is within range can add its command radius to the number of groups that can be administrated...". From that, how do I infer that it adds to the size of the AF? I read that rule to say I can have 9 groups on the size 4 field in your example above, not that it is a size 9 AF with unlimited stacking. Does it act as a size 9 AF for other purposes or just for stacking?
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by jwilkerson »

ORIGINAL: Yamato hugger
I dont work for Matrix. It isnt my job to sell this game. I am just voicing my personal opinion.

Well my opinion is this is a great rule - and I do not think we should change it under any circumstances!
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by JWE »

I think this was implemented very well. We had to make similar abstractions to things on the Naval side, and know how hard it is to get it ‘just right’. But The Elf and the Air Team did a fabulous job with this one.

Been playing under this system for a long time and have never had a problem figuring out what should be done. It doesn’t bother me that I can’t calculate the exact number of planes that will fly in any and all cases, nor that I can’t replicate precise historical situations in any and all cases. I figure it’s a game rather than a diorama. I rather enjoy the element of friction this provides, and appreciate the effect it has on ops tempo.

Snappy salute to Elf and the Air Team.
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by Nikademus »

ORIGINAL: Juggalo

Never understood the logic behind these penalties....and probably never will.

If a group is ordered to fly a mission, by God they better do as ordered or court martials will be issued.....or heads will roll in the Japanese case.

In most Theaters, air ops revolve around squadron sized operations. "large" operations might involve several squadrons working closely together but these types of ops require more planning and prep, aspects that can only be reprsented in this game abstractly through a series of rules and checks

I suppose one could argue that it could be done differently, but the goal would still be the same, a more realistic portrayal of aircraft operations in WWII. A key aspect of this representation is simulating more realistic sized strike packages. In stock, it was too easy to hyper-stack an airfield and create hyper large air strike packages of sizes that would rival the operations of the mid to late war ops over Germany and France. Additionally, the packages would attack targets all at once as one huge organic entity plastering the target and overwhelming defenses. (or in the case of a hyper CAP....overwelming the attacker) Even in the case ultra large scale air ops in Europe, depending on the size, new tactics had to be developed to make them manageable. (such as the British "streaming" technique) This is hard to do in a game like WitP which resolves combat only over the targets. (Bombing the Reich's secret is it tracks airstrikes in real time allowing individual elements of even large raids to be represented (and attacked))




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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by Yamato hugger »

Elf himself said back in Feb that he didnt agree with the rule and he had some ideas on how to make it better (last 2 paragraphs). Dont know about you, but I'd like to hear what his plan was.
ORIGINAL: TheElf

It's been a long time, but I am trying to come to terms with this rule. On the one hand I know what we are trying to do. Could we have a better rule. Absolutely. But this is what we put in. Ideally we'd have a drastically different AF system, but it didn't make the list. We discussed this quite a bit, but we had to compromise.

I feel some of the same frustrations having played several turns and struggled to jockey units around to avoid the penalties. It's a pain. But that is sorta the point. You can't just pile a bunch of units into an AF and not support them, or hell support them, and expect them to all operate without restriction. The idea was to limit the SCOPE of operations when players built their Land Deathstars.

If you jam 4 HVY LBA groups into a level 3 AF and try to obliterate your opponent you should feel a pinch.

The problem with the code as it is now is that essentially a level 2 AF with two groups Max size (3) a/c maxes the AF out from this penalty perspective.

We could certainly address this, but it'll take a code change. I would be willing to address it, and all MikeM needs is a "go" signal from Joe. If you all make a case to Joe, I have some ideas...
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by Nikademus »

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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by treespider »

The developers and designers implemented the rule to ENCOURAGE players to spread their air assets around and not to lump all of their aircraft into one base.

The rule DOES NOT PREVENT a player from placing 100 groups at a base ...however should the player CHOOSE to do so he CHOOSES to operate his aircraft with a PENALTY.

I suppose the developer and designers could give everybody level 9 airfields and let the players ignore the logistical and administrative considerations that historical commanders faced....but then that wouldn't be AE...it would be some other game.
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by jwilkerson »

ORIGINAL: Yamato hugger

Elf himself said back in Feb that he didnt agree with the rule and he had some ideas on how to make it better (last 2 paragraphs). Dont know about you, but I'd like to hear what his plan was.
ORIGINAL: TheElf

It's been a long time, but I am trying to come to terms with this rule. On the one hand I know what we are trying to do. Could we have a better rule. Absolutely. But this is what we put in. Ideally we'd have a drastically different AF system, but it didn't make the list. We discussed this quite a bit, but we had to compromise.

I feel some of the same frustrations having played several turns and struggled to jockey units around to avoid the penalties. It's a pain. But that is sorta the point. You can't just pile a bunch of units into an AF and not support them, or hell support them, and expect them to all operate without restriction. The idea was to limit the SCOPE of operations when players built their Land Deathstars.

If you jam 4 HVY LBA groups into a level 3 AF and try to obliterate your opponent you should feel a pinch.

The problem with the code as it is now is that essentially a level 2 AF with two groups Max size (3) a/c maxes the AF out from this penalty perspective.

We could certainly address this, but it'll take a code change. I would be willing to address it, and all MikeM needs is a "go" signal from Joe. If you all make a case to Joe, I have some ideas...

Well I guess there are two questions on the table:

01 - Why do we have airbase restrictions?
Because many experienced players (to name one I can recall - that would be Halsey) suggested that we have some form of "aircraft stacking limits". The basic reason was to slow down the tempo of the air game, and to make it more difficult to concentrate a-historical amounts of air power in a single area. The AE team put a lot of priority on implementing this idea and did several things to retard player ability to concentrate airpower in a small area. Strangely my impression is that YH is a "smart guy" so I suspect he already understands the reasoning behind the rule - so he seems disingenous that he would act otherwise.

02 - Where exactly did the above quote from Ian come from?
This is a question for YH only. The reason that I ask is because private Dev Forum members are prohibited by rule from posting material from these private forums into public forums. So if this quote came from the private Dev Forums then posting it here would be a forum rules violation.


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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by TheElf »

ORIGINAL: jwilkerson

ORIGINAL: Yamato hugger

Elf himself said back in Feb that he didnt agree with the rule and he had some ideas on how to make it better (last 2 paragraphs). Dont know about you, but I'd like to hear what his plan was.
ORIGINAL: TheElf

It's been a long time, but I am trying to come to terms with this rule. On the one hand I know what we are trying to do. Could we have a better rule. Absolutely. But this is what we put in. Ideally we'd have a drastically different AF system, but it didn't make the list. We discussed this quite a bit, but we had to compromise.

I feel some of the same frustrations having played several turns and struggled to jockey units around to avoid the penalties. It's a pain. But that is sorta the point. You can't just pile a bunch of units into an AF and not support them, or hell support them, and expect them to all operate without restriction. The idea was to limit the SCOPE of operations when players built their Land Deathstars.

If you jam 4 HVY LBA groups into a level 3 AF and try to obliterate your opponent you should feel a pinch.

The problem with the code as it is now is that essentially a level 2 AF with two groups Max size (3) a/c maxes the AF out from this penalty perspective.

We could certainly address this, but it'll take a code change. I would be willing to address it, and all MikeM needs is a "go" signal from Joe. If you all make a case to Joe, I have some ideas...

Well I guess there are two questions on the table:

01 - Why do we have airbase restrictions?
Because many experienced players (to name one I can recall - that would be Halsey) suggested that we have some form of "aircraft stacking limits". The basic reason was to slow down the tempo of the air game, and to make it more difficult to concentrate a-historical amounts of air power in a single area. The AE team put a lot of priority on implementing this idea and did several things to retard player ability to concentrate airpower in a small area. Strangely my impression is that YH is a "smart guy" so I suspect he already understands the reasoning behind the rule - so he seems disingenous that he would act otherwise.

02 - Where exactly did the above quote from Ian come from?
This is a question for YH only. The reason that I ask is because private Dev Forum members are prohibited by rule from posting material from these private forums into public forums. So if this quote came from the private Dev Forums then posting it here would be a forum rules violation.


It may be a question for YH, but allow me...

YH just posted a response from me to an INTERNAL Discussion on the AE Developers forum. This was back in February when we were discussing this particular issue after the code freeze. For those not familiar with the term "Code freeze" that's when you stop making changes to the code, regardless of any Johnny come lately ideas opposing current design decisions. Or even personal feelings on the matter.

This post confirms my suspicion that this sort of public, self-serving forum grandstanding is really all this about.

It's unfortunate that a developer, me in this case, took the time to try and explain our thoughts and ideas on a rule in this game, only to have the thread necessarily locked and deleted due to the irresponsible actions of a self-serving Beta Tester whom believes he has a right to force design changes on the design team.

However, wrong though this post is, it gives insight to all forumites here as to the compromises we had to make while developing AE and if they were privy to the rest of this conversation on the Developers forum and the decision in the following months they would find that while what I am quoted as saying above, ultimately we decided this rule was right and will not change unless some untoward information comes to light.

If you read into my quote you'll see that while I "struggled" with the rule in the game it IS the POINT we are trying to make. And has been successful.

Like it or not YH is a Beta Tester for AE, and as such a member of the team. As a developer in a position of responsibility I want to apologize to the Forum for his actions, and those of the Dev team that will likely follow in response.

No one should have to see this, as entertaining as this little "soap opera" might be.
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RE: Developer's Commentary: Airfield Stacking

Post by Q-Ball »

I am going to get this back ON topic if that's OK......

ELF, thanks for posting that clarification, I was confused by overstack. Last question:

A (*) symbol indicates overstacking. It appears, though, that you won't see that symbol within a turn, only AFTER a turn is resolved. Is there any way, while you are giving orders, to tell if you are overstacking the base? Or is the only way to count engines? It would be very helpful to know BEFORE the turn resolution, so more of our planes fly.

Otherwise, thanks for the clarification, answered all my other questions![;)]
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