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Suggested game improvements

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Suggested game improvements

Post  Martin on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:21 pm

Have suggested a couple of improvements on the Norbsoft forum, to make the game even more kriegsspiel-like..........

1. At the moment players have access to a mini-map of the battlefield, which shows whether any of the objectives are possessed by either side. In reality you would only have known if the enemy held a location if someone rode over and saw them. I'm suggesting that this information is removed from the map at 'Historical' and/or 'Custom' difficulty.

2. Players currently have a constant read-out of friendly & opposing casualties. Again in actual battles casualty information would have needed to come up the chain of command from brigadiers, even if they had it. In the absence of computers, and in the heat of battle this was just not possible in 1863. Here the suggestion is to eliminate any casualty information for say division commanders & above at 'Historical' and/or 'Custom' difficulty. Nothing to stop senior officers riding over to a brigade commander and checking his OOB of course, but you're not going to be able to do that consistently for every brigade in a corps or army. Indeed I may be being too generous, and perhaps casualties should only be available at regiment level?

These seem to have been well-received by con20or who appears to be the Norbsoft main man for HITS features. From my discussions with him, I have the impression that the development team are very keen to further improve the authenticity of the 'command experience', so I would encourage you to post any ideas on the game forum at http://www.norbsoftdev.net/forum/hits-headquarters-in-the-saddle/43261-re-hits-improvements/post?do=quote

If you would feel happier to post them here first to test the waters, please feel free to do that.

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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:40 pm

Removing the objectives from the map is not the only issue, they float in the air on the battlefield and are visible from a long way away so those would need to have a reduced visibility range also. What would be best for our hardcore HITS environment would be to remove the floating symbol and replace it with, say, a supply wagon model and whichever side was in control of the objective that sides flag would show on/above the wagon in the same way it does now for an ammo wagon. However there has to be some way of locating the uncontrolled objective in the first place so a form of unrealistic flagging for it would be needed.
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Martin on Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:55 pm

If you could stop the floating symbols changing to Union or Confederate, that would do it. It's the same sort of change as for the map objectives.

Once we get into developing user scenarios, the problem would fall away. We wouldn't need objectives marked in any way, as what each team had to do would be covered in the briefings which would go out to each side before the game. And, as in a kriegsspeil, they wouldn't need to be the same for each side.

So you might task one side to secure a certain valley, and the other to escort a convoy from one side of the map to the other. No doubt there would be fighting, but it might be that both sides secured their main objective, or that neither did.

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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:32 am

Remember that there DOES need to be some symbol showing who controls the objective since a team must have that info in order to know they are in control of it, so the marker has to visibly change somehow. In cases where the two sides are battling over control of it, there has to be an indicator of who has it, or if its being held neutral. As we can't have it floating in the sky like it does now (too visible) it needs to be in some other format and that will be a good deal of work for NorbSoft to change given how small a market plays their product in this style.

However I agree that we really should not rely on the in-game objectives but in the manner of Kriegspiel, we should define our own which should be to hold a river crossing until X time, or to drive off the enemy from Y settlement and secure it for an hour and so on.

Given a campaign setting, objectives become even less relevant as the whole encounter gains a fuller context and the two sides will contest it within that context.

It would help if the game would allow the player to create a unit made up only of supply wagons. A game based on defending a supply column as it moved across the map, or of just finding and capturing a supply dump (a group of immobile wagon models) would be a challenge.
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Martin on Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:11 pm

A couple of us did try a convoy scenario a few months back, and it worked well.

You can create a unit made up of supply wagons, but the result is less elegant than it might be.

As wagons can only operate at the division level, you can either add extra wagons to any division, or create a new division in the OOB which only controls wagons.

The reason why it's less than elegant is because once you go above 3 wagon units in a division, you find they tend to bunch-up on roads. Nothing to stop you creating several 'supply' divisions of course. Although they are structured as divisions, in the game they can be called anything you like, and be commanded by a captain, major etc.

Things were actually better on this front before patch 1.4, as you could simply increase the headcount of a wagon unit to give a maximum of 5 wagons, which also spread out quite well when moving. The improvement bought in with the patch to allow you to vary the sprite ratio, means this no longer works.

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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Ike on Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:02 pm

One of the frustrating aspects of SOW, for those of us who have not played enough to be entirely familiar with the terrain and likely location of the opposing forces and objectives, is trying to determine what our mission is, where the objective might be located and where the blazes we are on the map. While locating one's position via comparison of the visible terrain features vis a vis the map is entirely practical in real life, I have had quite a bit of difficulty in doing the same in SOW. No criticism intended, but it's very hard to do, at least in the allowed time before the AI or one's more experienced opponents begin to manuever.

For that reason, unless we have a battle arising in such a way that the objective(s) can be clearly stated in the pre-game briefing, e.g., "Escort the supply convoy from (some specific location which is also where your forces appear at game start) along the Emmittsburg Pike to the south map edge", then we ought to retain the objective icons.

It may be possible to make a mod which has a sufficiently descriptive briefing to allow the icons to be removed or which has enough time either before the game is started for the battle or immediately after start to enable the players to locate themselves and their objectives .. in fact, I'm certain it can be done, using the "Officers' Call" rooms on the TS server for each side to have a short briefing period prior to the battle and each of them having a copy of a map with written briefing previously email to them or posted for their use in a limited-access forum thread. But that requires a considerable amount of prior preparation and planning which is, in my opinion, wasted on a 'one-off' battle of the sort we usually have now. Perhaps someone could make up a group of "Scenarios for SOW:Gettysburg" using Leeson's "Twelve Scenarios for Kriegsspiel" as a model and that would provide the briefings and tactical map copies with enough detail to be used in that way.

In any event, once we have people who are able to produce battle mods - that is, mods with stock OOB's, map, etc - omitting the icons for objectives is simply of matter of omitting them from one of the files which comprise an MP mod.
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:48 pm

What Ike said. In spades.

Also, great news on the supply wagon divisions. We don't need masses of wagons, three is fine. We just need a rule that says they're captured when touched by any part of an enemy unit at which point the original owner should halt them and give no further orders.

I'm going to discuss other issues on another thread since this one is for game improvements with HITS.
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New patch to addres courier issues

Post  Martin on Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:26 pm

Among other things. You can get it here:

http://www.norbsoftdev.net/forum/technical-help-a-bug-post/43321-new-beta-patch

User name: beta
Password: tester

Hopefully this is the solution to the occasional game freeze issue. It also appears to correct the graphics bug which crept in recently, where some troops appeared to be half-buried in certain situations.

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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:16 pm

Tentatively I am going to say this 1.4012 patch is good news. Jack, Ike and I fought vs the AI tonight in a game that lasted 2 hours and was complete mayhem fought in rolling hills and farmland and dense woodland, lots of couriers were sent and no crashes.

We now need to play a player vs player game if we can get 6 or 8 of us to try it, I think we'll find it more stable.
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Martin on Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:32 pm

Bravo gentlemen. That is excellent news.

I could certainly do one evening (GMT) in the early part of evening next week if others could.

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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Ike on Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:10 am

Any day except for Tuesday and I'm your man! heh.
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Martin on Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:59 pm

Am thinking of suggesting an improvement on the game forum. I would find it helpful if the inbox was highlighted when you have an unread message. Even if you have ticked the option to open new messages autoimatically, the game will not do this if you are using the courier message window or the OOB function when the courier arrives. I'm sure that's for the best, but unless you check regularly you can easily miss a message.

I think it's reasonable to have some kind of prompt in this case, as one of your staff would have alerted you if a message arrived while you were temporarilly otherwise engaged.

Thoughts?

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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:32 pm

Seems reasonable. The buttons changed colour when you press them, so there is a highlighted mode. If the 'read messages' button is lit up constantly it would be a useful prompt.

Remember there are different toolbars around though and we'd be asking modders to mod their toolbars, or make our own versions. Garnier's toolbar has a different set of buttons for courier use remember...
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Uncle Billy on Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:18 pm

Martin wrote:
Even if you have ticked the option to open new messages autoimatically, the game will not do this if you are using the courier message window or the OOB function when the courier arrives.
There is a sound queue. It's the sound of a leather dispatch pouch being opened. Of course if a battle is going on, you may not hear it.

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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Martin on Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:00 pm

Uncle Billy wrote:There is a sound queue. It's the sound of a leather dispatch pouch being opened. Of course if a battle is going on, you may not hear it.
Gosh I never knew that......and have never heard it. I sometimes think my hearing's deteriorating, so this may be another example.

Anyway I'll suggest something graphical on the Norbsoft forum and see what they say.

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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:35 pm

They might say "an animated horseman riding up to your general"!
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:56 pm

The name of the sound file is: Gb_NSDCourier.wav. You could make your own version, something like, "A courier has just arrived with a message, sir." Of course all you brigade commanders may be driven over the edge with that announcement being made every time you move a regiment. However, those of us that bask in the serenity of division command have no such concerns. Very Happy

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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:34 pm

"Bask in the serenity"!

That made me laugh. I don't know that Niall is basking in any serenity.
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:37 pm

I had some random ideas come to me today while driving home from work.

I think the majority of us think that there are too many melees. For weeks I have been thinking of how to stop them happening so frequently such as a morale check for the attackers and then if they pass, the defenders, and have lobbied NSD to do this but so far without success.

So tonight I thought rather than trying to stop melees, can we alter any of the numbers to make them less deadly?

In a firefight you might only lose 20 or so men in five minutes of shooting, but the losses in melees are truly ridiculous, with often 100 to 150 men lost in 20 to 30 seconds of bayonetting frenzy, then one side runs or surrenders.

Now is there any way to tweak the figures so the melee casualty rate drops way down? To something like the level of firefights? If we can do this and then still have one side rout or surrender we could, in effect, (and putting aside the actual graphics) consider melees to just be point blank range firefights where one side after 30 seconds to a minute has enough and surrenders or runs.

My worry though is the game is actually cruder than it seems and the only reason we get one side surrendering or running from a melee is BECAUSE it takes such huge losses so quickly, not because of any kind of morale collapse as a result of hand to hand fighting. If its the latter, then we are stuck with what we have, but if its the former we could be able to adjust things to less bloody levels.

Thoughts?
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Leffe7 on Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:52 am

One way could be to set lower melee stats of the units (edged weapons) in the OOBs.
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Uncle Billy on Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:25 pm

Mr Digby wrote:
Now is there any way to tweak the figures so the melee casualty rate drops way down? To something like the level of firefights? If we can do this and then still have one side rout or surrender we could, in effect, (and putting aside the actual graphics) consider melees to just be point blank range firefights where one side after 30 seconds to a minute has enough and surrenders or runs.
I'm don't think so. All retreating is due to a lowering of morale. Each casualty regardless of how it was inflicted lowers morale. So if it takes 100 casualties to force a unit to route, it does not matter if it takes 1 sec. or 1 hr. to reach that magic number. Whether the losses come from bullets or bayonets doesn't matter either. What would be needed is another entry in the Battledef.ini file for morale loss due to melee. Then it would be similar to morale hits due to flank or rear fire. At least that's how I think it works. But I'm not an expert at this part of the game.

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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun May 20, 2012 12:31 pm

I wanted to continue this discussion to suggest things to add to what would become our "HITS & Couriers" mod, or a Kriegspiel Mod.

We currently have a much greater morale hit for flank and rear fire.

Uncle Billy has been tweaking the numbers the last two days to try and get units' morale to waver sooner so that they break, fall back a short way but rally and return to the fight, but break again, all of this at lower casualty levels so that our battles are not so unrealistically bloody. I'd like to see armies fall back and disengage from each other still mostly intact but 'broken' or 'routed' with about 20% to 25% casualties than we do at present where one side tramples all over the other and there are around 50% casualties, or more.

He, Baldwin and I played two corps-level games last night using this modification and it seemed to produce good results. Kevin is going to continue using this adjustment when he is hosting. There is a lowering of the rifle-musket rate of fire in this mod but a big increase in the morale effect for each casualty, so firefights will last about the same length of time but units will fall back after fewer casualties.

Another feature several of us have agreed on is that the sharpshooter units are too powerful. There's several of these on th euNion side, including the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves. They have a range of 400 yards and a prodigious rate of fire. Uncle Billy is looking to lower their maximum range to 300 yards and lower their rate of fire.

On the NSD forums, Garnier asked for several variables to be included in the moddable csv files and I agree with all his requests. NSD have added them to the 'to do' list but among other things these would let us alter the range of canister fire and beef up the effects of artillery shrapnel and shell versus solid shot.
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Re: Suggested game improvements

Post  Blaugrana on Sun May 20, 2012 1:17 pm

Thanks for the update, Martin, and thanks for the tweaking, Kevin.

Regards,

Jeff

PS Definitely no cream in my tea.
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