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mroyer
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Weather

Post by mroyer »

Anyone else notice weather seems to have little effect in SE? Beyond freezing lakes and rivers and reduced agriculture from temperature, I hardly notice the seasons. In other war-games, weather is a primary element and always at the forefront of thinking. In SE I'm rarely aware what the current round's season is.

Anyone else notice this? Has Vic mentioned anything on the topic, such as possible future enhancements that make weather/climate more relevant?

Just wonderin'
-Mark R.
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KingHalford
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RE: Weather

Post by KingHalford »

I think it depends on the planet settings. In most of my games so far, my main issue is that on planets that would give temperature-based casualties/readiness reduction, you start with envirosuits which often completely negate the effect, and you'd have to have an extremely cold planet there to really notice it. I think more could be done with the system to make weather and environmental concerns factor into strategic planning, as it is it's pretty easy to ignore.
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Cassini
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RE: Weather

Post by Cassini »

Short answer... lack of moisture in the atmosphere

Other than heat and cold, moisture (and its accumulation) is the concern for military operations. If one is fighting on a very arid planet where moisture is in short supply, things like mud, snow, prolonged rain and snow storms are of no concern. Throw in the scale of the game (2 months turns), and any localized 'storm' merely becomes averaged into the overall effect. If the time scale were shortened to say a week, then there might be a reason for implementing a more detailed weather model. With 2 month turns - everything is merely a summation function of whatever is going on - no need to worry about individual 'storm fronts'.

The time and distance scales are 'strategic', the combat resolution is tactical/operational level - so the whole game concept requires a bit of 'suspension of disbelief'.
mroyer
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RE: Weather

Post by mroyer »

Yes, the point about low-moisture worlds is a good one. Oddly, since the very first scenario I've played which had a lot of jungles and cloud forests, all the worlds have been fairly arid. So, perhaps that has distorted my perception.

But, certainly on worlds that have substantial precipitation the aggregate summation of those effects across a seasonal turn wouldn't just average away, but would average to more difficult operations. Especially when snow pack and mud terrain dominate a season. Heck, I wonder if the windy season on an arid planet might mean more sand storms that, in aggregate affect operations.

Now I want to generate a wet world, just to see if there are effects I've been missing...

-Mark R

zgrssd
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RE: Weather

Post by zgrssd »

As Cassini pointed out, 1 turn is about 2 earth months. You will not have month long weather patterns of relevancy.

The entirety of the Normandy invasions - from the Paratrooper drops to the liberation of Paris - fits into 1 Month and 1 Hex.
And that one would have failed outright in the wrong weather.

If Vic wants to get more detail, he can propably add as a random factor rolled every combat round. But each generated planet would propably need a different "weather range".
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mroyer
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RE: Weather

Post by mroyer »

> You will not have month long weather patterns of relevancy.

I think that statement is about as wrong as possible. I think there is very significant patterns that are directly relevant. Indeed, that's the very definition of climate. With rare exception, major strategic offensives are planned for spring or summer, not autumn or winter, because the weather patterns across the winter season are much worse than the summer. That makes operations, logistical and combat, much more difficult in the winter. I'm not talking about a nasty rain storm, I'm talking about significant seasonal effects of weather and climate.

-Mark R.
Cassini
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RE: Weather

Post by Cassini »

Take the climate here on 'earth' and then try to look at patterns over time.

Let's pick July and August in the northern hemisphere. Within a specific Koppen climatic region (you obviously can't compare a continental climate to an oceanic climate, you have to stay within a single climatic zone) - what are the differences that would show within a time scale of 2 months?

There are going to be instances over time (period of years) where the temperature was above the average, and instances were the temperature was below average. Does this really affect military operations beyond the baseline norm for a particular climatic region during these months? No.

Then the issue of variance in precipitation within this 2 month period of time arises. Yes, there are instances were annual variations in precipitation do occur - which are measurable and significant in military operations. Droughts, successive hurricanes (all following the same track), El Nino/La Nina oscillations all occur with measurable impact upon potential military operations.

Back in 1979, Dupuy quantified the effect of various temperature and precipitation combinations in 'Numbers, Prediction and War' (p. 229) and the only real detriment to ground mobility occurred in conditions of 'Wet-Heavy' in all temperature conditions: extreme heat (think New Guinea), temperate (monsoonal rains) and extreme cold conditions (subarctic continental / northern Russia winters). Air operations are moderately impacted by overcast operations, significantly impacted in light precipitation conditions and virtually shut down in the 'Wet-Heavy' conditions (extreme hot and cold and temperate). However - all of this is measured on the time scale of a single day - NOT a period of 2 months.

Over a 2 month period, operational tempo is certainly impacted by temperature and precipitation variances (compared to other 2 month periods of time within the same climatic zone), but the oscillations of daily or weekly WEATHER are more or less averaged out - to produce a predictable reduction in operational tempo. Does northern Canada have continuous blizzards in January and February which shuts everything down for the entire two months? No. Does the snow cover affect ground mobility for the entire two month period? More or less, Yes. Would aerial operations have to cease for this entire period of time? No. Would the rate of generating sorties be reduced during this period of time. Yes. So what is occurring, is a general reduction in operational tempo - compared to the more 'moderate' months of the year.

So the issue then becomes, does the conditions within the game warrant the inclusion of additional consideration for the variations between 2 month increments of time? The answer is no. There are already temperature considerations (I do think that given the lack of large bodies of water, the temperature swings between summer and winter months should be more extreme than presented in the game), and precipitation is practically non-existent on most worlds created. Of all the 'issues' within the game, the lack of a detailed climatological model is the least worrisome. It is variances in precipitation (seasonal variations) that produce the real impact on 'modern' military operations - and since precipitation is more or less non-existent on most worlds created, the issue more or less takes care of itself.
mroyer
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RE: Weather

Post by mroyer »

This thread has taken a VERY different course than I expected. An interesting discussion nevertheless!

I didn't expect a discussion of whether weather and climate was significant or not when averaged over a seasonal period - I presumed it was self-evident that it was very significant. Instead, I was simply curious whether there was any effect modeled in the game that I was missing or any planned future enhancement.

I read your excellently written response, but come to exactly the opposite conclusion from your examples. Ironically, you write my conclusion within your text as if it supports your view: So what is occurring, is a general reduction in operational tempo - compared to the more 'moderate' months of the year. This is precisely the point, and I would argue there are certain seasonal climates in various regions and terrains where the reduction of operational pacing is enormously significant and should not be ignored in a war-game.

I do agree that for SE there are other elements I'd prefer to see addressed first. I wasn't proposing a change per se, but merely wondering if it were already there or already planned.

I haven't read Dupuy in 30 or 40 years, and no longer have access to a copy to look up the reference. But a quick internet-search for military field-manuals on the topic comes up with this: https://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/policy/army/fm/34-81/appb.htm

Special attention must be given to those elements of weather which may limit operations or preclude them altogether. For instance, operations in the tropics must be planned to consider the recurring cycle of the monsoon season. In continental Europe, strategy must be considered with severe winters and with the annual autumn and spring thaws affecting trafficability and cross-country movement.

Very early in the planning process, planners must relate the possible courses of action to weather expectancies derived from c1imatological studies. There must be an acceptable likelihood that the weather conditions required for any proposed course of action will occur. It is imperative that an operation be feasible meteorologically at the operational level of warfare, and that planning for seasonal weather changes be considered early in the campaign process.

When considering the effects of environmental conditions, the impact weather and terrain have on each other must be considered. Weather and terrain are so interrelated they must be considered together when planning ground and air operations. Weather elements can drastically alter terrain features and trafficability. Conversely, terrain features may exert considerable influence on local weather. The relationship between weather and terrain must be carefully correlated in terrain studies to produce accurate terrain intelligence.


-Mark R

p.s., also zgrssd, I didn't intend my response to you to sound as abrasive as it does. Sorry for that.
Cassini
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RE: Weather

Post by Cassini »

What I was trying to 'aim for', was that virtually all measurable/quantifiable impact on military operations was due to precipitation/water issues - temperature issues are 'more or less' insignificant. Since the variable of precipitation has again... more or less, been eliminated by the game, there isn't much to worry about given the scale of the game.

In your quote, the underlying issue is that of WATER - in the form of precipitation, the accumulation thereof and finally the drainage of it once temperature and soil conditions allow. So, military operations must plan with how to deal with water when it is coming down, how to deal with it when it has changed the characteristics of the ground, and how to deal with it when it liquifies after a winter season and impedes mobility. If the water variable is 'magically' controlled for - and in this case outright eliminated - then virtually all considerations of water related issues on military operations can safely be ignored.

I think Vic most likely made the decision to make his procedurally generated worlds devoid of water for a few reasons: 1) not having to worry about naval operations - it makes getting out a software engine that can be modified for future releases so much easier, 2) not having to worry about weather issues - without large masses of water redistributing heat from the equatorial regions to the polar regions and dumping 2-3 feet of annual precipitation in the temperate regions and 6+ feet of annual precipitation in tropical areas, makes things much easier for the design process, 3) a more or less solid land mass makes populating the 'chess board' with different factions - and allowing their interaction - much easier.

I do think the 'flaw' in the design, is the more or less equal heat distribution present in the worlds created. Without large bodies of water to absorb heat and redistribute it, the variance between equatorial and sub-polar temperatures should be more extreme.
mroyer
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RE: Weather

Post by mroyer »

Yes, and that commentary circles back to your first response to the opening post that prompted me to want to build a hydra world and see if the weather/climate effects are equally missing there - I suspect they are.

This brings to mind an old Europa war-gaming buddy I once had (who passed away about 15 years ago). He was an officer in the Wehrmacht and served a winter on the eastern front. A group of us talked him into writing a memoir which thankfully he did before passing. This conversation brings to mind a passage from his writing. While it brings no concrete data to the discussion, it is nevertheless relevant as a first-hand, anecdotal observation and I though might be interesting to some here.

Fred Helfferich (rest in peace Fred):

6. Climate

Central Russia is in the midst of a big continent, far from any large bodies of water with their tempering effects. Summers are hot but relatively dry, a bit comparable to the central part of our Midwest. One difference is that much of the country is swampy---have you even seen the map of GDW’s Destruction of Army Group Center? Truly a Water Wonderland. As a result, most areas are heavily infested by mosquitoes. We had to wear mosquito nets outdoors and longed for some for our bunks at night). Another side effect was malaria. We were given atebrin every day and had to swallow it under supervision (it didn’t protect me, though; I developed Malaria in Italy after a long incubation period and had to struggle with its after-effects for many years. Still, I counted my blessings because the first diagnosis with meningitis).

In contrast, winters can be brutal beyond what a westerner who has not experienced one can imagine. We had temperature down to -44 F (-42 C). You learn to protect yourself, never to expose a body part, never ever to touch metal with bare skin, to pull the iron nails from the soles of your boots because they conduct cold or, better, switch to Russian vadinki (felt boots), to have to eat much of your food frozen, and to eat fat. The moisture in the breath you exhale freezes in front of your face. At about -25 F the hairs in your nose freeze and become brittle. The worst months are January and February. Days don’t progress much beyond an eerie, colorless twilight in which every sounds is swallowed up and just shadows appear and disappear. A grey-out if you will. The worst are the frequent days with a “Blue Eastern” from the Siberian plains that ferociously blows powdery snow everywhere and erases all contours At least I had warm quarters to return to after my outings---and the comfort of knowing I had them---, but I learned to appreciate what the poor infantry man up front had to go through who had to make do without that luxury much of the time.

What a relief then when winter ends. Typically in March, the winds subside, the sun you hadn’t seen for weeks shows itself again, and you have some beautiful days with “warm” temperatures of, say, -10 F. Not Indian Summer, but maybe we can call it Eskimo Spring? You really need sun screen and get s deep tan in no time at all. The snow by then is hard packed and frozen solid through and through and supports even moderately heavy vehicles (I miss some chance of such “hardfrost” in Europa’s weather table at that time of the year, at least for Zone C). Of course, this enjoyable spell is soon followed by spring rasputitsa, when the snow melts and everything turns into a quagmire.

In late winter of ’42 we finally received skis and quilted, double-sided parkas, one side camouflage, the other white. I taught my guys the rudiments of cross-country skiing, and from exercises (on our own initiative) we learned how to use these parkas. If wearing it white-side-out in snow you have to be very careful never to expose yourself against a dark background (say, woods or a house) lest you present an excellent target, and it was hard to keep the white side clean so as to remain as pristine white as the snow.


zgrssd
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RE: Weather

Post by zgrssd »

I didn't expect a discussion of whether weather and climate was significant or not when averaged over a seasonal period - I presumed it was self-evident that it was very significant. Instead, I was simply curious whether there was any effect modeled in the game that I was missing or any planned future enhancement.
The thing is that the Season is relevant, not the day to day Weather.

Maybe this is simply a mater of not matching terminolgoy?
Day-to-day and hour-to-hour has "Weather".
Month long changes are usually called "Seasons".
Decades long patterns fall under "Climate".

Given the insane scale of SE, you are unlikely to ever get weather patterns to mater. A random roll each combat turn is about "it".
Season mater. Maybe they could mater more. But cold down to absolute Zero is already countered by the most basic environmental suit/Armor/building* And heat is not a big issue either.
Actually Climate Change might mater, even natural one. After all you could be fighting on the same planet for decades easily (especially on planets with a short year).

*Note that Environmental Suits being mandatory Armor is a seperate issue that I think need solving.
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mroyer
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RE: Weather

Post by mroyer »


Agreed. As I wasn't expecting to get into a deepish discussion on the topic, I used 'weather' in the thread title loosely. I was really talking about the aggregate weather across a season, i.e., seasonal climate.

I really, really like your idea of random weather/storm effects on individual combat rounds that could occur more or less frequently depending on season and various conditions of a region/planet. I also think that in certain high-precipitation seasons, as Cassini suggested, movement could/should be degraded accordingly, perhaps with some sort of AP penalty.

-Mark R.
Cassini
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RE: Weather

Post by Cassini »

Dupuy does quantify the effect of 'extreme cold' on an attacker's combat capability (10% reduction compared to no reduction for a defender), but he doesn't define what qualifies as 'extreme cold'. His data base of battles was a bit thin on battles in extreme cold conditions (most of his battle set were battles in Italy and summer battles in Europe - WWII - with a few other battles in the Middle East). I think the following would adequately account for the net cold temperature effect upon a unit.

In temperature conditions of -10 C to -25 C, all units have their AP reduced by 10% and an attacking unit also has it readiness reduced by 10%. In temperature conditions of -26 C or lower, all units have their AP reduced by 20% and attacking units have their readiness reduced by 20% while all other units have their readiness reduced by 10%. Not much of a modifier (given all the others which are in play), but here it is.

There is a somewhat greater effect on airpower due to overcast (then becoming more significant with precipitation then overwhelming with heavy precipitation), but given the VERY peripheral use of air power (and the lack of defined cloud cover), I think this can safely be ignored.

And to Mark... I was a subscriber to the long defunct TEM going back to the late 80's along with the ETO fanzine put out by Bill Stone. I am VERY familiar with all the drama that surrounded that series after Winston Hamilton's death in March 2001 - and actually took part in a semi-abortive effort to develop a system that would bring the mechanics of that old system up to date. My role was that of an Operational Researcher, and I completely disassembled Dupuy's 1979 and 1990 works (along with data put out by the Dupuy Institute between 1995 and 2005), to create a methodology of quantifying ground and air weapons and their effect (and not the crap that Europa used), which created credible, historically consistent combat resolutions (CRTs based on reality and not that piece of junk that Astell used). This included the development of an air system that could predict actual number of bomb hits upon a target based upon bombing altitude, AA fire present and target size. This was done with the determination of base CEP values for differing bombing altitudes and methodologies (dive bombing, level bombing and the compromise between the two), modified by degree of cloud cover, to produce results which mirrored actual bombing data presented by the Strategic Bombing Survey. This was done for both day and night bombing, and the effect of radio navigation and radar bombing through overcast conditions was quantified.

The effects of AAA were quantified (replicated historical results within 10%), the PhD dissertation of Westermann was critical in developing this model. The effects of CAS were quantified and integrated into the highly modified QJM model of Dupuy, the PhD dissertation of Gooderson (Air Power at the Battlefront - available online in PDF) was most useful in this endeavor.

In addition, an air combat model was created and perfected, which was able to replicate historical results to within 10% of airframes lost. This was initially inspired by what was the 'Dupuy Air Combat Methodology' - a nonpublished work which was more ideas than actual model - to create a methodology of evaluating aircraft for both their offensive and defensive potential in aerial combat. This took into account the variations in armament (Williams and Gustin's work in this field was INVALUABLE), engine power/thrust, number of engines, type of engine (radials are more resistant to damage), fuel storage (presence of self sealing tanks), presence of fuel tank inerting, mass of empty airframe, presence of armor, presence of defensive armament, roll rate of aircraft (roll rate was of defensive benefit, not offensive), wing area, maximum level speed, presence of all round visibility features (rear gunner or 'bubble canopy'), presence of radio transmitter and receiver (many early war aircraft had no radio or a receiver only - reduces combat effectiveness in a quantifiable manner), presence of supercharger and what its critical altitude was (combat was normed to altitude bands - aircraft without superchargers or single stage superchargers were at a measurable disadvantage at altitudes above 15,000 feet, and even ammunition load for weapons carried (a 20mm cannon with 60 rounds of ammo is not quite as effective in an operational level assessment of combat as an aircraft carrying 100 rounds in its 20 mm cannon). Finally the effect of gyroscopic gunsights were quantified along with the effect of radar ranging gunsights (introduced in time for Korea - data for Korean War combats was used to verify this). Again, the work put out by Anthony Williams and Emmanuel Gustin in 2003 was invaluable.

All of this more or less imploded due to MONEY issues of the 'team' that was assembled. I don't want to give names, but I am VERY familiar with the entire crowd that surrounded that system (Europa) and walked away from it years ago. I put in approximately 2000 hours of research and mathematical modeling in that project, enough that if I was enrolled in a graduate program in Operations Research, it would've earned me a degree in that field. So, Europa is a four letter word to me - though I started my 'journey' through it back in the 80's and walked away from anything resembling it 10 years ago.

So when it comes to 20th century operational level warfare analysis, I do know what I am talking about.
mroyer
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RE: Weather

Post by mroyer »

Impressive.
I think we've gotten a little off topic.
-Mark R.
Daza99
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RE: Weather

Post by Daza99 »

ORIGINAL: mroyer

Yes, and that commentary circles back to your first response to the opening post that prompted me to want to build a hydra world and see if the weather/climate effects are equally missing there - I suspect they are.

This brings to mind an old Europa war-gaming buddy I once had (who passed away about 15 years ago). He was an officer in the Wehrmacht and served a winter on the eastern front. A group of us talked him into writing a memoir which thankfully he did before passing.

Did this end up being published online at all? as an ebook or something?

Would be an interesting read.
zgrssd
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RE: Weather

Post by zgrssd »

ORIGINAL: Daza99

ORIGINAL: mroyer

Yes, and that commentary circles back to your first response to the opening post that prompted me to want to build a hydra world and see if the weather/climate effects are equally missing there - I suspect they are.

This brings to mind an old Europa war-gaming buddy I once had (who passed away about 15 years ago). He was an officer in the Wehrmacht and served a winter on the eastern front. A group of us talked him into writing a memoir which thankfully he did before passing.

Did this end up being published online at all? as an ebook or something?

Would be an interesting read.
If this is mostly about Logistics:

The general issues with Logistics on the Wehrmacht on the eastern front are well established, especially compared to the Sowjet:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n0BpQj9jqc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIeyq2mE9t8

And in fact, it used to be much worse. "Warfare does not happen in Winter" used to be a rule. The campaigning season was a thing that dictated warfare. So much, the few battles that did happen in winter were exceptional and generally ambushes or surprise attacks.

The rules are slightly different now with refrigeration and mass transport, but it is still there:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghanist ... ing_season
DW2 Poll:
"Should the Civil and non-Combat Ships loose all or most of their weapon slots?"
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mroyer
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RE: Weather

Post by mroyer »

ORIGINAL: mroyer
This brings to mind an old Europa war-gaming buddy I once had (who passed away about 15 years ago). He was an officer in the Wehrmacht and served a winter on the eastern front. A group of us talked him into writing a memoir which thankfully he did before passing.
ORIGINAL: Daza99
Did this end up being published online at all? as an ebook or something?
Would be an interesting read.


Fred posted then to Yahoo Groups and they were available there for a long time before Yahoo closed it's Groups down. I am unaware if they are posted anywhere else. Fortunately, Fred sent to me directly his original word files and I still have them.

It is a collection of 29 word files, each a short, few-pages chapter. As a set, they chronicle his life in prewar Germany, throughout the war, and post war. Some of the passages are extremely interesting.

I looked through a bunch of the files tonight and could find no copyright notice. That, plus the fact I'm sure Fred didn't write them just to end up in the electronic bit-bin, but instead for the eyes of all who are interested gives me confidence that it is okay to post the originals here in warm memory.


Fred Helfferich Stories

Enjoy them,

-Mark R.

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