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Dev Diary #44 - Battles

16_9 (9).jpg


Ave and welcome to another Dev Diary! Today I will be talking about how Battles work and what their consequences are. If you haven't already, I suggest you first read through the dev diary on Fronts and get acquainted with the concepts explained there.

Let's start off with a somewhat updated version of the Front panel. Do note that this is all still very much WIP and not all values are hooked in, balanced or polished. For example at the moment there are a lot more deaths in battles than there should be.

Who could’ve seen this war coming?

DD44 01.png


In order for a battle to happen one side must have at least one General with an Advance order. Once this happens an advancement meter will slowly start to fill up and once it’s full a new battle will be launched. Various factors can increase or decrease the time it takes.

When the battle is created a sequence of actions unfolds before the fighting begins. All of these are in script and can be tweaked by mods as desired.
  • The attacker picks their leading General
  • The defender picks their leading General
  • The battle province is determined along the frontline
  • The attacker determines the number of units they can bring
  • The defender determines the number of units they can bring
  • Both sides selects their units
While there can be several Generals on the Front, only one is selected for each side in a Battle. They are not limited to selecting their own units and so may borrow additional ones from other Generals or the local Garrisons.

In addition each side randomizes a Battle Condition which provides bonuses (or penalties) to their units similar to Combat Tactics in Hearts of Iron 4. Unlike HOI4 though these are fixed for the duration of the battle. For example a General with the Engineer trait has a higher chance of selecting the “Dug In” Battle Condition which provides defensive modifiers.

Königgrätz anyone?
DD44 02.png


Now the shooting (and dying) finally starts! The battle takes place over a number of rounds and will continue until one side is either wiped out or retreats. The round sequence is roughly as follows:
  • Each side determines how many fighting-capable men it still has
  • Each side inflicts casualties on the other side
  • Each side attempts to recover wounded casualties
  • Each side also suffers morale damage according to casualties
  • If one side is wiped or retreats, the battle ends

Units have two primary combat values: Offense is used when attacking and Defense is used when defending. It is wise to plan ahead and specialize your armies for the war you are planning to fight. There are of course a whole bunch of additional modifiers used in conjunction with battles.

Crack open the fortress of Liège!
DD44 03.png


Casualties are determined by both sheer numbers and the relative combat stats between the two sides. For example a numerically inferior force equipped with more modern weapons may still emerge victorious against a larger foe.

When a side takes casualties it is randomly distributed amongst its units with some caveats.
Each unit has a majority culture depending on the pops in its barracks and casualties are applied roughly in proportion to unit culture. So with 4 French/1 Flemish units fighting on the same side the French will take roughly 80% of the casualties.

Not all pops who take casualties will end up dead though. A portion of these may instead end up as Dependents of other pops. After a long bloody war a nation may thus end up with a large number of wounded war-veterans who need to be supported by the rest of the population. In the long term this may be a cause of unrest and financial strain on the economy.

Morale damage is inflicted in proportion to the casualties and will slowly recover over time outside of battles presuming the units are in good supply.

One step closer to Unification
DD44 04.png


After the battle is over two things will happen:

A number of provinces are Captured depending on how decisive the victory was, unit characteristics, Generals, etc. This will alter the frontline and the winner will occupy those provinces until retaken or the end of the war.
A victorious defender will only take back land that was previously lost to the enemy while a victorious attacker will push into enemy land and take control of more provinces owing to their aggressive posture.

Devastation is also inflicted on the State in which the battle was fought. Large, brutal battles waged with modern weaponry will increase the devastation caused. It reduces infrastructure and building throughput, increases mortality and causes emigration. These effects persist after the war and will take quite some time to recover.

That’s it for this week! Next week we switch over to the political battlefield and discuss Elections! *ducks back into the trenches*
 
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This comment has been reserved by the community team to gather up dev responses in for ease of reading.

Great work!

But please consider naming battles after cities rather than states. As even the caption "Königgratz anyone?" recognizes, names like "Battle of Nanjing" are much more flavorful than "Battle of North Zhejiang".

Yeah, that's pretty much a no-brainer, you're right.
Now the only challenge is to see if @KaiserJohan approves of my code...

View attachment 833266

I dont like the flames when zoomed-in.

Placeholder graphics; this DD was written ~a month ago, it's different now

A few questions


  1. Borrowing from local garrisons make sense, but how does borrowing from other generals along a front work? On the Fronts DD it was said that fronts weren't split except by natural barriers (oceans, non-involved nations, etc.).
    1. With the US Civil war example, does this mean my general in along the Mississippi can borrow troops from Virginia? Am I required to have infrastructure to connect provinces to facilitate this or do they teleport around the front? What happens if there are battles in short succession along the front, what criteria prevents/allows for barrowing troops.
  2. Its not super clear from the DD but what does a player do outside of selecting generals? Are players determining the amount of troops to bring, or is that the AI (general)?

Somewhat worried that this may be overly passive mechanic from a player perspective.

1. As long as the other generals are stationed at the front and not in battle their units may be borrowed like the garrisons.
2. Beyond giving the generals their orders the movements of the front & battles is largely automated.

I have two questions:
1. Will general borrow units up to his command limit or beyond it?
2. Is there a difference in combat effectiveness between units under generals and garrisoned (borrowed) ones?

1. Yes that may happen (there are alot of factors that goes into determining the size of the battle; for example a larger front tends to create larger battles)
2. Yes only troops under the generals direct command will inherit his commander modifiers
 
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I like leaving micro out of Victoria battles, however I think it would be great to have mechanics to lead the generals and admirals like battleplan arrows in HOI4 for instance. A leader may want his armies to focus on capturing a certain symbolic city or some other strategic target for whatever reason and can demand such things and make grand battle plans after all. It is only befitting that there would be grand battle plans in a grand strategy game.

Also what about the stats of generals? Terrain modifiers? Are there unpredictability elements like generals getting wounded or getting killed in battle. Frontline options like encourage soldiers, forced march, forced defense etc... would be nice.
 
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Cant say I dislike the system, but I think a bit more player agency in the war system would be good.

Will the later wars like WW1 have battles differing a bit?
 
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Great diary however I wish we heard something about encirclements - like the one Wiz arranged in his Ottoman AAR, this seems like one of the most exciting things about warfare, I wish there was at least some way to encourage your generals to do it

Also pretty please make unifications diary very soon
 
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So what does a Western Front of WWI look like in this context? Battles that go on for years, stretched out by massively high defensive values?

Additional question/related point - what will sieges of strategic points look like in this? Thinking, fx, of the siege of Vicksburg being key to the ACW.
 
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Great work!

But please consider naming battles after cities rather than states. As even the caption "Königgratz anyone?" recognizes, names like "Battle of Nanjing" are much more flavorful than "Battle of North Zhejiang".
 
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I have a couple questions about casualties:
  1. Is there some way to see how many of the casualties have become dependents? They aren't specifically listed on the battle screen, as far as I can tell, but perhaps they should be.
  2. Is the fact that these battles all have several times more dead than wounded part of the WIP nature of the screenshots? If not, I think it should be. In the real world, battles tend to have several times more wounded than dead. Somehow I completely missed the part where this was mentioned as a known issue. My bad!
 
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A few questions

While there can be several Generals on the Front, only one is selected for each side in a Battle. They are not limited to selecting their own units and so may borrow additional ones from other Generals or the local Garrisons.
  1. Borrowing from local garrisons make sense, but how does borrowing from other generals along a front work? On the Fronts DD it was said that fronts weren't split except by natural barriers (oceans, non-involved nations, etc.).
    1. With the US Civil war example, does this mean my general in along the Mississippi can borrow troops from Virginia? Am I required to have infrastructure to connect provinces to facilitate this or do they teleport around the front? What happens if there are battles in short succession along the front, what criteria prevents/allows for barrowing troops.
  2. Its not super clear from the DD but what does a player do outside of selecting generals? Are players determining the amount of troops to bring, or is that the AI (general)?

Somewhat worried that this may be overly passive mechanic from a player perspective.
 
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While there can be several Generals on the Front, only one is selected for each side in a Battle. They are not limited to selecting their own units and so may borrow additional ones from other Generals or the local Garrisons.

I have two questions:
1. Will general borrow units up to his command limit or beyond it?
2. Is there a difference in combat effectiveness between units under generals and garrisoned (borrowed) ones?
 
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How can we specialize armies for offense and defense, if Production Methods seem to be tiered as "newer is best"? Is there some sort of balancing between newer production methods, such as some PMs increasing offense but decreasing defence (is your army defensive or offensive), increasing devastation but decreasing kill rate (is your batallion made to damage in the short run or long run)? These options would make newer options not necessarily better and provide much more gameplay options to otherwise obsolete PMs.
 
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Pretty straightforward, it leaves most of the decision-making in the hands of the generals as it should, while allowing for some micro of units but specifically through the economics mechanics. It's good, it means battles aren't being overcomplicated with fiddly bits for the sake of fiddly bits. Just a nice, clean system that doesn't distract from where the meat of the game should lie.

Best part was the promise of election diary next week though.
 
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1. So how is determined the amount of units that are going to be encircled?
2. What is going to happen with these units during the encirclement and after the encirclement closed?
 
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1. So how is determined the amount of units that are going to be encircled?
2. What is going to happen with these units during the encirclement and after the encirclement closed?
This isn't HOI4. Or Reddit. People need to stop obsessing over encirclements.
 
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Voodoo Lilium

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So, do I just assign troops/generals to a front, and then sit there waiting for a bar to tick up so something can happen? That's the impression I'm getting, and it doesn't sound particularly fun or engaging. Is there any way to influence where on a front my troops are concentrated, where battles are likely to happen, what generals will be selected for a particular battle, etc? Does this mean that there can only ever be one battle happening on a given front at a time? Is there a counterattack order so I can have a defending general switch to offense at winning a decisive battle and take territory in addition to recovering lost territory?
 
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sbadkins4

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"All of these are in script and can be tweaked by mods as desired."
So... could a mod create a UI to allow a player to make some or all of these choices instead of having the AI do it hidden away from play view or input?
 
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"All of these are in script and can be tweaked by mods as desired."
So... could a mod create a UI to allow a player to make some or all of these choices instead of having the AI do it hidden away from play view or input?
This would make the game so much more playable and interesting. If the system is still similar to this at release, I do hope someone can make a mod that does this

EDIT: I should clarify, for fairness' sake, more playable and interesting for some, but not all, players.
 
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