HEARTS OF IRON 3- MY CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS.
ATTENTION: MY "MAIN" POSTS ARE VERY LONG, HOWEVER THEY CONCERN MANY ITEMS. IF YOU DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME, RESPOND TO A SINGLE ONE, OR EVEN A PART OF IT.
I MADE SPECIAL SHORT VERSIONS OF MY POSTS, AND HIGHLIGHTED THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF THEM IN RED. THEY CONTAIN THE ESSENCE OF MY POSTS AND TAKE LITTLE TIME TO READ.
THREAD TABLE OF CONTENT:
1. INTERFACE- PAGE 1. THIS VERY POST!
2. TECHNOLOGY- PAGE 5
2.1 TECHNOLOGY SHORT AND 2.2 SUPER SHORT VERSION (8 times less)
THE SECOND PART OF MY CONCLUSIONS (TECHNOLOGY) IS ON THE 5 PAGE OF THIS THREAD:
3. INTELLIGENCE NORMAL AND 3.1 SHORT VERSION - PAGE 7
1.1 The first of many
This is the first of series of threads concerning Interface. Originally I did not intend to divide this into multiple threads (I did not even plan for any part devoted to interface), but considering how extensive it got, and how long it took I’m not even sure if I will ever post the rest of those threads. Everything depends on the feedback on this forum.
1.2 Lost ideas
I had many more ideas, however before I could wright them all down, many have been forgotten.
I did spend a lot of time trying to remember them, but even with hour upon hour spent, some of them still slipped away.
1.3 My motivations
My point is I would want HoI to feel believable. If i make a decision that helps me win the war (or series of decisions), I want to feel, that if that decision was actually made (in history) it would have the same effect, and in the same degree. I don’t expect (cause of obvious reasons) to be exact, strict, and it should leave some level of flexibility to the point to with it is (as i said earlier) believable.
Because i do not get any satisfaction from doing something totally impossible on normal level (like right now). That means that achieving historically possible, accurate outcome is like taking candy from a baby.
One of the reasons for this is probably high learning curve of HoI3, but if someone can’t handle the game he should tone the difficulty down.
I realize that historical accuracy is a controversial mater (and i also would want an opportunity to choose), and my stand point is that there should be a system that gives us the opportunity to decide what level of realism would we play with.
My other goal is to be able to make the game more complicated, however compensating for it with automatization, extensive feedback and advisory from the game. More on this matter later, let’s start with some technical issues.
NOTE: The page distinction is a bit content orientated and is not a strict size of a page.
Even with the reduction of micromanagement as one of the main developers goals HoI3 is far more micromanagement heavy then the previous incarnations. One of the reasons for this is that many of those systems are being based on the AI with is unreliable, and giving the player no control whatsoever over what it does. Giving the player that control would allow him to direct the “computer” actions more where he needs it, rather than play “Russian roulette”, and just hope for the best.
The other is the addition of new features, and not creating any system with would help the player to handle them.
However there are some easy solutions to many of those problems. And I will try to show them here.
2. THE CHAIN OF COMMAND
2.1 ARMY ORGANISATION (INTERFACE, ORGANIZATION, CHAIN OF COMMAND, DEPLOYMENT, ATTACHING)
NOTE: The words in the brackets are something of a tag. I don’t know if they are really helpful in navigation but I added them anyway.
Organizing the chain of command in HoI was and still is very micromanagement heavy.
“Semper Fi” did drastically reduce this problem. However it is still a major issue.
The organizing the chain of command, and mainly the fact that you have to create it manually is very annoying, also the fact that corps, and armies, were not named automatically in the typical manner for a given country (the majors).
I remember spending (or rather wasting) hours upon hours on organizing my army, especially on naming (my fixation). It was very frustrating because of how easy it can be fixed.
2.1.1 Army generator
Thinking about how to solve the problem of army organizing I came up with the concept of “Army Generator”, with would be a complex tool allowing the player to organize his whole army in a few minutes.
It would have three separate tools for organizing, naming, and attaching. The organizer would be the work horse of the system, and would incorporate some of the features of the other systems. The rest were designed for more specialized purpose.
2.1.2 Why three tools?
Because the organizer should be the most, simple and efficient, so the most nonessential would be handled automatically, and as simple as possible. In order to not compromise functionality or effectiveness I decided to create separate tools for purposes with could not be included in the organizer. The namer and attacher would be used mainly for more small scale setting-up, and adjustment of already created structures, or adding newly built units, when full scale make-over is not an option.
2.1.3 How would that work?
Most of the systems would rely on templates similar to the division templates.
The easiest way to realize this idea would be to use most common blueprints of divisions, corps and even whole theatres (with would be default). But considering that many of the materials for creating multiple types of templates are already in the game it would be an act of laziness not to include them.
Those multiple types would recreate the evolution of command chain through the years, as well as include some less common types of e.g. armies, corps, and so on.
Of course the extra effort would be designated for the majors, but maybe also for the more important minors. And if that isn’t enough, the player will be able to create his own.
The player could create multiple templates at a time, but every one of them would require a specific number of different brigades in order to create (with acquire, from a specified source). If the player would not have as many, it would just create a part of the selected template.
2.1.4 Why down to division level?
At first it may not seem necessary, but creating divisions, would pretty much solve the problem of cumbersome adding of support brigades to divisions with are already built.
Example of how army organizer would work:
I chose 7. Armee in France and 3. Armee in Poland, so I have 30 Inf Div, 5 Mot, and 5 Tank. Then I decide to use a template (3 inf divisions per corps). I am informed that I can make 10 of those corps, but I chose to make 8 (6 INF, 5 MOT, 5 TANK left), and every 4 of those are to be made into an army. Furthermore I choose for their naming to be inspired by the lineup of Barbarossa (e.g. 4, and 9. Armee).
Now a sceenshot with should clarify some things:
I accidentally add wrong screen (a more raw version of AG.B with i did delete from this thread) and by mistake deleted the layout of the Namer.
NOTE: The screenshot I present may not have some features I mentioned, because making them was very time consuming, and I stopped making them, especially that in many cases they were completely unnecessary
Drag, drop (on the map), would also be very helpful, a specially with adding corps into Armies etc. This system could also be adapted so that you could set a template in with your producing units should be organized.
2.2 UNIT DEPLOYMENT INTERFACE IMPROVEMENT (INTERFACE, DEPLOYMENT, MAP, ORGANIZATION)
The information displayed in the deployment interface is not very helpful, because how can a name of the province name help, when there are 12000 provinces.
My first proposition is to add the information about the army group (with will in most cases give far more information about the geographical location of the unit) under with a unit is, and the number of total slots in the e.g. corps, and slots left.
I’m not sure how others feel about it, but this is the data I would welcome the most.
Theatre I think does not need any explaining, but I decided to add the number of slots because I’m always aiming for historical result.
Filters I think are another important thing missing. Right now you need often to dig through the entire list to find what you need, wasting a lot of time.
I decided the best way to go would be to add sorting filters and lists in order to narrow down the information to only those the player seeks. The soring tools would include- name, rank, and type, and slots. The more important (in my opinion) lists would include- Rank, Type, Special Type, Theatre, Army Group. The less important (again in my opinion) are option to display a specific rank, and number of slots. The rank would go down to divisional level, allowing for easy adding of support brigades.
2.2.3 Graphic representation
I mentioned before that the name of the province was not very helpful. Well, I came up with an solution. Upon pointing onto an e.g. theatre on the list, the province would be highlighted on the map, as well as the theatre (or maybe even army group) it belongs.
2.3 PRODUCTION SCREEN ATACHING (INTERFACE, ORGANIZATION, ATTACHING)
Another tool (probably largely unnecessary if the previous system is adapted) is button in the production screen allowing for predestination of the units in construction to command structures chosen by the player.
2.4 AUTO-DEPLOYMENT CONTROL (INTERFACE, AUTOMATIZATION, DEPLOYMENT)
I mentioned that in HoI3, many automatic systems do not offer any kind of control over their actions, often effectively making them useless.
The idea is to add a way of defining how many units and where should be deployed.
The numbers would be percent, the where would be theatre, army group (those two are most essential), or maybe even lower in the chain. It would be preferable to be able to specify (in percent), what kind of units are distributed to with e.g. army group.
2.5 HQ MANAGEMENT (INTERAFE, AI, CHAIN OF COMMAND, HQ).
Manual movement of the HQ’s along the front is for the most part unnecessary, and almost completely irrelevant. The usage of HQ’s as fighting units makes no sense, they have little combat value, and in historical terms absurd (to clarify, maybe there were situations in with the staff did actually get into the fight, but it was an extreme situation, and they did not really add much value). They are a liability, very time consuming, especially in the face of the frontage system.
2.5.1 AI HQ control
Instead of manually managing the HQ’s, the player would have an option to leave them to the AI.
The AI would try to keep the HQ’s a few provinces behind the front (with maybe would be adjustable).
This does not include for example Theatre HQ, with are usually far behind, and rarely move.
2.6 UNITS DISPLAY HIERACHY (INTEFRACE, PRIORITY)
I’m not sure is there a unit display hierarchy in HoI3, even if there is it is not elastic at all, the player has no control over it.
Display hierarchy by stance
What I think would improve the way giving out orders is defining the sequence of different unit types, due to need. Different for offence, defense and so on.
Offensive – arm > mech > mot, on top.
Defense – inf and maybe some other units good in defense.
Command Structure – divisions sorted by corps.
The command structure sorting is something I would anticipate, (in theory) helping to organize the front according to its hierarch setup.
Those are just examples, but I think others should go along those lines.
2.7 ARMY GROUP OPERATIONAL BOUNDARIES AND CHAIN OF COMMAND SHIFT (INTERFACE, CHAIN OF COMMAND, AI, AUTOMATIZATION, ORGANIZATION)
2.7.1 Army group operational boundaries
Those are boundaries with you see on the maps of operations like Barbarossa. They would be adjustable (just like theatres), and represented by lines. It would not be an exact (and I’m not sure if even doable) representation.
Why adapt them into HoI? For starters, they look cool (immersion ). But I found an actual use for them.
2.7.2 Command shift system
With the chain of command system the battlefield is getting very messy in a fight, corps and armies are mixing, just chaos. In order to make this problem go away I came up with the “Shift” system.
When a corps (or army), would pass its operational boundaries the player would be massaged and would be able to choose intended course of action (switch, not, so on). Of course, as you might have noticed, this would cause a flood of massages upon the player. However to stop this from happening I decided that in case of corps, it would only be switched if all its divisions would pass onto the side of another army group. However, this still could be a problem, so to further reduce the load on the player I decided to add an time delay, before the switch happens (a week, two, maybe even a month). But there could be some exceptions to this rule, for example when transiting from the sea, or ocean.
2.8 DIVIDING – NEW BUTTON (INTERFACE)
Instead of starting the process of dividing all over again every time you want to split an army, fleet, air fleet, in more than two, the player just pushes the new button.
3. DISABLING AI CONTROL
3.1 OVERRIDING AI ORDERS (INTERFACE, AI, AUTOMATIZATION)
Have no idea why this was not implemented in HoI3 (in theory it seems really easy). If the player gives an order to a unit controlled by the AI, it will carry out his orders until they are finished. Only then the AI will begin to giving orders of its own.
3.2 DISABLING AI CONTROL (INTERFACE, AI, AUTOMATIZATION)
Now of course this is possible, but the player has to disable the highest unit (under AI control) in the Hierarchy, so it’s really all or nothing. Again, I have no idea why that is, but I am quite sure that it stops a lot of people from using the AI to command their unit (including me).
That’s why I insist on this option to be adapted, and if it is in any way difficult (in programming) then I would like to know what they are.
4. UNIT SELECTION (INTERFACE)
4.1 DISPLAING MULTIPLE UNITS IN A SINGLE PROVINCE (INTERFACE)
Managing multiple units in one province is a pain in the ***. It would became much easier, if a button combination (e.g. CTRL+Z) would divide units in the selected province sorted by type (visually displayed on the map) so that you could give orders to all those units separately and not having to dig through every single.
Displaying all types could take too much space on the map, so the most important or numerous types would be displayed. To allow for this not being a problem, there player could cycle between different types.
4.2 SELECTING MULTIPLE UNIST IN A SINGLE PROVINCE (INTERFACE)
Selecting multiple units in one province makes a list appears on the left side of the screen, but you can select only one unit. Simple option of selection more units (by pressing CTRL or SHIFT for example) would make unit management so much easier.
5. AIR FORCE
5.1 AIR FORCE MANAGEMENT (INTERFACE, AI, AIR FORCE)
Aircraft are often forgotten in HoI3, and one of the reasons for it (with i will touch in context of interface) is because it’s too much micromanagement. And that is why i would propose it to be led by AI (with land forces lead by player). An air wing would be assigned to for example a Corps, or Army with it would support in its operations without making the player change the objective every couple of seconds.
Also the fact that is making me to support this notion is that without AI controlling the air the crucial element of air power (with is almost absent) in HoI is almost impossible to execute.
5.2 STRATEGIC BOMBING WARRNING (INTERFACE, INTEL, COMBAT, STRATEGIC BOMBINGS)
Before Semper Fi, strategic bombings were a real pain in the ass, because there was no indication of where those bombs hit. Now it’s a lot easier, however I have some suggestions.
5.2.1 Bomber path anticipation
Instead of showing where the bombs did hit, the player should be informed when enemy strategic bombers enter his territory (for example over Amsterdam), and their anticipated target (victory points, areas of heavy industry, previous targets). Considering that they will fly in a straight line, and there limited range, in most cases it would be easy to do. This could also be set by probability e.g. 20% for intelligence giving the right province and, 80% for one in the path of the bombers. That way the player would have an actual chance of stopping them, of even better the AI would do it for him.
5.2.2 AI intercepting control
Now I don’t know much about algorithms, but I think making this system automatic should not be much of a problem. The AI would react accordingly by crossing their path (probably will intercept even if intel was wrong about the precise destination, reducing the strength of the raiders, but also reducing its own effectiveness, and taking heavier losses), or waiting at the target (but i think i got a bit too much into the combat, while talking about the interface)
5.2.3 Air intercept group
The “air intercept group” would represent fighters designated to the purpose of intercepting enemy aircraft involved in strategic bombings. They could be (ideally) controlled by the AI, but also the player (if he wished it so). It would be divided into a district, or districts defined by the player.
5.3 NAVAL COVER (INTERFACE, COMBAT, MISSION, AIR FORCE, NAVY)
The naval cover mission would make air units carrying it on provide air cover to friendly fleets passing through the designate area.
ATTENTION: ADDED CONTENT.
5.4 AD AIRCRAFT MANUAL CONTROL SIMPLIFYING (AD. AIRCRAFT)
I came up with some new elements for the AIRCRAFT with i did not mention in the original post.
5.4.1 Default mission
The problem with giving manual orders is that you always have to go through the "mission screen", instead of clicking only once.
Now i do not wish the "mission screen" (as i called it) gone i just want a way to disable it. The player would assign a mission to an air fleet and from this moment forward it would be this would be its default mission (as well as other settings) , so that all the player has to do is right click.
If you don't like the idea of activating this feature, and prefer e.g. a check box in the "mission screen", then let me know, give me your opinions.
If however he wants to make some adjustments he simply presses CTRL+LMB
5.4.2 Default area type
Default missions were the main concept, but it quickly occurred to me that this can create a problem with choosing are of operation, but i found a simple solution.
In the "mission screen" the player would chose the criteria from with the AI chooses provinces (they would revolve over the province clicked by the player) with should be subjected to the mission. Those criteria would be province, area, and so on (if you have ideas, post them).
5.4.3 Default location criteria
Those are default criteria for different mission type, heres a list:
-Intercept, and Air Superiority- presence of bombers, or fighters.
-Interdiction - enemy forces behind the front.
-Ground Attack - supporting fighting friendly ground units.
-Logistical strike- high infrastructure, important transit location.
-Strategic bombings- victory points, high industry capacity.
-Naval strike - vulnerable fleets.
Some of them maybe in the game, but thats a example.
5.4.4 Default minimal strength
It is the strength below with aircraft mission is halted with is set by the player, and becomes default until he decides otherwise.
5.4.5 Default stance
Analogical to the (7.2) fleet stance in the opening post.
5.4.6 Default mission priority
To further reduce micromanagement the player would be able to choose mission priority (if he wishes so). After there is nothing left to do in terms of the main mission, the idle aircraft would turn their attention to tasks lower on the priority chart like e.g. fighter intercepting enemy fighters, would start bombing, or attack enemy ground units (if it is capable).
Obviously you don't want to waste much aircraft on them, so you could set lower (independent) minimum strength for them.
5.4.7 Order queue
The situation can change rapidly, but the amount of time it would save would probably compensate for that, I'm sure i would rather to set a queue once, then give separate orders.
The player would only need to set (or not, just go with the default value) time line for different actions to be carried out.
The "manual control simplifying" follows the philosophy of automatization, because it achieves this simplification through it.
5.5. SUPPORT ARMY/ATTACK ARMY
5.5.1 Support army
Just another way of reducing micromanagement.
Instead of giving normal orders the player would only set this mission type on a selected corps, army, army group etc. and the chosen air fleet would support it in chosen manner (here the mission priority would get in handy).
The normal mission types (with would define the nature of support), would be here somewhat of a submission.
5.5.2 Attack army
Attack army is the opposite of support. Instead of supporting your armies it would concentrate on attacking a particular enemy army.
6.1 GENERAL RE-ASSIGNING (INTERFACE, AUTOMATIZATION, GENERALS)
General auto-assigning is very helpful, but it still leaves a huge gap of micromanagement.
Re-Auto-assigning, with would give the best generals the best division. As I said earlier it would be good it there was some scope of control over this, for example, by deciding with theatres, or army groups get the best generals.
For example: The western theater is not going to see much action in the near future, so assign the worst generals to that theatre, and the best to the East, especially Army Group Center.
6.2 AUTO-GENERAL PROMOTION (INTERFACE, AUTOMATIZATION, GENERALS)
Auto general promotion is something that HoI3 needs. There are more generals, there are much more positions to acquire, its far more micromanagement heavy then in HoI2. It may be organized historically, by AI decision, or both, but the most important thing is that it is there.
7.1 AUTO SCOUTING (INTERFACE, INTEL, NAVY, AIR FORCE, AUTOMATIZATION, SCOUTING)
Information is power (not in Hearts of Iron), it is an important part of warfare, with is unfortunately absent. However I would want to see it brought into HoI.
7.1.1 Naval reconnaissance
The scouting I speak of would be performed by aircraft (abstractly of course) detecting movement of fleets. In theory, the player can perform some kind of reconnaissance, however it’s no good if it’s not continues, and even a single “raid” is even on its own very cumbersome.
7.1.2 Movement map
Because I do realize that this information can go unnoticed, and massaging the player, would create an infinite number of pop-ups I came up with a different solution.
It is a map mode (or something of this sort) with would show the known paths of fleets, its direction, type, size, date (the timeline showed would be adjustable) and any other useful data.
7.1.3 Auto scouting
Scouting would be performed automatically by the AI, the player’s measure of control would be prioritizing different areas, and others left without any surveillance. Another would be funds, or triggers (or both). Those spoken triggers are not really under player’s control, but they play an important role.
They would simulate different stages of intensity of those activities (with are e.g. almost non-existent before the war).
7.2 STANCE (INTERFACE, INTEL, COMBAT, NAVY, AIR FORCE, STANCE)
Stances for naval units are the manner in with your fleets approach enemy fleets.
There is a stance system in HoI, but I’m quite sure it’s does not work like mine dose.
It is both a matter of interface, but maybe more of gameplay, so because I could not decide, I will port this also in the combat thread.
7.2.1 Engage, retreat
The engage and retreat system would put an end to incidents in with your fleets is being unintentionally (if the player forgets) leaded (or the AI) into a much larger enemy fleet, and also stop the player from swallowing tiny AI fleets, without having to add ridiculous amounts of stacking penalty. Of course fleets can still be ambushed, or can be willing to engage (stance) a stronger fleet.
The engage stance would make effected fleets engage even fleets with are stronger (how much, can be specified).
Retreat stance is not exactly what it sounds. It would range all the way from engaging slightly weaker fleets, to complete avoidance.
Now what is the motivation to engaging a stronger enemy fleet if you don’t have to?
Well letting the enemy to wonder uncontrolled through the waters would let him prepare an invasion, undisrupted supply for the troops, and disrupt the idle side trade.
On the other hand, the weaker side may be hoping for a decisive victory with will turn the tide, and the stronger country (especially with high naval production) may be ready to make concessions and engage larger enemy fleets.
7.3 PURSUIT (INTERFACE, COMBAT, MISSION, AUTOMATIZATION, NAVY)
Pursuit would make fleet on this mission follow hostile vessels (with is kind of the mission of fleet intercept) upon the designated area. However what this mission is really about is following a fleet specifically chosen by the player.
7.4 COVER BUTTON (INTERFACE, COMBAT, NAVY, AIR FORCE, PRIORITY)
It not really a mission, however it’s closely associated with the naval cover mission.
It’s just a button (or a check box, whatever) with would prioritize the fleets in terms of air cover.
8. SUPPLIE PRIORITY (INTERFACE, LOGISTICS, AUTOMATIZATION, PRIORITY)
From what I heard the different parts of the front are prioritized based on their distance from the capital. Regardless of how it actually works, the AI does not always do it well. This is the reason why I propose to give the player the control over priority of different fronts, maybe in a manes similar to with I presented earlier.
9.1 STATISTICS (INTERFACE, COMBAT, STATISTICS)
I think we all want detailed statistics in the game ("Immersion is everything"), how to know how different theatres are doing, how different types of units are doing, how much equipment do we produce etc. And to be honest I think that the reason why you don’t add them is because i they would be nowhere near those in RL, but in my opinion its better than nothing.
9.2 REPORTS (INTERFACE, COMBAT, INFORMATION, STATISTICS, REPORT)
When I was thinking on how to make the game more immersive, give him the opportunity to feel the impact his having on the game, as well as more clear view in the mechanics of the game for better understanding.
There are of course reports in HoI, but they are not that helpful, they flood the player, and are mostly ignored (at least in my case).
9.2.1 War reports
I think monthly reports would be the most suitable (maybe, also quarter, and yearly).
The reports would be different conflicts (and their parts), operations (part of “Command Center” concept, with I will describe later on) maybe even army groups. The term conflict I used is a little unclear, but basically those are smaller “wars” (with could be summarized after its conclusion), like invasion of Norway, or overall Balkans, and bigger like the western front- France, Italy, or even different parts of France. But it would not only relate to land, but also to sea (tonnage war, pacific) and air (battle of Britain, bombing of Germany).
They would describe, or, enemy, and ally losses in man and material (damages dealt to provinces, lost and gained resources manpower), progress of the campaign, prognosis, as well as any other helpful (and immersive) data.
9.2.2 Effectiveness reports
Effectiveness reports Is a broad term used by me to describe reports with would inform about the performance of different tactics, doctrines, tanks, planes, guns, and so on.
Those reports would be updated as the situation changes.
They would also guide the player, what is the possible course (or plural) of action (not necessarily correct, based on their assumptions).
A report on the Tiger I could state its overall performance (damage delivered, losses, and rating), cons (like to weak suspension, production difficulties and so on), pros (gun, armor etc.), or that enemy designs are making progress, limiting its domination (with would have in my system, consequences in technology).
9.3 TUTORIAL (INTERFACE, TUTORIAL)
What HoI misses is a voice-over. If the tutorial would be read I think the game would gain a larger audience, because there are many people who would like this game, but they are overwhelmed by the game at the beginning, and they can’t get through the tutorial because it’s so boring.
That’s one of the reasons why i did not get in to Paradox games when i was very young. Many people have the same problem, not only young ones. The games they played before did not require any effort to get to the fun part. And here a quote "People are thrown away by the lack of immediate fun".
I did change the resolution of screens (slightly reducing quality), because there were some complaints about how it is not comfortable in reading for some people.
Here i will post name and location of features added by me after starting the thread.
5.4 AIRCRAFT MANUAL CONTROL SIMPLIFYING
5.4.1 Default mission
5.4.2 Default area type
5.4.3 Default location criteria
5.4.4 Default minimal strength
5.4.5 Default stance
5.4.6 Default mission priority
5.4.7 Order queue
5.5 SUPPORT ARMY/ATTACK ARMY
5.5.1 Support army
5.5.2 Attack army