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Variable USA Starting MPPs / Technology Through Conquest


DevilDog
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OK, a few more suggestions...

Inspired by SuperTed I invaded (successfully) England. Of course the demo ended right when things got interesting. Both the USA and USSR declaired war on the axis when Britain fell.

Almost all my German units were in England when Russia invaded. I had two corps, 2 HQs and one air fleet left on the continent (and no, I wouldn't try that against a human opponent). Luckily I was able to opperationally move those two corps to the east, raise 5 new corps and have the luck to get Hungary to declair war on Russia the next turn, so I didn't end up losing any cities.

I had some heavy duty experienced units in England that I began to transport back to the continent: 6 air fleets, 1 bomber fleet, 5 corps, 6 armies, three tank groups and two HQs. And then the demo ran out.

Also, as Italy I took Vichy France and was about to take Algiers. Gibralter fell to Germany when Britian gave up, and Spain was about to take Portugal.

Germany ended up with 421 MPPs and Italy with 131. As I was pouring all my $ into units and reinforcements I never invested into research.

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Now for my observations:

It seems like a lot of people's complaints about the AI are because it reacts to things somewhat historically. If you do something daring or off the wall it doesn't respond as well. But until an AI is designed that can remember and learn and then be saved in a file between games, I think the AI that now exists is as good as it is going to get. And I would only want that as an option anyway - after a couple games it could get really hard to compete against the AI. I'm sure it would take a tremendous amount of programing and would probably not end up being worth it. Plus, I think the existing AI does pretty well in normal circumstances.

Suggestions:

1. The last game was the first time I fought against the USA. Only 180 MPPs? Yes I know it represents only half of the US industrial strength, and they probably start with improved industrial tech. Actually, that's probably pretty accurate for early '41. And the real trick is play balance - it's no fun if the set up is historical but unwinable for one side. Still, I would think the USA output should be at least half of the Russian's. My question (yes, I'm coming to the point finally) is what happens when the USA enters the war late, or in this case, when Germany has already conquered much of the map?

I think the USA MPPs should be variable. As a MPP base you would have the points from the cities and ports, and then the remainder would be a percentage of what Germany has when the US enters the war. So if the US enters when Germany already has 450 MPPs, maybe the US will start with 260 MPPs. The difference between the base values from the cities and ports and total value could be divided among the open hexes in the USA, so if they get invaded they will lose a corresponding amount of production, although I wouldn't give that same amount of production to the invader.

2. When conquering a MAJOR country, I think there should be a certain chance of stealing their tech levels, if they are more advanced than yours. So when Germany conquers France, maybe they have a 40% chance at getting Heavy Tank Technology level 1. And the same for England, etc. Just a thought.

3. Good work, Hubert!

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It seems like a lot of people's complaints about the AI are because it reacts to things somewhat historically. If you do something daring or off the wall it doesn't respond as well. But until an AI is designed that can remember and learn and then be saved in a file between games, I think the AI that now exists is as good as it is going to get. And I would only want that as an option anyway - after a couple games it could get really hard to compete against the AI. I'm sure it would take a tremendous amount of programing and would probably not end up being worth it. Plus, I think the existing AI does pretty well in normal circumstances.

From the programming standpoint I pretty much agree, despite this I have added a few surprises to the AI and I strongly believe that I've managed to eliminate the 'gameyness' reported so far. For example surprise attacks on the US and Italy have been adjusted, still an option though but at a little bit of a higher risk within reason and working from the current design etc., as well as many others. I'll post in more detail all of the tweaks made once the Gold Demo is officially announced

1. The last game was the first time I fought against the USA. Only 180 MPPs?

As you've pointed out it's a matter of balancing the game play with historical accuracy. One idea was to increase the US and Soviet production capabilities over time, but I wanted to stick with the what you see is what you get, i.e. all income can be counted from resources on the map and it works out about the same in the end. I know that 180 does not seem much wrt to Soviet income, 180 is half of US total as you've mentioned but also consider the higher Soviet income reflecting the huge manpower (almost infinite it seemed to the Germans) they could call upon and overall lower production costs they had during the war. Some other games have lower costs for Soviet infantry but it's still a matter of pushing the right numbers around to get the right balance.

In the full campains 180 MPP per turn puts the US in about the historical position, where they can still send lots of men/tanks/air units over to the European Theater, but leaves them hobbled a bit if they want to try something different which would be pretty much realistic. Also depending upon how you play, by the end of the game (and I would say in in most cases) I've found the US with much more equipment than they actually had during the war in the european theater so I think it balances out pretty well.

2. When conquering a MAJOR country, I think there should be a certain chance of stealing their tech levels, if they are more advanced than yours. So when Germany conquers France, maybe they have a 40% chance at getting Heavy Tank Technology level 1. And the same for England, etc. Just a thought.
Very interesting idea, another one for me to add to my list of things for the future ;)

3. Good work, Hubert!

Thanks!
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Wow - that was a quick response, and from the head man himself!

If you say the USA MPPs balance out well at 180 then I trust you. It is very hard to get a realistic feel for balance when you know you have an artificial one year limit on play. Actually, that makes sense - American units won't be engaged as much, until you are able to build up their forces, while the Russians will be constantly losing units once they engage the Germans.

2. When conquering a MAJOR country, I think there should be a certain chance of stealing their tech levels, if they are more advanced than yours. So when Germany conquers France, maybe they have a 40% chance at getting Heavy Tank Technology level 1. And the same for England, etc. Just a thought.

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Very interesting idea, another one for me to add to my list of things for the future

Really? That would be great!

[ June 08, 2002, 09:59 PM: Message edited by: DevilDog ]

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I think Hubert is right on the money with respect to the USA's MPP output. Beyond the gameplay factors, there would be some historical precedent for this in that the US really took a couple of years to build up its land forces in the UK (and even then, numerically speaking, they were but a fraction of what the Red Army put into the fray on the Eastern front.)

This would also seem to model the fact that a large percentage of the US's production would presumably be devoted to the threat of and war with Japan. If you think of the 180 as being half (or some other percentage) of the total US output it probably would not seem so "off."

And technology through conquest would have quite a bit of historical precedent as well. The Germans, for instance, made ample use of the Czech Skoda armaments works they picked up in 1938, even to the extent of outfitting a large percentage of the early panzer forces with Czech tanks. (The Pz-38.)

Great demo, Hubert, and definitely a lot of excitement on my part at getting a go at the final version.

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