Author Topic: Replacing PDCs  (Read 32915 times)

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Offline jonw

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2017, 09:18:12 AM »
I saw someone mention combat engineers.  Maybe in addition to concealment, there is a fortification metric, which accumulates the longer construction brifgades are stationed on a planet and gives defense to ground troops against ship-based beams.  Combat engineers then specialize in removing the fortification defense

If we move towards giving ground troops a CIWS capability, would that protect shipyards?

Would ths integrate with espionage, intelligence or spec ops teams? I can see cool roleplaying and utility in for example developing small, stealthed drop ships to insert small teams of spies or spec ops prior to the full invasion.  If spies or spec ops could sabotage shipyards or ground anti-orbit weapons, that would be really cool, and kind of terrifying to play against.
 

Offline snapto

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2017, 10:23:37 AM »
If there is an influx of new types of ground forces, will all these units use the same Maintenance mechanic as ships to maintain upkeep?  If so, will it be enough to keep ground forces balanced?  My fear is that it may become too problematic/costly to invade a planet that simply spams ground units that can reach into space.  Maybe some kind of command and control value would be useful to keep ground force numbers in check. 
 

Offline byron

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2017, 10:37:08 AM »
My thoughts run basically parallel to Garfunkel's.  I've thought about this before, and have modified my last set of suggestions.
There are three bits that I'd like to see.  First, more granularity in ground combat.  At the moment, taking over a planet is binary, either you have it or you don't.  It might be nice if larger planets had multiple sub-sections which you could conquer one at a time.  Some form of terrain system might be a good idea, too.  At the simplest, divide the planet into an 'urban' and a 'rural' section.  The rural section has a specific type, be it 'desert' or 'forest' or 'sea', with corresponding terrain effects.  Normally, you land in the 'rural' section, and have to fight your way in.  Planets with big populations (>100 million pop?) could have multiple 'urban' sections.

Second, combined arms.  At the moment, all ground units have two values, attack and defense.  And that's all.  A heavy assault battalion is better than any other battalion, and costs the same to move.  Instead, define a dozen or so different types of 'combat power', and rate each unit on them.  Some suggestions:
Infantry
Mobility
Armor
Artillery
Engineering
Air
Anti-Armor
Anti-Air
Recon
Fortification (granted by being dug in, not inherent)
Naval
Command and Control
Logistics (maybe)
These interact to give bonuses or penalties in combat, depending on situation, with combined arms being required to gain victory.  Some types of units would do better than others in various terrains.  For instance, infantry is more important in urban terrain, unless you just want to destroy everything.  (And avoiding damage to their infrastructure would be a reason for the defender to deploy forces in the Rural part of the planet.)  And infantry is the only thing (except maybe engineers) which can perform boarding actions and the like.  Garfunkel's 'hard' and 'soft' are a somewhat simplified version of this, but I like the overall idea.
Also, ships in orbit could be counted as part of this bonus set.  Fighters and bombardment platforms give bonuses on this stuff.  Another aspect might be to set ROE, where you trade off firepower for reduced damage to infrastructure. 

Third, more customization of units, interacting with the combined arms stuff.  Let's say we have a dozen or two different elements which are used to build units.  These are generally platoons or companies, and research improves each of them separately.  (Maybe there'd be level techs to unlock a tier and then individual techs below that, so you can't just blitz one line, while not making specialization unduly expensive.)  So you might garrison mining outposts with a battalion made of three infantry companies and a logistics element, while the 1st Armored Brigade would have three mechanized infantry companies, six armored companies, three artillery batteries, three companies of cavalry scouts, and so on.
Obviously, you'd have various types of transport to deal with this.  Maybe 'personnel', 'light' and 'heavy'.  'Heavy' covers things like naval units and titans, while 'light' is anything up to tanks.
This is Excel-in-Space, not Wing Commander - Rastaman
 
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Offline chrislocke2000

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2017, 04:51:15 PM »
Looks interesting, and some complexity and interest to what is currently a very basic part of the game is great news.

Given the destructive power of all ship based TN weapons I wonder if the negative impacts of using them on ground targets should in fact be increased with more adverse issues such as radiation, levels of dust in the atmosphere, collateral damage etc. arising from their use. Whilst it makes glassing a planet easier if that's your aim this is already easily possible so I would not think it would skew game play too much. However what it would do would make the use of TN ship weapons as part of an attack on a planet you actually wanted to capture a more difficult decision to make as there would now be more of an offset between reducing the level of ground forces you need to commit post a bombardment v reducing the eventual gains from actually capturing the planet.

Furthermore I'd suggest that you could then have a new range of tech lines for orbital bombardment versions of weapons. These would have far lower destructive power, would be basically ineffectual v TN ships but would allow ships in orbit of a planet to use them to provide direct support to ground troops or to engage enemy ground troops without suffering the same levels of collateral damage as above. The flip would be that the ships need to be in orbit to use them and become more exposed to ground based weapons from stationed troops. Weapon fire from such orbital ships could then be dealt with as a fore multiplier or bombardment phase as part of ground combat rather than on the five second tick which is clearly a current issue with the interaction between ships and ground troops in the absence of PDCs.

You could follow that up with fighters that can deploy directly from your ships to support the troops / provide cover for the drop pods etc. but are not any real use in deep space combat.
 
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Offline Bremen

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2017, 04:57:54 PM »
As far as the balance between bombardment and ground defense, I don't think it's unreasonable that it should be possible to completely destroy ground troops from space (though in the case large amounts of dispersed infantry, it should probably be difficult and also inflict massive damage on the infrastructure you want to take). However, I was thinking it should probably either require massive amounts of missiles (especially against CIWS capability) or moving your ships in and taking return fire from planet to space weapons.

I was recently reading the first book in the Human Reach series, and it's probably coloring my opinions there. In that book, there was a fight where the Chinese were assaulting a small but reasonably fortified American colony; the colony had some bunkers with planet to space laser weapons, and the Chinese began by sending their warships in while also launching missiles, and the Americans had to split their PtS fire between the missiles and the ships, still scoring several hard kills, though eventually the ships were able to take out the PtS bunkers. I'd kind of like to see it work something like that.

Let's say you have a large fleet and the enemy has a planet with decent to tough levels of fortification - some generic troops, some air defense troops, a few PtS weapons. I'd like a situation where you had various options:

A) Bombard the planet with missiles from outside PtS weapon range - costs you a lot of missiles and does massive collateral damage, but eventually you'll take out all the PtS weapons and can move in with conventional bombardment.
B) Assault the planet with your fleet, taking PtS fire while bombarding. The enemy fire would likely damage or destroy some of your ships (PtS weapons should have some form of range bonus like PDC fire controls have currently), but once in orbit you would be able to take out the PtS weapons without too much difficulty and only moderate collateral damage. Then you'd have the choice of either using more bombardment to soften up the rest of the infantry (inflicting more collateral damage) or land your troops.
C) A blitz with high speed dropships attempting to land troops in the face of PtS weapons fire. You'd take some losses on the way in and have to face enemy troops that weren't softened up by bombardment, but you'd be doing minimal collateral damage and therefor potentially take a very valuable target.
 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2017, 06:17:55 PM »
Yeah in my fevered dreams Aurora would incorporate the incredibly complex ground-combat model of The Operational Art of War III, which is IMHO the best wargame/simulator for modern combat. It models a dizzying array of weapon systems so that there is a significant difference between a 81mm mortar and a 120mm mortar. But that level of granularity is probably beyond what Aurora needs.

A planetary map with rudimentary operation level of movement, somewhat customizable units with more than just attack/defence values - that would already be a significant improvement over the current system. Then if Steve codes it in a manner that makes future expansion easy, it can be further detailed and improved later on.
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2017, 06:22:39 PM »
I'm not sure I like the planetary map idea or even just having arbitrary units of territory to fight over; I mean, I can see why people like it, but I'm not sure that's a good fit for Aurora.

To handle territory capture in Aurora, I'd prefer it if during each ground combat tick you had a chance to capture x% of the enemy facilities/population/etc, to handle advancing and taking territory.
 
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Offline DIT_grue

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2017, 03:16:28 AM »
I'm not sure I like the planetary map idea or even just having arbitrary units of territory to fight over; I mean, I can see why people like it, but I'm not sure that's a good fit for Aurora.

To handle territory capture in Aurora, I'd prefer it if during each ground combat tick you had a chance to capture x% of the enemy facilities/population/etc, to handle advancing and taking territory.

Huh, that's an interesting alternative. Of course, to provide any verisimilitude (as opposed to shattering suspension of disbelief every time it becomes relevant) you still need a lot of the same algorithms. Because while population may be more spread out than facilities, they're both going to tend to clump together to some extent and a tiny colony probably has a single town where a more developed planet might have dozens of variously sized cities or a single arcology. Also, the defenders are going to focus on things that are worth defending, so it should be impossible to take 90% of the valuable real estate while 80% of the garrison is still fighting you. (Unless you so overwhelmingly overpower them that they started out by going straight to guerilla warfare?) Which suggests the possibility of an intermediate stage between "pitched battle" and "policing", but I feel like I'm getting too complicated at this point.

Brainstorming factors that might affect how an invasion shakes out:
* Hostile environment might mean population clusters more due to needing Infrastructure to survive.
* A racial/empire value for (de)centralisation - pioneer towns with maybe a single mine or factory, through urban concentrations, to the whole planet piling up around the governor's palace.
* Whether people evacuate to a bunker complex or shrug off a change in who they pay their taxes to as making no difference to them.
* There should be a variety of potentially valid strategies a general could pursue, even if that's below the level we can actually see or affect. By which I mean, there should be enough difference in the way ground combat plays out that we can roleplay it, whereas it seems to me that AARs have generally been strained at best when they try to cover ground warfare in the VB versions. (Blocking geographic choke points, using fortifications that even if they're bypassed must be besieged to prevent the defenders breaking out, attacking or harrassing logistics, maneuver of field armies, just parking a garrison in the city(ies)...)


(Probably getting too ambitious again.)

OK, at simplest... yeah, a fairly basic algorithm that gives you a chance of capturing portions of the colony, preferrable with a few elaborations like being capped by surviving defenders, would be a big improvement and work well enough for a first pass.
 

Offline hubgbf

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2017, 10:54:19 AM »
How much hull space take an energy weapon + targeting + power source ? 5 ? 10 ?
Each hull space means 50 tons isn't it? So we speak about 250 to 500 tons for a single energy weapon.

How can a ground troup carry and move such a thing? There is a scale problem if this solution is implemented.
Unless such troops are in facts bolo : several hundred tons land or naval vehicules.

What about fighter storage ? Do you have to use space based bases for fighters?
How do you build them ? You have to tow them in place?
What about missiles ? How do you select which one is to be fired from stock?

Would'nt it be far more complex to have such many units to research, build, every one with different tech and capacities?
Retraining can be interesting, but it needs a lot of micro-managing to transport troops.

In order to avoid exploit, you only need to remove the no-maintenance for ship in hangar code, and keep it for fighters only. Or restrict PDC to fighter storage.

But the most important question is : what is the faster way to implement the new Aurora?


 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2017, 12:03:13 PM »
How much hull space take an energy weapon + targeting + power source ? 5 ? 10 ?
Each hull space means 50 tons isn't it? So we speak about 250 to 500 tons for a single energy weapon.

A troop transport bay is 2500 tons and can hold one battalion size ground unit. A combat drop module is 500 tons (1000 tons for the cryo version). This is why I think a new transport module is needed for vehicle or surface-to-orbit units and the existing transport bays and drop modules will be infantry only.

I think for ground units that have ship-equivalent weapons, such as lasers or CIWS, the unit will need to be large enough for the various fire controls, reactors and weapons. Once designed, I think this should still be a single ground unit without tracking the individual components. Otherwise, we get into complexities about recharge rates, etc.. Some part of the damage resolution will have to be a chance of the weapon being disabled and there would be some equivalent of repair, rather than readiness recovery. I haven't figured out the details yet, but I don't want ground units to become 'ships-on-the-ground'. They should retain the relatively simplicity of the existing ground units but with additional capabilities.
 

Offline Admiral666

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2017, 12:54:44 PM »
A troop transport bay is 2500 tons and can hold one battalion size ground unit. A combat drop module is 500 tons (1000 tons for the cryo version). This is why I think a new transport module is needed for vehicle or surface-to-orbit units and the existing transport bays and drop modules will be infantry only.

This came to mind:

Greater integration of ground combat units and spacecraft would be very interesting. Carriers deploying atmospheric-capable strike-craft, troopships making combat 'landings' akin to the above video, maybe even direct fire-support in-atmosphere from warships. Of course, modeling that would likely be rather difficult. Ground combat would need to be reworked such that it occurred in the same time-frame as space combat, 5 second increments -- though I would argue that such a change is already mandated by the inclusion of Surface-To-Orbit/Surface-To-Space units. Perhaps the in-atmosphere element could be achieved through fleet orders differentiating between Orbit, High Atmosphere, Low Atmosphere, etc? I would introduce tech to support that, as well: not every vessel is intended to operate in-atmosphere, and we certainly want to curb the possibility of massive battleships owning the battlefield from low orbit (without the appropriate High-RP level of research, mind you).

This would even allow the paradigm to change further: By requiring atmospheric landing ships to 'combat' drop heavier units, you are faced with a choice between investing in said technology and vessels, or relying on your infantry (supported by the fleet in orbit) to gain enough of a hold to allow 'non-combat' landings. Of course, that requires some way of modeling how much ground your troops have taken -- OR! Perhaps you would drop combat engineers, who are capable of building the necessary infrastructure to allow those landings, given enough time. Thus, even a nominally inferior power could potentially repel the invasion of a stronger power that does not have the technology to allow atmospheric flight, were they to crush the initial enemy force. They could also achieve the same result by identifying and destroying those ships in space -- imagine the RP potential there!

To think, I just came here to post that video.
 

Offline Kelewan

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2017, 02:04:05 PM »
A bit brainstorming:

the ground unit design has 3 basic ground unit types: infantry, vehicles and titans.
You select the weapon type, where some types are only available  for some unit types.
The weapon type would determine which other units can be hit, and how effective the weapon is against
this type of unit.  (Anit-Titan or Anit-Vehile weapons can hit infantry but would be much less effective as Anti-Infantry weapons)

Each Ground Unit has, additional to the defense and attack value) a stealth and a detection value which will determine which units can be detected/attacked  by
the enemy and which enemy units it can detected and attacked.  Titans are easy to detect, but have a good defense, infantry are less defensive but can hide in forests, caves etc. 

Additional equipment/training (more armor, guerilla tactics, close quarters weapons, HQ-Command infrastructure) will boost some values at the cost of others, or reduce penalties from environment (water worlds, low gravity, toxic atmosphere) or provide additional capabilities (police value, ship assault, construction value).  The Equipment and Training will influence
the size, build/training time, and the upkeep of the unit. 

So you are flexible enough that you can build your ground units so that you can counter any other ground unit, damages/wounded units will have reduced values,
and a chance that one or more of the additional capabilities will stop working till repaired/healed.

 

Offline Happerry

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2017, 03:20:03 PM »
Personally, reading this thread, this is looking more and more like a change that will make things a lot more complicated without necessarily making anything funner or more interesting, and is looking likely to make things even more work.  I'm not really for this change.
 

Offline clement

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2017, 06:06:04 PM »
7) Units would not increase in capability with tech and would use the tech at the time of creation. However, units could be converted into a cadre unit (and retain their experience) so they can be used as the basis for a new unit with improved capability.

Steve, could this idea be used with ships as well. It has been mentioned before that training up a ships crew and then losing that experience level when the ship is scrapped makes the turnover of ships and fighters to be painful. When scrapping ships, could a second crew pool be maintained (representing the cadre from the scrapped ships) that new ships and fighters can pull crew from first, before using untrained naval crew coming from the general pool.
 

Offline Profugo Barbatus

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Re: Replacing PDCs
« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2017, 11:59:33 PM »
I strongly like the idea of having crafted ground units, and more general depth to ground combat, both in its direct application, and the added depth for the space elements supporting them.  Just from a RP explanation alone, developing a new small arm and deploying new forces with them is appealing to me.

As for Steve's concerns for the weapon disabling strikes for surface to space weapons, it could be as simple as a displacement cost.  Taking damage has a chance to force the unit to redeploy, since their existing firing positions have been blown apart, and they need to move the surviving weapon systems to backup positions.  If you really wanted to add a cost for them, you could make any non-infantry units consume a small amount of MSP during readiness recovery, to account for the material cost of repairing and restoring weapons.  As a side effect, adds another strength to infantry forces, not being dependent on supplies.
 
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