Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

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terminator
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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by terminator » Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:35 pm

hugh2711 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:38 am
I love the idea of random generated maps. This will vastly increase the replayability and longevity of the game for single players.

I also would like to know; 'what is the maximum map size'
This will of course be determined by the strength of the computer.
While I am sort of resigned to getting a new laptop :-( it woud still be good to be able to turn off all the eye candy settings BEFORE generating the map enabling faster response and bigger maps. Of course we all know bigger maps are better/more fun e.g. battlefield europe etc.

I also like the idea of a map that is two land masses completely seperated by a body of water of varying sizes.
In the game Order of Battle WWII, it is not the size of the map which is the most important for the computer but rather the number of units on the map.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by hugh2711 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:21 pm

Actually its the ratio of units to map size. Hence the really big maps e.g. BFe although they have alot of units, in comparison to the map size are relatively low giving lots of room for creative thinking/alternate sloutions. Wheras the later DLC's are not as popular (as determined by the number of replays/AAR's and general discussion on the forums) as the early ones because the amount of units (soviet mega-hordes) are ridiculously big compared to the map size giving limited scope to put your own stamp/style on it hence most people find them a bit boring after one play.
By turning off eye candy I mean things like;
option to turn off shadows before map generation
option to turn off animations before map generation
option to turn off sound before map generation
multiple options to simplify graphics before map generation
i.e. options to turn off some of the graphics programmable characteristics that contribute to graphics complexity (sorry I am not up to date with exact game programming techniques at the moment so could not specifically name them)
All these things will affect the size of the maps that can be RELIABLY generated AND importantly the range of machines it can be used on.
As I have said before doing this part of the single player game really well will contribute greatly to the popularity and longevity of the game as multiplayer games are a smaller market for this game and the larger multiplayer market is really saturated with sensory/eye candy stuff.
'Bottom line'; There will be an initial surge in sales largely from the multiplayer market and people with PZ1 but the better this single player part is done (hopefully with options as above) the more longetivity and longer term (MORE) sales there will be.
Pleeeeeese do this for the long term. I really dont want to have to learn a panzer corps 3.

correction: I will NOT be learning a panzer corps 3

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by proline » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:00 am

Rudankort wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:14 pm
As soon as I can see a clear benefit to gameplay from changed spotting rules, I will gladly consider it. What exactly do you suggest? If terrain like forests blocks LOS instantly, this means that no units, including recon, can see more than 1 hex into a big forest which your army is passing. I've already explained why I don't think it's a good idea. And this would actually affect recons with their huge spotting range more than any other units, which will not make them more attractive. :) Do you suggest to make recons an exception from general LOS rules?
Let's try this a different way- have you taken any action to make recon less of a total waste of slots and money?

I could see there being fun in making things a little more complicated in this one area. How about this: you can only see one hex into a forest or higher terrain than you. So if you're next to forest or hill, you only see one hex. Now add in a higher ground hierarchy, so that if you are on a hill, your vision is no longer blocked by hills, nor by forests, but it is still blocked by mountains. Plus you get double vision over terrain that is below you, So if you are on a hill hex and your base vision is 2 you can see 2 over other hills, but 4 over the plains, or 3 hexes if you are looking over a hill followed by two plains. Now exempt recon from all of the above except the high ground advantage.

While I admit my proposal would be a bit harder to learn, it would allow the possibility of effective ambushes or just plain hiding in close terrain, it would make recon essential, and it would give controlling high ground some meaningful value.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by Kerensky » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:57 am

proline wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:00 am
Let's try this a different way- have you taken any action to make recon less of a total waste of slots and money?
I'm pretty sure they've said they have. Something about mass attack special benefits from adjacent recon cars.

That said, calling them total wastes of slots and money is too much hyperbole to ignore. I've always valued my recon units, both in campaign and multiplayer. I recognize they are expendable resources in campaign, but they still serve good purpose to detect and absorb enemy counter attacks. If you play without pre-knowledge and without save load tactics, these early warning systems are vital. There's no stopping anyone who wants to save load, even games with built in ironman modes always have workarounds (alt F4), but if the randomization features in PzC II are stronger, and they seem to be from the random map generation, no amount of pre-knowledge about counter-attack timings can help player, they have to do the proper recon themselves.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by huckc » Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:50 pm

Random enemy unit turn and location spawn triggers would be very nice for single-player, especially aircraft. To give an example, a group of enemy aircraft has a random chance of spawning between turns 3 and 5 and from airfield x or y. They will always spawn and as the same exact units but you don't know exactly when and where so you need to keep on your toes.

The game currently supports spawn randomization but not this specific use case. Well...it technically does but is impractical in the scenario designer.

Hardelot did something similar and made it one of my favorites.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by ptje63 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:05 pm

I like the addition of random generated maps. It will guarantee a longer usage of the game. A good example of this is the fact that I still play The Grandest Fleet - thanks to its random generated maps option. Will you use similar parameters like TGF to create the map?

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by proline » Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:06 am

Kerensky wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:57 am
That said, calling them total wastes of slots and money is too much hyperbole to ignore. I've always valued my recon units, both in campaign and multiplayer. I recognize they are expendable resources in campaign, but they still serve good purpose to detect and absorb enemy counter attacks. If you play without pre-knowledge and without save load tactics, these early warning systems are vital. There's no stopping anyone who wants to save load, even games with built in ironman modes always have workarounds (alt F4), but if the randomization features in PzC II are stronger, and they seem to be from the random map generation, no amount of pre-knowledge about counter-attack timings can help player, they have to do the proper recon themselves.
There's nothing hyperbolic about it. Recon is irrelevant in PzC because the enemy always attacks from the same direction on the same turn with the same forces. And there's no way to play without preknowledge, because the game has a limited amount of single player content that can be easily exhausted. If you've done it before, you don't forget. Furthermore, there is no such thing as "expendable resources" if you are playing at the highest level you can- to be your best you can't be throwing away even a hundred bucks on a unit that can be one-shot killed by pretty much anything that comes out from 1943 onwards.

This could change if they manage to make fun campaigns in PzC2 that aren't scripted. That said, for all its faults the scripting in PzC is still more fun than the non-scripted campaigns of Panzer General. I'm skeptical that they are planning on investing enough attention into the AI to make it fun to play against, so scripts kind of make up for that. Making a clever AI would be hard are would be nothing like anything they've ever done. As for random computer generated maps, we'll see if those are actually fun or not.

I'll admit that there may well be a role for recon in multi-player. But multi-player will never be a strong suit for turn based games. Too much waiting. In chess you can at least study the board while you wait, in PzC there's pretty much nothing to do since much of what you need to think about is behind the fog of war. I mean great for whoever enjoys it, but we shouldn't have whole unit classes that only work in multi.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by Rood » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:47 am

Rudankort wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:14 pm
Horst wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:14 pm
One of the reasons why I prefer OoB over PzC is/was the missing LoS.
Game rules must be considered as a whole. OoB had the front line, which could show enemy advance even in fog of war. In Panzer Corps the problem of unspotted enemy units is already much more severe. Enemy could be anywhere. Spotting area of your army is already quite limited, with many units having mere 1 or 2 spotting. I'm not convinced at all that reducing this area further, no matter by what rules, is a good idea. As a unique challenge in an individual scenario, like Kerensky suggested - maybe. In special situations, like bad weather, yes why not. PzC already had this rule. But not permanently. On the other hand, extending this area is no problem. We have "high ground" terrain trait in Panzer Corps 2, which can be used to spot further away.
I also really like the LoS mechanics in OoB but I agree with you that for PzC it will not work. However I have a small request.
Could it be implemented that if there's only naval units that they cannot use their normal LoS range on grond hexes. As an example if there's a cruiser with 4 LoS adjecent to a coastal hex it can only see the adjecent coastal hexes but not further inland. Unless there's a friendly ground unit near by that does the actually spotting.

It annoyed me like hell that ships could bombard 3-5 hexes inland without there being any friendly ground untis. And yes the navy do have aerial recon planes but then those should be actual units that could be shot down.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by Molve » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:13 am

Rudankort wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:03 pm
Molve wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:11 pm
Generating random maps with seas begs the question: how do ships get on the map?
The ships get on the map via Purchase screen, like in the good old Pacific General. This can happen both on deployment phase and in the middle of a scenario. I could separate ship slots from other slots, like PacGen did, but I decided very deliberately against it, because I did not want to impose a certain fleet size on the players of these maps. It is up to the player to decide what balance between ground, air and naval units he wants.
Okay we will see how it ends up.

I am sure you do see the concern here: assuming capital ships are given relative costs that are even close to reality, purchasing a battleship on any map where naval combat isn't absolutely necessary is not going to happen. Take the multiplayer scnario between french partisans and italian garrison forces (named partisan uprising maybe?). The presence of naval units on this map is entirely dependant on them being "randomly" assigned (in this case by the scenario creator)*.

Asking the player to pretty much buy one Battleship instead of... well, the entirety of his army I guess... won't work. If the random generator could set aside a number of "naval prestige points" that could only be used for naval units, this would mean we could hope for naval units even on non-archipelago maps. (This could even be something like "Naval units: 0%, 10% or 20% of prestige pool?" on the map generator settings page) Naval units could then have wildly unrealistic (read cheap) pp costs, since you can't buy ships with PPs and panzers with NPPs.

In short: you can't ask a player to choose between, I don't know, a dozen Tigers or one cruiser (or whatever the cost for a capital ship is). Either the map absolutely demands amphibious assaults (archipelago map typ) or it doesn't (everything else). I can't see how a player will ever buy a single PT boat on a map that can be won entirely by the army (and its air wing).

I am not trying to be all doom and gloom here - I trust that you're saying "don't worry, we've got this".

Only you haven't told us how :)

Best regards,
M

*) As a player of this map, the only way I would buy a capital ship is
a) if I know the opposing side lacks air assets
b) if I can reasonably assume I will achieve air superiority if not air supremacy

Assuming b, I must complement my Battleship purchase with a sizeable fighter wing as well as possibly AA units. Plus, I must hide my Battleship until I feel confident I've drawn out enemy bombers.

But this means spending WAY too much prestige on this sideshow, and my enemy will likely curbstomp me with infantry, armor and regular artillery.

Sure, a capital ship has a few squares longer range** than land-based artillery. If a Cruiser cost maybe ~400pp like a good heavy artillery piece (with transport). But 400pp feels wildly unrealistic.

So excuse me if I feel confused :)

**) Which begs another question: can we have capital ships with ranges in the 10-15 hex range for those "defend the beaches" scenarios? Battleships that can barely shoot the length of six ships ;) never felt realistic. Or will this have to be handled by whatever replacement you have in mind for the hero mechanic? (In Corps 1, you could add a hero that gave a ship extra range. Crude, but functional).

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by Molve » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:43 am

Kerensky wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:57 am
That said, calling them total wastes of slots and money is too much hyperbole to ignore.
The problem is that recon units aren't presented as an "advanced" feature of the game.

With all respect Kerensky, but your reply isn't helpful, since "just become an expert player like me" is not constructive. I fully realize that's not what you meant. But I feel I need to open your eyes to the posibility of others reading it that way.

For the casual player, recon units that cannot be used for the perhaps simplistic purpose of "drive ahead to spot the enemy, the drive back again" mean exactly one thing: That they die. A lot. Please accept this as basic fact, Kerensky.

In the context of Panzer General style games, units that you "can't" protect and see accumulate experience stars and heroes, are not fun. And I hope we can all agree that unfun units do deserve the "total waste of slots and money" moniker, however simplistic and/or unfair you might feel about it.

The fact that you can find a use for them is not relevant to this analysis. Do you see? (I really am not winding you up here)

So perhaps a better and more constructive way to phrase the question is:

Will recon units in PC2 be retooled into either of the following two classes?
a) a truly newb-friendly unit that the casual gamer finds as long-lived as any other unit? (That is, perhaps not as sturdy as his elite bonus Waffen-SS Jadgpanther II, but at least not noticeably more fragile than the average unit) The submarine "evade" 50% miss chance maybe?
b) a unit meant for advanced play - that is, a unit not given to beginning players, not present in default armies? (If you had to purchase every recon unit, the problem would be lessened, even if players would still complain about recon units just because they're there in the purchase screen)

Myself, I see an easier solution. Just give recon units double speed per default difficulty settings. (You know the sergeant to general choice). Then the topmost difficulty could toggle this off. This would gently tell players exactly what you are saying, Kerensky, while still keeping players happy. This way, "real" recon would feel almost like a reward: "congratulations, you have now earned the trust to manage recon the way top-level players do" :)

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by Rudankort » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:32 pm

Great discussion, keep it going. :) Some very quick comments.
terminator wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:35 pm
What is the maximal map size ?
hugh2711 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:38 am
I also would like to know; 'what is the maximum map size'
We have not set a limit yet. It will depend on how successful our optimizations are. Random map generator can generate maps of almost any size, because it does not deal with 3D at all, rather it creates a map similar to how you see it in PzC editor (minus the tiles). It's 3D engine which will be the bottleneck (obviously!). While we are on this topic, how large do you guys want maps in PzC2?
stephenkman wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:23 pm
2. The ability to mark the map where you suspect enemy units are, with a "?" perhaps (the old Panzer Blitz board game had these). For instance, you attack a unit in foggy conditions and artillery briefly reveals itself when it fires, you can mark that spot so you remember it next turn. Or, a remote unit is about to be destroyed in an ambush and you want to remember that there were three units in that location.
We have it on wish list. This has been requested also by MP crowd, who like to leave some notes tied to hexes till later.
huckc wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:50 pm
Random enemy unit turn and location spawn triggers would be very nice for single-player, especially aircraft. To give an example, a group of enemy aircraft has a random chance of spawning between turns 3 and 5 and from airfield x or y. They will always spawn and as the same exact units but you don't know exactly when and where so you need to keep on your toes.
PzC should allow to do a very similar thing using position randomization and random condition, although this system will not guarantee that a given unit will appear. I'm looking into making this system automated (so it is activated by an option and randomizes any scenario, not only one specifically designed for this).
ptje63 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:05 pm
I like the addition of random generated maps. It will guarantee a longer usage of the game. A good example of this is the fact that I still play The Grandest Fleet - thanks to its random generated maps option. Will you use similar parameters like TGF to create the map?
I enjoyed playing The Grandest Fleet long ago, but I don't remember any more what parameters it offered for random map generation. Can you remind me? :)
Rood wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:47 am
However I have a small request.
Could it be implemented that if there's only naval units that they cannot use their normal LoS range on grond hexes. As an example if there's a cruiser with 4 LoS adjecent to a coastal hex it can only see the adjecent coastal hexes but not further inland. Unless there's a friendly ground unit near by that does the actually spotting.
It annoyed me like hell that ships could bombard 3-5 hexes inland without there being any friendly ground untis. And yes the navy do have aerial recon planes but then those should be actual units that could be shot down.
I think it is a very reasonable request. :)
Molve wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:13 am
I am sure you do see the concern here: assuming capital ships are given relative costs that are even close to reality, purchasing a battleship on any map where naval combat isn't absolutely necessary is not going to happen. Take the multiplayer scnario between french partisans and italian garrison forces (named partisan uprising maybe?). The presence of naval units on this map is entirely dependant on them being "randomly" assigned (in this case by the scenario creator)*.
The option to purchase ships is controlled on a scenario level, so many historical scenarios will not allow this. In a hypothetical Pacific campaign we will allow this, but will make sure this does not blow into unrealistic dimensions. As for generated content which is not based on history, we will use more freedom. Since we don't specify how long our turns are, how large are our units (and so how many Tigers in a single unit compete with a battleship), and also how you obtain your units (do you build them, or for example they arrive from main land on your request), we will balance things so that they make sense for gameplay. Of course, on all these maps it is totally possible to go without fleet (although naval landings can still be a very useful option).
proline wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:00 am
Let's try this a different way- have you taken any action to make recon less of a total waste of slots and money?
Now, about recon, several points:

- I consider recons separately from general LOS rules. Even though recon units must be useful, the rest of the army should not be totally crippled in its spotting ability without them.

- Usefullness of any unit is naturally limited by its role. If its role is not in demand, then the unit will see less use. If you play PzC with fog of war turned off, recons naturally become less important. Along the same lines, if you have already played PzC's nearly 500 official scenarios (plus mods), and on the next play through you still remember perfectly where each attack triggers - then congratulations, you have much better memory than most people out there. And yes, this means you need less recon than the rest of us. I don't see a good solution to this. Using scripting is a personal choice of a campaign designer. No matter how smart and unpredictable new AI will be, and no matter what randomization options I implement, the designer can conclude that a more scripted scenario will be more fun and go down this route. As for random scenarios and campaigns, they will certainly make recon more important (and we'll also have "shroud" option, to hide not just enemy units, but also terrain), but this kind of content is not for everyone. Still, I feel that between multiplayer, random content, and playing DLCs for the first time (or after a long break), it's enough room for recon to be considered useful in this game system. :P

- Within the new framework of rules, recons will be less vulnerable and more useful even without changing anything specifically about them. Thus, they will take less damage than in PzC, so their survivability will improve. They will also take much less slots than the mainstream combat units, so they will no longer compete with a Tiger II for the same slot (but rather with bridge engineers and other specialist units). New mechanics like split might make them more attractive, and more survivable. And if they die too fast, you can also give them overstrength from day 0 to improve their chances. By combining recon's great spotting with bonus from high ground allows to reveal even bigger area on the map (each additional step in spotting reveals more hexes than previous one). There are many little factors which help recon class in the new game.

- Having said all that, we are also making additional steps to make recon even more useful. One line of action is related to making them better in their primary (recon) role. For example, we are experimenting with their movement ranges, because even a slightly bigger range makes them more useful and flexible. The other line of action is about giving them new, unique roles. For example, recon next to enemy unit makes attacks on it more accurate, and also reduces chances of ambush (rugged defense).
proline wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:00 am
I could see there being fun in making things a little more complicated in this one area. How about this: you can only see one hex into a forest or higher terrain than you. So if you're next to forest or hill, you only see one hex. Now add in a higher ground hierarchy, so that if you are on a hill, your vision is no longer blocked by hills, nor by forests, but it is still blocked by mountains. Plus you get double vision over terrain that is below you, So if you are on a hill hex and your base vision is 2 you can see 2 over other hills, but 4 over the plains, or 3 hexes if you are looking over a hill followed by two plains. Now exempt recon from all of the above except the high ground advantage.

While I admit my proposal would be a bit harder to learn, it would allow the possibility of effective ambushes or just plain hiding in close terrain, it would make recon essential, and it would give controlling high ground some meaningful value.
It's not a bad suggestion per se, but it relies too much on high ground, while many maps don't have enough of it, but still have lots of forests and bocage. So we will often degrade to situation where your army becomes blind. If we only played on random maps, we could balance terrain to our needs, but on historical maps it is not possible. And like I said, I don't want to make recons mandatory by making them exempt from general LOS rules, because it can quickly become frustrating. Panzer Corps style of gameplay is very fluid, I can advance with one large group, and then split it into several smaller ones if I see need, then combine them back. If each group must have a recon - then I lose a lot of this flexibility.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by Molve » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:29 pm

You seem to have answers for everything Rudankort. :)

Here's one question I bet you will find impossible to answer:

Why are there two threads named "Dev Diary #6"? ;)

http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtop ... 64&t=88512
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtop ... 58&t=88511
Both start with screenshots of the various terrain generators, but one contains only four posts and the other one is this one. The other one lives in the PC2 forum together with the other dev diaries; this one is from Announcements.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by Kerensky » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:58 pm

proline wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:06 am
There's nothing hyperbolic about it. Recon is irrelevant in PzC because the enemy always attacks from the same direction on the same turn with the same forces. And there's no way to play without preknowledge, because the game has a limited amount of single player content that can be easily exhausted. If you've done it before, you don't forget. Furthermore, there is no such thing as "expendable resources" if you are playing at the highest level you can- to be your best you can't be throwing away even a hundred bucks on a unit that can be one-shot killed by pretty much anything that comes out from 1943 onwards.
Molve wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:43 am
The problem is that recon units aren't presented as an "advanced" feature of the game.

With all respect Kerensky, but your reply isn't helpful, since "just become an expert player like me" is not constructive. I fully realize that's not what you meant. But I feel I need to open your eyes to the posibility of others reading it that way.

For the casual player, recon units that cannot be used for the perhaps simplistic purpose of "drive ahead to spot the enemy, the drive back again" mean exactly one thing: That they die. A lot. Please accept this as basic fact, Kerensky.
I don't think I've ever been accused of ignoring the needs of the most elite of players with the best scenario pre-knowledge at their disposal playing on the highest difficulty settings while simultaneously been told I'm too elitest and not thinking like a normal, casual player with my dictation on advanced tactics. Fascinating. But we'll try to respond.

Proline, too much hyperbole again. "No way to play without preknowledge?" Come on, that is too much. How about the first time you play a scenario? I would dare to say the majority of players don't actually play all the content available in Panzer Corps. I would also say that even fewer of them play a scenario or campaign repeatedly again and again and again. And I would back up my claims with a simple glance at Steam global achievement stat tracking.
https://steamcommunity.com/stats/268400/achievements/

And I wholly disagree with the sentiment that once a scenario is done, you don't forget. Granted this is a personal thing, but I still get a kick out of some of the best Grand Campaign content when I revisit it. And I didn't just play them over and over, I built them. Wassigny instantly springs to mind. But then I also enjoy watching re-runs of TV shows I've watched many times. So I understand someone with perfect memory who can never re-watch a movie or TV show they really like would have similar issue with the mostly static scenario mechanisms of Panzer Corps, but this is not by any means a universal human trait.

It's not feasible to design content to cater to the majority of players that plays a scenario once and never again and simultaneously accommodate the most advanced speed runner who has played it over and over beyond counting. But that's why there are other features like difficulty settings, and hopefully in PzC II maybe we'll have even tools, such as more randomness, at the creator's disposal to attempt to combat replay fatigue. There's only speculation at this point, though thanks huckc for reminding me that Hardelot exists. As I recall, it was somewhat of an experiment only, and too obnoxious to regularly apply in general scenario design. Desert Squadrons, if you've ever look at that multiplayer scenario in the editor, is another example of being a waaay to obnoxious way to make the game behave in ways it really wasn't mean to.

As for Molve, well you should be satisfied because proline clearly is quoting me as saying they're "expendable resources" which, in my mind, pretty clearly says they're dying a lot. ;)

In fact, digging up my old 1943 GC AAR, it paints a very clear picture how much I value recon.
http://slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=145&t=33427
30 recon units (compared to 24 total lost from the past 4 DLC combined)
Losing 4 DLC worth of recon units in a single DLC, I'm very clearly expending them, and they're dying quite readily as the war difficulty goes up. Does this mean they are useless and I'm wasting my money? If they were useless, I wouldn't buy them and thus they wouldn't die. The fact I still need to use them says to me they are useful, even if that use is to stick them out there as forward observers to my main army formations, where they do often get cut to pieces. But before they get cut to pieces, their high vision radius gives me invaluable information on enemy strength and direction of attack that I can effectively respond to without having risked extremely valuable overstrengthed, elite tanks and artillery units.

Maybe that is too high level for a casual player, but that's also a higher level piece of content. Base game? No. Early DLC? No. Harder mid-late war DLC designed to be less forgiving to players, also played on Manstein difficulty? Yes. Do recon still have a place in that arena of content? Sure looks like it to me.

Does that help recon for more casual players on low end vanilla content played on default, or below default difficulty? I would argue yes, because as Rudankort said unless you play with Fog of War off, you still need good eyes for your army and recon are the best eyes that move the fastest and cost the least resources to acquire. Maybe not as useful, but again as he said, maybe there will be extra perks for recons coming in PzC II, such as adjacency benefits so that they are even more useful than sacrificial scouts.

But to try to directly answer you both, I don't have answers, because you kind of both painted my response as somehow not accommodating both extreme ends of the gamer spectrum (elite with best pre-knowledge on hardest settings with no room for expendable resources and also the casual player who is so casual they don't accept the loss of any unit and don't use so-called advanced recon unit tactics). All we can do at this point is speculate, and if and when the time comes, design the best content we can with the tools we are provided and ingenuity that we bring.

Maybe it needs to be said, but I'm not actually part of the official Panzer Corps II team at this point, I'm speculating and theorycrafting with all the same information we all have. :)

proline
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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by proline » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:39 pm

Kerensky wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:58 pm
I don't think I've ever been accused of ignoring the needs of the most elite of players with the best scenario pre-knowledge at their disposal playing on the highest difficulty settings while simultaneously been told I'm too elitest and not thinking like a normal, casual player with my dictation on advanced tactics. Fascinating. But we'll try to respond.

But to try to directly answer you both, I don't have answers, because you kind of both painted my response as somehow not accommodating both extreme ends of the gamer spectrum (elite with best pre-knowledge on hardest settings with no room for expendable resources and also the casual player who is so casual they don't accept the loss of any unit and don't use so-called advanced recon unit tactics). All we can do at this point is speculate, and if and when the time comes, design the best content we can with the tools we are provided and ingenuity that we bring.
Kerensky, it's entirely possible for recon to suck at both the beginner and advanced levels. Hell, they suck at all levels. They suck at advanced because they aren't financially efficient enough, and they suck at beginner because beginners can't keep them alive. I don't find this shocking. It's like if a restaurant served nothing but rats and your response was "how can it be that neither kids nor adults like the food?" Well, it's because the food is just bad.

proline
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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by proline » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:41 pm

Rudankort wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:32 pm
- Having said all that, we are also making additional steps to make recon even more useful. One line of action is related to making them better in their primary (recon) role. For example, we are experimenting with their movement ranges, because even a slightly bigger range makes them more useful and flexible. The other line of action is about giving them new, unique roles. For example, recon next to enemy unit makes attacks on it more accurate, and also reduces chances of ambush (rugged defense).
Thanks for the response. It would be good to either eliminate the recon move penalty, which just made an already weak unit weaker at what it was meant to do, or increase their range.

On another note, if you are able to have recon confer stat improvements to adjacent units, why couldn't you add barrier troops to the game? Not everyone wanted to get slaughtered for mother Russia- many were coerced by Soviet anti-retreat forces. A barrier troop unit, or trait, could improve the stats of nearby conscripts while nullifying the tendency of any nearby unit to retreat or surrender when fully suppressed.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by Kerensky » Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:48 am

proline wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:39 pm
Kerensky, it's entirely possible for recon to suck at both the beginner and advanced levels. Hell, they suck at all levels. They suck at advanced because they aren't financially efficient enough, and they suck at beginner because beginners can't keep them alive. I don't find this shocking. It's like if a restaurant served nothing but rats and your response was "how can it be that neither kids nor adults like the food?" Well, it's because the food is just bad.
An interesting point of view, if one I do not subscribe to. Though I think it's awesome that recon is so flexible as to exist in such a dual state. I wonder if it would actually be better if recon was so good that it was absolutely required to use... Would that alternative really be better what we seem to have? A state where there exists players who can choose to use it effectively in a good, if limited, role while others are able to deem it useless to the point where they can completely ignore it while both players are clearly playing and progressing just fine in their respective campaigns? I suspect not.

It makes me think back to some early designs of WoW raiding where some fights had required classes. There's a good reason Razuvious is not fondly remember, and encounters were not designed that way moving forward. To anyone not understanding that reference, which I must assume is everyone here, I'll explain. It was a fight (think scenario) that required 1 specific class to be present during the raid because only one class had the mind control ability. Didn't have that class in your roster? Impossible encounter, recruit a priest player who could cast mind control or stay out of the raid.

One of the best things about Panzer Corps, that I find so lacking in modern gaming, is that great flexibility in building your roster the way you want. Granted as difficulty goes up, you do have to fine tune tactics a bit and can't take such a freewheeling approach, but I've seen all manner of very interesting player CORE builds over the years, and I'm pleased to see I've never seen someone come up with a 'definitive/optimal' roster ratio between unit classes. That would be boring to see everyone just ended up with the same CORE in all of their campaigns, I find it far more interesting that some players might use recon while others totally shun them. In fact, this is one of the biggest prejudices I have against games that split their CORE slots into specific unit types. Having specific, ground/air/naval/whatever unit slots I always find means everyone just ends up with far too homogeneous CORE builds. When everyone has 5 aircraft slots, every single player always has 5 aircraft in that scenario. I've tried air force light Panzer Corps CORE groups, with only 1 or 2 tactical bombers and instead I have extra infantry and tank units with a diminished air force, and sometimes that's a really good thing. Like on Vyazma where weather is a major consideration, but sometimes I've felt that lack of Stuka power going into Kursk and beyond and not having a powerful air arm to strike down the T34/43 and T34/85 hordes.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by proline » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:30 am

Kerensky wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:48 am
I wonder if it would actually be better if recon was so good that it was absolutely required to use... Would that alternative really be better what we seem to have?
Does the game suck because infantry are "absolutely required"? Of course not. You can use lots of infantry or just a couple, but you won't have much success if you never use them at all. Ditto for tanks. Remember we aren't talking about units here, we're talking an entire class. What other class is as unnecessary as recon? Should other classes be nerfed to be as unnecessary as recon? Bombers are probably the next closest, but they are far more heavily used than recon at all levels.

There's a difference between too between a recon and say anti-tank. While not everyone uses AT, they are clearly powerful and it's possible to get to a high level of play with them. In the case of recon, while someone may have found some tiny little niche for them that doesn't make them an important or even potentially important part of your army. Any other class can be important to your army.

The closest thing to recon is bridging engineers. Outside of scenarios specifically designed for them, they are weak. On some scenarios you can try really hard and concoct a plan of attack that uses them, but even then you could usually do just as well trading that bridge engineer in for an artillery piece and just blasting your way through at one of the existing crossings when you factor in how long bridging engineers take to get into position, how fragile they are, and that they can be countered by placing any unit next to them. I've tried for example bridging the river south of Voronezh and attacking the city from the back side instead of throwing everything at the front, but despite the river being undefended and easily accessible in that scenario, which makes it ideal to bridge, it's still faster to just blast your way through the city. In the case of bridging engineers though we're talking one single unit that's bad, certainly not the entire infantry class.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by captainjack » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:29 am

Recon would be better with something like no staged move penalty. That would make them better than other (non-recon) units with recon move trait, and more useful than some other fast unit (eg kradschutzen) with a spotting hero, which in current rules are far more useful than most recon. I'd be happy with an evade chance (maybe experience related) for ambush, and perhaps +2GD and AD/star (on the basis that they get better at use of cover and evasion). This kind of approach would make them a bit stronger but without turning them into super charged combat troops.

As for bridging units, the worst tyhing about them is that they have the same move cost on rivers as every other unit - my most common bridgie experience is being one hex from a river, so next turn they move up to it. The turn after they enter, but by then momentum is lost and they start asking for a transfer to the HW platoon. Better charge only one move to enter - this makes bridgies a bit more useful (especially with a move hero) along with bridging tanks and other bridging vehicles.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by hugh2711 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:37 am

On the subject of armoured cars; in the GC DLC's there are two scenarios where if you deliberately sacrifice a cheap armoured car you can quickly dominate and do the scenarios VERY easily AND quickly. Spoils of war if you sacrifice one you get control of the middle of the board and the rest very cheaply and quickly (I have an AAR of it). The italian one where you sink the battleships in harbour also. Once again if you sacrifice an armoured car you get control of the center easily and cheaply and hence the rest of the scenario.
You need a cheap tactical sacrifice unit with long range that can act as a diversion and the armoured car is perfect for that.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #6

Post by Molve » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:59 am

Kerensky wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:48 am
An interesting point of view, if one I do not subscribe to. Though I think it's awesome that recon is so flexible as to exist in such a dual state. I wonder if it would actually be better if recon was so good that it was absolutely required to use... Would that alternative really be better what we seem to have? A state where there exists players who can choose to use it effectively in a good, if limited, role while others are able to deem it useless to the point where they can completely ignore it while both players are clearly playing and progressing just fine in their respective campaigns? I suspect not.
I do not think it is awesome at all.

Many players' impression of recon is that they somehow fail at their essential function unless you expose them to huge risks they are not equipped to survive.

Remember the core reason for Panzer General:y games success - the unrealistic ability to create hero units that transcend the inherent replacability of any real soldier or unit. Recon units fail at this. That is the core of the lack of customer satisfaction here. Just saying this because as the difficulty you play at increases, this feature necessarily fades as games become more... gritty and real. But let's not lose focus: the reason recon needs to be reworked is that it is essentially impossible to create a five star recon unit in PC1. An implementation consistent with the overall approach to this kind of game would give them maybe 20% damage reduction per star, so that a five star recon would be safe (unless boxed in with no way to flee). Constantly replacing your recon might be realistic but it sure ain't fun.

Here's an illustration. I am not a beginning player (not an expert either) but I was genuinely amazed of how much better air recon worked (for its intended purpose) when I was given such a unit in US Corps. Finally a recon unit that could do the job with a minimum of fuss! I realized the whole game become more fun when I could focus on what these games does best, instead of agonizing over whether to use my recon or not, and how much. Despite being well acquainted with the game, I surprised myself in how much I appreciated not having to fiddle about with land recon anymore. (Just having one air unit meant keeping track of two lines of advance. This meant my land recon could be reassigned scouting missions on the flanks where they are much safer)

However, the question here should - of course - not be "why haven't we been given air recon units before" - the question should be "what's wrong with land recon" in the context of the game.

In the early war and on secondary theatres they're fine, but it remains decidedly unfun to see them become wastes of deployment slots and the weakest link of your chain as the enemy becomes stronger. In addition - something is wrong when a spotting hero can make a sturdier unit become a much better recon resource; it feels off somehow for armies to produce recon units when they should focus on air recon and/or combined units.

The point here isn't that we expect you to have answers. I don't have answers.

(I know Rudankort have plans, but just as an example: what if recon were made into an abstract resource? Just point and click to reveal a patch of map would be faster and simpler for many players, and nothing much would be lost. If you click the "wrong" area, your capability to recon goes down to model losses without having you watch your precious units die. In fact such a simple implementation could well end up removing an impediment to their fun. Bringing up this example because that's essentially how my US air recon unit worked)

The point here is that as a representative for Slitherine (not actually sure of your role, so please accept my apologies if I'm wrong here) - please listen to your gamers, and consider placing their opinion above your own. In no way does this mean I am invalidating your experience. But I am genuinely unsure what you hope to accomplish by defending current recon implementation. The solution isn't to convince us all to give PC1 recon another chance. Most players have neither the skill nor the inclination. I want you to consider that it is probably for the best to drop the way recon works in PC1 and instead start fresh for PC2, focusing on how to implement "recon" as a fun and valuable resource for the majority of players with a minimum of micromanaging.

Thank you :)

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