HOI4 Dev Diary - Naval Changes #1 - Overview

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podcat

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Happy wednesday! Today is going to be the first of a few diaries covering changes to naval combat and naval gameplay. The idea of this diary is to give an overview of the different changes, and then future diaries will dig into more details. We are effectively redoing most of the naval aspects of the game which is a herculean task. This means a lot of stuff might still end up seeing changes and are work in progress. My hope is that this will give you a good picture of what we are trying to accomplish. Expect that each of these sections below is probably gonna get its own diary.

Screenshot_1.jpg



Task Forces & Missions
First up let's talk about how we are changing the management of fleets. Fleets are now made up of task forces. The fleet, like before, is led by an Admiral. The fleet has one area of responsibility and each task force can have individual missions. Some of those missions are designed to cooperate as well between them. Each task force can have various settings to control its behavior (like if you want them to split off ships to repair, or their risk vs aggression stance etc). Fleets, like Army Groups on land are visible and organized into theaters. In this case naval theaters.
theater.jpg


These also has a separate section for reserves at the bottom so you have an easier time managing where newly built ships go, and which replacement ships go to where.

Your navy is likely to be the most fuel thirsty thing you have so it's important to manage things in an economic way. Putting all your battleships to patrol the Iberian Coast is not something that will make fuel-economic-sense anymore (hey I invented a word!). To deal with this kind of thing we have removed the old Search and Destroy mission and have a new one called Strike Force.

A strike force flagged task force job is to sit and wait in port where it won’t consume fuel, and to go and assist trouble your more nimble and cheap patrols locate. Search and Destroy also would not make sense to keep around anymore, as in most case the concept of the fleet spreading out is gone. We wanted your carefully assembled task forces to join as one unit and to be in one location always, rather than spread over the map in an abstract way. More details on this in a dedicated diary, but let's get back to how patrol missions can work together with strike forces when we get to the next topic: spotting!


Spotting
Before Man the Guns the way ships would engage would essentially be based on a dice roll, meaning as long as you were in a zone, no matter how hard to find you were, combat would always ensue. We also struggled with every combat essentially sucking in every ship into a giant doomstack battle. This was also made worse because combats in HOI take a lot longer than in reality, yet movement on the map is similar, making reinforcement much too easy.

To deal with this we have split up combat into essentially 2 parts. Spotting, and actual combat. For a combat to happen you must first spot the enemy fully. Below is a picture showing a patrol force of destroyers closing in on fully spotting a German cruiser group, with a strike force assigned to support. It goes pretty fast because I have built a decent radar net to support my ships.
spot.jpg



When you get a target to 100% spotting, which is the bar you can see on the left of the red task force, combat can start. I say can, because it depends on your task force settings for how aggressive you want them to be. In this case because it has a strike force to help out the British ships will wait a bit for their strike force to get there (the Germans could engage if they were aggressive and the patrol force weak enough to be taken out fast). Once it’s there the battle will start.

spot_2.jpg



If the battle would have been a pushover for the patrol group (say a lone destroyer) they would have just dealt with it without calling in the strike force and burned all that fuel.

As for piling in more stuff into a battle to escalate it into the doomstacks of old, the solution is that task forces given the order to join will be slowed based on org level and distance (manual orders also reduce this), meaning there will be a significant delay as they get there and can actually get on with firing. Sort of like a coordination penalty. With battles shorter this means you could clear the field and get away before things escalate.

Combat
When it comes to combat we are aiming for less decisive battles, where composition matters more, and that are easier to understand, and where its easier to disengage when stuff goes badly. A tall order! Currently this is a bit too pink and coder-arty for a sneak peek, so you are going to have to be patient (something I know you guys are amazing at, so this should be no biggie ;))

Terrain (recap)
Different parts of the oceans will favor different kinds of task force compositions, combined with admiral traits etc this will allow for some home advantage and variation in “best fleet”. Check out last weeks diary for more details.
upload_2018-10-17_17-7-56.png


Repair/Production (recap)
The changes outlined in repair and production is an important part of making this all feel ok. If we want less decisive battles where the enemy is pushed back at sea, then repairing needed to cost something other than simply time. Repair now takes up dockyards and production of individual big capital ships is slower (although the speed to produce several in parallel is unchanged). Read more details in the previous diary here if you missed it.
upload_2018-10-17_17-7-14.png


Ship Design
We will also allow you to design and refit ships allowing you more options for adapting to changing circumstances and to get the most out of your navy and technological advancement.

Hopefully all this gave you an overview on what we are trying to achieve in Man the Guns and 1.6 Ironclad when it comes to the naval game. Look forward to more detail in future diaries (although we are likely to sprinkle in some other topics in between as well, like our unannounced final focus tree). See you all next week!

Rejected Titles:
  • Nice boat.
  • Ship Spotting - Choose the navy. Choose a big ass ship. Choose a zone.
  • The wargame version of the DM going "roll a perception check"
  • "These are actually the boats you are looking for"
  • "Remember men, the enemy battlefleet is more afraid of you than you are of them"
  • "I see you have spotted a ship. I am a bit of a ship spotter myself"
 
Last edited:

Daffius

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With task force now sitting in ports, is there any revamp for how port strike works? To avoid naval bombers just pummeling them. Currently, even air superiority doesn't fully negate port strike missions.
 

Kacper1234PL

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Finally we get to the navy stuff! Yay! Really love the new task forces and the ability to make reserve fleets. Good job guys!
 

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Are you gonna include a feature that measures how much said fleet is burning in terms of how many tiles its moving around? Or maybe keeping a overall record book so you can keep track of where most of your oil expenditure is going towards? So you can see from 1936-1945 what (equipment) and where the fuel is being most used at?
 

Holdy

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Much better Informations, than the stream. Thanks for this cool Info! We can wait, as long as you make it good :p
 

James Hale

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Pre-Dreadnought Hull. :D

I don't envy whoever went through all the naval OOBs to update every single ship...
 

Magnificent Genius

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This is all pretty cool stuff.

Not at all related, but who do I have to poke to get a "Panzer John" achievement for winning the Italo-Abysinnian war as Ethiopia added to the game?
 

Casko

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Good stuff.


If the battle would have been a pushover for the patrol group (say a lone destroyer) they would have just dealt with it without calling in the strike force and burned all that fuel.

Can you share yet how is this calculated and all yet or no?
and I hope you guys playtest this a lot, since it sounds quite problematic in case Fleet AI for patrol group thinks it can handle what its facing, and then be utterly sunken by a sudden enemy heavy cruiser out of nowhere.

With task force now sitting in ports, is there any revamp for how port strike works? To avoid naval bombers just pummeling them. Currently, even air superiority doesn't fully negate port strike missions.

Also something I want to know. as this sounds like you could end with a result of never leaving the port due to 24/7 minimal damage on your capital ships.

When you get a target to 100% spotting, which is the bar you can see on the left of the red task force, combat can start. I say can, because it depends on your task force settings for how aggressive you want them to be. In this case because it has a strike force to help out the British ships will wait a bit for their strike force to get there (the Germans could engage if they were aggressive and the patrol force weak enough to be taken out fast). Once it’s there the battle will start.

Do Radars stations also help you spot enemy fleets? Or Air Superiority on the sea region? perhaps plane range affects how well you can spot with planes, so long range heavy fighters can spot enemy fleets further out at sea.
 

Kadanz

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Noice
 

grandad1982

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Nice.

Does spotting only tick up until 100% or can it go up and down in the same spotting action? Also is there any chance of getting a 100% spotting in one go to represent stumbling across the enemy unexpectedly (I have no idea if that would make sense or not to be honest)?
 

Sourlol

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Once a strike force is called for, will the enemy task force remain spotted? Can weather affect this? Say, strike force departs the Harbor, but a fog (dunno if those are in hoi4 with the update) or storm rolls through, potentially limiting vis and breaking contact. Does the strike force continue on or turn back? I suppose I’m trying to build a case for battle of Jutland type thing happening organically.

If you are spotting the enemy, is he necessarilly spotting you? Does he even necessarilly know you’re there?

Cool stuff look forward to more.
 

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podcat

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With task force now sitting in ports, is there any revamp for how port strike works? To avoid naval bombers just pummeling them. Currently, even air superiority doesn't fully negate port strike missions.
Yea, the idea is to make strikes easier to defend against since more time is spent in ports now.

Are you gonna include a feature that measures how much said fleet is burning in terms of how many tiles its moving around? Or maybe keeping a overall record book so you can keep track of where most of your oil expenditure is going towards? So you can see from 1936-1945 what (equipment) and where the fuel is being most used at?
You can see some fuel changes in the topbar in the first picture. That one has more breakdown and stuff. You can also see how much the fleet/task force etc is using by tooltipping the fuel icon on it. We'll do another update on fuel before release

Do Radars stations also help you spot enemy fleets? Or Air Superiority on the sea region? perhaps plane range affects how well you can spot with planes, so long range heavy fighters can spot enemy fleets further out at sea.
Both help yea. I intentionally didnt show the breakdown tooltip since its still being worked on

As for many of the detailed questions, they will need to wait for the more specific DDs. Todays quest was to give an overview of everything so talking about the individual things make more sense
 

James Hale

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@podcat

I am liking these naval changes, but please make sure the AI builds carrier planes if it builds carriers, and doesn't send out carriers with no planes on! (the default option in vanilla)
 

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@podcat Seeing as though Fleets will be managed by Admirals, will there be any things along the lines of Captains/Admirals being lost along with their ships either by accident (A Captain/Admiral attempting to escape but failing to) or by choice (For instance, Admiral Lutjens decided to go down with the Bismarck when it was sunk by the allies) I believe it would add personal character to certain admirals and their attachments to their commands and their crews, maybe this could tie into potential Naval casualties where if ships sink in a battle there is a chance that they escape via life raft or friendly boats returning after the battle to rescue the survivors :)