Development Diary #25 - Unit Production and more

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ewphoenix123

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Things are looking good for the upcoming beta release of our 1.2 patch, and I have nothing to important on my todolist, so it is the perfect opportunity for another Dev Diary. :D

This time I want to tell you a bit more about our ideas behind one of the more important features of Darkest Hour.
Buildtimes and directly related to it the upgrade and reinforcement time/cost.

BUILDING DIVISIONS

First, what you must understand is that production times do not represent just the build time for most units.

Ships are handled the way most of you would expect, historically it took X days to build this and that ship class, so we used those times as the production time in the game. Simple and straight forward.

But other unit types in the game are another story.

Most people assume that the creation of an Infantry Division involves mostly:

- Train 16000 soldiers
- Build 16000 sets of equipment
- Mix both together and be done

So all in all that can't really take that long, perhaps 3-4 months, right?

Wrong, it isn't simply a question of providing the basic building blocks, but also putting everything together properly and getting it to work as intended. An untrained mob without the proper organization may work on paper, but in reality you only end up feeding men to the meat grinder.

Most of the following numbers are based on the WW2 US Handbook "The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat Troops" and similiar documents of the Wehrmacht. The US Handbook is avaiable online for those of you who are interested in the topic.

Looking at US Division in 1942 shows us the following reality (which is also pretty close to german numbers)

div.png

A Division is more then just the sum of its parts, officer selection and preparation of the internal organisation started roughly 3 1/2 months before the first enlisted man even arrived for training.

Afterwards rigorous training followed to get the the whole unit combat ready.

17 weeks of basic training
13 weeks of unit training
14 weeks of combined arms training
8 weeks of final review and finishing up of specialized elements

That's almost 16 months to create a Division from the ground up. Even considering shortcuts during the height of war you can't cut too many corners if you want to keep an efficient fighting force.

Even reducing the basic training to 15 weeks proved to be very problematic later in the war and was quickly reverted.

As a curious little sidefact, suprisingly for most people, it actually took longer to train an infantry soldier in comparison to a pilot or other specialist.

Due to the generalized aproach of the GI Training it took about 18 weeks, where the GI would learn everything from rifle training, heavy weapons to simple artillery- and comwork.

While a pilot would finish his training after only 10 weeks.

We reduced the times a bit for gameplay reasons, but the essence you should remember from this paragraph is the following:

Creating a new Division from scratch was and still is an enormous task that costs alot of time and money.

This is where we stand with the version of DH you already have.

While we were happy with the buildtimes it caused problems with extreme reinforce and upgrade times.
The simple solution here is of course to reduce the the time/cost of it, which we did in the initial release... but we don't usually go for the easy workaround.
So for this patch we we went a step further.


REINFORCING DIVISIONS


Reinforcing an Infantry Division during WW2 was for the most part a pretty simple and straight foward process.

GIs would go through their basic training (17-19 weeks), get some basic equipment and be shipped to the current theatre of operation, where they received more "on-the-job" training with their units.
It was also pretty cheap compared to the Division creation. After all only 15% original cost of an Infantry Division are equipment costs.
So nothing really suprising to tell you.

Full reinforcement of an Infantry Division takes from now on roughly 1/3 of the time and costs 1/2 of a new Division.
You might have noticed that I talk about Infantry Divisions here, things look different for other unit types.


There were huge logistical/production differences when it comes to different kinds of units, you can push a soldier through general training and he is ready to go.
You can even build planes in a few days, but tanks and ships took time, lots and lots of time, germany did build 10-15 airwings in the same time it took them to equip one tank division.

Just to demonstrate the difference between two later models:

Panther ~150,000 man hours

Bf-109F ~6.000 man hours

Simply put we can group units in three classes.

For the first two classes we have manpower replacement as bottleneck:

Generalistic man depended Units:

- most infantry variations

- gets reinforced in ~18 weeks, as soon as the recruits come out of training.
~15% cost of a new unit

Specialized man dependend Units:

- Airplanes wings
- Naval infantry

- gets reinforced in ~10 weeks worstcase, as soon as the recruits come out of training.
~20% cost of a new unit

For the third class we have equipment replacement as bottleneck:

Equipment dependend Units:

- Tanks
- Ships
- Modern planes

- reinforce times of 40-50 weeks almost 3/4 time of new creation
~30% cost of a new unit

So all this boils down to:

Don't waste your Tanks, it will take quite a while to get new one to the front.


UPGRADING DIVISIONS

The upgrade process follows the same pattern as reinforcement.
It is fast and easy to upgrade Infantry and massproduced equipment, even a bit faster then reinforcing them.
But:

Keeping your armored force uptodate requires time and ressources.


Also with the increased cost and time involved in keeping you armored Divisions in the fight, a fundamental flaw of the original upgrade system became obvious.
While a certain portion of reinforcement troops would be equipped with salvaged equipment, it doesn't make sense that the replacements fresh from the factory were still outdated.
So from now on half of your reinforcement troops come with fresh shiny new equipment..
Which means ingame, that when you reinforce an outdated unit by 10% you also upgrade it by 5% without additional costs.

Code:
misc.txt

# Reinforce to upgrade modifier. Values from 0.0 (divisions do not get extra upgrade progress on reinforcement) to 1.0 (1:1 ratio, 1% reinforce adds 1% to upgrade progress)
	0.5 # 0.0


You can now also define upgrade and reinforce behaviour for each model indivdually in the unit files.

Code:
Unitfile

	upgrade_time_factor = 0.25
	upgrade_cost_factor = 1.25
	reinforce_time		= 1.1
	reinforce_cost 		= 0.56

I hope you will enjoy the results.
 

De_Spinoza

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Which means ingame, that when you reinforce an outdated unit by 10% you also upgrade it by 5% without additional costs.
Especially like this :)

However, with tanks costing that much to upgrade and reinforce... It seems armor is a rather useless unit looking at the IC it costs as it is. Considering they will cost more to upgrade and reinforce, it seems reasonable to me to make them a bit more 'durable' and generally more useful at the same time to ensure it's not just something that is a waste of IC.
 

Tankist/45

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IMO all in all unit production system is too much US oriented. 16.000 soldiers and huge logistics system were in US divisions, but not in most other countries. Its good system for US with her huge IC load and geografical advantage.
 

lightyears

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you should really increase armored units' effectiveness or else no one will build them, in the current state you can build 5 inf divs from the IC cost of an armored one, so armor is not really worth it
 

Cybvep

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you should really increase armored units' effectiveness or else no one will build them, in the current state you can build 5 inf divs from the IC cost of an armored one, so armor is not really worth it
Maybe armour should be very cost-effective when it comes to MP?
 

clone1337

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I understand the "Build Times of Land Units", no prop.
But i dont understand the Ic Costs.
You just said its just one part of building some rifles, equip and assault guns. So why does it cost each day arround 7 IC to build an Infantery devision, when you just have to build all rifles, euqip and assault guns, which takes just 10-12 weeks? Maybe unit build time and cost should be splitted: For example:
An Inf devisions needs 350 days for train ---> 50 weeks build time. But only the first 10-15 weeks it coast 7 IC, then it coasts 1 IC ( or even just Supply Consumption )
This would show that the industry does need to work so long for just the rifles which must be produced before combad training starts ( only in Russia they trainend wich sticks and potatos )

Another idea would be, when every Manpower point costs a certain value of money. You must pay your soldiers. Democraties more, Dictatorships less. Maybe adding this to the democratie slider. And under mobilisation money for soldiers is reduced by the mobi slider.
This would balance Idea One.

For Fall Gelb / Attack through ardennes into france germany had over 100 Inf Divisions, but only 7 Tank divisions. Tanks should have higher values in soft and hard attacks. They were just alot stronger then Infantry with their static assault guns.

But Tanks have always been very expensive for all nations. They should be more expensive, but stronger to show their might. And they sould speed up in woods.
 
Last edited:

ewphoenix123

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Maybe armour should be very cost-effective when it comes to MP?

They really weren't, an armored Division was basicly a slightly smaller motorized Division with a few hundreds Tanks attached. *simplification*

I wonder how will you handle armour balancing.

vOv A combined arms and Schwerpunkt approach is already very effective, balancing combatlosses and individual unit effectivness is something we will do along the line once we get feedback.
So I assume you all are eager to get the the beta patch, just let us know if the armor balance is way of and they became useless. (I doubt it but you never know)
 

Cybvep

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They really weren't, an armored Division was basicly a slightly smaller motorized Division with a few hundreds Tanks attached. *simplification*
But if you count the tactical and operation roles of tanks, they were more cost-effective in terms of MP than plain infantry. Also, the nominal power of armoured formations was quite big. If two sides battled each other and one side had tanks while the other didn't, it's obvious which one had an inherent advantage over the other one.
 

ewphoenix123

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I understand the "Build Times of Land Units", no prop.
But i dont understand the Ic Costs.
You just said its just one part of building some rifles, equip and assault guns. So why does it cost each day arround 7 IC to build an Infantery devision, when you just have to build all rifles, euqip and assault guns, which takes just 10-12 weeks? Maybe unit build time and cost should be splitted: For example:
An Inf devisions needs 350 days for train ---> 50 weeks build time. But only the first 10-15 weeks it coast 7 IC, then it coasts 1 IC ( or even just Supply Consumption )
This would show that the industry does need to work so long for just the rifles which must be produced before combad training starts ( only in Russia they trainend wich sticks and potatos )

You skiped one little line in my post. The actual percentage equipment contributed to the cost for forming an Infantry Division was only 15%, there is sourcematerial avaiable that further explains which factors contribute to overall costs, but honestly after reading a few pages a gave up and simply accepted that equipment is not the deciding factor here.

But if you count the tactical and operation roles of tanks, they were cost-effective.
But Tanks have always been very expensive for all nations. They should be more expensive, but stronger to show their might. And they sould speed up in woods.

Yes/No/Maybe.
This is one of those things that is hard to meassure. Tanks were expensive and rare if you look at the overall picture off ww2, mostly because of the insane productiontimes.
When properly used and massed they absolutely dominated under ideal battle conditions, but on the other hand they were easy prey when operating to far away from infantry support, especially as man carried antitank weaponry was massproduced in insane amounts at extremly low cost.

I'm not reall sure yet how to best simulate this in the end. I'm no big fan of making them cheaper.
Making them stronger is an option I'm thinking about, mostly along the line of making tougher, not increasing there damage output.
On the other hand I don't want them to become the invincible do it all alone unit they were in some mods.

But those fine balancing issues to the combatmechanics are more appropiate for 1.3 when Martin has the time to add a few more engine features needed for it.
After all Armored Units currently aren't reallyunderpowered as far as I can tell.
 

Cybvep

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The point is not to make the armoured units overpowered but making them highly useful and very expensive IMO. The player/AI should value them highly, but they should offer operational capabilities one might not have without them.
 

ewphoenix123

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Ok I agree and thats what I want to achieve. :)

In 1.2 I mostly worked on the Industrial and logistical framework, like upgrade/reinforce/fuel/supply/tc.
In 1.3 when everything works as planed will give me the opportunity to further improve combatmechanics.
 

ewphoenix123

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Not before I know what can be implemented without hurting the ai. ;)

The basic idea is as always with things I work on realism and plausibilty.
Adjusting Unit resistance and damage to achieve realistic combat losses f.e. , how does a certain brigade attachment affect the outcome. Keeping balance between different unittypes. Lots of spreadsheat battles and ingame tests incoming, but it's much to early for details. 1.2 needs to be polished before I can actually start and drag Eric from his current project to help me. ^^

We also need time to evaluate the new parameter Martin introduced with 1.2 for land and naval combat.
 
Last edited:

lightyears

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well, exciting times ahead i guess
im not saying that the current balance is very wrong its just the armor thats not right (underpowered) imo, but i dont really know what could be done
 

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DH is getting better and better.
Excellent.
 

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Sounds really good. I've never been a fan of battleships that repaired as fast as interceptors.
 

lightyears

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But if you count the tactical and operation roles of tanks, they were more cost-effective in terms of MP than plain infantry. Also, the nominal power of armoured formations was quite big. If two sides battled each other and one side had tanks while the other didn't, it's obvious which one had an inherent advantage over the other one.

maybe they could just create a plains modifier and give armor a big attack and defense bonus there
 

Cybvep

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maybe they could just create a plains modifier and give armor a big attack and defense bonus there
I'm not sure whether it's the best way to go. Tanks were used in the woods, forests and hills, too. Even in mountainous or jungle terrain armoured vehicles could be useful, because of their unique role. Sure, maybe they weren't very cost-effective in such terrain, but their nominal power alone could be decisive, especially against troops with poor AT capabilities (and you don't expect to see many tanks in harsh terrain). What I think is lacking representation is the fact that it was not the combat efficiency per se which was heavily impaired, but losses due to mechanical breakdown and greatly reduced mobility. If tanks were working fine, then they were dangerous - simple as that. IMO attrition in case of armoured divs should be much higher (in all terrain types, but especially in harsh terrain), but it should mostly impact STR and IC cost needed for reinforcements, not MP.
 

unmerged(131989)

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In theory this sounds promising. I can't wait to fire up the new beta patch and see how it works in practice.