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Lazy howitzer crew

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Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:44 pm

After a long single-player game I was checking my scores and found this. The battery as a whole was doing a lot of good work but the howitzer crew must have been sat under a hedge somewhere eating their sandwiches.

Kevin, ever seen the KS Mod do this before? The battery was moved 3 or 4 times during the battle and fired a variety of ammunition. It seems weird for some guns to rack up scores of around 400 and yet another to not hit a single thing, nor even fire by the looks of it.

One thing I've noticed since 1.710 is that when you reduced battery frontages I now often see 2 guns stack on top of each other. Could the frontages be eased back a little to see if we can stop this happening? Maybe one of the guns is blocked all the time resulting in odd scores like this?


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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Uncle Billy on Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:24 am

That's a possible explanation. How many rounds did it fire? Also, are you certain it had a clear line of fire? One thing I do if I notice two guns stacked on top of each other is press the battery line formation button. That will usually move all the guns to their proper locations.

The problem with widening the gun line is that it becomes pretty easy to cover a large part of the front with the Russian batteries.

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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Mark87 on Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:37 am

Almost certainly this is the result of your guns being "stacked" and blocking each other. You just have to keep putting the battery in line-it is a pain in the butt.
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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  kg little mac on Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:53 am

I see this all the time.  In the ks mod, guns in line are often blocked by guns from the same battery.  In a line of 8 guns, you usually have 2 that can't get targets.
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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:48 am

How do I move guns apart? I assume its in drills.csv, looks like row 839 column E with a value of 40. Do I make this number larger or smaller? I can do some tests to try and find a minimum distance where this stops happening. If that distance is still less than the stock values we could try that.

A player may not be near his guns and unable to check if one is blocked so re-lining them up isn't always the answer.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Uncle Billy on Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:15 pm

The number you want to vary is line 905 column F.

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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Martin on Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:51 pm

I'm afraid I must take the rap for this, as I persuaded Kevin to make this reduction in battery frontage.

Here's the reason.  In the stock game the troop ratio is normally 4:1, but the gun ratio is 1:1.  I think on balance this was the right call by the designers, but it does introduce a big distortion in terms of unit frontages.

That's not so apparent in ACW with 4 and 6  gun batteries, but becomes a big factor in Napoleonic games with 8 or even 12 gun batteries.  Not only that, but we often increase the troop sprite ratio to 1:5 or 1:6 to help the Nappy MP games run smoothly.

With these large batteries, and the increased numbers of batteries which late Napoleonic armies fielded, we feared the creation of extensive pak-fronts, unless we reduced battery frontages.  Even now they are longer than they should be viz-a-vis the battalions and squadrons.

That said, if folks are getting really wound-up, then it may be that some tweaking can be done to hopefully find a sweet spot.  But I think we should keep the above in mind.

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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:59 pm

If we have guns that are not shooting though because sprites are being stacked, perhaps we should look at fewer than historical numbers of guns per battery and increase the gun spacing a little again to compensate?

My wargaming theory is that you should find out what the frontage of a unit was historically (battalion, squadron or battery) and then fill that frontage with your men horses or guns (digital, plastic or metal) to get the correct 'scale' or 'ratio' of game guns to real guns.

We're clearly on uncertain ground already by having 4:1 or higher inf/cav sprite ratios but 1:1 gun sprite ratios.

OTOH I don't have any problem with reduced battery frontages. I do have a problem though with guns in the battery not firing. We need to adjust the gun spacing I think to find the minimum 'usable' gap and then not go below that. If batteries are still too long in frontage at that minimum working distance we just have to shed a gun or two from every battery.

Then probably beef up gun effects to compensate.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Martin on Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:03 pm

Digby wrote......

"We need to adjust the gun spacing I think to find the minimum 'usable' gap..........."

That seems like a sensible first step.

We could also play more early Nappy games where there weren't so many guns.  It's also less of an issue with the Peninsular War battles.

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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Mark87 on Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:30 pm

I'm personally fine with extending the frontage of guns a little until they are all easily deployed. I understand the frontages are off but seeing your guns line up behind each other versus a little longer frontage: I lose my immersion when I have to click deploy into line 10 times versus a couple more meters of movement.

Besides, the lack of frontage for troops makes guns more vulnerable, as you need more troops to cover them properly..... everything has its balance.
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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:20 pm

I've played about with some testing.

The existing spacing between gun models is "10+" whatever that means.

I tried 12+ with no appreciable improvement; guns kept stacking onto guns after several 'form line' clicks.

At 13+ there was a clear improvement and gun lines would usually be properly formed after 3+ clicks.

Trying 14+ I found this worked well and after repeated attempts I could always form a properly spaced gun line at the second click.

Can I suggest we try "14+" for a few games and have some feedback?

The other issue I looked into is battery frontage vs battalion frontage and while gun battery frontages varied between theory and practice, and between nations (the Russians appear to have spaced guns closer together than other nations), and while grand batteries such as at Borodino and Wagram also used a tighter spacing, the generally used distance appears to be between 10 and 20 yards with about 14 being 'standard' - that's in an environment that doesn't really have a standard.

With 2 yards for the width of the gun, batteries therefore tended to be about:

4 guns = 64 yards
6 guns = 96 yards
8 guns = 128 yards
12 guns = 114 yards (using the tighter Russian spacing of about 9 to 10 yards)

Note that this includes a spacing between the battery and an adjacent unit - the end limber team still has to pass that gap and turn around in that space.

These are really very generalised figures but they do trend towards one general distance and that's about 100 yards give or take.

Now there's a few commentaries out there that say that a battery frontage was about the same as a battalion frontage. I picked up a few comments and links here:

http://www.napoleon-series.org/cgi-bin/forum/archive2005_config.pl?md=read;id=43841

http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=224114

http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=247617

http://www.wolftree.freeserve.co.uk/Wargaming/napoleonicunitfrontages.html

The "Napoleon Series" is possibly the most academically sound discussion forum on the net BTW.

What I noticed when lining up a Russian battalion in front of a 12 gun Russian battery was that it was almost exactly half its frontage. This means our gun batteries are about twice as wide as they should be (this test was done before I increased the spacing as well).

It seems to me therefore that we need a representational battery rather than the accurate 1:1 battery of SoW:GB. I suggest we halve all our gun counts and have 1 model gun:2 actual guns. This will stop 'pakfronts' (though I've never seen one of these) and allow our infantry to properly protect our guns, and let gun batteries deploy between brigades without having to force two supporting brigades too far apart.

We would need to increase the individual effectiveness of each model cannon considerably however.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:42 pm

Feedback on this?

I got very frustrated last night with guns stacking. Sorting them out repeatedly wastes far too much time in our KS games where a players time needs to be focussed on other things. A 6-gun Austrian battery facing me that belonged to Calpurnius had 4 guns stacked on top of each other in 2 pairs, so only 2/3rds of its guns were shooting.

We must increase gun spacing.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:02 pm

When most of the guns stack on top of each other it is due to no formation order being given. Infantry does the same thing.

I have increased the spacing to 14 in the next version of the nappy mod. It's a 40% increase. Hopefully that will do the trick without making the gun lines overly long.

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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:22 pm

Excellent news. Thanks.

Could we run a few tests first though? We might be able to get away with 13 or 13.5 if people think 14 is too wide. I assume only the host needs to edit his drills.csv for this to apply in an MP game? We could test it today.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:53 pm

Yes, we can try it out today. You are correct that only the host needs to make the change.

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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Martin on Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:15 pm

Digby wrote......

It seems to me therefore that we need a representational battery rather than the accurate 1:1 battery of SoW:GB. I suggest we halve all our gun counts and have 1 model gun:2 actual guns. This will stop 'pakfronts' (though I've never seen one of these) and allow our infantry to properly protect our guns, and let gun batteries deploy between brigades without having to force two supporting brigades too far apart.

We would need to increase the individual effectiveness of each model cannon considerably however.


Has anything further happened on this front?  Much as I hate to agree with Diggers, it seems to me that his suggestion has considerable merit.  A 1:2 ratio would give us 4 and 6 gun representational Napoleonic batteries.  So they would still look like batteries and also have a reasonable frontage.  

One other advantage has occurred to me.  At the moment, artillery is largely immune from cavalry attack, because the deduction made from squadron strength for each gun captured.  I think that is a major historical distortion, and this change would make batteries somewhat more vulnerable.

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Re: Lazy howitzer crew

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:20 pm

We haven't moved forward on this, no. We have switched to a 14 yards value between gun sprites which has helped the stacking problem, though it still does occur. Its possible the default setting may even be the desirable minimum.

I would very much like to see a 1:2 gun ratio for several reasons.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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