Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Decisive Campaigns: Ardennes Offensive is the fourth wargame in the Decisive Campaign series. Covering the battles in the Ardennes between December 1944 and January 1945, it brings to life Operational wargaming by lowering the scale to just above tactical level.

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marcbellizzi
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Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by marcbellizzi »

I am interested to know how units & forces are labeled/named in the game. I realize that military designation systems vary from country to country; however, there really needs to be some kind of continuity, at least within game. NATO produces a 'STANAG' (Standardization Agreement) that all NATO nations follow - it's available online, free, so there's no excuse to be simply guessing or inventing a system. Granted this campaign is pre-NATO, but then the naming doesn't follow WW2 conventions, either.

NATO standard symbols are used for the counter-art; I don't understand why this wasn't continued for the units & OOB.

Examples:

-within the US Army OOB, there's an artillery unit labeled "187 155 Field Artillery Bat". On map, the counter shows "187°". Ok, which unit is this? What's the 187 155? What's a Bat? Batt? Btn? The little circle after the digits appears to be a French/Italian language symbol that denotes the latin 'st','th','rd' - the US Army has never used this.
Looking in the 'Ardennes Allied OOB.pdf' the labels are all over the place; US Army Armored Division Combat Commands are noted with the German period (.) after the digit designating the Division (i.e. 5.CCA which on map is 'CA.5'; and while most unit designations are written out in their entirety in the OOB.pdf, the 'CC' is not. It is in the main manual, but that's 4 different places just to find the explanation.
Another example of lack of consistency is nine versions of the abbreviation for the rank 'Lieutenant Colonel'-Lt.C, Lt.C.,LTC, LtC, Ltc, LtC., Lieut.Col.- with 4 variants used on the first page alone).

Eventually I found the artillery unit in the OOB under the 87th ID. It's the 187th Field Artillery Battalion (155)(GS). The "155mm" is usually set off with paranthesis, at the end of the name; more accurately, US 155mm guns were GS (general support), 105mm were DS (Direct Support). I'm still confused about the degree symbol - if the game were primarily for a French audience, then the naming system should follow that language throughout, nes pas?

- Space for unit labels on map has always been an issue with DC titles, I think the max size is 4 digits/letters; the default automatically adds the 'st', 'th' etc to the label, so it's unnecessary to add the degree or any symbol. The font is as big on top of an on map unit as it is below, just not in bold; this should probably be reduced if possible and may help with fitting.

- On map the various Combat Commands are labeled "CA.5", "CB.5", etc; what is that? There are battalions and HQs that do not list the parent division in the on-map label so these should more accurately be CCA, CCB, CCR and lose the period and drop the digit (i.e. CA.5 becomes CCA).

- German units seem to follow the German style of unit designations up to a point; the counters do not; for example the 13.Fallshirmjäger Regiment has 5 units on map in the scenario "Westwall". Yet all 5 simply show "13Fj" on map. The battalion designation is on the left side of the counter (the 1, 2 or 3 pips); wouldn't it be better to label them 1/13, 2/13, etc; the counter color tells you it's a Fallshirmjäger unit so the FJ up top is unecessary.

If this appears 'nit picky', consider this; as a former service member the lack of accuracy is a little disappointing; as an old playtester & scenario designer I find the inconsistent labeling problematic; as a player I find the lack of consistency confusing. If I have problems following or understanding given my experience, I suspect others may as well.

I'm not trying to offend. Please don't read in to my comments. I know first hand that designers and developers put a lot of time and effort into their products, and that forum comments can seem callous vs the amount of love dedicated to projects. I suppose that is the crux of the problem.

Mr Reijkersz produces titles that display such a high level of creativity and immersion, they really are in a class of their own. I consistently return to play DC:Barbarossa and DC:Warsaw to Paris, because they are fun and provide a level of entertainment much higher than many other games available on the same campaigns/battles. Yet, I'm at a loss why the most visible aspect of the game (the units) do not reflect what otherwise seems clearly to be some of the best game design, detail & production out there.

Marc Bellizzi
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pz501
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by pz501 »

Marc,

I'm very happy to see you here, and anyone having some experience with other systems and titles will recognize your name, and the type and quality of work you routinely do.

I'm still getting used to this system, but it does appear to be loaded with potential and innovation. I hope it continues to be developed and improved.

My biggest issue so far is the editor. While I can more or less "sense" that every tool needed is there, I do wish it was more user friendly, especially in it's documentation and terminology.

I think if Matrix/Slitherine were willing to have a native English speaker work with Vic, a revised editing guide would be of enormous value. This title has too much potential for them not to do this, but then what do I know?

I'll admit that I'm used to a system from another publisher that also makes use of a 1km per hex scale. Of course with it there are separate map, OOB, and scenario editors, along with a master (pdt) effects editor, that while sounding pretty complex, they are much easier to understand and use than this one.

As far as naming conventions go, I fully agree that this should be looked at, and revised. I will admit that I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things like this, but I feel it helps display professionalism and attention to detail on the part of designers and developers.

I hope no one takes this as hyper criticism
because I am only making suggestions and putting forward some thoughts in an attempt to maybe streamline what looks to be a very good design.

Anyway, I'm happy to see you here Marc, and I hope Vic and Matrix listen and maybe take advantage of your knowledge and expertise when it comes to OOB work.
"And I will show you where the Iron Crosses grow." Oberfeldwebel Rolf Steiner, The Cross of Iron
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Gettysburg
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by Gettysburg »

+1
and there are all so a lot of not right translate german designation.,,, example Kubelwagen , ss (SS)....etc. ,Nachtruppen....

theWombat
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by theWombat »

Excellent original post. Echoes my thoughts as well. I love these games, and the designer is clearly extremely talented and conscientious. The Achille's heel of these titles has always IMO been the idiosyncratic UI and information display. Nothing you can't work around, but I would love to be able to clearly tell at a glance which battalion of which regiment a unit is, rather than have to poke around in several different screens, and translate several Byzantine labeling schemes.
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Nico165b165
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by Nico165b165 »

+1 too. Telling different bataillons from a same regiment is not easy. I played Arracourt once as axis and it was my biggest gripe.

Which also means that a lot of things are very good from the start here. Good sign that we are already bitching on day one about naming scheme rather than the system itself [:D]
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nikdav
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by nikdav »

Thanks, every feedback or criticism is welcomed !

We try to make our best to fine tuning the game and the documentation.

The OOB pdf added as a bonus in the docs folder, are my personal notes assembled in more than 3 years of research and we thinked could be interesting to share,
but sorry if they are still with many inconsistency and not well formatted, i try to fix that asap.

The logic of the naming was that each nation should have its own nomenclature, so for example :
the American have Armored Battalion, the British Royal Armoured Battalion or Brigade and the German Panzer Bataillon or Abteilung.

On the other side what you see in the counters change with zoom and also with resolution that go from 1280x800 to 4K.
I made test with 1280x800, 1366x768, 1920x1080 and 2560x1080, and was a real hell to find something good for all.

You can use the editor to change every text and adapt to your liking.
In game you can change the counter name clicking on the text, and change the colour clicking on the counter to make your own test !

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Oberst_Klink
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by Oberst_Klink »

I have already localized the German equipment, as well as the model types.
If interested, drop me an email and I can share them. Please be aware, that you should be confident in how to implement them with the simple editor for the scenario(s) you want it to replace the original libraries.

Klink, Oberst

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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by Oberst_Klink »

As you see, I also used (in most cases) the official German abbreviations. I'll provided a glossary and a German - English dictionary as PDF in awhile. Feedback appreciated.

Klink, Oberst

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marcbellizzi
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by marcbellizzi »

Mr Gambina,
Thanks for your response.

The OOB.pdf document is not that crucial to update. Realizing now it was your notes being included from over the years, it's understandable it would be inconsistent; you might want to label it 'Notes' or 'Draft' or some such so that's understood, but it's not that big of a deal.

However, this doesn't address the issues within the OOB itself. Let me put it this way, the most visible part of a game (other than the map) is/are the unit counters. Errors and mistakes within, are readily visible to players, and betray lack of QA/QC.

I understand what you are saying about using each nations' nomeclature -that is how I personally prefer to build OOBs for my projects. There is a difference between personal preference & accuracy; for example in the Arricourt scenario, there is a German unit labeled "89. Pz.Artillery" yet in the Stavelot scenario a similar unit is labeled, "1.SS Artillerie". Some German units have the word 'Battalion' (English word) others 'Bataillon' (in German); in several instances there are abbreviations for the word, none that I found actually being the German military abbreviation which I believe is 'Btl'. The word Fallschirmjäger is spelled Fallschirmjager in game; if the system cannot use umlauts, the proper spelling is -jaeger. There are no exceptions that I am aware of for this; jager is incorrect. Having been stationed in Germany at the end of the Cold War, I know first hand how meticulous Germans are with documentation (#amIright?). The Wehrmacht made incredibly detailed KsTn (Kriegsstärkenachweisungen) and Gliederungen that can be found free online in several websites like Lexikon der Wehrmacht, Axis History Forum, wwiidaybyday.com, etc., so there is no reason to not get it right. As member 'Gettysburg' points out, these mistakes run throughout the German oob; I'll add that this continues through the US OOB as well. Attention to detail matters.

I understand what you are saying about the graphics scale & resolution and how it affects what can be input on the on map counter; that will always be a struggle due to space. What I'm saying is, for example you have FJ units in Arricourt labeled 13Fj; while in the Stavelot scenario, the FJ units are labeled "I.5.", "II.5.". Well, which are you going with for FJ units? the second version is closer, but both are still not the proper format. Is F small J even correct? That's not following national nomenclature. On the American side, where did the degree symbol above all units come from? When I look at the US forces - say, this unit labeled 47°, I see 47 degrees Fahrenheit; this is not US Army nomenclature. American military unit designation format is available all over the web if you Google it.

Ok, yes, I understand I can follow your suggestion and use the editor to fix these mistakes and make the proper changes, similar to what I've done previously with the other DC titles ; I'm fully aware of that. That's exactly why I am writing in the first place. I'll take it on, or someone will, like Oberst_Klink has offered, but really this is your team's job. In fact I would like your help in pointing Vic to this thread, because I see other people are commenting here as well, so this is a recurring issue that I'd like him to understand.

Look, I like Vic's products very much; I've downloaded all the scenarios from the VR website (especially yours, where I have really liked your work and do not recall this level of inaccuracy in your oobs before, just fyi), I even downloaded and tinkered with the editor program for DC when it was released years ago, trying to see how versatile the system was. I am not here to roast anyone or use hyperbole and dramatic language; when you guys excel, we all excel as an industry, as a genre, as a community. You have an A grade product here; I'm urging you all to make it an A+.
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by marcbellizzi »

Herr Oberst, you know I've seen you around the forums for what, well over a decade + under my old screen name and it only dawned on me now, "Colonel Klink".
How can I reach you; via PM? I checked on your website and didn't see an email straight off, but I didn't check thoroughly as I was preoccupied with other stuff.

I'll check again but if you don't get an email, know I'm trying to reach you.

Marc
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by kam99 »

I am totally with marcbellizzi on this. The highlighted inconsistencies are holding me back on purchasing what otherwise sounds like an excellent wargame.

In the UK military Service Writing is an important and essential skill. It is taught alongside military tactics. It is essential to ensure clarity, brevity and accuracy.

An Operation Order will detail that an assault is to commence at "1630 hours Local on 21 Nov 21". Not at "half past four tomorrow". Is the latter morning or afternoon? Is the originator in a different timescale? When is tomorrow? The units involved will be detailed by their correct title.

It would be helpful if it is confirmed whether this issue will be corrected in a patch.
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by Oberst_Klink »

ORIGINAL: marcbellizzi

Herr Oberst, you know I've seen you around the forums for what, well over a decade + under my old screen name and it only dawned on me now, "Colonel Klink".
How can I reach you; via PM? I checked on your website and didn't see an email straight off, but I didn't check thoroughly as I was preoccupied with other stuff.

I'll check again but if you don't get an email, know I'm trying to reach you.

Marc
You can email me and DM me anytime. oberst.w.klink(at)gmail.com

Note: I am more or less stuck with just a basic laptop and a cr*ppy internet connection for the last 2.5 weeks at an Army Training area with the Reserves. When off shift(s) and a good internet connection I'll continue to tweak and update the OOB | TO&E. Once I am back 'home' and not being called up again because of the covid19 support ops, I'll hopefully have the glossary and the German-English terminology dictionary ready by H-Hour (16th December).😁

As for the German unit designations, I'll wait until the lastest scenario updates. It's only possible (for the moment) to change the unit names on map with the simple editor.

Klink, Oberst

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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by Octavian »

That´s really a nice challenge, Oberst Klink, but I would love to see all your work then transferred into an official patch. I don´t want to hazzle around with editor stuff and such. I want a game that comes without all these inconsistencies. Also the town names are sometimes - well quite often - not written with a capital letter at the beginning.
And what the hell are "Nachtruppen" supposed to be. Maybe: "Wachtruppen"?? I am a german native speaker and never heard of "Nachtruppen". That´s really a bit odd.
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by Meteor2 »

Maybe the „Nachtruppen“ means „Reserve“ or „Ersatz“ ?
I do not have the game yet, so only a guess.
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pz501
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by pz501 »

Maybe they meant "Nachrichtentruppen" and what we're seeing is a homemade abbreviation for communication troops?

I'm beginning to get a feeling that getting OOB things corrected, naming conventions standardized, and the editors concisely explained may not be very easy to accomplish.

First, there is an apparent language barrier here between English, German, French, and maybe Flemish speakers. Some things may be getting lost in translation or misunderstood.

Second, the game itself is getting rave reviews. This is deserved so far as the concepts, interface, and gameplay are concerned. When it comes to attention to detail with the overall OOB, naming of units, and ease of use for the editors, I would rate those areas as a "C-" or even a "D". I was expecting a giant leap forward from Barbarossa and Case Blue, but
it looks like my expectations were set too high.

Third, with the overall game getting such high reviews, many people just might feel that those of us talking about OOB's, names, and editors are the bad guys who are just nit-picking or looking for something to complain about. It just might be the difference between those who just want an entertaining game to play, and those who are "grognards" looking for a more in depth simulation.

Is there room for improvement and constructive criticism? Sure, but as I said earlier, I'm getting the feeling that it's not going to happen anytime soon. I hope I'm wrong.
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by Meteor2 »

Read guard macht entfernt auch Sinn.
Gibt es eine Division / ein Regiment, welche mit „Nachtruppen“ bezeichnet wird?

Pz501 hat schon recht. Solche Fehler sollten korrigiert werden.
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by marcbellizzi »

Nachschubtruppen is rear guard. I'm not super versed on OOB's and have to look the stuff up - which is exactly my point. This isn't trying to devine what Egyptian forces were in the Roman era, with a paucity of data and a lot of guesswork. The documentation for all of this information is readily available for free, online. Lexikon der Wehrmacht is a great source, as is Leo Nehorster's site.

pz501 I have to gently disagree with you on expectations; there's 12 people in this thread that have voiced concern. If the old mantra 'for every person who actually responds to a newspaper article and writes to the editor ,there are 100 who feel the same but don't', then it deserves attention. I agree with your concern about not coming across mean spirited; that's why I strive to end my posts on a high note. I hope I don't sound unreasonably critical here or that any of this is taken personally. If the standard in the business world and at University is 1 error per 100 words, then it's worth mentioning. I bring this up so the team can excel; I'm not saying this is a failure. The thing is, this is an issue that we the players cannot easily address at this point due to the aspects Oberst_Klink mentioned with the editor. You literally have to edit the names within the scenario and you can't edit the opposing side's data, it is locked due to fow (I tried).

I respect the fact English is not always the native tongue. I have no qualms about working around this issue. I don't speak German fluent, embarrassingly I know Russian hardly at all - even though I had done business there for years (they all learned English because afterall, they were going to bury us, remember? lol), I always had translators. That has never prevented me from being able to produce accurate/proper oob data, because the information is so readily available and it's literally a case of cut & paste and attention to detail. The Battle of the Bulge in particular is so well covered in books, articles, games and publications, it's one of the most, if not the most well documented parts of WW2.
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by pz501 »

Marc,

When I was making the bad guys comments earlier I was including myself in the grognard crowd also. I really do like detailed OOB's and simulations rather than "Beer and Pretzels" type games. It's a matter of taste, and I was wondering aloud whether we (I do include myself here too) might be hurting some feelings or antagonizing someone. No sign of that yet of course, but this IS the internet and I'm sure we've all seen major word wars start over the most trivial and inane things

As long as the development team is willing to keep communicating, I'm certain any language difficulty can be overcome with patience.

All that being said, while I do like doing OOB and historical research myself (sort of a hobby really), I think the time has come for me to take a step back and just observe what transpires.

I do hope you, the Oberst, and everyone else are successful and have some effect on improving an already good product. I'll be be rooting for you.
"And I will show you where the Iron Crosses grow." Oberfeldwebel Rolf Steiner, The Cross of Iron
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RE: Unit/OOB naming & labeling

Post by marcbellizzi »

I understand what you mean; I have confidence the guys will get this sorted out, it's only been what, 2 days since release and it's the weekend.
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