Dev Diary #7 - Land Combat - 22.October 2009

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Welcome to the 7th edition of our Arsenal of Democracy Development Diary.

Today’s topic is land combat and what we changed about it.
First of all, we gave every existing brigade a useful task. As it was in regular Arma, most people just didn’t see any sense in building brigades like Anti Air, Tank Destroyers (TD) or Rocket Artillery other then building them for flavour. As softness is now calculated in percental terms and no more in direct subtractions, Brigades like Antitank (AT) attached to Infantry or Commando Units give now more possibilities to win a battle against Armoured Units.

Increased Tech affects also casualties, as GDE is now directly influenced by the units defence value. Highly valuable and excellent equipped units can now also defeat masses of poor equipped units. You are now more likely to win with a lower unit count if you go for quality rather then quantity. The actual firepower is also dependant on the softness and enemy hard attack. This makes AT or TD extremely useful to prevent being overrun by Infantry combined with armoured brigades or armoured divisions early on.

So for calculating battle results, a lot more factors are now taken into account to encourage the player towards a broader unit diversification. In the new system, combat delays movement and forces the aggressor to slow down dependent on the battle progress.

Combat Events have more impact on the actual outcome and can be decisive. We changed it the way that a unit speed has a direct connection to the combat chances of e.g. the breakthrough or encirclement event. So it is more likely you will see such events happen with mobile units e.g. motorized, mechanized or armoured.

The combat modifiers themselves have been completely remodelled to fit for historical accuracy. Of course all of them are now editable in the misc.txt for maximum flexibility.

In contrast to earlier versions of HoI , we orientated ourselves in loss calculation and battle outcome on the well known mathematical laws of military theorist.

Lanchester e.g. said that the combat power of a force was proportional to the square of its size; that was always the case with HoI (BWA was effectively attack value times ORG).

What*we*have done is take into account Dupuy and other Operational Researchers' results that show that, for a sizable force, the firepower actually does*not*increase in proportion to force size; it increases roughly in proportion to the*square root*of the force size.


Conceptually, you can get a picture of this if you realise that a force takes up depth as well as width, so that, as a force gets bigger, it operates over more depth and keeps a larger proportion of its strength in reserve or otherwise unengaged at all times.

Because this is (roughly) an area effect, and the firepower comes from one "side" of the area, it works out as a square root (actually, some sources (notably Dupuy) say it is harsher than that, as it tails away to be almost flat – i.e. *added firepower for added troops - eventually).

This has several game effects; it means that brigades and powerful units are more valuable, because just buying lots of cheap units hits diminishing returns. If division A is twice as powerful as division B in attack, two of division B are not as powerful in attack as one division A - they are about 0.7 times as powerful, where in Arma they would have been as powerful. This effect is a small mechanical tweak, but it has big effects!

It also means that, if you go above a commander's command span, adding extra units actually*reduces*the force attack value! 10 divisions under a General with no HQ are less effective in attack than 9 divisions. This makes commanders and HQs even more critical than before.

The "square root rule" means, too, that battles between larger forces take longer; if a battle with one division on each side takes 2 days, a battle with 9 divisions on each side will take 6 days. No longer can Kursk be done with in a single morning...

Another key point to get accross is how the new system interacts with attrition. Attrition is now an important part of the picture, because:

- All units in provinces adjacent to provinces with enemy troops in take attrition (simulating low-level fighting)
- Divisions with zero ORG are no longer targets in combat, so they do not 'suck up' attacks, but they still do take heavy attrition losses
- Retreating units take enhanced attrition losses if combat is over; this should make 'rearguard' actions possible (the fact that combat holds up movement makes delaying actions possible, too)

Finally, I think it's important to explain that the duration of battles has increased dramatically. This means that defensive reserves, instead of arriving after the battle is over and the original defenders are in retreat, can arrive to actually reinforce the line. It means that the battle situation develops more gradually so that the player can react to how it is going if they have reserves of fresh troops.

It means that air power can be used to either prop up or increase the pressure on critical parts of the line; air units are likely to get several missions over the duration of one battle. Air attacks do not dominate combat, but have enough effect that air superiority can make a key difference in 'cracking' the enemy line quickly enough to allow exploitation.

Of course we also added a completely new element to the game you already heard of: Artillery Bombardment.

Every Land Unit has a value for this, artillery brigades increase it dramatically. To not overpower this new feat, you can define in the misc by which factor supply consumptions rises when bombarding and also the efficiency itself on various targets (Soft/Hard/Infra/Ic..). Also, when bombarding an adjacent province and getting attacked gives the bombardier a severe defence penalty - because his troops were arranged for long range strikes rather then for actual defence.

Combined together, these changes mean that the experience of land combat for the player is radically different from that with previous versions of HoI.

That’s all for today! Stay tuned for the next Diary when I will go into the details of our remodelled Air Combat system.


And for not getting some screenies today, here is some code excerpt showing you the full moddability of the Minister classes :

Code:
minister_modifiers = {

    # Minister modifiers can be calculated in 4 ways:

    # additive - modifiers are added together, e.g. 0.1 + -0.1 = 0
    #     0 = no modifier, <0 = negative modifier, >0 = positive modifier
    # multiplicative - modifiers are multiplied together, e.g. 1.1 * 0.9 = 0.99
    #     1 = no modifier, <1 = negative modifier, >1 = positive modifier
    # minimum - the smallest modifier is chosen, e.g. 0.1 and -0.1 = -0.1
    #     0 = no modifier, <0 = negative modifier, >0 = positive modifier
    # maximum - the largest modifier is chosen, e.g. 0.1 and -0.1 = 0.1
    #     0 = no modifier, <0 = negative modifier, >0 = positive modifier

    # modifies dissent
    dissent_mod = additive

    # modifies transport capacity 
    tc_mod = additive 

    # modifies unit organization
    org_mod = additive 

    # modifies unit organization recovery
    morale_mod = additive 

    # modifies do war belligerence
    do_war_bell_mod = additive

    # modifies peace belligerence rate
    peace_bell_rate_mod = additive 

    # modifies war belligerence rate
    war_bell_rate_mod = additive 

    # ??
    diplo_bonus_mod = additive 
    
    # modifies foreign IC
    foreign_ic_mod = additive 

    # modifies foreign manpower
    foreign_mp_mod = additive 

    # modifies manpower growth rate
    mp_growth_mod = multiplicative 

    # modifies land unit speed
    unit_speed_mod = additive 

    # modifies land attack
    attack_land_mod = additive 

    # modifies land defence
    defend_land_mod = additive 

    # modifies air attack
    attack_air_mod = additive 

    # modifies air defence
    defend_air_mod = additive 

    # modifies sea attack
    attack_sea_mod = additive 

    # modifies sea defence
    defend_sea_mod = additive 

    # modifies fleet detection
    detect_fleet_mod = additive

    # modifies convoy detection 
    detect_convoy_mod = additive

    # modifies unit intel 
    unit_intel_mod = additive

    # modifies intel difference, used in events 
    intel_diff_mod = additive 

    # modifies supply consumption
    supply_consumption_mod = additive

    # modifies production types
    #     value = production/consumer/supply/upgrade/reinforcement/infrastructure
    #     <no value> = all production types
    #     production = IC
    #     consumer = consumer goods need (negative is better)
    #     upgrade = upgrade cost
    #     reinforcement = reinforcement cost
    #     infrastructure = infra rebuild cost
    production_category_mod = additive
 

HisMajestyBOB

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The changes to land combat look really great! I especially like that combat will take longer - I've very rarely had combat last more than a day in HoI2, and it's annoying that reinforcements can never arrive before my defenders are forced to retreat.
 

LeeDub

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I still don't get what's useful about having all those different brigades instead of spamming SPART, but I love the changes anyway. :) Especially the longer combat.
 

Blecky

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Have to check it out by doing actual combat to fully understand the consequences of those changes. But hey, it´s another promising feature :)
 

Negru Voda

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longer combat?

sounds cool... but how will this affect Blitz?

I mean.. if things take too long.. it'll really change the way the Soviet front functions..

also.. going on a long shot here: is there any chance we'll have a few new doctrines? (the question came to mind, seeing as you guys did your military theory reading)

P.S: I lost the game (cause of HisMajestyBOB's signature)
 

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- Divisions with zero ORG are no longer targets in combat, so they do not 'suck up' attacks, but they still do take heavy attrition losses
Sounds pretty good, BUT:wacko: I was hoping that units with "overcommand limits" also should not 'suck up' attacks though they are not suppose not to be in the frontline....

Keep up the good work guys.

Captain Jack
 

XHR

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That new land combat is actually brilliant and will make statistical explorations of the new system a requirement :)

Brilliant DD, keep up the good work, guys!
 

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wow, I am completely blown away by this dev diary! The level of detail that the dev team has brought to hoi has greatly exceeded my expectations! I'd love to see Blue Emu's analysis of these changes. While reading his comments about brigades I kept thinking, "they really need to change the way brigades work, it shouldn't be that a player would just build another division rather than a brigade due to how the mathematics worked out" Seems like that dream has come true, good job guys!
 

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Excellent work on the mechanics there. I'm beginning to be persuaded to actually buying this game. :)
 

Balesir

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Sounds pretty good, BUT:wacko: I was hoping that units with "overcommand limits" also should not 'suck up' attacks though they are not suppose not to be in the frontline....
If they are assigned to the attack then they are in the front line - just not effectively commanded (due to the restricted staff and control capabilities of a junior commander's HQ).

If you want to have reserves be effective, you have to hold them in reserve until 'space' develops in the front line. As divisions go to zero ORG (and thus drop out of the battle) or retreat you can add reserves in without penalty.
 

albso437

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Will you increase the speed of the divisions to compensate that battles will take longer time? Otherwise it can turn out to be impossible for Germany to blitz Poland or France at the same speed/pace as in reality.
 

RoMMeL DvAz

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Simply awesome, great modifications !!!
 

Balesir

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Will you increase the speed of the divisions to compensate that battles will take longer time? Otherwise it can turn out to be impossible for Germany to blitz Poland or France at the same speed/pace as in reality.
Actually one of the issues we started with in HoI was that blitzing Poland and France went too fast. In AoD it's roughly right (although it has drifted off a little recently due to other changes, but we are tweaking it back again) - Poland should take about four weeks if it goes well, with most real resistance broken by around 16-20 days in.
 

Rocket88

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From Diary:

First of all, we gave every existing brigade a useful task.

Highly valuable and excellent equipped units can now also defeat masses of poor equipped units.

All units in provinces adjacent to provinces with enemy troops in take attrition (simulating low-level fighting)



Excellent news - in articular the attrition change - a very realistic way to help keep manpower in check as war proceeds. What will affect the rate of attrition - number of units, experience, leadership???

Presumably Support Defence [if it still exists of course!] would bring a new benefit here ...
 

unmerged(166917)

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Excellent DD.
Can't wait to play with the new combat engine!