Aurora 4x

Aurora => C# Aurora => Topic started by: Steve Walmsley on September 18, 2017, 06:05:06 PM

Title: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on September 18, 2017, 06:05:06 PM
I posted a comment in the changes discussion thread about removing PDC and enhancing ground forces to compensate. Having given this some thought, it solves a lot of issues in the game that add complexity without really adding a lot in the way of additional game play. PDCs create exceptions for a number of rules, add complexity (in the sense of awkwardness rather than variety) to ground combat and their maintenance-free status can be an exploit. They create a lot of orders and rules around prefabrication and assembly and can't be effectively upgraded.

I've decided to replace them with some additional types of ground forces to improve defences planetary defences and keep all 'ships' in space. This thread is to look at the options for the ground combat enhancements. At the moment I am thinking along the following lines (but I am open to suggestions):

1) A unit with air defence capability that functions as a CIWS for the planet.

2) A unit with similar capability to ship-based energy weapons, designed to fire ground to orbit, rather than ground to ground.

3) Probably adding some basic form of ground unit design rather than having specific unit types. This would include (for example) CIWS techs, ground to orbit techs based on ship-weapons, ground-based attack/defence split into armour and infantry-based techs (based on weapon & armour techs), maybe the bombardment ability of Titans so as an alternative to Titans you could develop different forms of artillery. Concealment tech to make units harder to strike from orbit. 'Garrison' rating separated from defence. 'Movement' tech could be personal armour, tracked vehicles, combat walkers, etc.. A combination of these techs would determine unit cost, size, capability, etc.

4) Troop transport bays and combat drop modules would be for infantry (personal armour) types - a different module would be needed for heavy armour or ground to orbit capable units.

5) The type of planet could affect which units are most effective - specialist units for extreme temperature, or mountainous terrain (based on tectonic rating), or mostly water planets, etc. Terrain would also determine the effectiveness of different movement types.

6) An option to be considered is removing the restriction on energy weapons in atmosphere. Ground units armed with ship-type weapons would become a serious deterrent, especially given they are more dispersed than ships and harder to eliminate. I would need to add rules on destroying installations from orbit, but not sure how much of a problem that is given that most powers want to capture installations rather than destroy them. Energy-armed spacecraft in orbit could be assigned for fire-support missions when assigned to direct support of a HQ unit.

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.

8) These changes could lead to a paradigm where it is very hard to bombard a well-defended planet from orbit so you (still) have to nuke from a distance and risk environmental and industrial damage, or develop very fast drop pods to get troops to the surface (through defensive fire) to take out the ground-based defences (Hoth).

Comments and suggestions welcome.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: jonw on September 18, 2017, 08:25:43 PM
This sounds really interesting, and I love the RP side of being able to design your own combat units.  Having a water navy for hydrosphere planets, or the Martian Olympus Mountain hardcases would really make them stand out.

If you are thinking of letting planet modifiers affect combat, doesn't this resolve the atmosphere situation? Ground units with ship energy weapons would be very effective on bodies with no atmosphere, degrading as atmosphere thickens.  If you are terraforming a colony and adding atmosphere, you are trading the economic advantage of habitability with losing the powerful defence option.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: georgiaboy1966 on September 18, 2017, 08:37:07 PM
!!!!!!Bolo's?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: georgiaboy1966 on September 18, 2017, 08:39:43 PM
Grav vehicles for tanks, troop transports, artillery, AA

Can be inserted from orbit but transposrts must land to remove from planet.

ie like the old FASA game
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on September 18, 2017, 09:44:02 PM
I'd say there's really two aspects of this idea. The first is removing PDCs and giving some ground units planet to space weapons, and the second would be changing ground units to use custom designs. Either can really be done without the other, though obviously it would make for less work to do them both at once.

I posted my thoughts about the first change in the thread, but the short of it is I really like the idea but think it would be cool if instead of making all weapons penetrate atmospheres better, different kinds interacted with atmosphere differently. Mesons should continue to work as they do, obviously, but I think it would be interesting if large railguns had much better bombardment capability than lasers; gives them something to be excel at (well, besides 10cm railguns as anti-missile flak). High power microwaves, plasma carronades, and gauss should probably be useless through any thick atmosphere, and I have no clue about particle beams (cause radiation like missiles?).


Thinking about the second, customizing ground units, is an interesting idea. Someone in the Titan discussion already suggested the idea that there should be HoI style soft and hard attack (the former better against infantry and the latter better against armor), and I think if you go with custom ground units that's the way to go. Maybe switch over to a system that tracks how many soldiers/combat units in a division and assigns damage that way. For example, when designing a ground unit, you'd start by picking a template:

(made up examples)
Light Infantry Battalion: Contains 1000 soldiers
Heavy Infantry Battalion: Contains 800 soldiers and 20 Crew Served Weapons
Power Armor Battalion: Contains 400 combat suits
Light Vehicle Battalion: Contains 40 light vehicles
Heavy Vehicle Battalion: Contains 10 heavy vehicles (like tanks or anti-space cannons)
Fortification Battalion: Contains 10 heavy emplaced weapons (must be in place for a month before they can fire?)
Scout Titan: Contains 1 Scout Titan (assuming larger ones would take more transport capacity than a battalion)

Or even something customizeable, where you pick whatever combinations (with better armor techs?) and if you go over 1000 weight it just takes more than one troop transport bay to move. Give each unit some rating for hit points and/or armor. Maybe just armor (sort of like missiles), to avoid having to track hit points on 400 different suits of combat armor.

That on its own might handle minimizing the impact of ground bombardment and heavy weapons, assuming a 30cm laser or Titan Assault Gun could only kill so many foot infantry. It kinda makes sense that orbital bombardment would work better on a force of tanks or planes than a group of infantry that's trying to hide, after all. OTOH.. you still need ground to space weapons if you're keeping bombardment using the standard combat system, since even if an orbital strike kills 1 soldier you could easily fire a thousand times before one ground combat tick.

Then you'd get to pick weapons for the units. I like the idea of units being researchable, but I think either they should have a prerequisite of the equivalent space weapon, or be the same tech as the space weapon. If your ships use particle beams, it's thematically fitting that your power armored troops would too. It would include anti-space weapons as well, though those should probably be on the heavier side; you probably wouldn't want 1000 foot troops with anti-space laser rifles.

Gauss rifle/cannon/assault gun: High rate of fire (more than one shot per combat tick), making them very good when shooting "down" (tank shooting at infantry, titan shooting at power armor, etc)
Lasers: Good damage but lower rates of fire, all around good weapon.
Railguns: Slightly less damage, faster rate of fire than lasers, another baseline weapon.
Meson: Chance to damage regardless of armor (though maybe scaling down based on just how much armor; a meson rifle shouldn't regularly take out a titan)
Plasma: Bonus in close combat/boarding, maybe replacing the old marine unit?
Particle Beam: Low rate of fire, high damage, good for shooting "up" at larger units?
and so on.

Maybe artillery/bombardment weapons too, though to be honest they've never seemed to be that different from standard combat with how ground units are fought now.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Langer on September 19, 2017, 12:16:56 AM
I already tend to design PDCs as either SAM anti-missile batteries, or anti-ship batteries or a simple one with best available sensors.  I think an in depth tech tree of ground units that encompasses the ability to do that instead would be a great addition.

I'd wonder how an equivalent unit for sensors would work - seems less fitting to a ground unit, but maybe a different type of installation.  Have Deep Space Tracking Stations for Ships, but some other type of Tracking Station for incoming ordnance.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on September 19, 2017, 01:23:44 AM
I would agree with the idea of equipping ground units with ship type weapons and removing the atmosphere limitations.  That sounds pretty cool.

Perhaps you design 'heavy equipment' for them, and the unit upkeep is based around the exepcted msp usage of those parts?  So like, gun, reactor, fire control combo of some kind.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on September 19, 2017, 04:06:18 AM
My main concern here is that this will greatly change the timespans involved and troop needs for ground invasions. Most beam weapons fire every 5-30 seconds and have infinite ammo, while ground combat updates on the 5 day cycle, so after around 86400 such 5 second pulses.

No matter how much the orbital bombardment hitchance is reduced by ground unit concealment any sufficiently large beam fleet will be able to precision wipe out 100% of the defending ground units in very short order, meaning all ground units any attacker needs will be for garrisoning purposes.


Real campaigns like Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq have taught us that no matter how much superior firepower you have, that is not how reality works. Boots on the ground are always a must.


What I propose to resolve this is the following balance:



This should ensure that bombardment can neutralize ground-space weapons, as well as support ground assaults, but not remove the need of ground assaults entirely.

If you want to make a more accurate and detailed model then the land surface area as well as vegetation & animal life (biosphere) and tectonics could influence how easy it is to conceal units. Hit chance reductions could also help ground-space weapons inflict disproportional damage on bombarding warships before they can be destroyed/knocked out.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: mtm84 on September 19, 2017, 04:37:46 AM
I'm kind of bummed out, but I guess I can always play older versions if I want some hardened missile silo and quad mason turret action.  Though I guess all you are really losing is extra armor and free maintenance compared to orbital weapon platforms.  And not being able to build with factories as opposed to in a shipyard.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Tree on September 19, 2017, 05:18:52 AM
I guess hangar PDCs will have to be replaced with civilian stations then?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Zincat on September 19, 2017, 05:59:14 AM
I am completely in favor of this. I'd like to summarize my thoughts on the matter.

First however, I want to point out that going forward with this would not really change anything. Players can still do the same things as before, with orbital defense stations. Such stations would be fundamentally the same as PDCs before with the caveats that:
1) They require shipyards to build.
2) They consume maintenance, which is an improvement because it makes them more balanced
3) They are not confusing, they don't interfere with ground combat, they don't have free armor
4) They still have considerable advantages over mobile ships of similar tonnage, because they do not need engines, jump engines, fuel, require less supplies etc etc. Basically, a lot more space for weapons, defenses and hangars.
5) It makes a lot more sense for missiles and fighters to be based on orbital bases. Escaping planetary gravity is NOT an easy thing, and from a technobabble point of view, the whole TN thing + escaping the atmosphere always posed some problems in my opinion.
I think these are all positives.


Now on to the changes:
- I believe that removing the restriction to energy weapons in atmosphere is of capital importance for this new paradigm of ground combat and planet invasion/defense. This way you can have ground units that are effectively orbital batteries, capable of shooting at any warship that comes too close, or at any incoming troop transport. Bombarding with missiles from afar the planet may or may not work. You no longer have planets that are complete sitting ducks as soon as the enemy fleet comes into close range. Now they can effectively fight back and pose a credible threat, and be adequately difficult to actually conquer.

- I especially like the idea of having ground unit types vary depending on the planet type, such as ships for water words or guerrilla fighters for densely forested worlds.

- Regarding how the troops are actually customized and the "retrained", I would do away with the cadre system. Instead I would give each type of troop a different, set number of "slots". For example, an standard infantry unit could have a "weapon slot" and an "armor slot", and these slots could be filled with components. I'd prefer if these components were customizable  , like ship components are, but maybe fixed components based on technology could be ok. Then, once you have a full "troop template", you can train/build such troop at the appropriate facility.
Later on, if the player designs improvements components, it's just a matter of updating the troop template and retrofitting the existing troops. A cadre system is unnecessary.

A practical example. Let us say I am making a standard Light Infantry troop. This troop has a weapon and an armor component. So I design a "laser rifle mk1" and a "composite armor" components, make a template for the troop type with this components and build 10 of them.
Later on, due to improved technology, I design a "laser rifle mk2" components. I update the troop template, and queue up the 10 troops to be retrofitted.
Flexible, nice and rather easy  in my opinion. The components obviously end up influencing the troop strength for ground combat as well.

A sample troop list could be something like:
Light infantry: one "infantry defense" slot, one "weapon" slot
Heavy infantry: one "infantry defense" slot, one "heavy weapon" slot
Light tank: one "defense" slot, one "heavy weapon" slot, one "weapon" slot
Heavy tank: two "defense slots", two "heavy weapon" slots
Ground-to-Space battery: one "defense" slot, one "anti startship energy weapon" slot
Interception atmospheric craft: One "evasion" slot, one "ciws" slot

The sky is the limit, you can add Titans, multiple types of infantry or tanks, radar units,  etc as wanted.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Iranon on September 19, 2017, 06:42:11 AM
With the planned shift to the maintenance system, maintenance-exempt PDCs that can house hangars are problematic.

However, I feel like many of the planned changes for C# add complexity while possibly reducing depth, with reasonably complex but not open-ended system (like Titans, which could have been modeled like ships are, preferably with some overlap in systems) and logistics challenges that beg to be played around instead of meeting them straight-on.

It's plausible for a superior opponent to quickly eliminate one's powerful and highly visible assets (titans, PDCs) while lacking the capability to take out one's dispersed ground units without massive bombardment, so I don't have a problem with different time scales.

If we want to introduce beams from orbit I'd tie it to the intelligence system (fire control would be a trivial problem against ground targets, knowing what to hit would be the challenge). But I'd be for keeping things separate... large assets like PDC and titans can grind through large forces of regular ground units, but are vulnerable to direct strikes from similar or orbital assets, and largely useless for police duties.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: MJOne on September 19, 2017, 08:15:12 AM
If this is the way forward I think everything will be fine if you build this system out of Auroras core feature, component customization and ship designer.  If you do the same with ground combat, everyone will be happy.  Vehicle/mech designer.  Stick no locomotion on, and you have your silos, wich I love.  If you want to make it easy for new players, have 4 designers.  Space, Fighters, Landvehicles, Mechs.  Then the confusion will be gone.

I only have one more whish.  Make naval yard expansion on a set tonnage basis.  Adding 10k 20 times is abit tedious.  Make it have a target tonnage and auto expand until that target is reached.

This is the best game ever
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on September 19, 2017, 08:25:19 AM
Yes!  This is fantastic.  I'm entirely in favor of this change.
I do think we should consider some realism in terms of what weapons work through atmospheres.  To a first approximation, high-frequency lasers will be useless, as will particle beams, plasma carronades, and high-speed projectiles (probably set by weapon range).  This would create an interesting dynamic with second-class bombardment ships (beyond the meson ships I use now.)
To a second approximation, you'll need to look at atmospheric composition to see how lasers will do.  That would probably need to be tied into a look at how atmospheric composition changes albedo and such.  Probably not worth it initially.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel on September 19, 2017, 08:41:28 AM
We have to get rid of the Attack and Defence stats for ground units. They are completely illogical anyway. What we need is a firepower stat and a toughness stat. And preferably two of them - one for infantry/light armour and another for heavy armour/titans. Soft attack attacks Toughness and Hard attack attacks Armour. Both units shoot at each other at the same time. Casualties are counted simultaneously before rolling for the next round of shooting - so it is possible for units to wipe each other out.

Then we can have multiple technologies affecting these stats, not just Ground Unit Strength. We have personal armour increasing toughness, armour stat could be improved similarly to space ships or even use the same tech, then have light weapons tech and heavy weaponry tech to improve soft/hard attack - it's bit unrealistic but makes it easier for players to understand. Reinforced space suit tech that allows ground units to fight in hostile environments or in vacuum but with reduced stats, then higher levels of that tech reduce the malus.

I'm not a fan of removing atmospheric limitations completely. Reducing them, sure, but let's not take them completely out.

Ideally we could build our ground units from the, well, ground up. Have design window for a ground unit that allows you to choose how many companies you want a battalion to consist of and whether these are guerilla/motorized/mechanized/armour/airmobile/naval/hover/titan company. Then based on your choice, you could further configure the company - for some this would be ship-style weaponry, for others it could be whether to use up-to-date equipment or older stuff and whether the unit will be equipped with environmental suits and so on. That makes it possible to create special function companies and/or techs, so we get communications and supply units, cloaked units, ECM and EW units, drones and so on.

Combat engineers and construction brigades should be able to increase the entrenchment value of other units on the same planet. This entrenchment value is added to the toughness and/or armour values of the units but only when they are defending. Combat engineers then can also reduce the entrenchment value of enemy units but construction brigades cannot do the same.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: jonw 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: snapto 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. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: chrislocke2000 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: DIT_grue 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: hubgbf 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?


Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Admiral666 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Kelewan 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.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Happerry 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: clement 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Profugo Barbatus 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.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Silvarelion on September 21, 2017, 12:56:39 AM
I really like the proposed changes. I'd be worried about adding HoI like functionality to a space game, but having some sort of customization and PtS capability would be awesome!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: plasticpanzers on September 21, 2017, 05:00:22 AM
Being an old sci fi fan I would miss the PDCs.   The free maintenance can be adjusted to the population of the planet.   a 100,000 ton
PDC is no larger than a little more than 2 Iowa class battleships.   A population of sufficient quantity should have no problem maintaining
one.   There are hundreds of 100,000 plus ton ships out in the real world now.   Replacing the PDCs with a new mix of just ground units
is not the same as having El Scorpio PDC (for those who remember 'Sleeping Planet). 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on September 21, 2017, 07:50:23 AM
Being an old sci fi fan I would miss the PDCs.   The free maintenance can be adjusted to the population of the planet.   a 100,000 ton
PDC is no larger than a little more than 2 Iowa class battleships.
Less, actually.  The Iowas were 45,000 tons 'treaty', but treaty displacement is a joke.  Fully loaded, more like 57,000 tons.   

Quote
A population of sufficient quantity should have no problem maintaining
one.   There are hundreds of 100,000 plus ton ships out in the real world now.   Replacing the PDCs with a new mix of just ground units
is not the same as having El Scorpio PDC (for those who remember 'Sleeping Planet).
There are no 100,000 ton warships.  The biggest (US carriers) top out around 90,000 tons.  And civilian ships don't have the same drivers as PDCs.

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.
Something along these lines would be really nice.  I don't like the current system, where your best ships are almost always your oldest, nobody retires, and people being sent back to the pool are diluted to pool level.  Here's my suggestion (reposted) on a more realistic system:
First, the crew pool tracks people and points separately.  The academy has a level that it pumps people in at.  For example, it may add 100 people and 20000 points in a given week.  These are added to the pool values.  When a ship is commissioned, it takes the correct number of people and points, based on the pool averages.  Adjusting the academy training level only affects the inflow, not what's already in the pool.  Also, people should leave the pool.  Maybe 5% a year, of average points.  In wartime, you can check a box which temporarily slows the loss rate, but eventually (5 to 10 years later) it comes back to normal, or even goes higher.  After you uncheck it, the war timer counts backwards until it reaches 0, so people don't just toggle it on and off when they get to the point of diminishing returns.
Second, rotate people on ships.  To make it easy, whenever a ship gets shore leave, a certain number of people rotate back into the pool, based on how long it's been out.  Maybe 10% per year.  They're replaced with normal people from the pool.  This is to avoid the "ICBM station with an enormous crew rating" problem.
Third, allow picked crews, and unpicked crews.  These have maybe 150% and 50% of normal points, respectively, taking the appropriate number of people and points from the pool, and getting those values when the crew rotates.  This is to allow you to have a good crew on your fancy new battleship, and give your second-line PDCs the dregs.
Fourth, conscript-crewed ships should not feed into the pool.  Because of the nature of the crews (and to avoid flooding the pool with untrained people), the people who leave the ship at the end of their tour are just lost. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on September 21, 2017, 08:41:38 AM

There are no 100,000 ton warships.  The biggest (US carriers) top out around 90,000 tons.

Not anymore...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_R._Ford-class_aircraft_carrier

( Nimitz class actually also is closer to 100kt nowadays ).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: plasticpanzers on September 21, 2017, 12:45:34 PM
The 100,000 plus ship are the supertankers and supercargo vessels on the seas now.   There are also
plenty of 100,000 plus cruise ships too.    My comment using the example of the Iowas is that in a
planetary nation/colony with sufficient and economy there should be no problem hosting a 60-90,000
ton PDC.   Its not 'the hill' from Triplanetary and NORADs HQ under Cheyenne is just a command facility.
real PDCs would be placed over a large area with overlapping fire.  1 battalion garrisons would be
woefully bad as garrisons.  It would take divisions to protect one.   I think the concept of the PDC is
accurate for defense from space and some on the ground but they would be more susceptible to
ground attacks as they are dispersed bunkers, gun batteries, launchers.   If they can keep an enemy
in space and make it too hard to invade then they do what they are supposed to do.   I can easily see
that PDCs can only control a % of the planet (tho can defend it all).  You would need mulitple PDCs to
have coverage against any ground landing and would have to hit 1 or more PDCs to open a hole for
your ground troops.   Please don't take our PDCs away!  Only the 'bugs' will appreciate it! 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: IanD on September 21, 2017, 01:00:14 PM
PDCs
For a conventional start I think you still need a type of PDC to simulate current missile silos. But what if you restricted missile silo "farms" to box launchers that require a command & control facility for every 10 silos (upgradable?) with a significant reload penalty? Thus while you may have a significant alpha strike it would take you hours or days to reload your dispersed missile silos which would remain even with TN missiles.

Titans
If you used Bolos as your model rather than Titans you could have the Mk I to III as your heavy armour all the way up to the Mk XXXIII Continental Siege Unit capable of standing off two or three starships.  Reference https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolo_(tank)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Zincat on September 21, 2017, 01:47:52 PM
Being an old sci fi fan I would miss the PDCs.   The free maintenance can be adjusted to the population of the planet.   a 100,000 ton
PDC is no larger than a little more than 2 Iowa class battleships.   A population of sufficient quantity should have no problem maintaining
one.   There are hundreds of 100,000 plus ton ships out in the real world now.   Replacing the PDCs with a new mix of just ground units
is not the same as having El Scorpio PDC (for those who remember 'Sleeping Planet).

That is not the kind of maintenance that is being discussed here. It has NOTHING to do with manpower or money or population.

TN ships require TN minerals (for the MSP) to be maintained. They also require time "offline" as they are being maintained.
Until and unless PDC also require TN minerals AND offline time to be maintained, PDCs are NOT balanced and in fact they can be exploited to create a defense / hangar system for free.

This is the problem here. Plus, as stated by Steve, that they break a lot of rules.

Also, as said before you will be able to do the same things you do now with orbital defense stations. So, it's not like you can't do stationary defense systems anymore. Also orbital defense stations can be towed, so that's a plus.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on September 21, 2017, 07:47:05 PM
Can't we just disallow hangars in PDC's?  The fact that PDC's can't move is a big enough downside to outweigh the fact that their maintenance is free.  Who cares how amazing your PDC defenses are, they're stuck on your planets.  You can't attack with them.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on September 22, 2017, 01:46:26 AM
They also require time "offline" as they are being maintained.
Until and unless PDC also require TN minerals AND offline time to be maintained, PDCs are NOT balanced and in fact they can be exploited to create a defense / hangar system for free.

No, a ship that spends it's entire lifecyckle on a planet does not require offline time to be maintained. So a PDC is not really breaking this particular rule at all.

I agree about the other rules though, but I don't mind them that much since you get to choose yourself to what extent you want to exploit the game and I simply choose to not use them in that manner. I never used PDC Hangars for anything other then basing some obsolete fighters ( Which don't think anyone considers an issue to be honest ).

If creating these special rules for them is alot of coding effort, and Steve prefers to put that effort into a better ground combat model instead then I am all for it.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on September 22, 2017, 02:18:33 AM
I'd prefer ground combat not stray too far from the fundamental. Researching techs related to personal weapons or personal armor, perhaps even planetary equipment, strikes me as below the level of detail established by ship-related tech and shipbuilding. If the base ground unit is the battalion, we should probably assume they would equip themselves comparably to tech levels demonstrated by the faction's ships, yet scaled to unit combat against combatants and their heavy equipment. In playing, I've role-played the ground unit techs primarily as organizational reforms adapting forces to the new technologies. Customizing ground units only makes sense if we're making tactical ground-combat decisions, which seems outside the scope of Aurora and something at which NPR AIs might not excel.

Much is already implicitly reflected in the different types of ground units. Changes in how those units function might be improvements, but I don't think that framework needs changing. Others have mentioned hard/soft values for attack and defense, which could benefit better combat mechanics, but which I don't think should effect gameplay other than to make a decision about which sort of battalion to build. I have always assumed aircraft as integral to battalions, below the level of gameplay---no way these battalions, even light ones like garrison, ship out without integrated air support (unless it's a waterworld, sea-going assets would be obsolete).

I would, however, argue against integrated ground-to-space capability in the current battalion types---I don't see that as their role. I am open to the idea of new battalion types dedicated to space defense; they'd secure and operate weapons to counter space-based threats and be relatively useless in combat versus other ground units. Specialization of equipment and unique unit combat doctrine could merit a new line of tech for such units.

I glanced at the Titan thread last week, but don't quite get what it represents---in military equipment you want the most possible lethality in the smallest possible package. I'm already anticipating how I'm going to imagine them as units of specialized siege equipment, but if the PDCs are going away ...

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.

I like this idea. An alternative might be a crew rating for the general pool that increases with the addition of crew from scrapped ships or lifepod survivors, which would simulate/be analgous to training and supervisory roles within the force structure and would translate into higher initial grade bonuses for new ship crews.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: NihilRex on September 22, 2017, 10:36:55 PM
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.

This probably deserves its' own thread, but Id see it easier to implement this as giving an XP boost to all ships at the same location as the scrapped ship, to represent personnel transfers.

"We got a couple new engine room techs from the Defiant, they're supposed to be pretty skilled..."
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bluebreaker on September 23, 2017, 12:16:51 PM
Since ground combat is getting more depth, I hope its also easier to manage.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on September 23, 2017, 04:04:00 PM
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. I am going away for a week on holiday so I won't be posting (or working on Aurora). I'll start work on ground units when I get back.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: boggo2300 on September 24, 2017, 04:37:35 PM
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. I am going away for a week on holiday so I won't be posting (or working on Aurora). I'll start work on ground units when I get back.

DOOOOOOOMMM!!!!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Gyrfalcon on September 25, 2017, 01:40:47 AM
One request: for the new unit types, please don't forget conventional units as well. I tend to play pre-TN starts with active combat between world powers, so it'd be awesome if fighter/bomber wings come in pre-TN and post-TN varieties, for example.

Also, I suggest that brigade and division command units shouldn't have research costs attached to them (or at least not nearly as much as they currently do). It's not like the equipment and organizations don't exist in every modern military, they simply need to be updated to use TN technology. This shouldn't be on the order of researching a new form of nuclear energy.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on September 25, 2017, 01:41:38 AM
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. I am going away for a week on holiday so I won't be posting (or working on Aurora). I'll start work on ground units when I get back.

Enjoy your vacation and thanks for keeping us updated on the progress!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Lossmar on September 25, 2017, 10:14:37 AM
I think its a bad idea to remove PDC's.  :'(

I always liked the idea of a giant planetary defence center being build, replacing that with building ground forces will make games less detailed and with less options :(
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Felixg on September 25, 2017, 10:39:58 AM
I also dislike the idea of removing PDCs, I liked building large multi base complexes on airless asteroids to make the battle stations that are incredibly smegty using the current rule set where they require maintenance and everything.

I think it would be best to leave PDCs in and those who don't like them don't have to use them, add Anti-space ground units in addition to the PDCs.

No reason those of us that enjoy the things should be deprived of them because some people dislike them. Its a single player only game after all. Alternatively give us a SM option to turn off maintenance for this or that so we can have our large self contained battle-stations, or a hangar on a comet hiding a cryo ship with emergency populations.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on September 25, 2017, 12:35:43 PM
I also dislike the idea of removing PDCs, I liked building large multi base complexes on airless asteroids to make the battle stations that are incredibly smegty using the current rule set where they require maintenance and everything.

I think it would be best to leave PDCs in and those who don't like them don't have to use them, add Anti-space ground units in addition to the PDCs.

No reason those of us that enjoy the things should be deprived of them because some people dislike them. Its a single player only game after all. Alternatively give us a SM option to turn off maintenance for this or that so we can have our large self contained battle-stations, or a hangar on a comet hiding a cryo ship with emergency populations.

I believe the new maintenance rules should allow for large deep space battle stations even with maintenance on.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on September 25, 2017, 12:49:42 PM
Was away for quite a while so it seems I missed my chance to say my piece. I don't think they should be removed. However, I think their mechanics need an adjustment and an expansion. A PDC is really meant to fulfill some key functions that are a bit odd to simulate with other options (units/titans).

At its core, a PDC is a fortified location to counterattack/defend an area against enemy starships. While it is entierly feasible for units and titans to also do this (The dragoons of the Ember Wars comes to mind with their shoulder mounted rail-cannons that can swat lighter starships out of the sky), they key words are fortified location. Units and Titans are more meant to be a mobile force to eliminate enemy mobile forces and strategic positions. PDCs are like that to protect key facilities, like planetary data centers, emergency power plants, and planetary shield generators (more on this in a minute).

Reworking PDCs so they better fit their role of protecting key facilities/areas would be to add something more that only PDCs could use. One of those things could be a planetary shield. Far larger and more powerful than regular shields, these shields are meant to hold back a lot of firepower. Maybe weighing in around 5,000 tons, 500 times the weight of standard shields yet gives around 750 to 1000 times the strength. The shield also can take damage from enemy Titans' artillery rolls. The shields wouldn't block enemy troop combat however, so there is a stronger point to invasion over outright planetary bombardment. Possibly to simulate the fact its ground based and can only "cover" a certain "area" around it, there could be a coverage percentage based on the number of different installations and the habitable area of the planet (with small enough bodies allowing a single installation to cover its entirety so small moons/asteroids aren't requiring too much).

Another thing would be anti-titan artillery. I actually have no idea how this would be figured, but it may be its own technology that does its damage based on ground combat strength tech. This weapon could also be used against enemy troops on the planet that aren't already in combat with that PDC or inside another one.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on September 25, 2017, 03:05:18 PM
Also, I suggest that brigade and division command units shouldn't have research costs attached to them (or at least not nearly as much as they currently do). It's not like the equipment and organizations don't exist in every modern military, they simply need to be updated to use TN technology. This shouldn't be on the order of researching a new form of nuclear energy.
I'm going to push back on this.  I'd say that instead those kind of units should be made more useful, and the price kept up.  Military networking and Command and Control (C2) is really hard, but also very powerful.  And we certainly haven't perfected it today, either.  (I work on the edges of the field these days.)  And particularly in the vague and wonderful world of TN technology, it's quite possible that they've managed to come up with another leap forward in the broad C2 field with dictates a lot of money being spent on perfecting it.  Look at the history of NTDS if you think this stuff is cheap.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel on September 25, 2017, 04:30:20 PM
I'm a bit divided on that - they are both very expensive to research as well as build. Lowering one or the other would be useful.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Gyrfalcon on September 26, 2017, 01:22:36 AM
I'm going to push back on this.  I'd say that instead those kind of units should be made more useful, and the price kept up.  Military networking and Command and Control (C2) is really hard, but also very powerful.  And we certainly haven't perfected it today, either.  (I work on the edges of the field these days.)  And particularly in the vague and wonderful world of TN technology, it's quite possible that they've managed to come up with another leap forward in the broad C2 field with dictates a lot of money being spent on perfecting it.  Look at the history of NTDS if you think this stuff is cheap.

I'm not saying that it's cheap, but the technology already exists, and would need to be iterated from a conventional state to making use of TN materials. But I don't think that's on the same order of difficulty as developing a new type of fusion energy to a workable level. As Garfunkel says, once you can build the units, they cost a lot of time/materials to deploy anyway.

Overall, it was only a suggestion. I automatically gift any TN faction in my games with brigade/division command units anyway because I find it silly that you have full divisions of conventional troops running around, but for some reason you can't figure out how to organize your TN units at the brigade level even.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Zincat on September 26, 2017, 02:54:35 AM
I think its a bad idea to remove PDC's.  :'(

I always liked the idea of a giant planetary defence center being build, replacing that with building ground forces will make games less detailed and with less options :(

I also dislike the idea of removing PDCs, I liked building large multi base complexes on airless asteroids to make the battle stations that are incredibly smegty using the current rule set where they require maintenance and everything.

I think it would be best to leave PDCs in and those who don't like them don't have to use them, add Anti-space ground units in addition to the PDCs.

No reason those of us that enjoy the things should be deprived of them because some people dislike them. Its a single player only game after all. Alternatively give us a SM option to turn off maintenance for this or that so we can have our large self contained battle-stations, or a hangar on a comet hiding a cryo ship with emergency populations.


If Steve goes on and removes the PDC, you can still obtain the same by building orbital space stations. With the new rules, they can also stay in space indefinitely if they have the correct facilities. The difference is that they ARE going to require MSP to function. And of course that you'll need shipyards to build them.


Snipped for legibility. Post was getting too long :)

I do like the idea of having some sorts of "planetary shield" installation. They could be installations maybe. But I do not think they should stay as the PDCs like now. Once again, TN ships of any kind in the game require maintenance in the form of MSP and have to be constructed in space.

PDCs do not require TN minerals to operate and can be exploited for free maintenance and free hangars. Which can in turn be used to create long range planetary defenses for little cost. How about building 100000 missile launching PDCs? After building, they don't cost a single unit of TN minerals, just the missiles IF and WHEN a fight ensues. NOT balanced at all, you can defend an entire system (or the relevant part of it) just with PDCs which cost nothing.

I think Steve simply wants to separate the ground combat from the space combat, make a clear cut between them.
Everything that has long range capabilities goes in space, in the form of ships or orbital bases. Or deep space bases.
Anything that pertains to planetary defense instead belongs to the realm of ground unit, which also include ground-to-space batteries for beam carnage of anything that comes close.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Felixg on September 26, 2017, 05:15:34 AM

If Steve goes on and removes the PDC, you can still obtain the same by building orbital space stations. With the new rules, they can also stay in space indefinitely if they have the correct facilities. The difference is that they ARE going to require MSP to function. And of course that you'll need shipyards to build them.


It wouldn't cost anything to add a SM option to turn it off though, it adds enjoyment for some of us and those who don't want to use it don't have to use it.

Quote
PDCs do not require TN minerals to operate and can be exploited for free maintenance and free hangars. Which can in turn be used to create long range planetary defenses for little cost. How about building 100000 missile launching PDCs? After building, they don't cost a single unit of TN minerals, just the missiles IF and WHEN a fight ensues. NOT balanced at all, you can defend an entire system (or the relevant part of it) just with PDCs which cost nothing.

There are lots of exploitative things you can do in the game, but so what if someone wants to do that? Its a single player game that doesn't effect anyone else. No one is gonna be impressed when they tell a story about doing it, if they have fun doing it though why not let them have fun with it?

Why does this idea have to ruin fun for people when the two could exist side by side. As mentioned if you don't like something don't use it. And if Steve doesn't want the AIs to futz around with it then just program them to make battle stations instead.

Its the same argument for people who have been complaining about the inclusion of titans: If they don't like them they don't have to use them, but the game should have more options for more people to have fun with, not less.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: sloanjh on September 26, 2017, 07:18:47 AM
Which can in turn be used to create long range planetary defenses for little cost. How about building 100000 missile launching PDCs? After building, they don't cost a single unit of TN minerals, just the missiles IF and WHEN a fight ensues. NOT balanced at all, you can defend an entire system (or the relevant part of it) just with PDCs which cost nothing.

On a historical note: my recollection is that this is exactly Steve's original vision from a decade ago about how Aurora would play:  isolated fortified systems that were very tough nuts to crack with large unoccupied stretches between them, as opposed to the way StarFire campaigns end up having front lines and hard borders.

Not advocating one way or the other in the above, just an observation.  That being said, I think the only way an interested individual might save them (given Steve's recent posts that seem to indicate that he's already made the decision) would be to figure out a way to cut WAY down on the number of places the code requires "if(!PDC){// do normal stuff}else{do PDC stuff}".  My understanding is he's tired of the code complexity and just wants it gone.

John
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on September 26, 2017, 07:54:27 AM
PDCs do not require TN minerals to operate and can be exploited for free maintenance and free hangars. Which can in turn be used to create long range planetary defenses for little cost. How about building 100000 missile launching PDCs? After building, they don't cost a single unit of TN minerals, just the missiles IF and WHEN a fight ensues. NOT balanced at all, you can defend an entire system (or the relevant part of it) just with PDCs which cost nothing.
They don't cost nothing.  Seriously, if your games advance so slowly you can amortize the cost of the PDCs enough that they don't hurt, but the old ones aren't rendered totally obsolete by advances in technology, you need to buy more research facilities.  And they have the massive disadvantage of not being mobile, which means that all of the ones you build to protect your capitol can't be used to protect other planets.  Ships can.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Zincat on September 26, 2017, 08:03:14 AM
On a historical note: my recollection is that this is exactly Steve's original vision from a decade ago about how Aurora would play:  isolated fortified systems that were very tough nuts to crack with large unoccupied stretches between them, as opposed to the way StarFire campaigns end up having front lines and hard borders.


Really? I had no idea, I think I joined to forum in 2013 or something similar. It's quite interesting to know, never played starfire.

Not advocating one way or the other in the above, just an observation.  That being said, I think the only way an interested individual might save them (given Steve's recent posts that seem to indicate that he's already made the decision) would be to figure out a way to cut WAY down on the number of places the code requires "if(!PDC){// do normal stuff}else{do PDC stuff}".  My understanding is he's tired of the code complexity and just wants it gone.

John

That is certainly a factor. As someone who codes I can relate to that. But I get the gut feeling that he also wants ground combat to be a lot more than what it is now. And I approve, I would really, really like a more fleshed out ground combat. (Not to mention he's obviously a warhammer fan to some degree :) )


Just to make it clear. I don't dislike PDCs per se. I can see their value for RP purposes as well. I just dislike that they don't respect rules, and so end up as being a much cheaper and viable alternative than orbital bases or moving ships. Because yes, I can make an house rule not to use them. Just build orbital bases instead, they cost a lot more but it's fine. But still, the situation here is that one choice is strictly, always better than the alternative.
PDCs are always superior on stationary defense to any other possibility.

That is what I don't like, that I feel "strongly encouraged" to use missile PDCs for static defense because any other choice is just not nearly as good.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Zincat on September 26, 2017, 08:13:41 AM
They don't cost nothing.  Seriously, if your games advance so slowly you can amortize the cost of the PDCs enough that they don't hurt, but the old ones aren't rendered totally obsolete by advances in technology, you need to buy more research facilities.  And they have the massive disadvantage of not being mobile, which means that all of the ones you build to protect your capitol can't be used to protect other planets.  Ships can.

I disagree, they don't really go obsolete. You just update the missiles with newer, better missiles, and they still remain usable as long as you have decent sensor / fire control systems. That's the only thing you really need. Even obsolete PDCs can launch good missiles, and in quantity they can still overpower point defense. Or make enemies consume AMM ammo.

Not saying they stay as efficient as when you started, but they are still usable. For static defense, they're simply the best option. And ship/orbital bases maintenance costs are quite significant, you need to take care of the logistics for that. Building those require shipyards, which are always on demand for pressing needs of various kind.
PDCs are sturdier, can be built by factories, don't require MSPs. They're just plain better for static defense.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: MJOne on September 26, 2017, 02:57:56 PM
I do not understand why some think that PDC and ground combat are related and just because you make ground combat better PDC's has to go? That argument doesn't make any sense.  Just remove barracks from PDC and everything is fine.  PDC can be planetary space weapons, end of story.  Take them out of the equation of ground combat and I see no problem for both to co-exist. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: MagusXIX on September 26, 2017, 07:38:07 PM
Removing the ability to put troops in a bunker and instead just making them tougher is a terrible idea. If you have to get rid of PDCs, then when you're making new types of ground units you should consider adding some kind of new unit that serves the same function as barracks in PDCs.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Person012345 on September 26, 2017, 09:55:04 PM
I think if PDCs are to be removed, customizable ground units in some form are a must. Even if they're not designed the same way as ships. I also wouldn't want it to mean the end of ground based missiles or anything like that (both to orbit and surface to surface). I'm not sure how much I like the concept of removing them overall but it's something I'd have to try.

Perhaps ground units could have a predetermined number of slots or a weight rating that you could fit in things like weapons, armour, stealth techs and things to modify their overall abilities. This could only apply to Titan-type units where your lighter ones could only carry weapons and armour that would be useful against ground units and heavier ones could be outfitted with big guns, lasers or even maybe missiles and could carry out their big-guns role against ground or space targets. Alternatively they could be armoured out and fitted with a large number of smaller weapons to be specialised for wiping out ground forces. Thinking about it, this could really get as granular as you liked, if applied to regular ground units you could even decide whether to outfit them with small arms that would be effective against lighter forces, anti-armour weapons that would be more effective against heavier units or maybe even allocating artillery pieces and tanks. Heavier ground unit types would have larger weight ratings.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on September 27, 2017, 08:18:49 AM
I disagree, they don't really go obsolete. You just update the missiles with newer, better missiles, and they still remain usable as long as you have decent sensor / fire control systems. That's the only thing you really need. Even obsolete PDCs can launch good missiles, and in quantity they can still overpower point defense. Or make enemies consume AMM ammo.
And when they simply don't have the fire-control range to be able to fight the enemy ships?  Those ranges increase pretty fast throughout the game.  Updating missiles helps, but I don't think it's enough, particularly if the enemy comes prepared to fight PDCs.

Quote
PDCs are sturdier, can be built by factories, don't require MSPs. They're just plain better for static defense.
No argument.  They are strictly better for static defense.  I actually tend to think that's a good thing.  But they aren't free.  Ships take at least 10 years (IIRC) to use up minerals equal to their build cost.  Building PDCs takes a substantial amount of time, resources, and factory capacity (which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on shipyard utilization).  If I just need to defend a planet, it's the best way to spend them, but I haven't found it to be an obvious winning strategy.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on September 27, 2017, 09:42:50 AM
And when they simply don't have the fire-control range to be able to fight the enemy ships?  Those ranges increase pretty fast throughout the game.  Updating missiles helps, but I don't think it's enough, particularly if the enemy comes prepared to fight PDCs.

When defending a "stationary" target which most of the time either is known or can be detected from half a system away ( pop emissions ) the PDC is already in a situation where it can never hope to outrange an attacking/sieging enemy anyways so range hardly matters compared to mobile ships. The ASMs a PDC will fire are going to hit an attacker that is closing in to use beam or short range weapons anyways in which case range doesn't matter.

For AMMs range can matter a bit more but the main challange will be detecting the missiles, not targeting them, which can be solved by just replacing a sensor PDC or leaving a modern AMM sensor ship in orbit.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on September 28, 2017, 02:52:39 AM
Perhaps ground units could have a predetermined number of slots or a weight rating that you could fit in things like weapons, armour, stealth techs and things to modify their overall abilities. This could only apply to Titan-type units where your lighter ones could only carry weapons and armour that would be useful against ground units and heavier ones could be outfitted with big guns, lasers or even maybe missiles and could carry out their big-guns role against ground or space targets. Alternatively they could be armoured out and fitted with a large number of smaller weapons to be specialised for wiping out ground forces. Thinking about it, this could really get as granular as you liked, if applied to regular ground units you could even decide whether to outfit them with small arms that would be effective against lighter forces, anti-armour weapons that would be more effective against heavier units or maybe even allocating artillery pieces and tanks. Heavier ground unit types would have larger weight ratings.

Regarding regular ground units, I think much of this is already reflected by the type of battalions we train. That diversity may not now be reflected in the mechanics, but the framework is already there if the combat mechanics are adjusted. An armored battalion (or whatever name gets attached) would have hard/soft capabilities different from a mobile infantry battalion, perhaps preferably with more distinction between police presence, occupation points, etc. to more clearly define separate roles for different ground units---garrison battalions shouldn't be able to defend well against true combat battalions, for instance, but should be able to pacify unruly worlds.

The way I see it, the battalion type already determines the content of anything analogous to weapon slots and the tech level for small arms and battalion-level equipment would match that of the species (upgradable as it is now with logistic/ground combat techs).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: backstab on September 28, 2017, 04:13:40 AM
Regarding regular ground units, I think much of this is already reflected by the type of battalions we train. That diversity may not now be reflected in the mechanics, but the framework is already there if the combat mechanics are adjusted. An armored battalion (or whatever name gets attached) would have hard/soft capabilities different from a mobile infantry battalion, perhaps preferably with more distinction between police presence, occupation points, etc. to more clearly define separate roles for different ground units---garrison battalions shouldn't be able to defend well against true combat battalions, for instance, but should be able to pacify unruly worlds.

The way I see it, the battalion type already determines the content of anything analogous to weapon slots and the tech level for small arms and battalion-level equipment would match that of the species (upgradable as it is now with logistic/ground combat techs).

Very good reasoning obsidian_green ... I think expanding the types of battalions would be a better option than introducing equipment slots.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on September 28, 2017, 02:05:03 PM
When defending a "stationary" target which most of the time either is known or can be detected from half a system away ( pop emissions ) the PDC is already in a situation where it can never hope to outrange an attacking/sieging enemy anyways so range hardly matters compared to mobile ships. The ASMs a PDC will fire are going to hit an attacker that is closing in to use beam or short range weapons anyways in which case range doesn't matter.
Oh, right.  There are people who use things other than missiles to kill PDCs. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheTrooperm13 on September 29, 2017, 01:52:09 PM
I don't think removing pdc's is a good idea.  I mean it could be added a possibility where pdc's actually cost wealth and minerals.  This could prove an efficient way that would prevent people from spamming them.  Also in a more immersive way, in almost every scifi films or series there are ground based bunkers, forts and so on, if i couldn't build pdc's it would probably hurt my immersivity. 
Another point is: i totally agree with new ground combat techs and stuff, but i think this would bring a totally new combat system.  If i can design my own weapons, even for infantry personnel, based on. . .  mmm something like: rate of fire, power, ability to fire from 200mm or 1km, this would probably require a ground combat where distance, fire rates,etcs are taken into account.  For example: there is no planet to conquer, rather zones which are different one from another.  A city would privilege a higher fire rate rather than long range rifles, and an open terrain would require a more long distance approach.  Last but not least, why not be able to create everything from scratch in ground units? Without having predefinities categories? I mean a player could create and entire infantry battalion or an entire mechanized battalion, we would assign it a "class" just like ships classes.  To me it would be a paradise.  While options like garrison are a "collier" like check box. 
Keep on the good work from a fallen in love with aurora man and ground units supporters!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Arwyn on September 30, 2017, 05:19:09 AM
First off, I like the idea. Getting rid of PDC's streamlines a ton of stuff. If you still want silos, there are still stations. Also, changing the energy/ballistic weapons in atmosphere would be a good thing.

Lasers can push a lot of energy through atmospheres even with degradation. In fact, the secondary thermal effects could be interesting. Kinetic weapons actually would work pretty well. At the velocities railguns are pushing, there would still be impacting with enough mass and energy to ruin somethings day. Ablative heat shielding would be pretty easy to add.

So, on vehicles. With what Steve has already said about fixing them at distinct tech levels at the time of manufacturing, this starts suggesting something like the current fighter design process. So, you could take the base line armor and adjust the amounts (increase/decrease mass), slap on a weapons system and have a basic configuration. Additionally, you could arbitrarily set a threshold for design mass to dictate the vehicle class similar to fighter and gunboats. So, less than 50 tons is a light armor vehicle, more than that would be a heavy vehicle. For that matter, you could tie that into the planned Titan system as well. Less than 50 tons, light vehicle, greater than 50 is heavy, and greater than 200 (for example) gets into Titan country. They still use the same design process, like fighters/gunboats/ships, but can be handled differently.

So, that would give you a basic vehicle class, basic armor value (defense) and a weapons system (offense). In the interest of keeping planetary combat somewhat abstract, you could then modify your new system using initiative to dictate combat order and modify that by vehicle class for example. You could potentially modify that by adding additional systems to improve that initiative value (via command and control systems or sensors), or modules like troop transport bays that add to initiative for infantry in the region, or logistics modules to boost supply. Not to mention modules like ECM and ECCM which would be critical in that kind of high tech battlefields. All those other modules add to mass and help dictate class.

Infantry could be handled the same way. We already have leg infantry, and powered armor infantry, so you could do the same thing with them.
Leg infantry:
Cheap, low init, low armor. This would be your basis for things like Garrison units. Cheap, lightly equipped occupation troops. They could also be planetary militia. They might have some powered suits for a rapid reaction force (SWAT units for Garrison for example) but the bulk is cheap leg infantry.
Assisted Infantry:
Mixed units of leg and suits, or troops with power assisted armor. The suits provide some assist to load bearing (better init) but may not be fully sealed for things like vacuum or hostile environments. Or if they are sealed suits, they may not have the defensive systems on full power suits.
Powered Infantry;
There are the classic Starship Troopers type power armor (the book, not the movie). Heavily armored, high load bearing, high mobility. And expensive as hell.

Now, you can add weapon systems. Like a basic small arms package like;
Gauss: Low damage, high rate of fire (init bonus)
Rail: Medium damage, medium ROF
Lasers: High damage, low ROF (init penalty)

If you wanted to complicate infantry a bit further, you could give them support weapons (as an option) to increase their offensive (damage) potential at the cost of initiative (more heavy stuff to drag around) to give them more staying power or anti-armor potential.

So, for example:
Garrison Infantry Company, Armor 1, Damage 1, Init -10% (Leg Inf -20%, Gauss Rifles +10%) Training Cost 20 Duranium 15
Garrison Infantry Battalion, Armor 4, Damage 1, Init -30 (Leg Inf -20%, Gauss Rifles +10%, Battalion -20%) Training Cost 60 Duranium 60
Heavy Infantry Battalion, Armor 8, Damage 4, Init (Assit Inf 0%, Rail Rifles 0%, Anti-Tank Missiles -20%, Battalion -20%) Training Cost 180 Duranium 300 Neutronium 40
Marine Raider

Finally, you can take all your ship sized weapon systems and slap them on the Titan/Bolo/Ogre/CSU/Helltank platform. They would be big, and baseline init would be low, but you would have your mobile Anti-Orbital battery, or your Warlord Titan build to smash ground vehicles.

Anyway, just my initial thoughts reading this far far to late in the evening. :)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 02, 2017, 10:11:38 AM
A high level update on the new ground combat system. This isn't really about the detail, as I am still sorting that out, but more about some of the overall concepts.

My direction at the moment is to have a component system for ground unit design (which will replace all existing units including Titans). There are four base unit types (Infantry, Vehicle, Combat Walker, Aircraft), each of which has several sub-types based on the level of armour. 'Combat Walker' in this context is down to player interpretation. Could be a WH40K Titan or a Star Wars AT-AT, etc.). At the moment, my list comprises:

Unarmoured Infantry - ARM 0
Light Infantry - ARM 1
Powered Infantry - ARM 2
Heavy Powered Infantry - ARM 3
Unarmoured Vehicle - ARM 1
Light Vehicle - ARM 2
Medium Vehicle - ARM 4
Heavy Vehicle - ARM 6
Light Combat Walker - ARM 3
Medium Combat Walker - ARM 6
Heavy Combat Walker - ARM 9
Super-Heavy Combat Walker - ARM 12
Unarmoured Aircraft - ARM 1
Light Aircraft - ARM 2
Medium Aircraft - ARM 3

The armour strength (ARM) is a baseline, which is modified by the best available racial armour tech. So, an advanced civilisation may have 'light' vehicles with better armour than the 'medium' or even 'heavy' vehicles of a lower tech civilisation.

Each base type has 1-3 component slots (Infantry 1, Vehicles & Aircraft 2, Walkers 3). This components can be combat-related or support-related. This list (so far) includes:

Light Anti-Personnel
Medium Anti-Personnel
Heavy Anti-Personnel
Light Anti Vehicle
Medium Anti Vehicle
Heavy Anti Vehicle
Super Heavy Anti Vehicle
Light Bombardment
Medium Bombardment
Heavy Bombardment
Light Anti-Air
Medium Anti-Air
CIWS
Surface to Orbit (Variety of weapons)
Brigade HQ
Division HQ
Combat Engineer
Construction
Forced Labour
Repair
Logistics,
Replacement,
Orbital Fire Support Controller

So for example, you could create a 'Medium Tank' using a Medium Vehicle with Medium Anti Vehicle and Medium Anti-Personnel. Or a 'Tank Destroyer' by going heavy armour and double anti-vehicle, etc.. The non-combat related functions will function in a similar way to now. Logistics will be a ground unit that is slowly consumed over time by other friendly units, acting as a form of ground unit supply. Orbital Fire Support Controller will be able to direct the fire of ships in orbit to support ground forces.

The light, medium, heavy concepts for weapons are based on rate of fire and armour penetration. So a light weapon will fire more often and therefore engage more targets, while a heavier weapon will fire more slowly but have a higher chance of destroying the target. Essentially, you will need light weapons against numerous, lightly armoured targets and heavy weapons against armoured opponents. Penetration and rate of fire will also be affected by base racial technology in weapons and capacitor recharge rates. I might combine some of the anti-personnel and anti-vehicle descriptions as (for example) heavy anti-personnel and light anti-vehicle may not be that different.

Ground combat will now take place in the same time frame as ship combat, with each unit firing at specified intervals (except that time won't slow for ground combat - it will instead run multiple cycles depending on turn length). It will still take a while for ground combat though as hit chances will be very low.

Ground unit design will have an individual unit type and a formation type. For example, you might design an 'Armoured Battalion' formation with the unit type as the 'Panther Tank'. There will be a set number of units within a formation and they will fire and take damage individually. So you may start with 50 Panther Tanks in each Armoured Battalion but after combat, some will be damaged and some destroyed. These can be repaired or replaced. Each unit will have a size, so the size of a formation will be number of units x unit size. I haven't decided yet whether to allow units of any size or have a 'battalion size' and have a number of units that will fit within that size. In the case of the former, then Brigade HQs would have a total command size, rather than commanding a set number of units. This would also allow minor units, such as a mortar company (light infantry - light bombardment) held at Brigade level.

Within combat, each formation can be placed in one of four positions. Advance, Front-line, Support or Rear Echelon (names might changes). The default position for any formation is Front-line. Front-line formations will engage in direct combat and can be given orders regarding the type of enemy unit to target (as combat takes place, information will be provided about the base types of enemy units engaged).

A number of formations not exceeding the number of front lines units can be placed in the Support position. This would typically be bombardment or headquarters units, or a resting combat formation. Any ground-based unit (infantry, vehicle, combat walker) in the support position can use its bombardment strength against enemy units in the opposing front-line position or may be allocated to counter-battery fire against enemy units bombarding from a support position.

A number of formations not exceeding the number of support units can be placed in the Rear Echelon position. This would typically be aircraft, ground-to-orbit, logistics, repair or replacement units. Any aircraft in any position can target any enemy position, although it can be engaged by each position which it attacks or passes over. So an aircraft attacking the support units of an enemy can be engaged by anti-air units in the front-line or support positions I will probably make this any anti-air unit in the same hierarchy (divisional or brigade).

A number of Vehicle or Combat Walker formations may be assigned to the Advance position. This cannot exceed the number of front-line units. These formations are attempting to break through the enemy front-line formations. If they can maintain their advance position for a certain amount of time (TBD) without being forced to withdraw (withdrawal will be based on casualties and formation morale), they will be considered to have broken through the enemy lines and will be able to either attack support formations directly, or attack front-line formations with double strength (flanking them). After another specified amount of time (TBD), they can also choose to attack rear echelon units directly, or support units / front-line units at double strength. Any unit in an advance position will be identified by name and type to the enemy and can be attacked specifically (as opposed to just targeting a position).

Infantry formations can be fortified. This can done to a minimal level by the formation itself, given sufficient time, or enhanced further by combat engineer units. This will greatly improve the formation's resistance to damage.

CIWS and Ground to Orbit units will be based on existing naval weapons, along with sufficient costs for reactors, fire control, etc.. They will not be able to attack in ground combat but will defend based on their base unit type.

In addition to the components, units will also have abilities that modify their cost and their combat strength in different circumstances. This will include boarding combat, extreme temperature combat, mountainous terrain, ocean terrain, etc.

Garrison Strength will be heavily based on the number of units in a formation, so a light infantry formation, will be a more effective garrison unit than a heavy armour formation, despite being considerably cheaper.

The above is an outline of where I am heading and will probably change a little once I get into the detailed coding. At the moment, I am starting on a unit / formation design window. After that is complete, I will look at the combat mechanics.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Tree on October 02, 2017, 10:51:39 AM
I'm all for more details and fun stuff, but how will NPRs handle all of that? If you have any ideas on this already, that is. Will I be able to spy an NPR world, see they favor heavily infantry with anti-personnel and anti-air weapons, so that I'd know to land in tanks with anti-personnel weapons? What would an NPR do if the roles were reversed, or are they still going to not bother with invasion and just use orbital bombardment to force a surrender?
Will troop transport components be broken up further for all four kinds of units or re-united in a single one?
Will units still retain different kinds of capabilities at basic levels much lower than their specialization? Or would a mortar company finding itself on the front lines become completely useless because it only has bombardment capabilities and absolutely 0 anti-personnel/anti-vehicle?
Also combat walker sound like they could be made generic enough that they're not specifically walkers anymore, just super heavy vehicles or wunderwaffen (such as the Fat Boy from Supreme Commander, or War Wheels from DC). Not sure what else you could call them though, yeah.

And since this is the PDC thread and they're disappearing, well, are we going to be able to build stations with industry directly, like orbital habitats? Or are those components going to remain a special case? It seems like right now from a rapid test I can build an orbital habitat with industry, even if it's loaded with guns and hangars... I don't mind too much being forced to have an orbital habitat module if I want to build a station and bypass the shipyard, but still, would be better (and cheaper) if I didn't need that.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 02, 2017, 11:02:04 AM
Agree on the re-designation of combat walker. Some type of super-heavy vehicle designation makes sense.

For C# Aurora, NPRs will become more themed in their design of ships, rather than potentially building all types. The same will likely apply for ground units, within the limits of their tech. Determining which units to place in each position should not be tricky for the AI, although a decision on when to advance will be more difficult.

Transport will be either infantry or vehicle (inc aircraft). In this case I am assuming that 'ground-based' aircraft are more like armoured helicopters (Mi-24) than high-flying jets (mainly because in many cases there would be no atmosphere anyway). Infantry transport will be the existing troop transport bays and combat drop modules. I will add vehicle equivalents.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 02, 2017, 11:09:23 AM
One decision I have to make at the moment is whether different types of space-based weaponry affect different elements of ground combat, or whether I just take the best available.

For example, should anti-personnel and anti-air be based on railguns and/or gauss, while anti-vehicle weapons use the best from lasers, meson or particle beams. Bombardment could be based on missile tech. The problem with that is space-based combat doesn't require a variety of different tech to be effective, so requiring it for ground combat could be an issue.

The alternative is to take the highest tech level from railguns, lasers, mesons or particle beams and use that as a basis for all offensive ground weaponry, with the assumption that any weapon technology can be suitably adapted for ground-combat weapon types as they operate on a much smaller scale than ship-based weaponry.

ROF can be based on capacitor technology, while size is affected by reactor technology (larger lower-tech reactors needed for same capacitor tech).

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Kristover on October 02, 2017, 12:39:31 PM
I think this sounds like a very cool baseline for ground unit redesign and one that gives extra depth to the ground portion of the game.    I think one of the challenges is going to be in designing the AI to construct proper 'combined arms' armies so to reduce the player ability to exploit the NPRs with something like an 'all-walker' force.    I think another challenge might be in NPRs transporting armies for invasions - which I know doesn't happen right now - with a right force mixture.   

How will experience/training level factor in with the forces?  As a multiplier?  I would like to eventually cultivate elite 'named' units. 

Just a request/consideration, having a Recon and/or Special Forces/Commando like function might be a cool addition.     Perhaps a Commando function might allow the unit to bypass and directly attack the rear lines.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 02, 2017, 03:01:36 PM
Are ground-based fortifications going to be represented in any way?

With PDC's going away it makes me wonder what advantage the defenders will have.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: FrederickAlexander on October 02, 2017, 03:19:13 PM
Looking at the proposed redesign I am very much looking forward to it. Though I do have a number of questions about it.

Why are the only units capable of being used in advanced formation are Combat Walker(or super-heavy vehicles) and vehicles are the only ones in advanced formations? Why not allow infantry unit be able to use said formation such as ODST, rangers or some other kind special forces be allowed to be on advanced formtaions with a harder chance to hit but a lower requirement for them to withdraw.

Would units with replacement be required to have the unit type and subtype or would they be able to replace any type of unit regardless of unit type? I kinda dislike the idea of a unarmored infantry battalion being able to reinforce an aircraft or heavy vehicle battalion.

Would it be possible to have Stealth components that allow units to reduce the amount of incoming fire? This could be placed in a units ability but it could be used as a component that scales up with cloaking tech level and is unlocked through cloaking.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 02, 2017, 03:33:56 PM
Looks very good overall, although I have a couple of comments/questions/suggestions.
1. Let's say I want a balanced infantry unit.  Mostly anti-infantry, with a bit of anti-vehicle and light bombardment thrown in.  Can I make this in a single battalion?
2. There could be a few more types of slots.  Some that spring to mind are mobility (or incorporate that somehow), recon, EW and C3I.  Also, mechanized infantry might be a good thing to add for vehicles to carry.
3. Are there restrictions on the types of weapons a unit can carry?  Infantry with heavy bombardment seems like a contradiction.
I'm sure I'll have more later.  Overall, this looks fantastic.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 02, 2017, 03:56:02 PM
Looks very good overall, although I have a couple of comments/questions/suggestions.
1. Let's say I want a balanced infantry unit.  Mostly anti-infantry, with a bit of anti-vehicle and light bombardment thrown in.  Can I make this in a single battalion?
2. There could be a few more types of slots.  Some that spring to mind are mobility (or incorporate that somehow), recon, EW and C3I.  Also, mechanized infantry might be a good thing to add for vehicles to carry.
3. Are there restrictions on the types of weapons a unit can carry?  Infantry with heavy bombardment seems like a contradiction.
I'm sure I'll have more later.  Overall, this looks fantastic.

As things stand, infantry only have one slot. The intention though is this to be about combined arms, so you could create a brigade with a couple of 'normal' infantry units, a infantry-based anti-tank unit and an infantry-based bombardment unit. Could also make the HQ a vehicle and add some anti-air to the HQ. I think I am going to allow different size units, with HQ commanding a total size of units rather than total numbers. So you could have mainly infantry battalions but with some smaller formations providing different capabilities at brigade or division level.

Recon is a good idea. That could be used to identify specific hostile units so they can be targeted (as opposed to targeting all units in a position). Mechanised infantry could potentially be represented by a vehicle unit with anti-personnel capabilities, or just use two smaller units, one infantry-based and one vehicle-based.

No restrictions on weapons at the moment. I envisioned infantry-based anti-vehicle or heavy bombardment as being the equivalent of towed anti-tank guns or howitzers (as opposed to self-propelled). I guess the infantry definition could be changed to infantry / small vehicle, vehicle would become large vehicle and combat walker to super-heavy vehicle. Still in the early stages so open to change yet.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 02, 2017, 03:57:48 PM
Are ground-based fortifications going to be represented in any way?

With PDC's going away it makes me wonder what advantage the defenders will have.

As mentioned above, you can use combat engineers to create ground-based fortifications.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 02, 2017, 04:06:48 PM
Looking at the proposed redesign I am very much looking forward to it. Though I do have a number of questions about it.

Why are the only units capable of being used in advanced formation are Combat Walker(or super-heavy vehicles) and vehicles are the only ones in advanced formations? Why not allow infantry unit be able to use said formation such as ODST, rangers or some other kind special forces be allowed to be on advanced formtaions with a harder chance to hit but a lower requirement for them to withdraw.

Would units with replacement be required to have the unit type and subtype or would they be able to replace any type of unit regardless of unit type? I kinda dislike the idea of a unarmored infantry battalion being able to reinforce an aircraft or heavy vehicle battalion.

Would it be possible to have Stealth components that allow units to reduce the amount of incoming fire? This could be placed in a units ability but it could be used as a component that scales up with cloaking tech level and is unlocked through cloaking.

I wanted to create some differentiation between unit types. Infantry-based units can be fortified whereas vehicle and combat walker units can be used for breakthrough attacks (by placing them in the advance position). Some type of special forces operating 'behind the lines' might an option though.

My intention is that replacement units will be have to be the same type. So if you build a formation using a 'Medium Tank' unit, you will need a formation with 'Medium Tanks' for replacements. If I do this, I will probably split the individual unit design and formation design.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Admiral666 on October 02, 2017, 04:30:40 PM
You mention terrain-specific modifiers. How will terrain be handled? Will the planet be assigned a single terrain type, or be divided into zones based on planet type, surface water percentage, etc?

Will there be a representation of territory controlled by each side, perhaps in simple percentages? Will that have an impact on enemy populations, factories, mines, stockpiles, etc? If so, will there be a speed/mobility stat for the various unit types? This paragraph may add a bit too much complexity, though.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 02, 2017, 05:19:24 PM
You mention terrain-specific modifiers. How will terrain be handled? Will the planet be assigned a single terrain type, or be divided into zones based on planet type, surface water percentage, etc?

Will there be a representation of territory controlled by each side, perhaps in simple percentages? Will that have an impact on enemy populations, factories, mines, stockpiles, etc? If so, will there be a speed/mobility stat for the various unit types? This paragraph may add a bit too much complexity, though.

For the moment, I am assuming a dominant terrain type for the whole planet, although this may be a combination of terrain (mountainous-jungle for example). I haven't decided exactly how to do this yet though. Tectonics and Age will drive some form of mountainous rating, hydrosphere extent will be used for water, and I will come up with some form of terrain based on environmental conditions (forest, jungle, tundra, etc.). Temperature will be another factor and perhaps radiation.

Mobility/speed will play a part in three ways. Chance to hit, length of time in an advance positions to achieve a  breakthrough and suitability for terrain (vehicles will not be less useful in jungle for example). Details TBD.

I am aiming for variety and a real flavour of combined arms but I don't want to get involved in percentages of territory or different areas of terrain. The Advance position and breakthrough mechanics are being used as a substitute for actual movement.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 02, 2017, 06:00:46 PM
A high level update on the new ground combat system. This isn't really about the detail, as I am still sorting that out, but more about some of the overall concepts.

One big constraint will be the question of upgrades.

That is to say, will the system work on the old VB6 system where researching a tech caused an empire wide instant upgrade in combat capacity, or will it become like with ships and stations, where you need to put a unit back into a Ground Forces Training Facility to upgrade their equipment, or convert them to cadre?

If it's the latter it might end up a little expensive if large ground armies become a thing.

My direction at the moment is to have a component system for ground unit design (which will replace all existing units including Titans). There are four base unit types (Infantry, Vehicle, Combat Walker, Aircraft), each of which has several sub-types based on the level of armour. 'Combat Walker' in this context is down to player interpretation. Could be a WH40K Titan or a Star Wars AT-AT, etc.). At the moment, my list comprises:

*snip unit type list*

You are missing wet navy units. While this could also be done through a component rather than a unit type, the usefulness of wet navy units should not be underestimated, especially submersible units. Planets are big so a single unit can be hard to find, but planets with a large hydrosphere extent have plenty of places for a submarine to hide also, and those are even harder to trace. The exact mechanics are up to you, of course, but I was thinking a variable combat modifier depending on the hydrosphere extent of the relative body, and severe penalties actually doing damage against a wet navy unit without some form of ASW equipped unit on planet.

With this more involved may also become interesting to consider the concept of under water infrastructure, low gravity infrastructure, and the effects such concepts have on ground warfare. While this should not increase the maximum population capacity of a planet beyond its maximum, it may impact how much population capacity is closed off by excessively large hydrospheres, for example.

Finally, because otherwise there's no point to 4th level ground commanders, I propose a Planetary Defense Command unit type (chosen specifically so the acronym is confusing to old players) commanded by a 4th level commander. In the case of multiple PDCs on planet the one with the senior most commander leads the defenses.

The armour strength (ARM) is a baseline, which is modified by the best available racial armour tech. So, an advanced civilisation may have 'light' vehicles with better armour than the 'medium' or even 'heavy' vehicles of a lower tech civilisation.

This is quite realistic.

Each base type has 1-3 component slots (Infantry 1, Vehicles & Aircraft 2, Walkers 3). This components can be combat-related or support-related. This list (so far) includes: *snip list of components*

A 'seaborne,' 'transport' or 'submersible' component would be quite appropriate, as might be a 'special forces' component for infantry. Also, I'm making a guess here but an Orbital Fire Support Controller should probably be needed for targeting ground troops that's not as likely to get your own units killed as those of the enemy, as well as limiting facility damage.

So for example, you could create a 'Medium Tank' using a Medium Vehicle with Medium Anti Vehicle and Medium Anti-Personnel. Or a 'Tank Destroyer' by going heavy armour and double anti-vehicle, etc.. The non-combat related functions will function in a similar way to now. Logistics will be a ground unit that is slowly consumed over time by other friendly units, acting as a form of ground unit supply. Orbital Fire Support Controller will be able to direct the fire of ships in orbit to support ground forces.

Will logistics units be consumed on friendly planets/ships? Because that would be a micromanagement bother.

The light, medium, heavy concepts for weapons are based on rate of fire and armour penetration. So a light weapon will fire more often and therefore engage more targets, while a heavier weapon will fire more slowly but have a higher chance of destroying the target. Essentially, you will need light weapons against numerous, lightly armoured targets and heavy weapons against armoured opponents. Penetration and rate of fire will also be affected by base racial technology in weapons and capacitor recharge rates. I might combine some of the anti-personnel and anti-vehicle descriptions as (for example) heavy anti-personnel and light anti-vehicle may not be that different.

When it comes to infantry weaponry, the major division between light, medium and heavy equipment is how much it actually weighs, rather than rate of fire and accuracy, generally speaking, if you hit someone with a bullet he's either dead or combat ineffective, while portable anti tank and anti air weapons tend to hit harder and further as they get heavier. Technology has evolved to the point that for infantry the question isn't one of rate of fire as much as how much they can physically carry with them.

For vehicles, the question is mostly one of combat endurance and cost. Heavier weapons are more expensive to field and will have less munition to fire. This imposes a heavier logistical burden.

Also, the line between heavy anti personnel weaponry and light anti vehicle weaponry is rather blurred. Most weapons that will destroy or heavily damage lightly armoured or unarmoured vehicles are perfectly serviceable in an anti personnel role, and often employed in such a role for extra range or to deal with infantry in particularly good cover.

This paradigm might change in the face of Trans-Newtonian technology of course.

Ground combat will now take place in the same time frame as ship combat, with each unit firing at specified intervals (except that time won't slow for ground combat - it will instead run multiple cycles depending on turn length). It will still take a while for ground combat though as hit chances will be very low.

I foresee turns sometimes taking very long times as NPRs try to deal with ground combat in a far of corner of the galaxy.

Ground unit design will have an individual unit type and a formation type. For example, you might design an 'Armoured Battalion' formation with the unit type as the 'Panther Tank'. There will be a set number of units within a formation and they will fire and take damage individually. So you may start with 50 Panther Tanks in each Armoured Battalion but after combat, some will be damaged and some destroyed. These can be repaired or replaced. Each unit will have a size, so the size of a formation will be number of units x unit size. I haven't decided yet whether to allow units of any size or have a 'battalion size' and have a number of units that will fit within that size. In the case of the former, then Brigade HQs would have a total command size, rather than commanding a set number of units. This would also allow minor units, such as a mortar company (light infantry - light bombardment) held at Brigade level.

I would advise in the case of a 'command size' paradigm that you allow HQ units to have a 'command size' for total maximum number of companies under their command, including lower level subordinate HQ companies and their assets, and a smaller 'Division/Brigade/Battalion level asset' limit. PDCs as I propose them have no command size limit but a very strict PDC asset limit to indicate the companies dedicated to their physical protection. This may cause some degree of havoc when it comes to designing troop transports though.

Likewise for organizational reasons I think it's best to stick to a 'battalion/HQ level' training paradigm. A unit that's converted to cadre will leave their equipment behind (1 ton transport capacity required per build point to ship, reclaimable like most equipment) and can either be assigned to a GFTF for training with new equipment compatible with the cadre, offering a small discount depending on cadre type, or used to create a new unit with an equipment pile in a month. This would also mean that construction/ordnance/fighter factories can produce ground equipment to shorten training times similar to how construction factories can build ship components to shorten shipyard construction time.

Within combat, each formation can be placed in one of four positions. Advance, Front-line, Support or Rear Echelon (names might changes). The default position for any formation is Front-line. Front-line formations will engage in direct combat and can be given orders regarding the type of enemy unit to target (as combat takes place, information will be provided about the base types of enemy units engaged).

A number of formations not exceeding the number of front lines units can be placed in the Support position. This would typically be bombardment or headquarters units, or a resting combat formation. Any ground-based unit (infantry, vehicle, combat walker) in the support position can use its bombardment strength against enemy units in the opposing front-line position or may be allocated to counter-battery fire against enemy units bombarding from a support position.

A number of formations not exceeding the number of support units can be placed in the Rear Echelon position. This would typically be aircraft, ground-to-orbit, logistics, repair or replacement units. Any aircraft in any position can target any enemy position, although it can be engaged by each position which it attacks or passes over. So an aircraft attacking the support units of an enemy can be engaged by anti-air units in the front-line or support positions I will probably make this any anti-air unit in the same hierarchy (divisional or brigade).

A number of Vehicle or Combat Walker formations may be assigned to the Advance position. This cannot exceed the number of front-line units. These formations are attempting to break through the enemy front-line formations. If they can maintain their advance position for a certain amount of time (TBD) without being forced to withdraw (withdrawal will be based on casualties and formation morale), they will be considered to have broken through the enemy lines and will be able to either attack support formations directly, or attack front-line formations with double strength (flanking them). After another specified amount of time (TBD), they can also choose to attack rear echelon units directly, or support units / front-line units at double strength. Any unit in an advance position will be identified by name and type to the enemy and can be attacked specifically (as opposed to just targeting a position).

Given our inability to micromanage ground combat to the same extent as space combat we should be able to define 2 stances from 3 different sets of stances. These sets are Offensive, Defensive and Miscellaneous. These stances determine what the ground commanders emphasize, offering certain bonuses and penalties based on where the focus lies. Rock/Paper/Scissors mechanics single out certain stances as being more or less effective against specific other stances. A 'Hardened Line' defense stance for example might be very good against a 'Massed Assault' offensive stance but weak against a 'Spearpoint Assault' offensive stance, while 'Spearpoint Assault' is poor against a 'Defense in Depth' defensive stance. You may want to raid Hearts of Iron's tactics system for ideas and/or names.

Miscellaneous stances aren't directly part of the rock paper scissors system, but modify things like fortification speed, unit replacement, supply and a few other things.

With the reworking of the ground combat mechanics there's also no reason to stick to the offense/defense divide as previously, where some unit types were very cheap and effective defense but useless on the attack (hello Garrison Battalions).

Infantry formations can be fortified. This can done to a minimal level by the formation itself, given sufficient time, or enhanced further by combat engineer units. This will greatly improve the formation's resistance to damage.

Likewise fortifiable are HQ units and CIWS/Ground-to-Orbit units, as these are units likely to stay in one place for extended periods of time. Fortifications should however be capable of being demolished in general combat, or more rapidly by enemy combat engineers/heavy bombardment units.

CIWS and Ground to Orbit units will be based on existing naval weapons, along with sufficient costs for reactors, fire control, etc.. They will not be able to attack in ground combat but will defend based on their base unit type.

This can get kinda broken if this means that Heavy Walker GtO units have a way to strike back instead of just being able to ignore being attacked.

In addition to the components, units will also have abilities that modify their cost and their combat strength in different circumstances. This will include boarding combat, extreme temperature combat, mountainous terrain, ocean terrain, etc.

Sensible, and some of my ideas on unit type and component would perhaps better fit here.

Garrison Strength will be heavily based on the number of units in a formation, so a light infantry formation, will be a more effective garrison unit than a heavy armour formation, despite being considerably cheaper.

A squad of boots on the ground right in front of someone does tend to leave more of an impression than hearing there's a tank 500 kilometers away.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 02, 2017, 06:53:05 PM
Recon is a good idea. That could be used to identify specific hostile units so they can be targeted (as opposed to targeting all units in a position). Mechanised infantry could potentially be represented by a vehicle unit with anti-personnel capabilities, or just use two smaller units, one infantry-based and one vehicle-based.

Or as a separate early TN infantry unit type. If power armour infantry gets the same stats but cheaper after a certain technological development level there'd be reason to switch over. Another option would be to create a 'Transport' trait, which allows vehicles and air units to carry infantry units into a Breakthrough position

No restrictions on weapons at the moment. I envisioned infantry-based anti-vehicle or heavy bombardment as being the equivalent of towed anti-tank guns or howitzers (as opposed to self-propelled). I guess the infantry definition could be changed to infantry / small vehicle, vehicle would become large vehicle and combat walker to super-heavy vehicle. Still in the early stages so open to change yet.

Leg infantry isn't really a thing in modern military thinking. Hasn't been a thing, really, since the Second World War. Motorised and mechanised infantry are simply that much better an option when fighting a war, with very few exceptions. And those exceptions are these days handled with helicopters.

One decision I have to make at the moment is whether different types of space-based weaponry affect different elements of ground combat, or whether I just take the best available.

Why not leave it in the player's hands if it's all going to depend on the highest of different techs anyway? Let them weigh the advantages and disadvantages, and let certain weapons be more effective in certain roles, or have (un)desirable side effects.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Happerry on October 03, 2017, 03:40:53 AM
I'd still like to vote against the total replacement of old style PDCs.  It'll be hard to make some Castle Brian type things for a Battlemech themed game without them, and sometimes you just want to make a giant fortified 'capital city' for a military regime.  And so on.

Quote from: Hazard link=topic=9679. msg104418#msg104418 date=1506988385
Leg infantry isn't really a thing in modern military thinking.  Hasn't been a thing, really, since the Second World War.  Motorised and mechanised infantry are simply that much better an option when fighting a war, with very few exceptions.  And those exceptions are these days handled with helicopters.
Maybe rename as 'Militia' or 'Massed Conscripts' or, given the stated upcoming Warhammer Campaign, 'Penal Troopers/Legion'?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Kelewan on October 03, 2017, 04:32:22 AM
I like the new concept so far, but i have two questions.

1.  Will  CIWS and Ground-to-Orbit weapons provide Planetary Protection Value?

2.  Will there be special weapons for ship boarding? Or will Marine Companies be only small units of light-infantry  with anit-infantry weapons?

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 03, 2017, 05:18:32 AM
Agree on the re-designation of combat walker. Some type of super-heavy vehicle designation makes sense.

Isn't walker / vehicle distinction something that could be a design option instead?

Vehicles would be superior in flat terrain and have better max speed, while walkers perform better in rough terrain giving you a more consistent speed. Then the very large vehicles/walkers both carry 3 component slots regardless of method of propulsion.

This would also allow you to reduce complexity a bit since ARM level for Vehicles & Walker types overlap.

Something like this (instead of the 7 you proposed with overlapping ARM levels):

Scout Vehicle/Walker - ARM 2 - 2 slots ( maybe even 1 slot? )
Light Vehicle/Walker - ARM 4 - 2 slots
Medium Vehicle/Walker - ARM 6 - 2 slots
Heavy Vehicle/Walker - ARM 9 - 3 slots
Super-Heavy Vehicle/Walker - ARM 12 - 3 slots

This also allows you to make a total of 10 different vehicles+walker variants.


Transport will be either infantry or vehicle (inc aircraft). In this case I am assuming that 'ground-based' aircraft are more like armoured helicopters (Mi-24) than high-flying jets (mainly because in many cases there would be no atmosphere anyway). Infantry transport will be the existing troop transport bays and combat drop modules. I will add vehicle equivalents.

It would make sense to have a shared bay for all vehicles/walkers/aircraft yeah, they require pretty similar bulk storage for transport I would say. In fact I dislike all the splitting up of "cargo" into special roles going on in Aurora 4x. Why not just have a single Cargo bay that I can put whatever I want in, be it maintenance supplies, vehicles, building parts or minerals? Or maybe 2 types, pressurized and unpressurized.

Looking at current armies they airlift in everything they need from infrastructure to tanks and troops using pretty much the same ( or very similar ) bulk cargo planes.

A few more things to think about surrounding aircraft implementation. Can they go in Hangars? Do they really need drop pods/modules? How would they interact with space based fighters? ( Maybe they get attack bonus vs space based fighters doing ground support role, and space based fighters can provide ground support without needing "Orbital Fire Support Controller" + be hit by AA? )


Ground combat will now take place in the same time frame as ship combat, with each unit firing at specified intervals (except that time won't slow for ground combat - it will instead run multiple cycles depending on turn length). It will still take a while for ground combat though as hit chances will be very low.

Please keep in mind that real war is 99.9% waiting and 0.1% of terror when doing firing times. It would be sweet to have epic campaigns stretching for months or years.

Could intensity maybe be scaled by planet size in some way so that assaulting say large massive jungle planets are year long affairs soaking of huge number of units while landing on a small 10km mining asteroid can be over in a day?

Something else to consider tied to planet size is how do you defend your rear echelon if you land with say 3 units of tanks on a huge planet and order them to take it over? Basically you can't, right?

So maybe there is a need for some kind of "width" for how many units needed to cover the front and prevent breakthroughs, and an inherit advantage to a defender which can move more unhindered through known terrain if the attacker over-extends or can't cover the front (guerrilla defense).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 03, 2017, 08:06:48 AM
As things stand, infantry only have one slot. The intention though is this to be about combined arms, so you could create a brigade with a couple of 'normal' infantry units, a infantry-based anti-tank unit and an infantry-based bombardment unit. Could also make the HQ a vehicle and add some anti-air to the HQ. I think I am going to allow different size units, with HQ commanding a total size of units rather than total numbers. So you could have mainly infantry battalions but with some smaller formations providing different capabilities at brigade or division level.
Would it be possible to make the company the basic unit of design instead of the battalion?  Obviously, you aren't going to take over a whole planet with a single battalion, but for things like securing spoiler bases, having to haul a whole brigade to provide a combined-arms force might get annoying.

Quote
Mechanised infantry could potentially be represented by a vehicle unit with anti-personnel capabilities, or just use two smaller units, one infantry-based and one vehicle-based.
I don't think the first is quite the same as mechanized infantry, and the second doesn't let the infantry participate in the breakthrough. 

Quote
No restrictions on weapons at the moment. I envisioned infantry-based anti-vehicle or heavy bombardment as being the equivalent of towed anti-tank guns or howitzers (as opposed to self-propelled). I guess the infantry definition could be changed to infantry / small vehicle, vehicle would become large vehicle and combat walker to super-heavy vehicle. Still in the early stages so open to change yet.
I'm not sure if that quite fits.  The issue is that infantry has two main features, lack of mobility and slot numbers.  It might work better to create a fifth type, something like 'static unit' with 2-4 slots (not sure which yet) which can't be on the front line except on the defensive, or at the very least doesn't have vehicle/walker breakthrough capabilities.  It's for towed artillery/anti-tank units, most logistics formations, and so on.  And make the heaviest of weapons take more than one slot. 
Also, how are naval units working in this?

My intention is that replacement units will be have to be the same type. So if you build a formation using a 'Medium Tank' unit, you will need a formation with 'Medium Tanks' for replacements. If I do this, I will probably split the individual unit design and formation design.
Does it have to have Medium Tanks with the same weapon choices and tech level as the unit itself?  Because that, while realistic, seems like it could get really old, really fast. 

I am aiming for variety and a real flavour of combined arms but I don't want to get involved in percentages of territory or different areas of terrain. The Advance position and breakthrough mechanics are being used as a substitute for actual movement.
Suggestion on this.  Without compromising simplicity, it might be possible to add a second, urban region on worlds with large populations that you fight in after the battle is won in the main terrain.  Sending in vehicles/walkers does more damage to the infrastructure, and you have every reason to try to get a breakthrough and cut off the main force before it retreats into the city.

It would make sense to have a shared bay for all vehicles/walkers/aircraft yeah, they require pretty similar bulk storage for transport I would say. In fact I dislike all the splitting up of "cargo" into special roles going on in Aurora 4x. Why not just have a single Cargo bay that I can put whatever I want in, be it maintenance supplies, vehicles, building parts or minerals? Or maybe 2 types, pressurized and unpressurized.
Look at modern merchant shipping.  I can name half a dozen different types of cargo ships offhand, and that's not even looking at military ships.  Special roles are a fact of life.  If anything, Aurora is probably overly generous in this regard.

Quote
Looking at current armies they airlift in everything they need from infrastructure to tanks and troops using pretty much the same ( or very similar ) bulk cargo planes.
This isn't remotely true.  Most of the equipment comes by sea, and there are a couple different types of ships there.  Sticking troops on airlifters only works because they aren't there for that long.  Keeping them happy over days/weeks takes a lot more specialized infrastructure.  As for vehicles, yes, it is possible to stack them in a bulk cargo hold, but that's only a good idea when you're shipping them to a friendly port.  If you want to unload them quickly, you need specialized equipment.

Quote
Could intensity maybe be scaled by planet size in some way so that assaulting say large massive jungle planets are year long affairs soaking of huge number of units while landing on a small 10km mining asteroid can be over in a day?
This is a really good point.  Combat intensity varies a lot over the course of a campaign.  If there's not an immediate victory by one side or the other at the first clash, it should settle down a lot.

Quote
So maybe there is a need for some kind of "width" for how many units needed to cover the front and prevent breakthroughs, and an inherit advantage to a defender which can move more unhindered through known terrain if the attacker over-extends or can't cover the front (guerrilla defense).
Also a very good point.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 03, 2017, 12:03:07 PM
One decision I have to make at the moment is whether different types of space-based weaponry affect different elements of ground combat, or whether I just take the best available.

For example, should anti-personnel and anti-air be based on railguns and/or gauss, while anti-vehicle weapons use the best from lasers, meson or particle beams. Bombardment could be based on missile tech. The problem with that is space-based combat doesn't require a variety of different tech to be effective, so requiring it for ground combat could be an issue.

The alternative is to take the highest tech level from railguns, lasers, mesons or particle beams and use that as a basis for all offensive ground weaponry, with the assumption that any weapon technology can be suitably adapted for ground-combat weapon types as they operate on a much smaller scale than ship-based weaponry.

ROF can be based on capacitor technology, while size is affected by reactor technology (larger lower-tech reactors needed for same capacitor tech).

I think this should be left up to player/npr choice. I personally would like to have a massive tank with twin 300mm railguns that lay out tremendous amounts of pain to groups of enemies, while also having a variant of that tank with a 500mm laser that melts through other heavy armor like butter, and maybe yet another variant with a lot gauss cannons with a very high rof to simulate a Pontiac 100 from BattleTech (a huge "cannon" that lets out a stream of 100 high accuracy shells that essentially melts most things into paste).

As things stand, infantry only have one slot. The intention though is this to be about combined arms, so you could create a brigade with a couple of 'normal' infantry units, a infantry-based anti-tank unit and an infantry-based bombardment unit. Could also make the HQ a vehicle and add some anti-air to the HQ. I think I am going to allow different size units, with HQ commanding a total size of units rather than total numbers. So you could have mainly infantry battalions but with some smaller formations providing different capabilities at brigade or division level.

Although in a lot of cases, powered infantry and heavy powered infantry could carry a wide loadout of different weapons. Going back to my example of the Ember Wars, the dragoons are a powered suit with a Gatling gun on one arm, laser in the other, and an anti-spaceship rail cannon on their shoulder. Or going to Terminators from Warhammer, some carry a Gun in one hand, melee weapon in the other, and has a missile rack on their shoulders/back.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 03, 2017, 12:24:52 PM
2.  Will there be special weapons for ship boarding? Or will Marine Companies be only small units of light-infantry  with anit-infantry weapons?
Or you can go Imperium of Man route and send in the Terminators (Heavy powered armor) with anti-vehicle cannons and rockets to wreck their faces.

In all seriousness, the only reason the concept of "Marine" is in the forefront of thought concerning boarding combat is their specific training in the field of close combat, corridor to corridor fighting. That is also why they are quite adept at clearing buildings. We could recycle the concept and add in a special unit modifier for "Marine", or we can assume most infantry has some training in spaceship based combat. In all honesty, a ship would be torn apart from the inside before capture when combat with the level of weaponry infantry with these new rules could bring to bear. And if you still wanted to simulate "Marines" you could set up a smaller formation with just the various anti-infantry weaponry and have their tactics set to "advance".
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel on October 03, 2017, 11:55:28 PM
I also would like to promote using company as the smallest stack and working up from there through battalion - brigade - division. We can change the ground unit default ranks to Captain - Major - Colonel - General and thus each has a specific level of command to take on. And it means that a battalion can already be a combined arms unit as well as makes the possibility of specialized small units for boarding and asteroid clearing and other similar tasks where you don't want to lug around big forces.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Gyrfalcon on October 04, 2017, 01:37:51 AM
Given how much ground combat is being expanded, I would like that change as well. That said, Ground Forces Training Centers should then allow training 5 companies per Center.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: backstab on October 04, 2017, 02:11:53 AM


Leg infantry isn't really a thing in modern military thinking. Hasn't been a thing, really, since the Second World War. Motorised and mechanised infantry are simply that much better an option when fighting a war, with very few exceptions. And those exceptions are these days handled with helicopters

Mmmm, ... no , light infantry still plays a big part in modern armies.  Light infantry are able to deploy faster and take up less space than motorised / mech formations ... light infantry costumes less supplies and take less time to train and equip.


On a separate note , how are pre TN formations going to be represented?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 04, 2017, 07:12:56 AM
I also would like to promote using company as the smallest stack and working up from there through battalion - brigade - division. We can change the ground unit default ranks to Captain - Major - Colonel - General and thus each has a specific level of command to take on. And it means that a battalion can already be a combined arms unit as well as makes the possibility of specialized small units for boarding and asteroid clearing and other similar tasks where you don't want to lug around big forces.
Well, a 'Company' may not always be equal to a "Company" especially when compared through different races.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 04, 2017, 07:41:50 AM
Well, a 'Company' may not always be equal to a "Company" especially when compared through different races.
We could say the same of a battalion.  I'm with Garfunkel on this one.  Companies seem like the right unit for this, and give a lot more flexibility.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 04, 2017, 09:56:07 AM
Mmmm, ... no , light infantry still plays a big part in modern armies.  Light infantry are able to deploy faster and take up less space than motorised / mech formations ... light infantry costumes less supplies and take less time to train and equip.

You are mistaken; leg infantry isn't light infantry, leg infantry is infantry that has no attached motorpool for moving the troops. And unless we're talking irregular/militia formations formed by conscripting experienced woodsmen or similar light infantry tends to be better trained than line troops. This is because aside from all the soldierly skills a recruit needs to learn to join the army most of them will also need to learn bushcraft.

This is because with the invention of the rifle what was light infantry changed dramatically because their role as skirmisher changed. With the increased range, precision and lethality a rifle offered over a musket it became worth it to invest in a relatively elite group of experts who knew how to move quietly, spy on a target unobserved, were skilled marksmen and could travel quickly through otherwise difficult terrain. This is why French and German both have use the term 'hunters' for their light infantry formations, as that's where most of the recruits came from.

Modern day light infantry still shows this heritage; these are troops deployed with less equipment than line troops, expected to act with more limited supplies, in more difficult situations and to succeed. And to compensate for those limitations they are provided better training, to eke out more advantage out of every bit of cover, camouflage and bullet they've got.

Modern day light infantry deploy faster because many of them are airborne or airmobile troops, mounted as either parachute infantry or helicopter infantry, unlike mechanised and motorised troops which are often ground bound. But because they require air deployment they have a much higher logistical and space footprint than you'd think.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on October 04, 2017, 11:10:22 AM
As I understand it, infantry are only really useful in that they can sortof cover old fashioned tank charges and can occupy urban areas relatively effeciently.  As far as an all out war is concerned at this point though, infantry would in most cases be obliterated by artillery, aircraft, or missiles.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 04, 2017, 01:12:23 PM
As I understand it, infantry are only really useful in that they can sortof cover old fashioned tank charges and can occupy urban areas relatively effeciently.  As far as an all out war is concerned at this point though, infantry would in most cases be obliterated by artillery, aircraft, or missiles.

A very short and mistaken summary of the matter, but understandably so. The purpose of infantry in modern warfare is to be freaking everywhere and to travel through and secure hard to navigate and easy to hide in areas like cities, towns, forests and mountains. Infantry caught in the open field will be obliterated by artillery or aircraft of some variety, that's true, but outside an open field man portable weaponry easily has the range and firepower to ruin any AFV's day, while most aircraft cannot effectively engage infantry hidden in such broken up areas without getting unhealthily close to stinger missiles and similarly potent man portable air defense weapons.

Infantry and their weapons are also very very cheap compared to a similarly sized formation equipped with aircraft, tanks and missiles.

This all combined means that infantry is a very cost effective way to engage enemy forces so long as you can ensure the engagement range is short for the modern battlefield.

You would, of course, ideally have your own aircraft, tanks and missiles on the battlefield as well because sometimes you have to cross open ground, but in all cases do you want infantry close at hand on the battlefield anyway. The sheer utility of having half a dozen extra pairs of eyes unrestricted fields of vision is indisputable when it comes to preventing ambushes.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 04, 2017, 03:15:41 PM
Look at modern merchant shipping.  I can name half a dozen different types of cargo ships offhand, and that's not even looking at military ships.  Special roles are a fact of life.  If anything, Aurora is probably overly generous in this regard.

Sure let's look at modern merchant shipping! 90% of all global shipping tonnage (excluding fuel which is also a separate thing in aurora and should/will stay so) is done in standardized containers which can contain almost everything of value and be carried by almost all cargo ships and unloaded in all larger ports. Most specialized ships are small coastal ships and not between main hubs ( meaning their equivalent ships would be below the scale of Aurora 4x ).

Similar with military cargo ships, there are 3 main types in use in the US Navy. Vehicles Cargo Ships (AKR), Dry Cargo (AK) and Ammo (AE), but in practice the last ship have been obsoleted and replaced by AKE which can handle both Dry Cargo + Ammo and are "equipped to transfer cargo such as ammunition, food, limited quantities of fuel, repair parts, ship store items, and expandable supplies.". Over half of the military Dry Cargo (AK) ships both have RO/RO (roll on/roll of) capability and container capability so they can take some vehicles, containers and custom sized cargo unloaded by own cranes.

( source: https://www.navysite.de/ake/index.html )


And there is little reason to not believe the development towards more standardization ( both in the military and civilian sectors ) would continue to develop further in a future sci-fi civilization.


Sticking troops on airlifters only works because they aren't there for that long.  Keeping them happy over days/weeks takes a lot more specialized infrastructure.
 

Agreed with troops needing quarters for longer transits, but all their gear and equipment still can go in pretty much any cargo hold. A cargo ship with enough spare births should be capable of taking them just fine or you could ship the men separately from the equipment using any civilian transport ( as is/was often done IRL ).

Not saying Aurora necessarily must go to this level of detail/micro, but it's a good point about flexibility of cargo.

As for vehicles, yes, it is possible to stack them in a bulk cargo hold, but that's only a good idea when you're shipping them to a friendly port.  If you want to unload them quickly, you need specialized equipment.

I never said that contested drops should be possible with bulk cargo. My entire argument was about cargo/vehicles unloading in friendly ports not needing 10 different types of specialized cargo holds.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 04, 2017, 03:35:55 PM
Sure let's look at modern merchant shipping! 90% of all global shipping tonnage (excluding fuel which is also a separate thing in aurora and should/will stay so) is done in standardized containers which can contain almost everything of value and be carried by almost all cargo ships and unloaded in all larger ports. Most specialized ships are small coastal ships and not between main hubs ( meaning their equivalent ships would be below the scale of Aurora 4x ).
90%?  Not even close.  In 2010, container ships made up only 9.7% of the world's merchant fleets.  Obviously, that's not by tonnage, but I doubt that the typical container ship is 20x the size of the typical bulk carrier, which it would have to be to make this work.  Not to mention vehicle carriers, the occasional heavy-lift ship, reefers and so on.

Quote
Similar with military cargo ships, there are 3 main types in use in the US Navy. Vehicles Cargo Ships (AKR), Dry Cargo (AK) and Ammo (AE), but in practice the last ship have been obsoleted and replaced by AKE which can handle both Dry Cargo + Ammo and are "equipped to transfer cargo such as ammunition, food, limited quantities of fuel, repair parts, ship store items, and expandable supplies.". Over half of the military Dry Cargo (AK) ships both have RO/RO (roll on/roll of) capability and container capability so they can take some vehicles, containers and custom sized cargo unloaded by own cranes.

( source: https://www.navysite.de/ake/index.html )
There has been a definite trend towards making one-stop auxiliaries.  They do this the same way I make AOEs in Aurora, by fitting the ships with spaces for MSPs, missiles, and fuel.  If you look at the capacity breakdowns on those ships, they have specific spaces for each type of item.  A T-AKE isn't a ship you can use as an AE one day and an AK the next.  It's half of one and half of the other.
Also, you were talking about carrying troops, so you need to add the Amphibs to that.  That's another three (well, 2.5) types of ships.

Quote
I never said that contested drops should be possible with bulk cargo. My entire argument was about cargo/vehicles unloading in friendly ports not needing 10 different types of specialized cargo holds.
The problem with this is implementation.  I'd love to be able to do that, too, and also to stick fighters in cargo holds for shipment, but there are definitely things I'd rather Steve spend his time on.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 04, 2017, 04:43:50 PM
90%?  Not even close.  In 2010, container ships made up only 9.7% of the world's merchant fleets.

A quick google tells you in 2 seconds that 60% of all cargo tonnage ( fuel/oil make up the vast majority of the remaining 40%, meaning it can be mostly excluded ), are container shipping:

https://www.statista.com/topics/1367/container-shipping/

If your going to go around and claim stuff at least do basic research first.


In cargo shipping there is literally nothing preventing you from using a vehicle carrier to move containers or bulk cargo either, you just roll on a truck with the container/bulk on it. Or vice versa you can use cranes to load vehicles in bulk cargo holds or even container ships if there is unused space. Might take a bit more time to load/unload and secure the cargo but it's done all the time. I work next to one of the largest shipping ports in the country and pass by it every day.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on October 04, 2017, 11:25:49 PM
Logistics will be a ground unit that is slowly consumed over time by other friendly units, acting as a form of ground unit supply.

Maybe just make units use MSP instead of a logistics unit for supply? Seems like it would simplify things nicely while also making MSP more important.

Other than that... I think I'd probably prefer a simpler combat system (with maybe front line and support instead of 4; then bombardment weapons could hit one zone ahead (support -> enemy frontline, or frontline -> enemy support, and air could hit from your support to their support), but I can live with this one as outlined.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: plasticpanzers on October 04, 2017, 11:44:41 PM
I think land combat was and is the wrong way to go.  But I am just a player and not of the inner circle so my
input really does not matter.  shame tho.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on October 04, 2017, 11:57:48 PM
I have concerns about the apparent level of complexity for the user in the new ground combat scheme. If I could be certain that all this detail stayed under the hood, I'd feel more enthusiastic.

The way all this reads, it feels more like combat material might now be better trained/built in a manner similar to items under the industry tab and allocated to units in the way fighters and ordnance are allocated to ships. I also think any prerequisite techs should be organizational in nature. Ground weapons tech is going to match the overall tech level of the faction---no country building steam or oil powered battleships sent soldiers into battle with muzzle-loading muskets.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Iranon on October 05, 2017, 02:47:59 AM
One thing I care greatly about is a good ratio of depth : complexity.

Current ground combat doesn't have  much of either compared to other aspects of the game... maybe worth expanding if Steve is interested, but it'd make just as much sense to say "does all it needs to do, not the main focus of the game".
I'd consider it much more important to make the AI use whatever limited system there is competently, rather than adding new features and complexities that aren't open-ended enough to create much additional depth.

Likewise, PDCs are something fairly open-ended that elegantly joins different aspects of the game (ground combat, ship-related technology and combat), with interesting options that are only partially explored (control/destruction of fortifications vs. control of population).
I also think it's good to have some defensive options free from the logistics concerns of ships, this rather nicely matches wet navy history and coastal fortifications.
Things that could be trimmed are fiddly player-facing things that don't add much... e.g., I see no need for more capable PDC-specific fire controls. If we want to give PDCs an advantage in addition to not requiring naval infrastructure, we could give them straight bonuses.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: chrislocke2000 on October 05, 2017, 04:04:36 AM
For the likes of marines and other more elite units, rather than have yet more sub units to deal with what about having variable training times for each unit. I.e. If your basic light infantry unit takes six months to try have an option to extend that to 8 months and then give them plus 10% stats. You then have a trade off on build time and quality without more unit types and it's up to the player to name them as they want.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 05, 2017, 08:07:12 AM
There has been a definite trend towards making one-stop auxiliaries.  They do this the same way I make AOEs in Aurora, by fitting the ships with spaces for MSPs, missiles, and fuel.  If you look at the capacity breakdowns on those ships, they have specific spaces for each type of item.  A T-AKE isn't a ship you can use as an AE one day and an AK the next.  It's half of one and half of the other.
Maybe just make units use MSP instead of a logistics unit for supply? Seems like it would simplify things nicely while also making MSP more important.

This brings up another point actually.

With as much detail added to logistics to support space combat in C# Aurora, what about the logistics to support ground/planetary combat?

- Do large amounts of airplanes and vehicles need to have fuel shipped in to support them?
- Do large amounts of airplanes and vehicles need to have ammunition shipped in to support them?
- Do large amounts of airplanes and vehicles need to have other supplies ( repair & maintenance ) shipped in to support them?
- Do vehicles with anti space weapons ( like missiles ) need to have supply of missiles to support continued fighting?
- Do they carry amounts of the above with them ( like ships do ) which needs to be replaced when consumed?


I'm not saying that must necessarily be the case for all of the above, but it would be a shame to have nothing but a sacrificial single logistics unit represented when there is such a good framework for space logistics ( and also inconsistent to add yet another form of logistics/supply without taking advantage of synergies in place ). We shouldn't forget that in the end the real Navy's main role is to support the boots on the ground that are needed to complete the objective and end the war. ( Escort them to their target, support + supply them and prevent the enemy from reinforcing their defenses ).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: FrederickAlexander on October 05, 2017, 09:14:09 AM
I have concerns about the apparent level of complexity for the user in the new ground combat scheme. If I could be certain that all this detail stayed under the hood, I'd feel more enthusiastic.
Going on this I agree that to someone new this would be a bit much so having pre-made units would be helpful to have along with the ability to make your own. Perhaps these get added after researching the components that go with them along with a standard "Trans-Newtonian Ground Combat" tech that unlocks some basic pre-made ground units, ground unit types, and light/essential components.

Maybe just make units use MSP instead of a logistics unit for supply? Seems like it would simplify things nicely while also making MSP more important.
This also would be a an excellent replacement but it wouldn't be too hard to have a pre-made unarmored vehicles with two logistic components.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: FrederickAlexander on October 05, 2017, 09:32:43 AM
As for using ground weapons tech based on ship weapons, I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, having certain ground compents use the tech of certain weapon components would make it easier to deal with when making new units, while on the other hand, having the abillity to choose what tech to use in ground combat would allow a player to have a better expirence when role-playing. Why not simplify it and make ground weapons be a separate research item?
Example:
Quote
[Anti-Personal Tech rank 1]
[Anti Vehicle Tech rank 1]
[Anti-Air Tech rank 1]
[Ground based CWIS rank 1]
[GtO Weapon Systems rank 1]
[TN Artillery rank 1]
[Anti-Personal Tech rank 2]
...

Not only would that allow a limit on how strong your force's components are as well as add tech to the new Ground Combat Research tab. You can also have each tech have prerequisites for each ground weapon to require the player to have certain basic weapon tech in other tabs before being able to upgrade ground weapons. Since you need to make a new Ship component blueprint to use new weapon tech, requiring ground based weapons to have a certain tech level in other fields isn't to much of a stretch. You can also require Races to have "Medium Anti-Personal Weapons" and "Heavy Anti-Personal Weapons" to unlock the different type of weapons while the overall Race Ground Weapon Level can be a separate entity like missile agility and warhead strength.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 05, 2017, 09:38:15 AM
Problem with requiring a Logistics unit is that such a unit would need constant attention as it's drained dry and can get you mostly drained units you need to ship around like they're still full in troop transport bays, while with MSP you can just drop a supply cache on planet for all your troops to use. Either MSP or a separate Ground Supply Point produced in the same manner would be less annoying. Not least of which because you can set MSP production up for basically forever.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: FrederickAlexander on October 05, 2017, 09:47:52 AM
Problem with requiring a Logistics unit is that such a unit would need constant attention as it's drained dry and can get you mostly drained units you need to ship around like they're still full in troop transport bays, while with MSP you can just drop a supply cache on planet for all your troops to use. Either MSP or a separate Ground Supply Point produced in the same manner would be less annoying. Not least of which because you can set MSP production up for basically forever.

Why not have Logistics units play a similar function as spaceports? Other than that I agree that there is no real point to include them, even if it would be simple to have a standard Logistic unit.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 05, 2017, 10:06:47 AM
Again going back to PDCs; another use of them would be logistics supply bases for ground forces. A place to repair/refuel vehicles, rest up and heal the injured, and coordinate the networks of combat (information, logistics, tactics, etc). Adding in a logistics supply for ground forces reinforces the need for PDCs to stay.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: FrederickAlexander on October 05, 2017, 10:19:49 AM
Again going back to PDCs; another use of them would be logistics supply bases for ground forces. A place to repair/refuel vehicles, rest up and heal the injured, and coordinate the networks of combat (information, logistics, tactics, etc). Adding in a logistics supply for ground forces reinforces the need for PDCs to stay.
So if we are going to be remove PDC's, then logistics should be simpler and if we aren't then the PDC's will need a another layer of complexity to them? It would be difficult to keep them as they are now given the new combat mechanics that relies on mobile combat. Replacing them with a Unit Type with 4 components that is unable to be transported from planet to planet 'might' be a good idea. However, since Logistics units will be drained away, it might not be wise to have them in anyways. There is also the problem of how to simulate what happens when a PDC/Base gets surrounded and they are cut of both from the population that maintains them and their outside ordnance supplies. Taking one would be basically trying to take another, smaller, planet.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 05, 2017, 10:32:22 AM
A quick google tells you in 2 seconds that 60% of all cargo tonnage ( fuel/oil make up the vast majority of the remaining 40%, meaning it can be mostly excluded ), are container shipping:

https://www.statista.com/topics/1367/container-shipping/

If your going to go around and claim stuff at least do basic research first.
If you're going to criticize my handling of the numbers, at least make sure the numbers you quote actually say what you think they say.  Which, in this case, they don't.  That's 60% by value, not 60% by tonnage.  These are very, very different numbers, and I have no problem at all believing that things carried in containers are more valuable than things carried in bulk.
Also, I explicitly didn't just leave 9.7% standing there by itself.  You snipped the point where I followed up by pointing out that excluding everything except container ships and bulk carriers, the average container ship would have to be 20x as big as the average bulker for the numbers to work.

Quote
In cargo shipping there is literally nothing preventing you from using a vehicle carrier to move containers or bulk cargo either, you just roll on a truck with the container/bulk on it.
Yes.  It's called ro-ro.  It's a lot less efficient.
Quote
Or vice versa you can use cranes to load vehicles in bulk cargo holds or even container ships if there is unused space. Might take a bit more time to load/unload and secure the cargo but it's done all the time. I work next to one of the largest shipping ports in the country and pass by it every day.
And I drove right through the two largest container ports in the US at least once a week on average until a month ago.  Your point is?
Also, you don't seem to understand what bulk cargo is in a modern context.  Grain carriers do not have hatches sized for vehicles.  Break-bulk is a different matter, but there are precious few of those in service these days.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 05, 2017, 12:00:05 PM
So if we are going to be remove PDC's, then logistics should be simpler and if we aren't then the PDC's will need a another layer of complexity to them? It would be difficult to keep them as they are now given the new combat mechanics that relies on mobile combat.

The point I was making is to overhaul their systems alongside the new ground-forces change, not separately. Yes, you could make the new logistics system easier if PDCs were outright removed, yet then you lose some depth in that system. I was suggesting they would make decent/good staging areas much like FOBs would IRL.


Replacing them with a Unit Type with 4 components that is unable to be transported from planet to planet 'might' be a good idea. However, since Logistics units will be drained away, it might not be wise to have them in anyways.

No, having a "Unit" simulate them nor making them immobile are both poor choices. Going to how they are build/designed currently, they are very much like prefab buildings that can be hotdroped at a location then built up quickly by a construction brigade. Under the new mechanics, it could work like this; You droppod in your shock/assault troops to form a beachhead, you then land at said beachhead to drop off your support units and PDC components, and as you are building up your FOB you land the rest of the invasion force which then is supported by your PDC FOBs for when they receive damage and injuries. That FOB could also have artillery and/or anti-vehicle/titan weaponry to secure the area to allow the bulk of your combat forces to then push out and secure the area and invade while you retain a landing site to bring in more troops and supplies.


There is also the problem of how to simulate what happens when a PDC/Base gets surrounded and they are cut of both from the population that maintains them and their outside ordnance supplies.
Same as "mobile" units, they get overrun. The difference between them and PDCs is that the PDCs can pack ordinance, supplies, and food to last months or years while the mobile units will run out pretty quickly. Again, that is why PDCs could be made to fulfill the FOB support route to be able to supply those mobile units with what they need.


Taking one would be basically trying to take another, smaller, planet.
And that is the entire point behind PDCs.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 05, 2017, 01:17:20 PM
That's 60% by value, not 60% by tonnage.  These are very, very different numbers, and I have no problem at all believing that things carried in containers are more valuable than things carried in bulk.

I'm not so sure it says value at all. The way they put it is "approximately 60 percent of all world seaborne trade, which was valued at ...". The value is just a piece of trivia information, not something that automatically is used to categorize the trade % specified. Default way to categorize amount of trade would be by amount of it.

If I say I'm going to trade you 60% of my fruits, and I mention that my fruits are valued at a total of x $, your still going to assume you will get 3 out of my 5 fruits ( the amount ) not 60% of them based on their dollar value...


Also, I explicitly didn't just leave 9.7% standing there by itself.  You snipped the point where I followed up by pointing out that excluding everything except container ships and bulk carriers, the average container ship would have to be 20x as big as the average bulker for the numbers to work.

Your still ignoring fuel/oil shipping ( for the 3:ed time ), and that I am talking about major trade between main international ports. Not the thousands upon thousands of smaller ~1000 ton ships doing coastal trade which make up most of the other 90% of total ships ( and which is below the scale to care about).

Take those factors into account and it's perfectly reasonable most of all tonnage traded (internationally) is standardized container shipping today.


Even so I would be perfectly fine if the type of Cargo holds in Aurora was split up after a similar amount as cargo is split in reality (3 types or so), and could accept a bit further too as long as it's easy and cheap to refit ships to swap between them.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheRowan on October 05, 2017, 03:32:33 PM
I'm not so sure it says value at all. The way they put it is "approximately 60 percent of all world seaborne trade, which was valued at ...". The value is just a piece of trivia information, not something that automatically is used to categorize the trade % specified. Default way to categorize amount of trade would be by amount of it.

As someone who works in the maritime industry (Merchant Navy Deck Officer), 60% by value transported by container sounds about right.... Probably 30% or so in the tanker trade and the remaining 10% or so by bulk carriers and general cargo ships. And that is between hub ports... It would be very rare to unload a container and then re-ship its contents on a bulkie or general cargo ship, the containers will tend to get to their final destination either by smaller "feeder" container ships, trucks, or freight rail.

However, 10% by mass also sounds about right. Bear in mind the massive difference in the values of the cargo per ton... A large container ship like a Triple-E class will carry around 120,000 tons fully loaded while a large bulk carrier will carry about 400,000 tons. When you think about the difference in cost of a ton of iron ore compared to a ton of iPhones, you see where the discrepancy comes from.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 05, 2017, 03:55:57 PM
I'm not so sure it says value at all. The way they put it is "approximately 60 percent of all world seaborne trade, which was valued at ...". The value is just a piece of trivia information, not something that automatically is used to categorize the trade % specified. Default way to categorize amount of trade would be by amount of it.
Exact quote:
Quote
In terms of value, global seaborne container trade is believed to account for approximately 60 percent of all world seaborne trade,
I was polite earlier, but then you doubled down after I pointed out the error.  You're arguing in bad faith (or incapable of reading), so I'm done talking to you.  Do I think a majority (>50%) of international big-ship tonnage (excluding petroleum) is in containers?  Yes.  Is it >90%?  No.  These two positions are not incompatible, and imply very different things about the structure of the modern cargo market as relevant to Aurora.

However, 10% by mass also sounds about right. Bear in mind the massive difference in the values of the cargo per ton... A large container ship like a Triple-E class will carry around 120,000 tons fully loaded while a large bulk carrier will carry about 400,000 tons. When you think about the difference in cost of a ton of iron ore compared to a ton of iPhones, you see where the discrepancy comes from.
That wasn't by mass, that was by hull count.  I'd expect you're looking at something like 20-30% by mass, given that your average container ship is a good deal bigger than a general cargo ship or a non-oceangoing bulkie.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 05, 2017, 04:00:31 PM
Can we get back to the topic of PDCs and separate this discussion on shipping to another thread?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: FrederickAlexander on October 05, 2017, 04:11:37 PM
If you want depth you should just make every unit it's own ship like entity so that it can range from the size of a company to the size of a brigade, have each unit require it's own weapon design such as a guass rifle, and use a new resource called supply so that PDC's can supply them as well as Logistic units.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 05, 2017, 06:53:09 PM
Is it >90%?  No.

And I never claimed it was over 90% either...

After looking into it some more I do realize that the around 90% number I remembered must have been for both large bulk and container shipping, so I do apologize for remembering that part wrong. Influenced a bit by the fact that my local port I am familiar with not handling bulk but only containers as well.

Let's get back to topic of ground forces & PDCs.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on October 05, 2017, 11:11:18 PM
If you want depth you should just make every unit it's own ship like entity so that it can range from the size of a company to the size of a brigade, have each unit require it's own weapon design such as a guass rifle, and use a new resource called supply so that PDC's can supply them as well as Logistic units.

Problem here is synergy between troop transport bays and the units that go in them. With ships, we decide the tonnage, but unless the troop transport scheme is altered, a ground unit needs to "fit".

I do think implementing customized unit design in a manner similar to ships is a good idea, but maybe the analogue for a ship component should be a company. We design companies and add them to battalions in the same manner as components are added to ship designs. Perhaps one-component designs are automatically tagged/regarded as special forces so that company boarding actions remain viable. This would allow us to design combined-arms battalions to address specific circumstances. OH! And we could "scrap" old battalions while preserving the companies that comprise them, allowing us to form new battalions with different constituent companies.

Now that I'm over that little burst of enthusiasm (lol), my concern is that the user goes through all this design hassle only to have the end result be analogous to the battalions we already train, but instead of simply researching a single ground combat improvement tech, each time we improve the army we must reinvent the wheel. (On the other hand, upgrading the constituent companies of ship-like battalions might be fun ... if it's hassle free.)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel on October 06, 2017, 12:20:30 AM
Every unit type should have some sort of attack and defence values. It has always bugged me how GAR battalions are incapable of dealing any damage at all. Even a value of 1 is good enough. There are so many examples in military history of tuckers, cooks and clerks getting their rifles and being shoved to the front line in an emergency.

Also Steve, 3-way combat resolving, in both 2-vs-1 and 1-vs-1-vs-1 scenarios. Currently Aurora can't really handle it well.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheRowan on October 06, 2017, 05:29:05 AM
I like the system , as others have said the only issue is with non-battalion sized units.

To allow for the Marine Company, I can see a couple of possible options:

1. Make the company the basic manoeuvre unit, with an additional rank of Major added at the bottom of the ground forces command tree. Then a Battalion would be formed of a number of independent companies, plus a Battalion command company.

2. As suggested by obsidian_green, treat companies as analogous to components and design battalions as a grouping of up to 5 companies, with "battalions" comprising a single company possibly having a Major-rank CO.

3. Have an option when designing units to make them either Battalion size (default) or Company size (1/5 size and stats, possibly reduced weight in brigade command limits). Again, possibility of a Major rank to command companies

4. Keep Marine Companies as a separate unit type, as currently. (I dislike this option)

5. Abolish sub-battalion sized units altogether (I really dislike this option)

To allow for conventional start divisions, the options as I see them are:

1. Break down the conventional divisions into conventional battalions, with brigade and division HQs, and give each conventional battalions a miniscule firepower and armour.

2. Treat the conventional divisions as battalions, and make one of the effects of TN tech to reduce the weight of ground units by 25 times.

To allow for construction brigades, I can also see two options:

1. Make the "construction" equipment increase battalion weight by a factor of 5.

2. Allow construction battalions with 1/5 the output of current construction brigades, meaning you would need to create a full brigade to have the same impact as the existing unit.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 06, 2017, 09:45:10 AM
Can we get back to the topic of PDCs and separate this discussion on shipping to another thread?
I think we're done with it.

Problem with requiring a Logistics unit is that such a unit would need constant attention as it's drained dry and can get you mostly drained units you need to ship around like they're still full in troop transport bays, while with MSP you can just drop a supply cache on planet for all your troops to use. Either MSP or a separate Ground Supply Point produced in the same manner would be less annoying. Not least of which because you can set MSP production up for basically forever.
Agreed.  I dislike draining logistics units both stylistically and as a practical matter.  That said, I'd rather we had them as well as MSPs, the logistics units serving as one part of the force mix between short sharp assaults and forces set up for drawn-out campaigns. 

Re unit design from scratch, my absolute preferred setup would be to have units designed based on standardized (non-designed) men/vehicles.  Maybe if the unit has a couple different techs, you could pick the level of each.  (Say you decide you only want Level 3 armor on your tanks to save cost instead of putting Level 4 on, but you do want the Level 4 guns you have.)  The unit is built up from that, with the ability to save and import lower-level units.  Given where Steve seems to be headed, company-based builds seem the best option available right now.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 06, 2017, 05:27:00 PM
How about logistics units take MSP and use it to resupply/reinforce combat units?

It'd be more realistic really.  Rear echelon units don't suffer much attrition in real life.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on October 06, 2017, 06:27:29 PM
I'm in favour of Companies being the building blocks of ground forces.  I love the idea of 'Command Sizes' not being unit based, not the least because I can finally build 'triangular' brigades & divisions without feeling like I'm wasting capacity.

I like PDCs, I use them in all my games, though not all that much.  I find the resoning "because they are exceptions to so much existing code, requiring hundreds of if PDC do X, else do Y statements to be 100% sufficient reason to dump them entirely.  I will miss them, but not much.

The only two problems I have with PDCs are the instant-reload of magazines from planetary stocks (already fixed) and the maintenance-free status (including giant hangars & their contents).  Since I don't use PDCs that way, it's not actually a problem for me.

I would prefer ground units use up Maintenance Supply Points for repair rather than Replenishment units, mostly because I like the elegance of 'everything uses MSPs'.

I don't particularly care if we call them Titans, Combat Walkers, Super-Heavy Vehicles, Air Cavalry, BattleMechs, Artillery, Organic Realtime Combat Synths (ORCS for short) or Kaiju.  I'll be fenaming them to something appropriate to my Empire every game anyways.

Oh.  I'd also really love a smaller version of a Construction Brigade.  Maybe a Construction Battalion that was 1/10th as effective, and a Construction Company that was 1/50th.  Since I usually play conventional starts, I frequently have the problem of "Oh, that's an interesting alien ruin.  When I finally manage to build a Troop Transport big enough to haul a Construction Brigade there 22 years from now, it will be exciting to see what's in it."

Which reminds me of one other suggestion I have (entirely off-topic for this thread).  I would beg Steve to rename 'Conventional' starts to 'Low-Tech(Hard) Mode' or 'Expert Mode' or something.  It seems like every week a new player comes to the Academy forum saying "I chose Conventional start because that seemed easier, or more basic, or to be tutorial mode, and now I'm hopelessly lost."
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Felixg on October 06, 2017, 10:40:46 PM
At the moment, my list comprises:

Unarmoured Aircraft - ARM 1
Light Aircraft - ARM 2
Medium Aircraft - ARM 3


Will it be possible for us to have hangars on ships that allow us to launch and support the ground attack aircraft from orbit?

Would be cool to have aircraft/fighters from orbit able to assist with the beachhead portion of the invasion alongside drop pods until your transport ships can begin unloading more of your army.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 07, 2017, 08:14:47 AM
I'm in favour of Companies being the building blocks of ground forces.  I love the idea of 'Command Sizes' not being unit based, not the least because I can finally build 'triangular' brigades & divisions without feeling like I'm wasting capacity.
I think that the change to combined arms would almost solve that on its own.  A WW2 US triangular infantry division had about 4.5 regiments worth of troops, 3 infantry, 1 artillery, and a bunch of smaller units that add up to another half a regiment or so.  Today, an infantry brigade has 2 infantry battalions, a cavalry battalion, an artillery battalion, and a pair of support battalions. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Person012345 on October 08, 2017, 06:36:50 AM
A high level update on the new ground combat system. This isn't really about the detail, as I am still sorting that out, but more about some of the overall concepts.

*snip*

Excellent! This is actually really close to what I was imagining, even a little more in depth (I was thinking using existing units and weighting them towards a fighting style with different equipment, but this redesign looks even better). Look forward to trying it out.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Marski on October 13, 2017, 10:03:57 AM
I am strongly opposed to removing PDC's, they need a overhaul yes but removing planetary defence installations that you can design yourself is wholly unnecessary. They present a challenge that gives a reason for players to have troop transports and carry out opposed landings to take out the defence installations to pave way for the fleet.

Having played many, MANY 4x and other space-strategy games I can say with absolutely confidence that this is absolutely unique feature to Steve Walmsley's Aurora. In any other 4x game, for example; Sword of the Stars: There's absolutely nothing and I do mean NOTHING to prevent the invading force to just sit back and bombard the planet from safe distance until any and all resistance has been eradicated. Same goes for the rest, not for Aurora.

I understand the reasons and I've read the proposed changes. It is my opinion that the PDC's are given reduced maximum armor options, since the weapons themselfs of course have to be on the surface of the planet or near it in order to use the weapons.
Creating special ground units to handle anti-orbital missions in my opinion is much more difficulty to balance and to keep as relevant unit far into a game's campaign.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on October 13, 2017, 11:32:55 AM
I am strongly opposed to removing PDC's, they need a overhaul yes but removing planetary defence installations that you can design yourself is wholly unnecessary. They present a challenge that gives a reason for players to have troop transports and carry out opposed landings to take out the defence installations to pave way for the fleet.

Having played many, MANY 4x and other space-strategy games I can say with absolutely confidence that this is absolutely unique feature to Steve Walmsley's Aurora. In any other 4x game, for example; Sword of the Stars: There's absolutely nothing and I do mean NOTHING to prevent the invading force to just sit back and bombard the planet from safe distance until any and all resistance has been eradicated. Same goes for the rest, not for Aurora.

I understand the reasons and I've read the proposed changes. It is my opinion that the PDC's are given reduced maximum armor options, since the weapons themselfs of course have to be on the surface of the planet or near it in order to use the weapons.
Creating special ground units to handle anti-orbital missions in my opinion is much more difficulty to balance and to keep as relevant unit far into a game's campaign.

Do people actually attempt to make troop landings in the face of hostile PDC fire? (In as much as one can plan such things, anyways, since AFAIK the AI doesn't use them) You'd be looking at hours to get in from outer missile range, all while the PDCs were firing with their double fire rate missiles. If I were planning an assault on a planet with PDCs, parts 1, 2, and 3 would be "reduce the PDCs to scrap by bombardment, ideally from outside their maximum missile range."

I get the opposite impression, myself; currently bombardment is the cheapest and easiest way to deal with a defended world, but removing obvious targets like PDCs and giving ground units anti-ship weapons will mean the best way to conquer a planet will be with other ground units. You could bombard them with ships, but since they'll be shooting back you'd probably take a lot of damage, whereas PDCs were much more vulnerable to bombardment. Sure they get 4 free layers of armor, but that isn't much against an entire fleet.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 13, 2017, 12:02:36 PM
Will units with ground-to-space capability be able to attack ground units on other bodies?  I'm thinking of units on a planet firing at units on a moon or visa versa.  Mars-Phobos is a particularly good example because Phobos is so low.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: swarm_sadist on October 13, 2017, 05:55:35 PM
Some suggestions:
1.
Light Infantry 1 Slot
Medium Infantry 2 Slots
Heavy Infantry 3 Slots

So much 'heavier' troops may have more weapons, components or attachments. This can be applied to other units as well.

2.
Surface-to-Orbit units (STO) should require much more massive missile systems to leave larger planets (such as Earth). A small asteroid or moon (like Phobos, *nod to Barkhorn*) could have a very small and cheap missile system, and get away with it.

3.
Have Army and Corps formations which can hold much larger support formations, such as field hospitals, supply dumps, Field Bases, airfields, etc. On an enemy planet, having a Hospital Division or Supply Manufacturing Formation makes sense.

4. A logistics formation should deal out supplies from a pool, not cannibalize itself.

OR

A logistics formation slowly loses readiness but gives out supplies to other units. When it has access to a supply source (IE: a factory or supply dump), it recovers readiness on it's own. A logistics formation with 0% readiness is not destroyed.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 13, 2017, 06:14:33 PM
2.
Surface-to-Orbit units (STO) should require much more massive missile systems to leave larger planets (such as Earth). A small asteroid or moon (like Phobos, *nod to Barkhorn*) could have a very small and cheap missile system, and get away with it.
As I've mentioned before, anti-starship weaponry for infantry doesn't just include missiles but lasers and railguns as well. It could very well be a mobile tripod mounted weaponry that 2-5 soldiers lug around (possibly with something like a 4x4 jeep) and set up whenever they need to fire. Think something like this;
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Hires_090509-A-4842R-001a.jpg
Heavier soldier types (Power armor, heavy power armor) could potentially mount one of those on its shoulder/back (like my earlier mention of the Dragoon from Ember Wars).

However, with TN technology, a missile actually doesn't need to be all that big if it is only going to be traveling from surface to orbit. It could then load up all of its available mass with a warhead as it doesn't need barely any fuel and even very low speeds is enough to reach orbit within a 5sec increment.

3.
Have Army and Corps formations which can hold much larger support formations, such as field hospitals, supply dumps, Field Bases, airfields, etc. On an enemy planet, having a Hospital Division or Supply Manufacturing Formation makes sense.
Like I said, this is the reason PDCs should stay for C# because they can fit these purposes very well.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 14, 2017, 08:08:40 AM
Will units with ground-to-space capability be able to attack ground units on other bodies?  I'm thinking of units on a planet firing at units on a moon or visa versa.  Mars-Phobos is a particularly good example because Phobos is so low.

I plan to treat units with ground to space weapons as 'ships' for combat purposes. You will designate a target in the ground combat window and it will fire during the normal combat phase. I will include active sensors and fire control in the cost of the unit (similar to a CIWS) so it will be self-contained. There are some realism issues firing from moon to planet and vice versa (if the moon is on the wrong side) but as ground combat only uses a single location I think that can be overlooked in favour of more entertaining game play.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 14, 2017, 08:21:06 AM
I've not able to make any progress in the last week or two due to other commitments but hope to get some work done this weekend.

Thanks for the feedback on my overview. I like the concept of static units as an additional type, which allows me to restrict infantry to more 'normal' weapons. Static types could be used for artillery, anti-tank, CIWS, anti-ship, etc., although these weapons could also be mounted on vehicles. I will also change 'combat walkers' to 'super-heavy vehicles'. These can be renamed a Titans or AT-AT, etc. at player discretion, but also allows more immersion for players who want huge, armoured tanks instead.

I have done some calculations on the unit to unit combat and I think it will be easier a single rate of fire for all units and run a ground combat phase perhaps once per minute. Those formations with larger weapons will also have fewer units, which achieves the goal of making them less suitable to engage formations with lots of units (infantry for example). I will also change weapon types to have 'armour-piercing' and damage ratings. So bombardment weapons would generally have low AP and high damage, infantry weapons would generally be low AP and low damage (but lots of them) while anti-vehicle would be high AP and high damage. There will be varieties of each type though.

I am still playing around with concepts at this stage though and none of this is coded yet.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 14, 2017, 10:13:47 AM
An important consideration to make;

What will be the planetary impact of ground combat weapon systems? Orbital bombardment causes a lot of collateral damage in civilian casualties, destroyed facilities, dust and radiation. The effects of a protracted, high intensity campaign should probably not be underestimated. Scientists have actually been able to trace major plagues and the like in the glacial record because the loss of population affected the way and extent humanity utilized the ground, as well as major eruption events with volcanoes.

While the damage at a low TN tech level should probably not be too bad, this can be very different at the higher tech levels.

Of course, one of the things that may make you want to create ground combat units would be the limited damage you could do to a planet in comparison to a thorough orbital bombardment to destroy enemy units.


EDIT: Please don't strip all artillery, anti air and anti tank capacity from infantry units. Aside from flavour, while modern day man portable weapons are not nearly as effective as vehicle mounted ones, they are still a potent weapon in the right circumstances.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 14, 2017, 11:12:08 AM
An important consideration to make;

What will be the planetary impact of ground combat weapon systems? Orbital bombardment causes a lot of collateral damage in civilian casualties, destroyed facilities, dust and radiation. The effects of a protracted, high intensity campaign should probably not be underestimated. Scientists have actually been able to trace major plagues and the like in the glacial record because the loss of population affected the way and extent humanity utilized the ground, as well as major eruption events with volcanoes.

While the damage at a low TN tech level should probably not be too bad, this can be very different at the higher tech levels.

Of course, one of the things that may make you want to create ground combat units would be the limited damage you could do to a planet in comparison to a thorough orbital bombardment to destroy enemy units.


EDIT: Please don't strip all artillery, anti air and anti tank capacity from infantry units. Aside from flavour, while modern day man portable weapons are not nearly as effective as vehicle mounted ones, they are still a potent weapon in the right circumstances.

My plan is to leave orbital area bombardment by missiles vs ground units as it is now. For precision, energy-based orbital fire support, the ground units will require some equivalent of a forward air controller to direct fire. I may also do the same for bombardment units (they will be assigned to a forward controller). Essentially, each unit with bombardment capability not in a front-line position will be assigned to a front-line unit that contains a specialised fire-direction unit.

At the moment, I am leaning toward mixed unit types in formations rather than having a single unit type. Units will be designed separately to formations, much as you create components for ships. So you could design a battalion that is mainly infantry based, but with some integral bombardment, anti-tank capability and fire-direction capabilities.

I have changed my original plans so there are now five basic unit types: Infantry, Static, Vehicle, Super-Heavy Vehicle and Aircraft. You can develop armour for each type separately except static, although that can be fortified (armour will affect chance of penetration while fortification will affect chance to hit). Some types can have better armour than others.

Weapons are developed separately and can be assigned to different types of units, although there are some restrictions. For example, an infantry unit can only have light or medium bombardment and anti-vehicle weapons, while super-heavy anti-vehicle weapons (and probably surface to orbit weapons) can only be mounted in static units or super-heavy vehicle units. Due to the base type HP and potential armour, the static weapons would be much easier to destroy but also cheaper.

Weapons have three characteristics:
1) Armour-piercing: Affects the chance to penetrate the armour of the target.
2) Damage: Affects the chance of destroying the target
3) Shots: Amount of fire in one combat round. This is high for machine-gun equivalents to simulate rate of fire and for bombardment weapons to simulate the chance to damage multiple targets.

Infantry have 1 HP, Static 2 HP, Aircraft 3 HP, Vehicle 6 HP and Super-heavy Vehicle 15 HP (might be more for this one). HP (and armour) will be modified by the armour tech of the race in question.

Some sample weapons (as they currently stand)
Personal Infantry Weapon: AP 0 DAM 1 SHOTS 1
Crew-served automatic anti-personnel weapon. AP 1 DAM 1 SHOTS 6
Crew-served heavy automatic anti-personnel weapon. AP 2 DAM 1 SHOTS 6
Light anti vehicle weapon: AP 2 DAM 6 SHOT 1
Medium anti vehicle weapon: AP 4 DAM 6 SHOT 1
Heavy anti vehicle weapon: AP 6 DAM 6 SHOT 1
Super-heavy anti vehicle weapon: AP 9 DAM 9 SHOT 1
Light bombardment Weapon AP 0, DAM 1, SHOTS 3
Medium bombardment Weapon AP 1, DAM 3, SHOTS 3
Heavy bombardment Weapon AP 2, DAM 6, SHOTS 3
Super-heavy bombardment Weapon AP 3, DAM 9, SHOTS 3
Light Anti-Air Weapons: AP 1 DAM 2, SHOT 1
Medium Anti-Air Weapons: AP 2, DAM 3 SHOT 1
(Haven't done air-to-ground yet)

Base AP and Damage rating will be modified by the weapon capability of the race designing the unit. The highest level tech is determined from any of Laser Focal Size, Railgun Type, Meson Focal Size, Particle Beam Strength or Cannonade Calibre. That TL is then matched to the equivalent Armour tech level and the Armour Strength is used as the weapon strength. For example, a race with Laser Focal Size 15cm has the third level of weapon tech. So the weapon multiplier is 8, because that is the value of the third level of armour tech. Using this method allows all races with similar levels of weapon tech to be equivalent in ground combat, removes any complications around converting different weapon types to ground combat and ensures similar levels of weapon and armour tech are equivalent.

Some weapons have other characteristics, such as bombardment may engage from a support position, while anti-air can engage aircraft. I will add some minimal ability for some other weapons to attempt aircraft interception at low chance to hit.

Armour piercing will be based on a formula that takes (AP / Armour) ^ 2 as the basis for the percentage chance to penetrate. If armour is penetrated, the chance to kill a unit will be based on Damage / HP, in the same way a ship component.

The major factors I need to decide are base unit and weapon sizes plus the base chance to hit and how much that is affected by movement (i.e. vehicle vs static) and by fortifications. Also I think I am going to scrap the concept of the Advance position and instead have a chance that formations in support or rear echelon positions will be attacked based on the recent balance of damage between the two sides. Less complex but similar outcome.

More updates as I make progress :)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Arwyn on October 14, 2017, 12:31:56 PM
Steve, that looks really good, this is starting to really come together! :)

One suggestion though, you may want to flip the HP values for Static and Aircraft.

Modern aircraft are pretty fragile compared to a bunker or prepared position. Any sort of major damage that doesn't outright destroy the aircraft will more often than not render them militarily combat lossed as they are retired to rear areas for maintenance. In fact, most modern wars, the damage to loss ratio is 4:1.

In short planes/choppers are squishy. :)

Conversely, a battalion sized prepared defensive position is pretty tough. This can range from a defense position consisting of unimproved trenches and bunkers, to heavily reinforced concrete bunkers, underground passageways and magazines. For a battalion, those positions can be pretty large.

I like your current idea on mixed battalions. Thats pretty much they way it works right now for most militaries. Most infantry battalions run something like three companies of infantry and one weapons company (heavy weapons) or support.

As far as Air to Ground weapons, you really already have them. Most aircraft systems are derivative of existing vehicle systems. Bombs would be analogous to bombardment weapons, as would most anti-tank weapon systems.

You can kind of generalize. Light bombardment weapons could cover infantry mortars or light artillery, light bombs for aircraft or light weight missile systems.

This is all sounding pretty good, looking forward to see how it develops!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 14, 2017, 04:02:00 PM
My plan is to leave orbital area bombardment by missiles vs ground units as it is now. For precision, energy-based orbital fire support, the ground units will require some equivalent of a forward air controller to direct fire.

Consider allowing non-missile orbital bombardment to function similarly as missile based bombardment if there's no forward fire controller available. Including things like odds of hitting your own troops. This means you don't need to develop dedicated orbital bombardment units if you want to play without missiles otherwise. It's also much, much cheaper and easier on your logistics.

I may also do the same for bombardment units (they will be assigned to a forward controller). Essentially, each unit with bombardment capability not in a front-line position will be assigned to a front-line unit that contains a specialised fire-direction unit.

If a fire direction unit takes a full slot that's kind of expensive, especially at the lowest command level. Consider letting a Brigade level fire direction unit direct support fire for all underlying Battalions. Division level fire support grants fire support to 1 Brigade worth of units, but at lower chance of calling down a barrage to balance the greater scope; they're more likely to be out of position.

Also, let more than 1 bombardment/orbital fire support unit be directed by 1 fire director. On the one hand, better chance of leveling whatever opposition. On the other hand, overkill is a waste of munitions. Likewise also, fire support/directors reporting to the same HQ should probably get (minor) bonuses due to familiarity etc.

At the moment, I am leaning toward mixed unit types in formations rather than having a single unit type. Units will be designed separately to formations, much as you create components for ships. So you could design a battalion that is mainly infantry based, but with some integral bombardment, anti-tank capability and fire-direction capabilities.

Depends on how granular you want to make the formations. Roughly speaking a fire team/element of an infantry unit is 3 people, a squad is made up of 3 or 4 such fire teams and a 2 man squad command, 3 or 4 squads in a platoon, counting up to about 40 people total due to a number very sensible reasons to do with being able to communicate with and thus command a unit that big without radio, a company ranges at about 100-150 people due to a number of likewise very sensible reasons but these are to do with how human relationship mentalities work and battalion ranges from 2 to 8 companies, depending on the size of the companies and usually between 300 to 800 people. Higher formations are usually 3-5 of the direct lower formations and maybe half such a unit in smaller sections of support units.

This confines to an extent the number of potential forces you can shove into a command and thus what you can attach directly to a battalion. Then again, brigade/division assets are a thing too and can be handled through attaching such forces to that level of HQ.

I have changed my original plans so there are now five basic unit types: Infantry, Static, Vehicle, Super-Heavy Vehicle and Aircraft. You can develop armour for each type separately except static, although that can be fortified (armour will affect chance of penetration while fortification will affect chance to hit). Some types can have better armour than others.

Static units should either get an independent tech line or upgrade from the starship techline. Are upgrades a thing in this system?

Weapons are developed separately and can be assigned to different types of units, although there are some restrictions. For example, an infantry unit can only have light or medium bombardment and anti-vehicle weapons, while super-heavy anti-vehicle weapons (and probably surface to orbit weapons) can only be mounted in static units or super-heavy vehicle units. Due to the base type HP and potential armour, the static weapons would be much easier to destroy but also cheaper.

Abstracting mobility into being another source of HP then?

Weapons have three characteristics:
1) Armour-piercing: Affects the chance to penetrate the armour of the target.
2) Damage: Affects the chance of destroying the target
3) Shots: Amount of fire in one combat round. This is high for machine-gun equivalents to simulate rate of fire and for bombardment weapons to simulate the chance to damage multiple targets.

Sounds sensible.

Infantry have 1 HP, Static 2 HP, Aircraft 3 HP, Vehicle 6 HP and Super-heavy Vehicle 15 HP (might be more for this one). HP (and armour) will be modified by the armour tech of the race in question.

Is this per unit/number of entities in a unit? Presuming of course than a company is the unit we're talking about.

Can we decide to use a lower tech armour for the (presumed) cost savings to get a cheap but heavy hitting unit by putting a really big/high tech gun on a low armoured vehicle?

Some sample weapons (as they currently stand)*snip*

Without having a count of how many weapons of a given type are in a unit it's kinda hard to say if it looks balanced. Personal Infantry Weapons should probably have 2 shots though, due to the great preponderance of modern rapid fire weapons.

Then again, looking at the combat values of pre TN and lowest TN level units, that paradigm might change.

Actually, what's the stats conventional weapons units are equipped with? Because that's going to be your weakest weapon type by definition.

Base AP and Damage rating will be modified by the weapon capability of the race designing the unit. The highest level tech is determined from any of Laser Focal Size, Railgun Type, Meson Focal Size, Particle Beam Strength or Cannonade Calibre. That TL is then matched to the equivalent Armour tech level and the Armour Strength is used as the weapon strength. For example, a race with Laser Focal Size 15cm has the third level of weapon tech. So the weapon multiplier is 8, because that is the value of the third level of armour tech. Using this method allows all races with similar levels of weapon tech to be equivalent in ground combat, removes any complications around converting different weapon types to ground combat and ensures similar levels of weapon and armour tech are equivalent.

I get that naval combat is always going to be the focus here in this game, but if we are going to design units we should probably also be able to design their weapons. Even if it's just selecting a specific tech line we want to base our ground weapons on. Of course 'I don't want to bother with conversion' is a valid answer here.

Some weapons have other characteristics, such as bombardment may engage from a support position, while anti-air can engage aircraft. I will add some minimal ability for some other weapons to attempt aircraft interception at low chance to hit.

This should probably be limited to light/medium weapons with an AP stat, given that aircraft are all armoured and likely to move fast.

Armour piercing will be based on a formula that takes (AP / Armour) ^ 2 as the basis for the percentage chance to penetrate. If armour is penetrated, the chance to kill a unit will be based on Damage / HP, in the same way a ship component.

This would mean then I presume that the % penetration chance in equal tech levels is equal to the published weapons AP values.

The major factors I need to decide are base unit and weapon sizes plus the base chance to hit and how much that is affected by movement (i.e. vehicle vs static) and by fortifications. Also I think I am going to scrap the concept of the Advance position and instead have a chance that formations in support or rear echelon positions will be attacked based on the recent balance of damage between the two sides. Less complex but similar outcome.

In that case, consider letting the side with the vehicle/bombardment/aircraft advantage to have a higher chance of hitting rear and support positions due to an advantage in speed and/or range. This would make a force made up of a lot of fast moving units capable of standing against a force made up of a lot of static or slow moving units by hitting enemy rear positions, although hardly guaranteed success.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 14, 2017, 04:31:57 PM
As I've mentioned before, anti-starship weaponry for infantry doesn't just include missiles but lasers and railguns as well. It could very well be a mobile tripod mounted weaponry that 2-5 soldiers lug around (possibly with something like a 4x4 jeep) and set up whenever they need to fire. Think something like this;
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Hires_090509-A-4842R-001a.jpg
Heavier soldier types (Power armor, heavy power armor) could potentially mount one of those on its shoulder/back (like my earlier mention of the Dragoon from Ember Wars).

I don't think you got the sizes quite right here.

Unless I got something wrong in Aurora 4x one HS = 50 ton and equals 20 MSP. This means the smallest Anti Missile would be 2.5 tons and your "normal" Anti ship missiles would be around 10 tons or so.

As a comparison a Tomahawk cruise missile is 1.6 tons (including booster), this is not something that's man-portable.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 14, 2017, 07:23:00 PM
Consider the Flak 88, they weighed about 8 tons, and in a pinch were man-portable.  They had 10-man crews, and were light enough where they could be moved by hand if necessary.  They were primarily towed into position, but they could, and were pushed by hand when they had to relocate in a hurry.

I could see a similar thing in Aurora, with unlucky infantry lugging around some big laser or a single-shot anti-ship missile launcher.

Related note: Ships should be able to be targeted by anti-air ground units while landing or picking up troops; presumably they have to enter the atmosphere to drop troops off.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 14, 2017, 09:04:44 PM
Consider the Flak 88, they weighed about 8 tons, and in a pinch were man-portable.  They had 10-man crews, and were light enough where they could be moved by hand if necessary.  They were primarily towed into position, but they could, and were pushed by hand when they had to relocate in a hurry.

I could see a similar thing in Aurora, with unlucky infantry lugging around some big laser or a single-shot anti-ship missile launcher.

Related note: Ships should be able to be targeted by anti-air ground units while landing or picking up troops; presumably they have to enter the atmosphere to drop troops off.

That's not the meaning of 'man portable.'

Man portable means can be moved on march by hand, if necessarily by crew. This is something that's possible with crew served long range anti tank missiles, mortars and heavy machine guns. This is not something possible with 8 tons of gun. And certainly not with the 10 man unit dedicated to using the gun.

Now, a 10 man unit in a fortified position could use such a gun to do horrible things to incoming aircraft, and that was exactly what happened, but that's the Static unit type, not the Infantry unit type.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on October 14, 2017, 10:18:25 PM
I notice infantry at 1 HP. I hope this doesn't translate into a loss of the staying power of infantry units, which should exceed that of other unit types. Infantry has the capability to rapidly dig in and seek cover that other unit types lack and I hope that capability to endure gets reflected.

I'm not quite sure what a static unit is now, given what others are suggesting. I thought it was supposed to be the equivalent of a base or fortress in replacing PDCs.

More generally, I hope we aren't losing sight of what different unit types are supposed to do: infantry holds ground against other infantry at something like a 1:3 ratio, armor helps infantry advance against other infantry and counteracts enemy armor, air power somewhat reduces infantry capability and negates armor in the absence of countermeasures like opposing air power. I think anti-space units should be dedicated to the task and not something the infantry--or even armor/vehicles--totes around; we're talking ground-to-orbit weaponry here. I hope these effects result from the new mechanics.

Another concern I have: I hope the enhanced speed of C# Aurora isn't going to be negated by the addition of tons of new calculations as the program tries to manage x number of complex planetary combats.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 14, 2017, 10:30:31 PM
In short planes/choppers are squishy. :)
But think of this; With TN technology, and "aircraft" could very well be a flying tank (literally).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 14, 2017, 10:48:30 PM
That's not the meaning of 'man portable.'

Man portable means can be moved on march by hand, if necessarily by crew. This is something that's possible with crew served long range anti tank missiles, mortars and heavy machine guns. This is not something possible with 8 tons of gun. And certainly not with the 10 man unit dedicated to using the gun.

Now, a 10 man unit in a fortified position could use such a gun to do horrible things to incoming aircraft, and that was exactly what happened, but that's the Static unit type, not the Infantry unit type.
Well to be fair, no modern military marches anywhere anymore.  The level of portability required to call something man-portable has really dropped off.  Nobody's hiking 20 miles while lugging a mortar around anymore.  Especially when you consider that the US military RIGHT NOW is working on pack-mule drones like the Mules in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, which blur the line between man-portable and not man-portable.  Now consider that beam weapons are likely to be quite modular.  A railgun for instance could have multiple rails that snap together.  Unlike a gun-powder based weapon, there's no pressure being contained, so the weapon can be made easy to disassemble.  So you could have a weapon crew be 5-10 men and 10 or so of these pack mule drones.  The drones carry the gun, its charging equipment, and its ammunition, the men assemble and operate it on site.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 15, 2017, 05:37:31 AM
I notice infantry at 1 HP. I hope this doesn't translate into a loss of the staying power of infantry units, which should exceed that of other unit types. Infantry has the capability to rapidly dig in and seek cover that other unit types lack and I hope that capability to endure gets reflected.

I'm not quite sure what a static unit is now, given what others are suggesting. I thought it was supposed to be the equivalent of a base or fortress in replacing PDCs.

More generally, I hope we aren't losing sight of what different unit types are supposed to do: infantry holds ground against other infantry at something like a 1:3 ratio, armor helps infantry advance against other infantry and counteracts enemy armor, air power somewhat reduces infantry capability and negates armor in the absence of countermeasures like opposing air power. I think anti-space units should be dedicated to the task and not something the infantry--or even armor/vehicles--totes around; we're talking ground-to-orbit weaponry here. I hope these effects result from the new mechanics.

Another concern I have: I hope the enhanced speed of C# Aurora isn't going to be negated by the addition of tons of new calculations as the program tries to manage x number of complex planetary combats.

There will be a lot more infantry units in a formation than an equivalent vehicle formation so total HP may be higher. Also, Infantry units can be fortified, which makes them harder to hit.

Static is a weapon that is not mounted on a vehicle. Towed anti-tank or towed artillery for example.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 15, 2017, 07:33:58 AM
There will be a lot more infantry units in a formation than an equivalent vehicle formation so total HP may be higher. Also, Infantry units can be fortified, which makes them harder to hit.

Static is a weapon that is not mounted on a vehicle. Towed anti-tank or towed artillery for example.

Yeah, with a lot more infantry in a formation you really need to consider turning the standard infantry weapon into an AP0, Damage 1, Shots 2 weapon. There'd be optimization pressure from the military to get a more rapid fire weapon in everyone's hands. Because against soft, numerous targets you need the biggest number of shots possible because you are going to penetrate anyway.

Actually, of concern; AP0 means that standard infantry formations can do no damage whatsoever against anything with any armour. Is this as intended?

But think of this; With TN technology, and "aircraft" could very well be a flying tank (literally).

The A-10 is a flying tank, but it's armoured about as well as an APC at best. There's a number of reasons for this, all of which boil down to the fact that you can armour a ground vehicle much more effectively for the same weight of armour than any aircraft. Note that I'm ignoring walkers here which are an entirely different armouring challenge.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 15, 2017, 08:56:45 AM
The A-10 is a flying tank, but it's armoured about as well as an APC at best. There's a number of reasons for this, all of which boil down to the fact that you can armour a ground vehicle much more effectively for the same weight of armour than any aircraft. Note that I'm ignoring walkers here which are an entirely different armouring challenge.
I was talking something more along the lines of an AC-220 Vulture Gunship from halo. It literally is a flying tank with 4 30mm autocannons, 2 SAM launchers (each launcher fires 9 missiles in a volley), and 2 ASM (air to surface) launchers (each fire 4 at a time). And remember again, this is WITH TN technology, not being analog to current technology.


I don't think you got the sizes quite right here. Unless I got something wrong in Aurora 4x one HS = 50 ton and equals 20 MSP. This means the smallest Anti Missile would be 2.5 tons and your "normal" Anti ship missiles would be around 10 tons or so. As a comparison a Tomahawk cruise missile is 1.6 tons (including booster), this is not something that's man-portable.
Remember when we used to be able to have missiles less than 1 MSP? Ground units could technically be using missiles that small (like a modern day Javelin or Stinger) with a nuclear warhead powerful enough for 1-3 damage because it doesn't need an engine large enough for sustained flight nor the fuel to even leave the gravity well of the planet they are firing from. And like how @Barkhorn said, robotic technology can assist with making the "not man portable" into "man portable". Going to somewhat of an extreme example for the "Power Armor" class of infantry Steve was thinking of, think of a H.ARM suit;
(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/d5/3c/36/d53c3610a62bfe80dafae4a4f25e88cc.jpg) (https://dfep0xlbws1ys.cloudfront.net/thumbsfd/01/fd015ac8ec8ddcd28aed9565b751054b.jpg?response-cache-control=max-age=2628000)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 15, 2017, 09:00:34 AM
Yeah, with a lot more infantry in a formation you really need to consider turning the standard infantry weapon into an AP0, Damage 1, Shots 2 weapon. There'd be optimization pressure from the military to get a more rapid fire weapon in everyone's hands. Because against soft, numerous targets you need the biggest number of shots possible because you are going to penetrate anyway.

Actually, of concern; AP0 means that standard infantry formations can do no damage whatsoever against anything with any armour. Is this as intended?

Good point about the AP0. I had originally intended that weapons with AP0 couldn't damage an armoured target. A rifleman with an M-16 could blast away all day at a tank without success, although you could include light anti-tank weapons in your infantry formations and machine gun equivalents have some capability against armour. I was not trying to simulate infantrymen throwing Molotov cocktails at tanks though. Now I am thinking about it a little more, the issue is though that infantrymen can wear armour too, so powered infantry would be invulnerable to other infantry. I might make the basic weapon AP 0.5 and add an improved personal weapon with AP 1 or higher. However, I don't want to get into a situation where massed infantry is massacring tanks. Maybe I need to spread out the armour range a little more.

Shots is not intended to simulate a real rate of fire. It is the number of attacks in a combat phase. So infantry might fire multiple times as a single 'shot'. If i increase that, I would also need to increase machine gun shots, etc. The single infantryman with a personal weapon is going to be the baseline for everything else. You might have a thousand infantryman in a battalion with a thousand shots. A tank battalion might only have 60 vehicles (for example). so has 120 shots (assuming both slots are anti-vehicle weapons), or up to 420 shots with an anti-vehicle weapon and a automatic anti-personnel weapon. The tanks would presumably be much better armoured as well, although much more expensive.

Formation sizes will be up to the players, so you can design battalions, companies or even platoons if needed and call the unit and formation whatever you like. So you might have an individual infantry unit with personal weapons and powered armour that you name a Storm Trooper and then create a formation of those units called a Storm Trooper Legion. There won't be any reference in the design to standard Earth unit sizes as they vary by country anyway. The formation will have a total size though and HQs will be able to manage up to a certain size.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 15, 2017, 10:28:50 AM
Good point about the AP0. I had originally intended that weapons with AP0 couldn't damage an armoured target. A rifleman with an M-16 could blast away all day at a tank without success, although you could include light anti-tank weapons in your infantry formations and machine gun equivalents have some capability against armour. I was not trying to simulate infantrymen throwing Molotov cocktails at tanks though. Now I am thinking about it a little more, the issue is though that infantrymen can wear armour too, so powered infantry would be invulnerable to other infantry. I might make the basic weapon AP 0.5 and add an improved personal weapon with AP 1 or higher. However, I don't want to get into a situation where massed infantry is massacring tanks. Maybe I need to spread out the armour range a little more.
Definitely need to expand the range a bit. However, I think you were quite close for the stats overall. One thing that could get around the lightest unit of infantry is to make it a "Conscript" or "Militia" unit that will always have a base armor of 0 to 1 (simulating essentially wearing nothing but BDUs and a helmet). Of course, in reality their uniforms would likely be able to stop small arms (pistols and knives), but in no way provide protection against a rifle (technology equivalent). Then you would have to add something between "Light" infantry and "Powered" infantry. Going back to my Halo examples; The Marines would likely equate "Light" infantry, Spartan IIs and IIIs and Mk I ADS (http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/HRUNTING/YGGDRASIL_Mark_I_Prototype_Armor_Defense_System) are "Powered", and something like the Mk III (http://) being a "Heavy Powered". However, the ODSTs have a somewhat heavier armor with some being assisted by an exoskeleton suit which is derived from the Mjolnir armor of Spartans, yet not as big, powerful, or armored as Spartans (IVs do not count, because they aren't full "super soldiers" like IIs and IIIs). They could be classed as a "Medium" or "Assault" Infantry, being a step between the lightly armored Regular/Light infantry and full out armored Powered infantry.


Formation sizes will be up to the players, so you can design battalions, companies or even platoons if needed and call the unit and formation whatever you like. So you might have an individual infantry unit with personal weapons and powered armour that you name a Storm Trooper and then create a formation of those units called a Storm Trooper Legion. There won't be any reference in the design to standard Earth unit sizes as they vary by country anyway. The formation will have a total size though and HQs will be able to manage up to a certain size.
Would we be able to mix non-like unit types within formations. For example, could we have a single formation with 100 infantry, 12 vehicles, and 1-2 "aircraft" if we so desired?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 15, 2017, 10:47:31 AM
I was talking something more along the lines of an AC-220 Vulture Gunship from halo. It literally is a flying tank with 4 30mm autocannons, 2 SAM launchers (each launcher fires 9 missiles in a volley), and 2 ASM (air to surface) launchers (each fire 4 at a time). And remember again, this is WITH TN technology, not being analog to current technology.

Actually, no that's not a flying tank. That's a gun ship, and if it takes AA fire it's probably going to feel it quite a lot.

And if it takes an AT shot it's going down in flames and itty bitty pieces.

I mean, make no mistake that sounds like a very nasty weapon to face, but it has not the staying power of a tank. It's a raider more than anything with that load out.

Good point about the AP0. I had originally intended that weapons with AP0 couldn't damage an armoured target. A rifleman with an M-16 could blast away all day at a tank without success, although you could include light anti-tank weapons in your infantry formations and machine gun equivalents have some capability against armour. I was not trying to simulate infantrymen throwing Molotov cocktails at tanks though. Now I am thinking about it a little more, the issue is though that infantrymen can wear armour too, so powered infantry would be invulnerable to other infantry. I might make the basic weapon AP 0.5 and add an improved personal weapon with AP 1 or higher. However, I don't want to get into a situation where massed infantry is massacring tanks. Maybe I need to spread out the armour range a little more.

Consider establishing a 'cut off' %value in the armour piercing calculations, below which armour can't be penetrated by a weapon. I mean, on equal tech level % penetration chance is equal to (AP/Armour)^2, but it also inherently favours the higher tech level because of how the values get multiplied as tech level increases. But somehow I think that modern day tank armour is more or less effectively impervious to WW2 or earlier AT weapons. Because of this, if the total Armour value is sufficiently greater than the AP value of the shots that land there is no damage no matter how many shots land, which limits the use of blobs of infantry with anti infantry weapons with low level AP values in an anti tank role.

Now, the cut off I don't know about, but this lets you do things like assign a minimal AP value to base infantry weapons that go up against a (base) Armour rating of 4 vehicle and lose regardless of the fact that a vehicle formation would have far fewer units than an infantry formation in a peer technological situation.

Hmmm. Come to think of it, no armour infantry blobs kind of break the system too; as the piercing calculation is AP/Armour, zero armour means that if they get hit they take full damage and die with their only hit point, but at the same time as technology increases (and thus training costs) they're not going to get more expensive armour. Because they have none in the first place even if they get Fortification bonuses that let them dodge getting hit. However, all other unit types do have armour and thus escalating armour and weapon costs while unarmoured infantry are both comparatively cheap because they only pay for their weapon and get large numbers and thus large numbers of shots.

This makes blobs of unarmoured infantry equipped with the biggest guns they can carry probably very effective for their price, especially in roles where they can fort up and dodge fire. This can get very weird in some situations.

Shots is not intended to simulate a real rate of fire. It is the number of attacks in a combat phase. So infantry might fire multiple times as a single 'shot'. If i increase that, I would also need to increase machine gun shots, etc. The single infantryman with a personal weapon is going to be the baseline for everything else. You might have a thousand infantryman in a battalion with a thousand shots. A tank battalion might only have 60 vehicles (for example). so has 120 shots (assuming both slots are anti-vehicle weapons), or up to 420 shots with an anti-vehicle weapon and a automatic anti-personnel weapon. The tanks would presumably be much better armoured as well, although much more expensive.

Okay, that's reasonable.

Formation sizes will be up to the players, so you can design battalions, companies or even platoons if needed and call the unit and formation whatever you like. So you might have an individual infantry unit with personal weapons and powered armour that you name a Storm Trooper and then create a formation of those units called a Storm Trooper Legion. There won't be any reference in the design to standard Earth unit sizes as they vary by country anyway. The formation will have a total size though and HQs will be able to manage up to a certain size.

I'd advise you to pick a minimum design component size (apparently platoon) and a minimum deployment size (that is, the point where the game renders a unit). Battalion sized works fine for that and gives you a lot of flexibility in design without burrowing players under massive lists of units. You do need to consider how you want to handle troop transports now; with such a large possible range of troop formation size there's no longer a 'one size fits all' option that would manage it all. You also need to look at how much you want each unit type to weigh in transport space, because transporting heavy armour has different demands than transporting infantry does, even with the same weight in troops and material.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 15, 2017, 01:09:58 PM
I am working on costs and sizes. The basic principle is a base size for the unit type, plus a base size for each component type (on the assumption that adding larger weapons means a larger vehicle / static mount). The size is then modified by the armour to create a cost. All this is compared to a infantry unit with 1000 men using basic weapons for comparison

For example, I have the following base sizes:
Infantry 0
Static 2
Vehicle 6
Super-heavy Vehicle 18
Aircraft 12

Weapon Sizes (at the moment) are as follows

Personal Weapon 1 (AP 0.5)
Improved PW 1.25 (AP 1)
Machine Gun 3
Heavy MG   5
Light AT 4
Medium AT 8
Heavy AT 12
Super-heavy AT   18
Light Bombardment 5
Med Bombardment 10
Heavy Bombardment 15

So if we have a 'Medium Tank' with Medium AT and MG, plus armour strength 4. That is a total size of 17 (or about 59 vehicles for the same size as a 1000 man unit). Cost is Size x Armour, which would be 68. So for the same cost as 1000 men with basic weapons, you could have 15 medium tanks.

A 'Heavy Tank' with Heavy AT and HMG and armour strength 6 would be size 23 and cost 138. Compared to the 1000 man unit, you could have 44 tanks in terms of size and 7 in terms of cost. Cost & Size are both relevant because size is a factor in terms of troop lift capacity, while cost is an economic factor.

This feels OK. The issue is that static, non-armoured weapons are very cheap compared to tanks (although fine in terms of size). I am planning to make static weapons much less useful when attacking (perhaps shots / 3) and they are more easily destroyed so this may be fine anyway. However, I wouldn't mind some comparison with real world in terms of cost.

BTW, if we take the above Medium and Heavy Tank designs and compare to an infantry unit with 1000 troopers armed with Personal Weapons. Assuming 100% hit rate, a Medium Tank formation of 60 vehicles would kill 420 infantry and lose 3 tanks. The heavy tank formation of 45 vehicles would kill 315 infantry and lose 1 tank. If we assume the infantry are armed with the Improved Personal Weapon, the tank losses change to 8 and 4 respectively. If the tank formations fought each other, The Medium tanks would kill 27 heavy tanks and lose 45 of their own tanks. So Medium is better for flexibility but Heavy better vs other tanks.

If the Heavy Tank was changed to a 'Tank Destroyer' configuration with double Heavy AT and no MG, it would wipe out the Medium Tank formation but only kill 90 infantry.

There will be some other factors involved though. Base to hit chance will be far, far lower given the time increment for ground combat and vehicles will be harder to hit than static or infantry units (not decided yet exactly how the 'mobility' factor will be used). Conversely, infantry on defence can be fortified, making them harder to hit too.

I think the model so far has some interesting decisions in terms of order of battle and attack/defence will be very different in terms of unit capability.

I haven't added aircraft weapons yet but will get to it.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 15, 2017, 01:19:11 PM
Actually, no that's not a flying tank. That's a gun ship, and if it takes AA fire it's probably going to feel it quite a lot. And if it takes an AT shot it's going down in flames and itty bitty pieces. I mean, make no mistake that sounds like a very nasty weapon to face, but it has not the staying power of a tank. It's a raider more than anything with that load out.

Think you should do a little more research before you respond about something you don't really know about. It is covered top to bottom in heavy layers of titanium armor, and can take greater amounts of fire than the Scorpion tanks (both the M808 and the M820) and Grizzly main battle tank. Its one of the very few things in the Halo universe that can actually take a hit from a Glassing Beam without being destroyed. Those 30mm cannons are essentially the future version of the Gau-8 that is designed for AT use today, and the AC-220 is using DU rounds instead of API/HEI rounds that the A-10 uses. Yes, it is designated as a gunship just as the AC-130 today. However the "Gunship" notation is for heavy aircraft with heavy weaponry that is meant to be assaulting ground forces. It literally is a flying tank to the extreme, and the perfect example of what an "aircraft" can be under TN mechanics. And that was my point, to give an example.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 15, 2017, 02:09:37 PM
I am working on costs and sizes. The basic principle is a base size for the unit type, plus a base size for each component type (on the assumption that adding larger weapons means a larger vehicle / static mount).

Even if it didn't mean a bigger vehicle/static mount it'd mean quite a lot of other things need to be bigger. Like the munition, which will also take storage space.

The size is then modified by the armour to create a cost.

Note; this means that if you don't increase your armour tech/techline for ground units but do increase your weapons tech you get lots of really cheap (if vulnerable) hard hitting ground units. You may want to consider adding a cost for weapon technology level as well, size alone won't cover it. Eggshells armed with hammers favours the eggshells so long as they're cheap enough to ship in bulk.

This feels OK. The issue is that static, non-armoured weapons are very cheap compared to tanks (although fine in terms of size). I am planning to make static weapons much less useful when attacking (perhaps shots / 3) and they are more easily destroyed so this may be fine anyway. However, I wouldn't mind some comparison with real world in terms of cost.

Easiest way to handle? Allow only Bombardment weapons to be used by Static units when on the attack. This would indicate then that Static units are, well, static. This makes them fine and cheap defensive frontline units with non-bombardment components and potent and cheap artillery on the offensive. A delay/fortification requirement for Static units before they can start operating would be reasonable to symbolize set up time, while other unit types are immediately ready for combat.

Of course, this presumes that unlike current mechanics attack/defense isn't binary and decided by who gets there first but there's instead a way to exchange initiative. If attack/defense isn't binary a mechanic to shuffle unit positions would be nice.

BTW, if we take the above Medium and Heavy Tank designs and compare to an infantry unit with 1000 troopers armed with Personal Weapons. Assuming 100% hit rate, a Medium Tank formation of 60 vehicles would kill 420 infantry and lose 3 tanks. The heavy tank formation of 45 vehicles would kill 315 infantry and lose 1 tank. If we assume the infantry are armed with the Improved Personal Weapon, the tank losses change to 8 and 4 respectively. If the tank formations fought each other, The Medium tanks would kill 27 heavy tanks and lose 45 of their own tanks. So Medium is better for flexibility but Heavy better vs other tanks.

Sounds about right, and favours the tanks. Of course, this presumes no fortification, which may cause the balance to shift.

There will be some other factors involved though. Base to hit chance will be far, far lower given the time increment for ground combat and vehicles will be harder to hit than static or infantry units (not decided yet exactly how the 'mobility' factor will be used). Conversely, infantry on defence can be fortified, making them harder to hit too.

Mobility factor? As I offered previously, having the mobility advantage may lower the treshold for hitting support/rear echelon positions instead of front line positions.

I haven't added aircraft weapons yet but will get to it.

To be honest, something can be said for giving them the same weapons options as vehicles and give them special rules instead.

Think you should do a little more research before you respond about something you don't really know about. It is covered top to bottom in heavy layers of titanium armor, and can take greater amounts of fire than the Scorpion tanks (both the M808 and the M820) and Grizzly main battle tank. Its one of the very few things in the Halo universe that can actually take a hit from a Glassing Beam without being destroyed. Those 30mm cannons are essentially the future version of the Gau-8 that is designed for AT use today, and the AC-220 is using DU rounds instead of API/HEI rounds that the A-10 uses. Yes, it is designated as a gunship just as the AC-130 today. However the "Gunship" notation is for heavy aircraft with heavy weaponry that is meant to be assaulting ground forces. It literally is a flying tank to the extreme, and the perfect example of what an "aircraft" can be under TN mechanics. And that was my point, to give an example.

Look, if your gunship can eat more fire than your tanks the guys designing the armour for your tanks were a bunch of muppets and should be fired. Out of a cannon. Because the number of potential directions and angles for incoming fire are very different and limited for a tank compared to a gunship you can optimize much more aggressively against them, which means better armour in its role for the same weight and volume.

As for the 30mm rotary cannon, you do realize that the A-10 was designed in the 1970s and even on the design table the GAU-8 was never meant as the primary anti tank weapon for the A-10? That's what the Maverick guided missiles were for. The GAU-8 was meant to chew up Soviet APCs and infantry in cover, and it's pretty good at that.

Now, the A-10 could kill a 1970s Soviet tank with the GAU-8, but that would mean engaging it from a constrained angle and the back of the tank. This would then imply 2 scenarios. 1) The tank crew frakked up massively to the point an A-10 can fly up its backside, or anyone else can hit their tank's back, or 2) the A-10 flew into the teeth of the Soviet air defenses, turned around (and made itself a nice target for all the AA in the process) and is now gunning for the tank. Doing the last without becoming a flaming wreck was expected to be impossible. Or meant that the enemy forgot their AA.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 15, 2017, 02:31:50 PM

So if we have a 'Medium Tank' with Medium AT and MG, plus armour strength 4. That is a total size of 17 (or about 59 vehicles for the same size as a 1000 man unit). Cost is Size x Armour, which would be 68. So for the same cost as 1000 men with basic weapons, you could have 15 medium tanks.

A 'Heavy Tank' with Heavy AT and HMG and armour strength 6 would be size 23 and cost 138. Compared to the 1000 man unit, you could have 44 tanks in terms of size and 7 in terms of cost. Cost & Size are both relevant because size is a factor in terms of troop lift capacity, while cost is an economic factor.

This feels OK. The issue is that static, non-armoured weapons are very cheap compared to tanks (although fine in terms of size). I am planning to make static weapons much less useful when attacking (perhaps shots / 3) and they are more easily destroyed so this may be fine anyway. However, I wouldn't mind some comparison with real world in terms of cost.

BTW, if we take the above Medium and Heavy Tank designs and compare to an infantry unit with 1000 troopers armed with Personal Weapons. Assuming 100% hit rate, a Medium Tank formation of 60 vehicles would kill 420 infantry and lose 3 tanks. The heavy tank formation of 45 vehicles would kill 315 infantry and lose 1 tank. If we assume the infantry are armed with the Improved Personal Weapon, the tank losses change to 8 and 4 respectively. If the tank formations fought each other, The Medium tanks would kill 27 heavy tanks and lose 45 of their own tanks. So Medium is better for flexibility but Heavy better vs other tanks.

But if the Medium tanks cost less then half of the Heavy tanks per unit (68 vs 138)... doesn't this mean that Medium vs Heavy tanks would actually be a win for the mediums in terms of enemy cost destroyed (3060 Medium tanks cost lost vs 3726 cost Heavy tank cost lost)?


Heavy tanks with superior armor & guns should probably be more cost efficient vs Medium armor as well if you want good balance.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 15, 2017, 03:05:31 PM
In cost, yes, but not in shipping.

Heavy tanks at size 23, with 27 losses come up to 621 in shipping capacity. Medium tanks at size 17 and with 45 losses come to a total of 765 in shipping capacity. Because of this, if your major constraint is shipping rather than costs Heavy Tanks are more efficient.

The real question for effectiveness comes at the end of the battle though; who have more combat capacity left.

The medium tanks, with 45 tanks lost out of 68, would have lost about 66% of their combat capacity. The heavy tanks with 27 out of 44 tanks have lost about 61%. This would then slightly favour the heavy tanks just as with shipping, while also costing more.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on October 15, 2017, 04:07:56 PM
In relation to all of this, I'd like if ground forces burned through some kind of supply material at a high rate.  That way ground wars are expensive to sustain.  I think that 'logistics units' that get consumed by friendly units are a really hamfisted way of achieving that personally, but if you could for instance drop huge stockpiles of 'munitions' by the ton from cargo ships, or even just MSP, and then the ground units gobble that up as they fight, I think that would be a really fun addition.  That way if you cut off ground forces from supply they will eventually starve (though I can understand this not applying to the AI since it would probably struggle to handle that intelligently) and also ground wars suddenly become very expensive as mentioned.  You have to come up with a crapload of supplies somehow, either continually or at least by having a large stockpile in your arsenals.  That way ground forces dont just sortof magically fight without any help once dropped.

e:  I have edited this several times now and it doesn't seem to be getting much better, sorry for its somewhat disorganized state.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 15, 2017, 04:36:23 PM
Look, if your gunship can eat more fire than your tanks the guys designing the armour for your tanks were a bunch of muppets and should be fired. Out of a cannon. Because the number of potential directions and angles for incoming fire are very different and limited for a tank compared to a gunship you can optimize much more aggressively against them, which means better armour in its role for the same weight and volume.
There are numerous reasons for this. Mainly; when they were designed and for what purpose they were designed for. The UNSC was in the middle of a insurgency during the time these were designed. Because of this conflict, the tank could be fired on from a similar number of, if not more, directions than the Gunship. The tank was intended for urban combat against soft targets (insurgents with rifles and very rarely some old rockets) and fire support across open fields. They were designed to be fast over all terrain, hence the 4 treads with independent suspension, to provide mobile fire against groups of enemies preferring to stay away from actual fortified locations. The Vulture on the other hand was designed to combat those said fortifications. They were designed to rapidly drop from orbit over the fortification and hang over the target while blasting apart structures and armored targets with missiles while tearing apart vehicles and people with its autocannon fire, all while being shot at by return rocket and cannon fire from the insurgents.

And you seem to be confused on some things. First off, I wasn't commenting on the weakness of the tanks, but the toughness of the Vulture. The Vulture is essentially a small warship with a crew of 6 that only really operates in an atmosphere (dropped from a larger, carrier like warship from low orbit, or operating from an airbase). As such, it has thick armor plating (even thicker than some actual warships). And arguing about "optimization for size/weight/volume" is just stupid in this context. The Scorpion is a MBT about 10m long by 8m wide with the hull going about 2m up (main cannon brings total height to 4m). The Vulture on the other hand is 35m long, 21m wide, and about 10m tall in the midsection. It is much more massive than the tanks. https://orig00.deviantart.net/71a5/f/2015/253/d/6/07_unsc_a_by_white0222-d993rvi.jpg (for side on comparisons).


As for the 30mm rotary cannon, you do realize that the A-10 was designed in the 1970s and even on the design table the GAU-8 was never meant as the primary anti tank weapon for the A-10? That's what the Maverick guided missiles were for. The GAU-8 was meant to chew up Soviet APCs and infantry in cover, and it's pretty good at that.
Yes, I do realize that. However, you also have to realize protection on tanks have taken quite a turn that made them more protected against those missiles and less protected against the 30mm shells. The armor protection on the back half of the sides of the tanks is actually quite anemic compared to tanks in the past, and it is generally quite flat. And you still missed my point of the AC-220s armament being derived from the Gau-8, not being equal to it. They use much more advanced and powerful propellants, more advanced shells, better parts, etc. The 30mm on the Vulture probably could tear up our modern day tanks from pretty much most angles of attack, that is if it doesn't just take it out with one of its air to surface missiles. Wait a second... isn't that just like your example of the A-10 using its Maverick missiles? *gasp* Also, you do realize that the Gau-8 was designed primarily as a weapon to fill the anti-tank role?


Now, the A-10 could kill a 1970s Soviet tank with the GAU-8, but that would mean engaging it from a constrained angle and the back of the tank. This would then imply 2 scenarios. 1) The tank crew frakked up massively to the point an A-10 can fly up its backside, or anyone else can hit their tank's back, or 2) the A-10 flew into the teeth of the Soviet air defenses, turned around (and made itself a nice target for all the AA in the process) and is now gunning for the tank. Doing the last without becoming a flaming wreck was expected to be impossible. Or meant that the enemy forgot their AA.
If, in your scenario, the A-10 could do a vertical dive onto the soviet tank (which it can't) it would tear apart those tanks anyways. This is more like what would happen when using the Vulture. It hangs above while dropping ordinance directly on top of the enemy, right into the engine decks of our soviet era tanks.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 15, 2017, 05:25:48 PM
In relation to all of this, I'd like if ground forces burned through some kind of supply material at a high rate.  That way ground wars are expensive to sustain.  I think that 'logistics units' that get consumed by friendly units are a really hamfisted way of achieving that personally, but if you could for instance drop huge stockpiles of 'munitions' by the ton from cargo ships, or even just MSP, and then the ground units gobble that up as they fight, I think that would be a really fun addition.  That way if you cut off ground forces from supply they will eventually starve (though I can understand this not applying to the AI since it would probably struggle to handle that intelligently) and also ground wars suddenly become very expensive as mentioned.  You have to come up with a crapload of supplies somehow, either continually or at least by having a large stockpile in your arsenals.  That way ground forces dont just sortof magically fight without any help once dropped.

e:  I have edited this several times now and it doesn't seem to be getting much better, sorry for its somewhat disorganized state.

It's alright. The logistics unit factor has been raised before, and the exact same supply mechanic change has been offered as a solution too. You aren't wrong about logistics units being a kind of poor mechanic on the face of it.

There are numerous reasons for this. Mainly; when they were designed and for what purpose they were designed for. The UNSC was in the middle of a insurgency during the time these were designed. Because of this conflict, the tank could be fired on from a similar number of, if not more, directions than the Gunship. The tank was intended for urban combat against soft targets (insurgents with rifles and very rarely some old rockets) and fire support across open fields. They were designed to be fast over all terrain, hence the 4 treads with independent suspension, to provide mobile fire against groups of enemies preferring to stay away from actual fortified locations. The Vulture on the other hand was designed to combat those said fortifications. They were designed to rapidly drop from orbit over the fortification and hang over the target while blasting apart structures and armored targets with missiles while tearing apart vehicles and people with its autocannon fire, all while being shot at by return rocket and cannon fire from the insurgents.

Look. It's impossible to get the same all around threat profile an aerial vehicle faces with a ground vehicle. And I mean literally impossible. Sure, mines and the like are a potential threat, but for a tank in the field most threats are going to be from the front, the sides, the top (air launched ATMs) and the back, with little comparative threat from the ground/below. Minefields are great, but once detected you can avoid or clear them, thereby cancelling their threat.

Because of this, you can stuff much of the armour weight that would otherwise be needed to protect the bottom right into the areas most under threat; the front and sides. And because a tank will be facing threats from those directions at roughly the same height from the ground as the armour you can angle the armour for even better armour protection.

Now, you say that these tanks are often brought into urban environments for a combat role. First, what moron would do that, the top is vulnerable. Second, if your choice is a tank, which can be knocked out from above while also not likely to be able to elevate its gun high enough to retaliate, or a gun ship that is apparently much more sturdy and likely to survive enemy fire in all directions and can answer with a rapid fire 30mm cannon straight to the face of the offender, why are you not using the gunship? It's the obviously superior choice due to ease of response, speed of response and likelihood of survival to make said response.

And you seem to be confused on some things. First off, I wasn't commenting on the weakness of the tanks, but the toughness of the Vulture. The Vulture is essentially a small warship with a crew of 6 that only really operates in an atmosphere (dropped from a larger, carrier like warship from low orbit, or operating from an airbase). As such, it has thick armor plating (even thicker than some actual warships). And arguing about "optimization for size/weight/volume" is just stupid in this context. The Scorpion is a MBT about 10m long by 8m wide with the hull going about 2m up (main cannon brings total height to 4m). The Vulture on the other hand is 35m long, 21m wide, and about 10m tall in the midsection. It is much more massive than the tanks. https://orig00.deviantart.net/71a5/f/2015/253/d/6/07_unsc_a_by_white0222-d993rvi.jpg (for side on comparisons).

Look, I'm confused because the way you talk about the Vulture it's the obviously superior option for all roles normally filled by tanks. It's faster, it's tougher and it throws more boom at the enemy. Sufficiently so in fact, that it's a wonder the UNSC still uses tanks instead of turning over all their tasks to Vulture gunships.

Yes, I do realize that. However, you also have to realize protection on tanks have taken quite a turn that made them more protected against those missiles and less protected against the 30mm shells. The armor protection on the back half of the sides of the tanks is actually quite anemic compared to tanks in the past, and it is generally quite flat. And you still missed my point of the AC-220s armament being derived from the Gau-8, not being equal to it. They use much more advanced and powerful propellants, more advanced shells, better parts, etc.

Everything that you can do to a 30mm rotary cannon weapon system with such advanced technology you can do with missiles. In fact, the only way a 30mm cannon can be a better option than the much beefier warhead offered by an ATM is if all tank armour is if reactive armour that is guaranteed to perfectly defend against the first impact but the underlying armour cannot defend against 30mm shells.

The 30mm on the Vulture probably could tear up our modern day tanks from pretty much most angles of attack, that is if it doesn't just take it out with one of its air to surface missiles. Wait a second... isn't that just like your example of the A-10 using its Maverick missiles? *gasp* Also, you do realize that the Gau-8 was designed primarily as a weapon to fill the anti-tank role?

Yes, that would be similar to how an A-10 would be using its Mavericks, which is also how it should be using its Mavericks.

And no, the GAU-8 was never meant as an anti tank weapon. It was meant as an anti armour weapon. There is a difference.

That difference being that while all tanks are Armoured Fighting Vehicles, not all Armoured Fighting Vehicles are tanks. Armoured Personnel Carriers are also AFVs, as are self propelled artillery guns, and self propelled AA guns, and practically every other vehicle on the battlefield because nearly all of them have some degree of armour meant to protect crew and passengers from incidental low caliber fire and shrapnel.

The difference is that tanks have relatively thick armour compared to all other AFVs, which have much thinner armour. And because they have thinner armour they are vulnerable to the GAU-8 (or rather, were, modern AFVs have improved to the point the GAU-8 is no longer (as) effective).

If, in your scenario, the A-10 could do a vertical dive onto the soviet tank (which it can't) it would tear apart those tanks anyways. This is more like what would happen when using the Vulture. It hangs above while dropping ordinance directly on top of the enemy, right into the engine decks of our soviet era tanks.

Doubtful actually. The turret armour was too thick to penetrate even at the best possible angle. The engine deck armour would indeed be more likely, but, well, there's a few very important constraints in that attack angle, most to do with not wanting to pancake the plane. That you have to fly up well above the battlefield to set up your attack run and basically dare every soviet AA gun to light you up from miles around instead of much more sensibly flying close to the surface and hiding among the terrain is also important.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel on October 15, 2017, 07:54:53 PM
This argument over Halo is completely pointless. It's basic physics that a ground vehicle will always be better armoured than a flying vehicle. And that a low-height tracked vehicle can be better armoured than a high-height walking vehicle. It's true that modern air vehicles are extremely squishy and the few examples - A-10, Mi-24 Hind - that aren't are both pretty "low tech" and still much more vulnerable than any tank.  Yes, a rifle round is not going to bring a C-5 Galaxy down but anything that can kill a M1 Abrams main battle tank will absolutely wreck anything that flies. And there is no logical reason that I can think of that would make TN tech turn that logic upside down, making fliers sturdier than tanks.

Steve, that comparison between Infantry, Medium & Heavy tanks seems spot on based on what I remember of the manufacturing costs and times of Pz IV vs Pz V Panther vs Pz VI Tiger in WW2. If I remember right, it went something like ~20 Tigers or ~40 Panthers or ~50 Pz IVs took the same amount of money and time to manufacture. So the basic logic and math behind the classes seems sound. I like the direction this is going.

While I will miss PDCs, I think the Static unit class will be a good replacement. Allowing them to only use Bombardment weapons while on "offensive" is a great idea too, Hazard.

As for the unarmoured blob with guns problem, I don't foresee it being a massive one. Military sci-fi trope above all others is the gigantic horde of enemies trying to overwhelm your position and they aren't always just throwing spears either, so them carrying advanced guns fits nicely in. Being able to reproduce some of those "Last Stand" situations will be awesome!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 15, 2017, 08:45:32 PM
While I will miss PDCs, I think the Static unit class will be a good replacement. Allowing them to only use Bombardment weapons while on "offensive" is a great idea too, Hazard.

Thank you, it seemed obvious. I mean, what else are they going to do, call the defenders cowards for not throwing themselves at the guns of the Static unit?

As for the unarmoured blob with guns problem, I don't foresee it being a massive one. Military sci-fi trope above all others is the gigantic horde of enemies trying to overwhelm your position and they aren't always just throwing spears either, so them carrying advanced guns fits nicely in. Being able to reproduce some of those "Last Stand" situations will be awesome!

Well, it depends. Let's run the numbers.

Size of a unit is equal to (base)+(Weapons) Infantry has a base size of 0, and Medium Anti Vehicle has a Weapon Size of 8. The combined size is thus 8. The size of units in a 1000 size formation is 125.
The size of a medium tank is 6(base)+8(Medium Anti Vehicle)+5(Heavy Machine Gun). Combined size is 19, 52 units in a size 1000 formation (52.6etc, actually, but we're using integer units for this)
Cost is size*armour, so for the medium tank it's 76, and for the unarmoured blob of medium AT toting infantry is 8*0, which is 0.

I think the system just broke.

Still, let us continue.

We will compare the ability to inflict casualties, presuming a 100% hit rate, for 1 round of combat measured in a 1000 size formation. Effectiveness of infantry AT (AP4) versus Armour rated 4 is (4/4)^2, so 1% pierces and does 6 damage, equal to vehicle HP. As a result, in 1 round the 125 AT guns large AT unit kills 1 medium tank and has a 25% chance of killing another.

In return 52 AT guns speak and wipe out 52 AT infantry units. Then the heavy machine guns start rattling, make 6 attacks each and mulch the remaining 73 infantry operated AT guns with 312 1 damage point attacks. End result is overwhelming victory for the tanks.


We will compare again the ability to inflict casualties, but this time based on a total cost of 1000.
The tanks cost 76 per unit so there's 13 per 1000 cost.
The infantry costs... literally nothing. Total amount per 1000 of cost is literally infinite.

The tanks go first and make 7 attacks between their two weapon systems that will always pierce enemy armour and kill them. 7 times 13 is 91, so 91 infantry AT guns die. When the infantry fires a literally infinite amount of AT fire hits the tanks. As such all tanks die.


The system mechanics Steve used are different (it implied that 0 armour infantry cost equal to their unit Size), but this is the rules as I currently understand them.

Also, infantry suck even more than I thought before. They desperately need those Fortification mechanics. And we need to know them so we can run the numbers.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 15, 2017, 09:58:45 PM
This argument over Halo is completely pointless. It's basic physics that a ground vehicle will always be better armoured than a flying vehicle. And that a low-height tracked vehicle can be better armoured than a high-height walking vehicle. It's true that modern air vehicles are extremely squishy and the few examples - A-10, Mi-24 Hind - that aren't are both pretty "low tech" and still much more vulnerable than any tank.  Yes, a rifle round is not going to bring a C-5 Galaxy down but anything that can kill a M1 Abrams main battle tank will absolutely wreck anything that flies. And there is no logical reason that I can think of that would make TN tech turn that logic upside down, making fliers sturdier than tanks.
And there is the key words. "Basic Physics". TN tech goes against the face of all things "basic physics". You used it a bit wrong here, but still I'll give it to you. Yes, for the same weight, the low height vehicle beats both the flying vehicle and the walker. However, operating on the concept of Trans-Newtonian we circumvent one of the driving forces of "basic physics", gravity. When you take gravity out of the equation, you can make "aircraft" sturdier than "tanks" because then the line blurs between what is an aircraft and what is a tank. Yes, when looking at examples of modern equipment and technology, there is absolutely no way a plane would be "more sturdy" than a tank. However, we can only theorize about the possible effects TN tech might have on warfare. This talking of Halo does have a point as it is giving examples of a possibility. And that possibility is that an aircraft with thicker armor than the M1 Abrams could survive a hit that would take out the M1. That is all that I've been saying. There is no rule of physics that state that "an object in the air always is less sturdy than a similar object on the ground" and continuing to argue that that is the case is absolute stupidity. Yes, for the same weight and size the tank can focus its protection because it knows where any possible damage will come from. Yet an "aircraft", especially one that is far heavier with far thicker armor facing all directions, isn't automatically squishy because it flies in the air.

Oh, and before I forget. IRL planes are able to take hits that would kill tanks. This is because of over penetration. Shoot a tank with a 100mm cannon, it hits and penetrates the armor that then causes spalling that kills any crew members in its path, destroys any components the shell hits, and could possibly knock that tank out in that single hit (not even counting the times the crew would bail from the tank even if only minor damage took place). The same shell hitting a plane on the other hand; It hits the relatively thin skin of the plane, creates only a tiny bit of spalling because there was hardly anything there to begin with, then exits out the other side rarely hitting anything to vital (fuel tanks are self sealing, control surfaces and control lines have backups, etc), the plane then flies off with the pilot compensating for a hole somewhere on his plane that largely is unaffected otherwise. And before the comeback of "but what about a shell with an HE component", that is the point. It takes different things to take out an aircraft IRL than a tank. The tank would barely even blink when hit with the HE yet it would tear the plane apart. And this is where I think our conversation is falling apart. Both you and Hazard seem to be still equating "aircraft" in sci-fi with an "aircraft" IRL and not the "warship" it realistically could be (and what I was giving an example of).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 15, 2017, 11:10:07 PM
Sure, your sci-fi magic plane could be better armored than an M1 Abrams.  But a tank made by the same culture as the magic plane could be even heavier armored.  You say anti-gravity will allow aircraft to be much more heavily armored.  Why can this not also be applied to tanks?  Maybe TN tanks hover several inches off the ground thanks to an anti-gravity generator?  Maybe they still use treads, but an anti-grav generator compensates for 90% of the weight, making it much more mobile than it's sheer size would suggest.  Maybe it uses shields instead of armor?

The over-penetration argument doesn't work.  If you have a 100mm dual-purpose AA/AT cannon, you don't fire your AT rounds at planes, nor your AA rounds at tanks.  You fire an HE round with a really sensitive fuse at aerial targets, and an AP round at armored ground targets.  This is not a TN-tech only problem either, dual-purpose field guns like the Flak 88 et al were very common in WW2 and did exactly what I describe above.  Yes, it takes a different ammo type but unless you want Aurora to track that as well, this is extraneous.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 16, 2017, 12:02:20 AM
Now, you say that these tanks are often brought into urban environments for a combat role. First, what moron would do that,
The same morons that gave an alien species that had advanced technology watermelons at first contact because that is what they thought an image of them taking away a planet from them meant (yes, this is canonical).

the top is vulnerable.
Assumption, not fact. The Top of Scorpion tanks are actually quite well protected because it was designed that way because adapting lore from FPS titles is tricky for people for some reason (it had equal protection all round except for one variant having a weak spot on its butt).

Second, if your choice is a tank, which can be knocked out from above while also not likely to be able to elevate its gun high enough to retaliate,
Again, assumptions. The tank in question has its turret quite elevated above its hull, about 2 meters high. It is a remote control turret and has quite a lot of elevation and depression available to it. IIRC I have seen it when the canon was almost vertical because the tank was targeting an airborne light target.


or a gun ship that is apparently much more sturdy and likely to survive enemy fire in all directions and can answer with a rapid fire 30mm cannon straight to the face of the offender, why are you not using the gunship? It's the obviously superior choice due to ease of response, speed of response and likelihood of survival to make said response.
For a few reasons; The Vultures are very expensive to build and maintain while the tanks are not. The Vulture is built at a dedicated facility while the tanks can be built from most automotive factories if given the right parts. Also, the Vulture can't fit into a city street. Again, it is 25m wide while the tank is only 8m wide. And cities in the UEG are very tall (a "small" tower would give the Burj Hhalifa an inferiority complex) The final reason is because the Vulture has a lot of bad press to it when fighting the insurgents as it is seen as extreme overkill (which then fuels reasons for more people to join the insurgents which then makes the cycle continue).


Look, I'm confused because the way you talk about the Vulture it's the obviously superior option for all roles normally filled by tanks. It's faster, it's tougher and it throws more boom at the enemy. Sufficiently so in fact, that it's a wonder the UNSC still uses tanks instead of turning over all their tasks to Vulture gunships.
Like warships, Vultures could only be built so quickly. Tanks on the other hand, the UNSC could roll dozens of them off the assembly lines a day. The reason they don't ramp up production of the Vultures is lot on me as well. Most of the books and sources besides the video games are all pretty much focused on the space battles, Spartans, and sometimes the Insurgents. Could very well be that they repurposed the majority of the Vulture production facilities int producing actual warships to stop the Covenant in space instead of waiting to fight them until they are on the ground. They are just like this. For another thing, they are trying to push an advanced fighter design with twin 30mm Gatling guns and a missile system to replace their current fighter design which has 2 110mm Gatling cannons (yes, you read that right) and a 120mm dorsal turret with a 360 degree rotation on top of the bomb/missile bay. Oh, and that older design also goes faster than the "advanced" design, and is a lot tougher. Yah, it sounds stupid doesn't it?

Everything that you can do to a 30mm rotary cannon weapon system with such advanced technology you can do with missiles. In fact, the only way a 30mm cannon can be a better option than the much beefier warhead offered by an ATM is if all tank armour is if reactive armour that is guaranteed to perfectly defend against the first impact but the underlying armour cannot defend against 30mm shells.
Question; would you rather build Anti-Tank missiles when your enemies tank is quite vulnerable to most things and usually lacks a large amount of AA cover, or Anti-Ship missiles to blow up that enemy in space before they reach the ground?

~snip~
Fine, I'll stop with my analogies as they seem to be getting taken out of context when I use them.

Sure, your sci-fi magic plane could be better armored than an M1 Abrams.  But a tank made by the same culture as the magic plane could be even heavier armored.  You say anti-gravity will allow aircraft to be much more heavily armored.  Why can this not also be applied to tanks?  Maybe TN tanks hover several inches off the ground thanks to an anti-gravity generator?  Maybe they still use treads, but an anti-grav generator compensates for 90% of the weight, making it much more mobile than it's sheer size would suggest.  Maybe it uses shields instead of armor?
As we have had this discussion I will cut it short. I agree. Its that simple. A "tank" would benefit from most technologies a "plane" would. Yes, I understand that. I was pointing out what "could" be, and I could be wrong myself. I was just using an example to act as an analogy for what I was trying to say.

The over-penetration argument doesn't work.  If you have a 100mm dual-purpose AA/AT cannon, you don't fire your AT rounds at planes, nor your AA rounds at tanks.  You fire an HE round with a really sensitive fuse at aerial targets, and an AP round at armored ground targets.  This is not a TN-tech only problem either, dual-purpose field guns like the Flak 88 et al were very common in WW2 and did exactly what I describe above.  Yes, it takes a different ammo type but unless you want Aurora to track that as well, this is extraneous.
Again, I agree. I was simply rage posting that his logic on the survivability of planes was flawed somewhat. I have 2 assignments and a test due tomorrow (technically later today as it just past 1:00 am), and another due the next day. I'm just very tired as I was balancing that with a busy weekend attending a wedding and doing other things. Off to bed.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Gyrfalcon on October 16, 2017, 02:06:30 AM
While an interesting discussion, maybe take the Halo argument into a seperate thread from the ground forces rework? Because it doesn't really seem to factor into what Steve is currently working on... at all.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 16, 2017, 08:11:27 AM
Blast it, Steve!  You did almost exactly what I wanted, which takes all the fun out of thinking about how I could have done it better!

Seriously, this looks really good.  I'm kicking myself for not thinking of the forward observer thing. 

And seriously, can we stop arguing about halo?  I'm definitely with Garfunkel on this.  I suspect that line-of-sight considerations will tend to work against really big aircraft, no matter how heavily armored, unless you're talking about using actual space warships.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 16, 2017, 08:52:22 AM
I suspect that line-of-sight considerations will tend to work against really big aircraft, no matter how heavily armored, unless you're talking about using actual space warships.
I was. They are essentially space warships that are not rated for a vacuum. They are like a Corvette/FAC but are tied to either a carrier in "low orbit" (ships there are capable of atmospheric flight) or an airbase/dockyard. I think the main problem was it getting equated it to a "plane".
(http://www.halowars.com/images/unsc_stuff/PORTFOLIO_VULTURE_LAYOUT_01.jpg)

But yah, I agree further discussion of this should be moved.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 16, 2017, 09:26:54 AM
I was. They are essentially space warships that are not rated for a vacuum. They are like a Corvette/FAC but are tied to either a carrier in "low orbit" (ships there are capable of atmospheric flight) or an airbase/dockyard. I think the main problem was it getting equated it to a "plane".

But yah, I agree further discussion of this should be moved.
Why wouldn't you space-rate it?  I'd think that would be the best way to implement them in Aurora.  At TN tech, getting into orbit isn't a huge deal, and we can leverage existing mechanics.  Fit it with small engines if you want to RP it as being mostly limited to atmospheric flight, and carry it between planets in hangars.
Edit:
How will spaceship integration work?  If we assume traditional TN engines don't work well in an atmosphere/planetary gravity well, then we need some form of planetary engines.  Unless you're wanting really high maneuverability, this is probably going to just be a fixed fraction of the ship's size, kind of like Jump Drives.  And I can see normal weapons not being optimized for planetary combat, so maybe we can have 'planetary' versions of those.  The big difference might be limited range (lasers above UV don't penetrate atmosphere well, and really high-velocity projectiles will just blow up/burn up).  This lets us build big support ships.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 16, 2017, 11:27:44 AM
If "Static" units are meant to represent towed AT or artillery, what will represent larger structures like missile silos, air bases, bunkers, pillboxes, and other fortified structures?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 16, 2017, 12:09:37 PM
If "Static" units are meant to represent towed AT or artillery, what will represent larger structures like missile silos, air bases, bunkers, pillboxes, and other fortified structures?
They are being removed. Hence why I was arguing for them to stay (long before the halo thing).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Spacemonkey969 on October 16, 2017, 05:44:26 PM
I have a couple ideas for this post I haven't seen mentioned yet.

Replace PDC's with an infrastructure type building that give me the ground forces a defense bonus.   It could be so that the each defense infrastructure building covers a set amount of force and the rest don't get a bonus, or do it so that all units get a small increase.    This could be RPed as bases and bunkers and so forth.

Also to add some flavor to ground combat instead of unit health break it up into number of personnel and equipment.  As a unit is engaged in combat taking losses it lowers those values and lowers combat effectiveness.   This could also be the numbers that troop transports can move since units are listed as battalions and we can build transports that move companies.   It would show the numbers of a battalion at each location.   Then when it comes time for a unit that's taking losses to replenish the need to be in a friendly area or have a slice in friendly area like a Rear Detachment that gets the fresh supplies and troops that either need transported to the combat planet or front lines.   Manpower can come from a pool much like ship crew and equipment can come from msp.   Equipment is to represent rifles, trucks, tanks, parts, radios, and so on.

This could also work for training new battalions you designate the type of unit you want and it starts pulling troops and resources until strength is at 100% for the unit type some needing more equipment then men and the like.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Marski on October 16, 2017, 06:56:55 PM
Invidual units, equipment and artillery are a rather bit too detailed for a 4x game like Aurora that already is micromanage-intensive.
Ground units summarized into Battalions, Regiments and HQ's are sufficient and conveniently leaves forementioned details for player's imagination.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Spacemonkey969 on October 16, 2017, 07:36:05 PM
I'm not the best with expressing my ideas in writing, I dont mean individual equipment but a number representing the the battalions equipment strength at a location.  We dobt have to name each soldier but if you say a Infantry battalion with 4 companies should have around 400 (not real number) and if you build a ship with a troop transport to move a company (which you can already do) it moves about 100 soldiers and 25% of the battalions equipment.

A battle report could look like 1st Light Inf lost 40 Soldiers and 10% Equipment.

The number of msp for equipment and soldiers required could be different for different battalion types.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 16, 2017, 07:53:40 PM
This could be like the current option in the ship design window to change sizes between "tons" and "Hull Sizes".  You could have a toggle on any screen that shows ground units to switch between percentages and absolute numbers.

So say a battalion could normally contain 1000 men, after some fighting the ground combat window could say 750 men fit for service or it could be toggled to 75% strength.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on October 16, 2017, 09:18:45 PM
I think that steves way of having a certain number of units in a formation is fairly reasonable.  That way you can fabricate armored vehicles somewhere, and then bring them elsewhere and train crews into them.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on October 16, 2017, 10:30:09 PM
There will be a lot more infantry units in a formation than an equivalent vehicle formation so total HP may be higher. Also, Infantry units can be fortified, which makes them harder to hit.

Static is a weapon that is not mounted on a vehicle. Towed anti-tank or towed artillery for example.

Will infantry fortification be automatic? Even in an invasion scenario where the overall force is in offensive posture, individual infantry units are going to hunker down when facing armor or air attack. It might be both easier (from a coding perspective) and maybe more accurate for them to be automatically harder to hit against vehicles.

Will range of different weapons/units be part of the mechanics? If so, infantry becomes very deadly to armor (and enemy close air support to a lesser extent) at close range, but completely ineffective at distance. This may, or may not, matter depending on what level of abstraction the combat is resolved, but I hope the results give the proper appearance.

Sure, your sci-fi magic plane could be better armored than an M1 Abrams.  But a tank made by the same culture as the magic plane could be even heavier armored.  You say anti-gravity will allow aircraft to be much more heavily armored.  Why can this not also be applied to tanks?  Maybe TN tanks hover several inches off the ground thanks to an anti-gravity generator?  Maybe they still use treads, but an anti-grav generator compensates for 90% of the weight, making it much more mobile than it's sheer size would suggest.  Maybe it uses shields instead of armor?

In my imagination, the battalions in my current game have already gone full Hammer's Slammers with the hover-tanks
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: MJOne on October 16, 2017, 11:54:33 PM
Just to remind everyone.  PDCs sole role is to defend a planet from enemy ships and their bombardment, not footsoldiers.  The logistical and maintenance overhead by removing them will make it obvious to all how important they are.  Do you want a fleet at every planet in every system???
PDCs gives the navy a chance to respond.  If the enemy has a couple of hours lead time on your navy heading for one of your planets.  GL!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 17, 2017, 12:10:57 AM
Fortification should be automatic for low levels.  All you need for even a fairly advanced trench network, complete with wooden bunkers, is an entrenching tool and time.  It should require no player-input, and slowly ramp up while units are "stationary".  I know there's no actual map that the units move on, but you can base it on some kind of "progress" abstraction.  Like, the fortification level decreases as the ratio of forces changes.  Both sides can only use their fortifications while they're fighting near where they were built.  If one side starts to lose, BOTH sides lose any fortifications they've made.  The defenders would sabotage their bunker complexes as they flee, the attackers would need to leave their fox holes and trenches to give chase.  So basically the only time fortifications should increase are when the war is stalemated.  Which can be approximated by tracking the rate of change of the ratio between the two forces, minus reinforcements.  What I would do is I would perform combat calculations, see who came out on top, and if it was fairly even, increase the fortification for both sides.  If it was uneven, both sides fortifications should decrease to simulate the fighting moving on.  Then I would add any reinforcements that had arrived, and then the cycle repeats.

It should NOT be automatic for high levels.  Building concrete or TN-level fortifications should require economic investment.  They didn't build the Atlantic Wall with just E-tools and elbow grease after all.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Iranon on October 17, 2017, 03:13:07 AM
One of Aurora's biggest strengths is open-ended gameplay with systems that give the player a lot of freedom. Heavy ground units practically scream to use the same components we could mount on ships (possibly with the option to scale things down a bit) rather than an entirely new and much more limited system, and PDCs could be expanded rather than eliminated for interesting interaction with those heavy ground units.

The proposed changes seem more like "tacking fiddly things on" when the better option would be to expand a very good system to apply where it formerly didn't.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 17, 2017, 03:41:10 AM
The proposed changes seem more like "tacking fiddly things on" when the better option would be to expand a very good system to apply where it formerly didn't.

Have to agree with this when it comes to logistics / supplies / fuel and weapons/deigns or hangars for ground combat.

It would make sense to use similar compatible supplies (MSP) and similar sources of energy (Sorium based fuel for vehicles).

It would make sense to use similar weapons and powerplants for large vehicles, airplanes or smaller space ships (fighters), maybe even sharing the same designer?

It would make sense to have shared hangars for space or ground based fighters that can be used by either of them ( Both space based and ground based ), and some shared capability and multirole where Space Carrier Fighters have an optional "atmospheric flight" component allowing them to take part in air combat or ground support on planets with an atmosphere.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 17, 2017, 07:35:37 AM
Have to agree with this when it comes to logistics / supplies / fuel and weapons/deigns or hangars for ground combat.

It would make sense to use similar compatible supplies (MSP) and similar sources of energy (Sorium based fuel for vehicles).

It would make sense to use similar weapons and powerplants for large vehicles, airplanes or smaller space ships (fighters), maybe even sharing the same designer?

It would make sense to have shared hangars for space or ground based fighters that can be used by either of them ( Both space based and ground based ), and some shared capability and multirole where Space Carrier Fighters have an optional "atmospheric flight" component allowing them to take part in air combat or ground support on planets with an atmosphere.

Agree that MSP (for all units) and Sorium (for vehicles/aircraft) make sense for ground units rather than a separate resource type . I'll probably have logistic units 'carry' supplies that can be used by ground units, or have some inherent capability. This would be at a low level normally but much higher during combat. Vehicles without fuel would act only on defence and without any mobility bonus.

The issue with having much smaller versions of ship components is that I would have to make those available for ships too. Having much smaller versions of weapons could lead to some balance issues, particularly around point defence and dealing with ultra-short ranges. Plus this isn't really very different than PDCs. I want ground combat to be more detailed than it is now, but not to the extent of creating space-based warfare on the ground.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 17, 2017, 07:46:30 AM
The 'fortification level' of a ground unit will act as a divisor on the chance to hit. So fortification level 3 will mean all to-hit chances against that unit are divisible by 3. This will also be true against ships attacking from orbit (more on that in a future post). Fortification level does not affect armour penetration or damage.

Any infantry or static unit will be able to fortify itself to level 3 over time without assistance. Vehicles will be able to fortify to level 2 (although this will negate their mobility bonus it would avoid any fuel use). Super-heavy Vehicles will be able to fortify to level 1.5. Aircraft will not be able to fortify.

Combat Engineers will be able to increase the fortification level of other units over time. Up to level 3 for vehicles and up to level 5 for infantry & static. (I may add some additional fortification bonuses for infantry/static depending on terrain). Combat Engineers will be also able to reduce hostile fortification levels over time.

If a unit chooses to attack, it will lose any fortification bonus. However, you will be able to attack with selected units and leave others in place.

More details later on how long it takes to fortify.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 17, 2017, 08:28:31 AM
Agree that MSP (for all units) and Sorium (for vehicles/aircraft) make sense for ground units rather than a separate resource type . I'll probably have logistic units 'carry' supplies that can be used by ground units, or have some inherent capability. This would be at a low level normally but much higher during combat. Vehicles without fuel would act only on defence and without any mobility bonus.

The issue with having much smaller versions of ship components is that I would have to make those available for ships too. Having much smaller versions of weapons could lead to some balance issues, particularly around point defence and dealing with ultra-short ranges.

Using Space weapons for all larger vehicles (tanks and upward) would make sense IMHO.

An AT-AT would be 600-3000 ton weight ( according to wiki sources I found )

Tanks would be around 50-100 ton weight? ( could be made a bit larger if needed for consistency maybe? )

This isn't far from Aurora Fighters ranging around 200-500 ton.



I totally agree that it makes little sense to have hand held rifles and manportable weapons or MGs shared with spaceships.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 17, 2017, 08:44:41 AM
Agree that MSP (for all units) and Sorium (for vehicles/aircraft) make sense for ground units rather than a separate resource type . I'll probably have logistic units 'carry' supplies that can be used by ground units, or have some inherent capability. This would be at a low level normally but much higher during combat. Vehicles without fuel would act only on defence and without any mobility bonus.

This offers the option for limited simulation of supply chains. Presume 4 'places' for supply, formation (Battalion), Brigade, Division, Stockpile. Logistics units can draw supplies from/send supplies to one level higher at a high degree of efficiency, but efficiency drops fast at 2 and 3 levels to keep Battalion supply units from easily avoiding the supply chain mechanic, and logistics units attached to Brigade and Division commands have larger or much larger supply storage capacity that lower level commands can draw supply from for their formations, but do not have greater transportation capacity. This means that part of army design will be determining how much supply transport and storage capacity you want.

Of course, if that is too much or not fun as a mechanic make it a 1 layer thing instead where the efficiency is static.

I know there are ordnance, fuel and general cargo specific rates for cargo transfers, but is there something similar for Maintenance Supply Points? It'd be kinda odd to have to deal with fuel transfer rates for ground forces, and sufficiently expansive armies are going to drain a lot of fuel, but be able to just drop 10 kilotons worth of MSP straight on planet in an instant.

I'd also encourage reconsidering not using a separate supply point mechanic for ground forces; life support/crew space kind of covers things like food supply for crew on board ships, even if you can cheese it at the cost of horrible morale. Ground forces though have no such system in place, but could be simulated through a ground supply point mechanic that's comparatively heavy in cash costs, unlike normal production which requires money equal to mineral costs ground supply point could cost some multiple of that.

Then again, while Aurora VB6 ground forces cost money to maintain, crew on board ships don't.

The 'fortification level' of a ground unit will act as a divisor on the chance to hit. So fortification level 3 will mean all to-hit chances against that unit are divisible by 3. This will also be true against ships attacking from orbit (more on that in a future post). Fortification level does not affect armour penetration or damage.

Any infantry or static unit will be able to fortify itself to level 3 over time without assistance. Vehicles will be able to fortify to level 2 (although this will negate their mobility bonus it would avoid any fuel use). Super-heavy Vehicles will be able to fortify to level 1.5. Aircraft will not be able to fortify.

Combat Engineers will be able to increase the fortification level of other units over time. Up to level 3 for vehicles and up to level 5 for infantry & static. (I may add some additional fortification bonuses for infantry/static depending on terrain). Combat Engineers will be also able to reduce hostile fortification levels over time.

If a unit chooses to attack, it will lose any fortification bonus. However, you will be able to attack with selected units and leave others in place.

More details later on how long it takes to fortify.

Are all units equally likely to be hit, or do certain sizes, size groups or base units have different odds of being hit?

Because that will influence whether or not a 20% chance of being hit when fortified is a good deal for infantry. Right now the odds are rather horrifyingly against anything with armour for unarmoured infantry, even with specialized weapons.

Then again, that could be a good argument not to ever bring your entirely unarmoured cheap as can be garrison infantry onto a battlefield. They will die, unlike even light infantry which sports an armour rating of 1.

Also, unless fortification level is an integer number Bombardment weapons should erode fortification, heavier weapons of course doing more damage. If fortification level is an integer number Bombardment weapons should have a (low) chance of lowering fortifaction levels. Either way, Combat Engineers should be a much more efficient way to lower enemy fortification levels.

Units that are fortifying should probably use slightly more supplies compared to units that are fortified. Construction Engineers, if they are still a thing, should probably have a similar ability to strengthen fortifications, possibly to a greater extent or faster than Combat Engineers.

EDIT: Note; Fortification level 1 does nothing. Not sure if that's intended.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Indefatigable on October 17, 2017, 10:48:13 AM
#PDCLivesMatter  >:(
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Gyrfalcon on October 17, 2017, 04:41:38 PM
I'm not sure what the current state of replacements for combat losses are, but I think a combination of replacement companies for personnel and higher draw on MSP to represent replacement equipment is preferable to the original idea of having to have replacement units of each type of equipment being fielded. I think that ends up being too much micromanagement for one part of the ground combat experience and could stand being abstracted a little.

edit: mobile spelling suffers badly with that tiny keyboard.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Marski on October 17, 2017, 11:10:17 PM
I'm a bit worried about Steve trying to tackle ground combat. It's a very difficult gameplay to design and balance. Something that rts and grand strategy games today still have difficulties to get right. For me the simple but straightforward ground combat aurora has is fine. I sincerely wish Steve delays this aspect of developement until everything else is ready
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Tree on October 18, 2017, 02:32:58 AM
I'm a bit worried about Steve trying to tackle ground combat. It's a very difficult gameplay to design and balance. Something that rts and grand strategy games today still have difficulties to get right. For me the simple but straightforward ground combat aurora has is fine. I sincerely wish Steve delays this aspect of developement until everything else is ready
It'd be nice to get the Aurora port to C# first and keep the reworked ground combat for Aurora C# 2.0.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Gyrfalcon on October 18, 2017, 05:32:44 AM
They're one and the same, Steve is busy with the rework right this minute, so while we can be impatient for a new version of Aurora, it'll come when he's ready to release it, ground combat rework included.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on October 18, 2017, 12:19:15 PM
I'd like to "+1" something that was mentioned four pages ago:

Please, please, PLEASE leave us some means of Orbit-to-Ground / Ground-to-Orbit weaponry for the "absolutely no missiles ever!" empires some of us like to play.

And for myself, contrary to what others are arguing, I want there to be some place for the "all basic infantry, all the time" ground forces that my games' Bugs equivalents are going to field.  I can accept 'Improved Personal Weapon' Infantry as representing bigger Bugs, but I'm not interested in having to pretend Super-Heavy Vehicles are giant plasma-throwing 'tanker' bugs just to prevent a few battalions of Medium Tanks wiping out 60 million Bug infantry as fast as the tanks can reload.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 18, 2017, 12:27:45 PM
And for myself, contrary to what others are arguing, I want there to be some place for the "all basic infantry, all the time" ground forces that my games' Bugs equivalents are going to field.  I can accept 'Improved Personal Weapon' Infantry as representing bigger Bugs, but I'm not interested in having to pretend Super-Heavy Vehicles are giant plasma-throwing 'tanker' bugs just to prevent a few battalions of Medium Tanks wiping out 60 million Bug infantry as fast as the tanks can reload.

Use Light Infantry. Exact same size as unarmoured infantry, but with an Armour rating of 1.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 18, 2017, 12:28:36 PM
I'd like to "+1" something that was mentioned four pages ago:

Please, please, PLEASE leave us some means of Orbit-to-Ground / Ground-to-Orbit weaponry for the "absolutely no missiles ever!" empires some of us like to play.

And for myself, contrary to what others are arguing, I want there to be some place for the "all basic infantry, all the time" ground forces that my games' Bugs equivalents are going to field.  I can accept 'Improved Personal Weapon' Infantry as representing bigger Bugs, but I'm not interested in having to pretend Super-Heavy Vehicles are giant plasma-throwing 'tanker' bugs just to prevent a few battalions of Medium Tanks wiping out 60 million Bug infantry as fast as the tanks can reload.

Ground to orbit will only be energy-based. I want to avoid any complexities around ground units with missiles. Orbit to ground energy combat will be possible using some form of 'forward air controller' against normal ground units, or normal 'naval' combat against ground units with surface-to orbit weapons that are firing at space-based targets (they are revealing their position).

Naval fire vs ground units with ground to orbit weapons will be at 100% to hit divided by fortification level (as they are firing at a specific target). Naval Fire vs 'normal' ground units will have some form of bombardment rating (the ship would act as an additional bombarding ground unit). Conversion of weapon strength to bombardment rating TBD but perhaps on a 3 damage = 1 bombardment strength, with option for much less effective fire (and potential friendly fire) if no FAC available. So 10cm laser would be equivalent to a light bombardment weapon, a 20cm laser would be slightly better than a medium bombardment weapon, 30cm would be better than heavy bombardment. Plasma Carronades would be very effective in this role. Not sure how I would handle naval ROF in this situation though. I could just ignore and have 1 naval fire support per weapon per ground combat round and assume faster firing weapons have their ROF built into the normal rating, or perhaps allow multiple shots and use the MSP option below. I just need to avoid a situation where a few energy-armed ships in orbit can wreak havoc enemy ground forces. Of course, this is only possible if the orbiting ships are not facing massed ground-based defences. Lots of balancing needed after playtest.

One other thing I am considering is to have a small breakdown chance for any ship-based weapon each time it fires (missile or energy) - maybe about 1%. This would be immediately repaired if MSP are available, but would prevent effectively endless orbital fire support.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 18, 2017, 12:59:07 PM
Naval fire vs ground units with ground to orbit weapons will be at 100% to hit divided by fortification level (as they are firing at a specific target). Naval Fire vs 'normal' ground units will have some form of bombardment rating (the ship would act as an additional bombarding ground unit). Conversion of weapon strength to bombardment rating TBD.

Given that we're talking naval equipment it should probably be pretty high. Naval guns at their smallest are so large they can't reasonably be lugged around by anything that has to operate in a ground combat context. I mean, the smallest laser without reduction technology is 150 tons or so. That should be super heavy unit range. A balancing factor could be that while high in Shots, making a 5 second recharge capable naval laser is relatively trivial, naval artillery has poor Damage and AP because those weapons are tuned for vacuum, not atmospheres.

They also waste a lot of power hitting everything else, so naval artillery bombardment should probably come with major risks of dust plumes.

One other thing I am considering is to have a small breakdown chance for any ship-based weapon each time it fires (missile or energy) - maybe about 1%. This would be immediately repaired if MSP are available, but would prevent effectively endless orbital fire support.

That's kind of high. Naval guns were generally expected to be able to empty the entire magazine in a single go before needing maintenance, and often even longer. It will also greatly increase logistical demand for MSP for point defense ships and other ships depending on lots of small rapid fire gun layouts. Maybe instead a chance for an 'out of order' event that takes a gun out of action for 2-10 times its firing cycle, with MSP needed for repairs for longer?

To be honest, very long shore bombardments, and I mean days long, were a definite thing during WW1 and WW2 military campaigns, especially against peer opponents that had dug in well and deep. And certainly, you can do that in Aurora too right now. It's just that if you do that you can basically write off the planet as a living space for the next few decades, and that sounds like a reasonable trade off already.

Do I want the planet intact along with its population and factories, or do I want to minimize ground combat commitments?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on October 18, 2017, 01:05:11 PM
I definitely support the idea of a small breakdown chance for energy weapons (exact chance TBD); it helps with the bombardment issue and also kiting in beam fights, which is one of my pet issues.

Maybe scale it by fire rate, since it makes sense that a rapid fire low power laser would probably suffer less stress per shot than a huge spinal laser that fires every two minutes.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 18, 2017, 01:29:44 PM
Given that we're talking naval equipment it should probably be pretty high. Naval guns at their smallest are so large they can't reasonably be lugged around by anything that has to operate in a ground combat context. I mean, the smallest laser without reduction technology is 150 tons or so. That should be super heavy unit range. A balancing factor could be that while high in Shots, making a 5 second recharge capable naval laser is relatively trivial, naval artillery has poor Damage and AP because those weapons are tuned for vacuum, not atmospheres.
I definitely think it's fair to assume that the typical naval weapon won't penetrate atmosphere well.  In some cases, not at all.  X-ray lasers will just be absorbed.

Quote
That's kind of high. Naval guns were generally expected to be able to empty the entire magazine in a single go before needing maintenance, and often even longer.
Two different levels of maintenance.  Failures of guns to fire were relatively common.  Off the top of my head, USS Iowa's first action (off Truk) saw 2/9 guns go out due to problems.  One gun had a lock problem, the other a burr on the breech plug that had to be ground off.  Prince of Wales and Nelson both had well-known failures in their actions with Bismarck.  That said, PoW was new, and the 16" Mk I turret on Nelson was a dog.  Experienced crews generally did better.
What you're thinking of is rebarreling.  This was done every time the remaining life dropped below the ship's ammo capacity.  Depending on how hard the designers pushed the gun, barrel life ran from 1.5x ammo capacity to 4-5x ammo capacity.  (All of this assumes WW2 and earlier tech.  Later developments increased this a lot, but the Iowas were the only ones to take advantage of it.)

Quote
To be honest, very long shore bombardments, and I mean days long, were a definite thing during WW1 and WW2 military campaigns, especially against peer opponents that had dug in well and deep.
Those were executed with HC shells, which were significantly less erosive than AP rounds.  Offhand, I think the Iowa's HC was something like .25x full-service AP equivalent.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Iranon on October 18, 2017, 02:53:44 PM
Some limit to energy weapons would be good. In naval scenarios, ships that enjoyed a gun range advantage and were fast enough to keep the range open still had to worry about expending ammunition for questionable effect at extreme range.

At present, "render missile attacks impractical, kite enemy beam ships" is too dominant against AI designs, and doing away with the planned limit on point blank missile interception removes a natural counter.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 18, 2017, 04:42:16 PM
One other thing I am considering is to have a small breakdown chance for any ship-based weapon each time it fires (missile or energy) - maybe about 1%. This would be immediately repaired if MSP are available, but would prevent effectively endless orbital fire support.

Sounds like a great Idea. Could even lead to new techs lines or interesting design trade-offs in weapon reliability in the long run.

It should probably be normalized a bit for reloading time though ( so a PD gun firing every 4 rounds every 5 seconds won't break down all the time compared to 50 second reload spinal weapon or a 5 minute reload missile launcher ).

Could also be a balance issue for fighters ( which often don't carry around MSP ).

That's kind of high. Naval guns were generally expected to be able to empty the entire magazine in a single go before needing maintenance, and often even longer. It will also greatly increase logistical demand for MSP for point defense ships and other ships depending on lots of small rapid fire gun layouts. Maybe instead a chance for an 'out of order' event that takes a gun out of action for 2-10 times its firing cycle, with MSP needed for repairs for longer?

I think 1% for something that can be fixed instantly and with a small MSP cost sounds pretty low compared to reality ( for large caliber guns at least ).

Real Battleships typically had a barrel life of ~200 effective full charges ( with some early WW1 models going as low as ~60 firing cycles ).

After this the entire Battleship had to go back to dry-dock and undergo maintenance to swap out the barrels.


With 1% chance to break you still have a over 60% chance to have paid not a single MSP for maintaining the gun after having fired 50 rounds.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: ardem on October 18, 2017, 07:18:55 PM
Loving everything I am seeing, however I can see how orbital bombardment could be overdone my recommendations how to help minimise this.

If you fighting to take a planet then it make sense to go down and take it with troops, however I believe with orbital bombardment even with super powerful lasers and especially plasma carrondares that each fire brings up a certain amount of dust. This
a) Reduces the effectiveness for future bombardments until the dust or smoke settles.
b) If continues can read a threshold like a nuclear winter that make the planet inhabitable for a certain amount of time.

This is definitely the case with nuclear missiles, railguns and gauss gun.

Also the chance to miss should be higher then it is for real space combat, things like terrain and orbiting a planet quite fast should make hitting ship and ships hitting ground a much tougher prospect and hard target aquition periods.

As long as we looking at keeping this open ended so you can play the game how you wish, for instance a contract with other player race that have a no missile bombardment agreement, or you can play a race that bombard everything cause they are after eradication. My recommendation is work on the physics not on policies in how to make this.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 18, 2017, 07:56:20 PM
How will ground units with ground-to-space weapons detect and target enemies in space?

How will the new rules affect boarding combat?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Marski on October 18, 2017, 11:58:51 PM
If there's something to be changed in ground combat, it is this: Make orbital units unable to target ground units that are below certain strength percentage

A military unit dispersed is impossible to take out with support elements alone. There are plenty of IRL examples of this, notably afghanistan.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on October 19, 2017, 12:45:52 AM
Given that we're talking naval equipment it should probably be pretty high. Naval guns at their smallest are so large they can't reasonably be lugged around by anything that has to operate in a ground combat context. I mean, the smallest laser without reduction technology is 150 tons or so.

Uh, no.  The smallest laser without reduction occupies a volume equal to that which displaces 150 tons of water.  It weighs whatever its cost in minerals is. . . about 6.3 tons or something?  I don't have Aurora running to check.  Light enough at least that having a Light Bombardment Weapon be equivalent to a 10cm laser makes sense.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Iranon on October 19, 2017, 01:44:09 AM
A more reasonable take would be that non-TN material costs are considered neglegible.
Keep in mind that cost (and therefore TN mineral expenditure) scales with tech: do you really believe a base-tech 10cm laser weighs in at a single ton, and that an ultraviolet 10cm/c3 laser would be 20 times as massive?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 19, 2017, 02:04:56 AM
If there's something to be changed in ground combat, it is this: Make orbital units unable to target ground units that are below certain strength percentage

A military unit dispersed is impossible to take out with support elements alone. There are plenty of IRL examples of this, notably afghanistan.

Yeah, an interesting suggestion which puts orbital laser bombardment firmly as a supporting weapon. If you want to wipe out defenders you still need to rely on nuking the planet ( and all the downsides ).

A more reasonable take would be that non-TN material costs are considered neglegible.
Keep in mind that cost (and therefore TN mineral expenditure) scales with tech: do you really believe a base-tech 10cm laser weighs in at a single ton, and that an ultraviolet 10cm/c3 laser would be 20 times as massive?

Indeed. The way I see it starting ( near conventional ) tech still utilize mostly non-TN materials similar to how modern composites & titanium often just replace key parts, while more high tech and advanced stuff increase the expensive materials use significantly.

If you look at most military vehicles their actual mass is not far from equivalent with water displaced Ships obviously being a bit lighter, while most tanks will sink to the bottom even when perfectly sealed.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on October 19, 2017, 03:36:20 AM
I like the idea of energy combatants not being able to fire indefinitely, and suffering a lot of wear and tear from sustianed firing.  I think that is a really good solution to a lot of the potential issues they currently have.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 19, 2017, 04:32:43 AM
Uh, no.  The smallest laser without reduction occupies a volume equal to that which displaces 150 tons of water.  It weighs whatever its cost in minerals is. . . about 6.3 tons or something?  I don't have Aurora running to check.  Light enough at least that having a Light Bombardment Weapon be equivalent to a 10cm laser makes sense.

Why would a space ship use a wet ship measurement?

I mean, it's very sensible for ships meant to float on water to weigh themselves equal to how much water they can safely displace without sinking, but in space?

In space it's far more important to weigh your actual mass, because that has far more influence on your ship's performance profile and structural stress than volume will. So yes, I presume that a laser requires a mass of about 150 tons in the ship dedicated to it between its mountings, radiators, capacitors and lenses. Bigger and more powerful lasers will require more mass dedicated to them for their performance.

Yeah, an interesting suggestion which puts orbital laser bombardment firmly as a supporting weapon. If you want to wipe out defenders you still need to rely on nuking the planet ( and all the downsides ).

Actually, if you are tossing around lasers with similar energy delivery profiles as a nukes you are basically nuking the planet anyway. You just don't use an actual nuclear warhead to make the kiloton and up explosions happen.

This means you can actually destroy a defending force to the last with orbital laser bombardment alone, just keep in mind the collateral. Because, you know, kiloton range explosions and up are pretty bad at only hitting targets smaller than a city. Usually everything around it also dies.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on October 19, 2017, 06:02:04 AM
A more reasonable take would be that non-TN material costs are considered neglegible.
Keep in mind that cost (and therefore TN mineral expenditure) scales with tech: do you really believe a base-tech 10cm laser weighs in at a single ton, and that an ultraviolet 10cm/c3 laser would be 20 times as massive?

What I believe is that it is perectly reasonable to have a 10cm laser equivalent on my Medium Vehicle (GtO Arty).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on October 19, 2017, 06:48:12 AM
Why would a space ship use a wet ship measurement?

I mean, it's very sensible for ships meant to float on water to weigh themselves equal to how much water they can safely displace without sinking, but in space?

In space it's far more important to weigh your actual mass, because that has far more influence on your ship's performance profile and structural stress than volume will.

Because we needed (well, wanted) a way to conceptualize the actual dimensions of our ships.  Originally, Aurora just did everything in Hull Spaces, and what that actually equated to was left entirely to the player to decide.  We agitated for a more defined number, and various volume-based suggestions were tossed about (for example, the idea that 1 Hull Space = 10m x 10m x 10m was popular) but for thematic equivalency to wet navies, displacement won out.  Then the argument was water displacement versus air displacement (since at the time Aurora ships were atmospheric-and-exoatmospheric) but we nigh-unanimously agreed air displacement gave silly-sounding numbers and water displacement kept the 'real navy' feel.  Steve spent an enjoyable afternoon researching all the ways real world displacements are measured and/or calculated, and the vocal majority of us (or, at least, the majority of the vocal us) agreed on 1 Hull Space = the (calculated) volume required to displace 50 tons of pure H2O at 20C & 1 Atm.

In Aurora, a ship's mass actually doesn't matter, as shown by the identical performance of an empty freighter and that same freighter hauling a entire Research Complex.  Or that of 57,000 ton supercarrier fully loaded, or empty of its 30,000 ton strike wing.  The technobabble explanation is that TN engines push the ship through the "Luminiferous AEther" - and it's the size of the 'bubble' that matters, not the mass inside it.

Sure, in the real world every kilogram is so critically important that some nations send their astronauts up on an empty stomach (or maybe that's just a vomit-related safety precaution) and the Space Shuttle had a not-quite 7% payload fraction to get to Low Earth Orbit.  In Aurora, TNE changes everything.

So, to summarize, I respectfully disagree with your contention that "Naval guns at their smallest are so large they can't reasonably be lugged around by anything that has to operate in a ground combat context. . .  The smallest laser without reduction technology is 150 tons or so. That should be super heavy unit range."
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 19, 2017, 07:16:42 AM
Why would a space ship use a wet ship measurement?

I mean, it's very sensible for ships meant to float on water to weigh themselves equal to how much water they can safely displace without sinking, but in space?
You are aware that the weight of water a ship displaces is in fact equal to its actual mass, right?  It pushes water out of the way, and is pushed back up.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 19, 2017, 07:41:40 AM
Actually, if you are tossing around lasers with similar energy delivery profiles as a nukes you are basically nuking the planet anyway. You just don't use an actual nuclear warhead to make the kiloton and up explosions happen.

This means you can actually destroy a defending force to the last with orbital laser bombardment alone, just keep in mind the collateral. Because, you know, kiloton range explosions and up are pretty bad at only hitting targets smaller than a city. Usually everything around it also dies.

This assumes that your nuke can deliver 100% of it's energy directly into the ship ( like a laser would ), and that your laser suffers zero energy reduction from a planets atmosphere on it's way down towards the target ( like a nuke would ).

If nukes in space deliver for example just 1% of their energy into the ship ( proximity hit around ~1 ship length away ) while a laser delivers 100%, and if the atmosphere reduce laser energy by say 90%, then what we are looking at is a laser impact with same damage vs space ships transferring 1000 times less energy delivered into a ground target then a nuke.

( At also assume that the energy from shockwave and heat in the nuke is as damaging as the energy from a beam weapon ).



Regardless of what values you use I think it's safe to say that beams deliver several times less total energy, especially when firing at a planetary surface target, then nukes even if they do the same damage against a spaceship.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 19, 2017, 08:55:56 AM
*snip*

That's nice. I think I'll keep it at actual mass of the vessel instead of the abstracted volume of the vessel, because that means I can do things like say that Commercial ships of the same weight are notably larger than Military ships due to armour being dense. The lack of difference in performance profiles loaded when fully or empty can be handled with 'because Trans-Newtonian weirdness.'

You are aware that the weight of water a ship displaces is in fact equal to its actual mass, right?  It pushes water out of the way, and is pushed back up.

Yes.

However, ships that carry a lot of cargo are weighed at their theoretical full load IIRC, which is not the same as a ship's empty weight. The difference can be quite large, and thus so is their displacement. However, the paperwork doesn't care if the ship's fully loaded or not, it's still a however many tons large vessel.

*snip*

There's a reason I said similar energy delivery profiles.

In the end, all that really matters is how much energy ends up delivered at the target.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 19, 2017, 10:57:24 AM
However, ships that carry a lot of cargo are weighed at their theoretical full load IIRC, which is not the same as a ship's empty weight. The difference can be quite large, and thus so is their displacement. However, the paperwork doesn't care if the ship's fully loaded or not, it's still a however many tons large vessel.
Unfortunately, you recall incorrectly.  Merchant ships usually have three different 'tonnages', none of which are whole-ship displacements.  Gross and Net tonnage are both volumetric measures which relate to things like safety regs and port duties.  They have very little to do with the absolute weight of the ship, because the density of a ship varies greatly with role.  Then you have deadweight tonnage, which is the cargo capacity in terms of actual tons.  Displacement tonnage generally isn't reported (if you doubt me, poke around wiki articles for merchant ships).  It's a warship measure, and usually you get light and full-load values.  Sometimes you get standard displacement, too, but that's a story for another day.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 19, 2017, 11:45:09 AM
In the end, all that really matters is how much energy ends up delivered at the target.
This is not necessarily true.  Dispersed forces will still be much harder to target.  Sure, a 10-kiloton blast will destroy an area the size of a small city, whether it was caused by a nuke or a laser.  But there's no reason to expect that, without ground-based fire control, that you can guarantee a hit even that close to dispersed ground troops.  So what if each blast wipes out an area the size of Buffalo, NY if the enemy could be anywhere in the state?  Unless you're OK with obliterating the whole region, you can't defeat them from orbit.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 19, 2017, 11:47:57 AM
There's a reason I said similar energy delivery profiles.

In the end, all that really matters is how much energy ends up delivered at the target.

It is not all that matter when it comes to collateral damage though, since the definition of collateral damage is energy NOT delivered at the target...
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 19, 2017, 12:54:05 PM
This is not necessarily true.  Dispersed forces will still be much harder to target.  Sure, a 10-kiloton blast will destroy an area the size of a small city, whether it was caused by a nuke or a laser.  But there's no reason to expect that, without ground-based fire control, that you can guarantee a hit even that close to dispersed ground troops.  So what if each blast wipes out an area the size of Buffalo, NY if the enemy could be anywhere in the state?  Unless you're OK with obliterating the whole region, you can't defeat them from orbit.

Well, obviously. Given that I was talking about nuking the place from orbit just to make sure you get all the defenders that was rather implied.

It is not all that matter when it comes to collateral damage though, since the definition of collateral damage is energy NOT delivered at the target...

Yes? Your point?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 19, 2017, 04:50:32 PM
Yes? Your point?

What is your point? Your original point was built on lasers doing the same collateral damage that nukes and we now seem to agree that's not the case at all so...

Actually, if you are tossing around lasers with similar energy delivery profiles as a nukes you are basically nuking the planet anyway. You just don't use an actual nuclear warhead to make the kiloton and up explosions happen.

This means you can actually destroy a defending force to the last with orbital laser bombardment alone, just keep in mind the collateral. Because, you know, kiloton range explosions and up are pretty bad at only hitting targets smaller than a city. Usually everything around it also dies.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 19, 2017, 05:12:21 PM
What is your point? Your original point was built on lasers doing the same collateral damage that nukes and we now seem to agree that's not the case at all so...

Ah, you misread my original argument.

I'm saying that if your laser is delivering about equal energy to a kiloton of TNT in a very short timespan, say a laser pulse, at a specific point of a planetary surface, or even a specific point in a planetary atmosphere, there is for blast wave calculation purposes not much of a functional difference between a nuclear bomb of that yield detonated at that place and a laser.

Which means that effectively speaking every time the laser fires it's doing the exact same thing a nuke is doing with a few differences in things like fallout.

Collateral damage, therefore, will be similar.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on October 19, 2017, 09:13:59 PM
How will ground units with ground-to-space weapons detect and target enemies in space?

One possibility might be to just have them automatically fire on any units attempting bombardment or troop landing against the planet (with the flavor reason being that those units are moving into low orbit to do so).

That's how it worked in Emperor of the Fading Suns; you had Planet to Space units on the ground, and if any enemy spacecraft tried to bombard or land within a certain range of them (including bombarding the PtS units themselves) they'd get a free attack against them. I was always pretty fond of that mechanic.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Marski on October 20, 2017, 12:00:40 AM
Yeah, an interesting suggestion which puts orbital laser bombardment firmly as a supporting weapon. If you want to wipe out defenders you still need to rely on nuking the planet ( and all the downsides ).

Actually, if you are tossing around lasers with similar energy delivery profiles as a nukes you are basically nuking the planet anyway. You just don't use an actual nuclear warhead to make the kiloton and up explosions happen.

This means you can actually destroy a defending force to the last with orbital laser bombardment alone, just keep in mind the collateral. Because, you know, kiloton range explosions and up are pretty bad at only hitting targets smaller than a city. Usually everything around it also dies.

This is not necessarily true.  Dispersed forces will still be much harder to target.  Sure, a 10-kiloton blast will destroy an area the size of a small city, whether it was caused by a nuke or a laser.  But there's no reason to expect that, without ground-based fire control, that you can guarantee a hit even that close to dispersed ground troops.  So what if each blast wipes out an area the size of Buffalo, NY if the enemy could be anywhere in the state?  Unless you're OK with obliterating the whole region, you can't defeat them from orbit.

Alright, since it seems I'm possibly the only one here who's actually gone through military service and is in reserve, I should explain couple of things for you folks.

Nuclear weapons aren't magical. They operate on laws of physics like everything else. You don't drop them somewhere and have everything go dead with 100% certainty. Outside the imminent blastzone and lethal air pressure area, you can survive by simply hiding in a foxhole. This means vehicles too; dig in, wait for the blastwave to pass, get out, prepare for fallout unless your mission requires you to keep moving.

Modern militaries across the globe have plans and doctrines on how to operate in a nuclear war. They differ and vary from country to country but they all have one thing in common; spread out. Companies have minimum distance of atleast ten kilometers from each other to reduce potential losses from TNW (Tactical Nuclear Weapon) being dropped. Motorized, Mechanized and Armored military formations are the most vulnerable and easiest to find and are on top of the priority list just below HQ's for TNW strike.

Infantry on the other hand are the least vulnerable (yeah, surprising), they can spread out as much as needed thus making it impossible to take out an entire battalion of infantry with just TNW's, infantry can take cover in absolutely anything or create some very fast. They aren't restricted by infrastructure and therefore can move anywhere and are difficult to detect from air or space.


These strategies can also be applied for how to operate in a envirovement where enemy has space superiority. Any formation that are too close together are target for strike. Even then, there's bound to be something left to fight. Hunting down platoons and other small-scale units will be rather difficult because at that level it's very hard to determine where's the "center" for the formation and where to deliver a orbital strike. That's what I mean by "ground units that are below certain strength percentage"

I can't post any of the videos we were shown during training so I have to do with what youtube has to offer, even if they're a bit outdated they still hold up alright.


Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 20, 2017, 04:11:45 AM
*snip*

On the other hand Marski, if you are tossing ground detonation nukes around in such numbers that the fireballs overlap you can be fairly confident that whatever formation existed there does so no longer.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 20, 2017, 05:46:16 AM
On the other hand Marski, if you are tossing ground detonation nukes around in such numbers that the fireballs overlap you can be fairly confident that whatever formation existed there does so no longer.

It quickly becomes a problem of math and economics...

Earth has a total surface land area of ~150 million km^2.

Submarine launched nukes are often considered the upper border of what would be a "tactical" nuke, so let's take one of the most common (W-76) in the US/UK arsenal. It has a fireball radius of 500 meters when detonating on the ground meaning the fireball covers an area of 0.79 km^2.
( Source: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ )

You would need to drop around 200 million such nukes to cover the entire land surface of the Earth and ensure you wipe out all hiding & dug in spread out infantry.

Even if you use an airburst and the larger air blast radius ( resulting in universal injuries and widespread fatalities for exposed & unprotected, but most dug in infantry probably survives ) we get 33.5km^2 area covered and around 5 million warheads needed to cover the surface of the earth.


See the problem?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: chrislocke2000 on October 20, 2017, 06:13:50 AM
I'm really looking forwards to the changes in ground combat but think the issues of interaction of ground forces with ships and the differing mechanics is an area that needs some thought. I'd still be keen to see ships having to move to a low orbit for them to be considered involved in ground combat in same phasing as that and for ground to space anti ship weapons that are used by ground forces to be limited to engaging ships that are in such low orbit.

Having ships in such a position being a force multiplier rather than something that is shooting every five seconds v the longer term ground turns feels like a better way of doing it.

I'd also like to see the effects of nuclear strikes being more damaging in terms of impact on economy, reaction of the population etc such that whilst they can of course be used as an effective way to damage ground forces there is more of a decision to be made by the player or NPC on such use.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: sloanjh on October 20, 2017, 07:13:27 AM
(or, at least, the majority of the vocal us)

Sweet!

John
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 20, 2017, 07:22:15 AM
Submarine launched nukes are often considered the upper border of what would be a "tactical" nuke, so let's take one of the most common (W-76) in the US/UK arsenal. It has a fireball radius of 500 meters when detonating on the ground meaning the fireball covers an area of 0.79 km^2.
( Source: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ )
No, they aren't.  There isn't a precise boundary for "tactical" nuclear weapons (which have gone out of favor recently), but a W76 definitely isn't one.  Try something more like 10-20 kt.  SLBMs are strategic weapons, plain and simple.  And you're not just going to use fireballs to kill things, as that's inefficient. 

On the other hand Marski, if you are tossing ground detonation nukes around in such numbers that the fireballs overlap you can be fairly confident that whatever formation existed there does so no longer.
Is this a planet you want to keep?  Because if so, I'd recommend strongly against that.  Groundbursts are very dirty. 

Alright, since it seems I'm possibly the only one here who's actually gone through military service and is in reserve, I should explain couple of things for you folks.
I'm not military, but I've spent quite a bit of time studying nuclear weapons.  Also, please stop being condescending.

Quote
Nuclear weapons aren't magical. They operate on laws of physics like everything else. You don't drop them somewhere and have everything go dead with 100% certainty. Outside the imminent blastzone and lethal air pressure area, you can survive by simply hiding in a foxhole. This means vehicles too; dig in, wait for the blastwave to pass, get out, prepare for fallout unless your mission requires you to keep moving.
This, at least, is true.  Although it's not always the blast that kills you. 

Quote
Modern militaries across the globe have plans and doctrines on how to operate in a nuclear war. They differ and vary from country to country but they all have one thing in common; spread out. Companies have minimum distance of atleast ten kilometers from each other to reduce potential losses from TNW (Tactical Nuclear Weapon) being dropped. Motorized, Mechanized and Armored military formations are the most vulnerable and easiest to find and are on top of the priority list just below HQ's for TNW strike.
No.  10 km between companies is way too much.  Spreading out is good, but you can't fight like that, and most tactical weapons aren't that lethal.  Seriously, show me one tactical weapon with any kind of lethal radius of even 5 km.
And armored/mechanized formations are the most survivable on a nuclear battlefield, not the least.  AFVs are remarkably blast-resistant (hence enhanced-radiation weapons) and can carry NBC protection systems with them.

Quote
Infantry on the other hand are the least vulnerable (yeah, surprising), they can spread out as much as needed thus making it impossible to take out an entire battalion of infantry with just TNW's, infantry can take cover in absolutely anything or create some very fast. They aren't restricted by infrastructure and therefore can move anywhere and are difficult to detect from air or space.
And then are incapable of moving or, you know, actually doing anything useful.  Leg infantry has its uses, but when it has no supporting infrastructure, it's not going to stand up to someone who does.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 20, 2017, 08:02:35 AM
No, they aren't.  There isn't a precise boundary for "tactical" nuclear weapons (which have gone out of favor recently), but a W76 definitely isn't one.  Try something more like 10-20 kt.  SLBMs are strategic weapons, plain and simple.  And you're not just going to use fireballs to kill things, as that's inefficient. 

Yes I know, but since there isn't a well defined boundary I used the good old tried "better prove a solid point picking examples favoring the opposing side rather then your own".

Using fireballs to kill things being extremly inefficient is exactly the point I was trying to prove  ;D
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on October 20, 2017, 12:17:22 PM
Maybe the discussion about nukes should also go elsewhere? It's not really pertinent to the ground forces revamp.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: swarm_sadist on October 21, 2017, 08:44:31 PM
It quickly becomes a problem of math and economics...

Earth has a total surface land area of ~150 million km^2.

Submarine launched nukes are often considered the upper border of what would be a "tactical" nuke, so let's take one of the most common (W-76) in the US/UK arsenal. It has a fireball radius of 500 meters when detonating on the ground meaning the fireball covers an area of 0.79 km^2.
( Source: https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ )

You would need to drop around 200 million such nukes to cover the entire land surface of the Earth and ensure you wipe out all hiding & dug in spread out infantry.

Even if you use an airburst and the larger air blast radius ( resulting in universal injuries and widespread fatalities for exposed & unprotected, but most dug in infantry probably survives ) we get 33.5km^2 area covered and around 5 million warheads needed to cover the surface of the earth.


See the problem?

Just because the explosion doesn't kill or destroy the physical unit, it can still disrupt the unit to the point that it can no longer fight or move effectively.

Nukes are very good at suppressing battalions of infantry at a time.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 22, 2017, 04:37:25 AM
Just because the explosion doesn't kill or destroy the physical unit, it can still disrupt the unit to the point that it can no longer fight or move effectively.

Nukes are very good at suppressing battalions of infantry at a time.

Sure, but that's not what was claimed or being discussed though. The post I was replying to was if nukes could easily annihilate ground forces ( and the feasibility of doing so ):

"... whatever formation existed there does so no longer."


I also think the main role of orbital weapons or nukes should be in support of ground offensives, not as weapons that can effortlessly annihilate all ground forces.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: chrislocke2000 on October 22, 2017, 04:49:01 AM
Maybe the mechanics of orbital bombardment v ground support should just be split with orbital bombardment targeting infrastructure and population whilst troop support is done through non wmd options. After all the real benefit of orbital based weapons on mass distraction is that you can ignore ground forces and just force a government to surrender and in turn stand down their armies without even firing a shot of the diplomacy mechanics allow for it.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on October 22, 2017, 07:37:56 PM
Maybe the discussion about nukes should also go elsewhere? It's not really pertinent to the ground forces revamp.
On the contrary. The effectiveness of ground forces would actually have a great deal of connections to how good space-borne 'nuclear' weaponry can deal with them.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: snapto on October 25, 2017, 10:33:20 AM
Apologies if this has already been covered.   I usually build PDC's at new colonies as a quick and easy way to keep unrest under control.   If I remember correctly, ground troops do  not have a Population Protection Value so they can only reduce, not prevent unrest.  If PDC's go away, will ground forces get some sort of PPV?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 25, 2017, 10:39:22 AM
Apologies if this has already been covered.   I usually build PDC's at new colonies as a quick and easy way to keep unrest under control.   If I remember correctly, ground troops do  not have a Population Protection Value so they can only reduce, not prevent unrest.  If PDC's go away, will ground forces get some sort of PPV?

Since PPV seems to represent the ability to defend against enemy spaceships it would make sense to give ground forces that can fire at orbiting spaceships the same PPV that identical firepower from other sources ( like PDC or a space station ) would have.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on October 25, 2017, 01:34:35 PM
Ground forces also suppress unrest, so even if they don't provide PPV they'd still keep the colony morale from going down. But in the interest of fewer messages in the log it would probably make sense if they also provided PPV, yeah.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on October 25, 2017, 06:17:29 PM
Gound forces are better at maintaining morale than PDCs, so I wouldn't want to see them get PPV as well.  And I don't get message spam while they do it, either.  I'm not sure if that's because I somehow turned those messages off, or if those messages are not generated when unrest ends up at zero after reduction by ground forces effects.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 25, 2017, 07:04:03 PM
We are scrapping PDCs and units with GtO capability are the only option for ground side, non-naval PPV. They are also terrible for garrison duties, because they're either Static units or Super Heavies. Static units will make pretty terrible unrest suppression units because, well, they're basically static in a military base, and Super Heavy Vehicles will have entirely too few units per unit to be cost effective.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 26, 2017, 07:08:48 AM
Finally started to code this up after a week or two without being able to spend time on Aurora.

For C# Aurora, a ground 'unit' will be an individual soldier or vehicle, while a group of units will be a 'formation', although you will be able to name formations as companies, battalions, etc..

There will be no restrictions on formation sizes, so you can create anything you want, but there will limitations on the command ability of headquarters based on total formation size.

In terms of 'replacements', I will allow units to move between formations, so you could combine two formations with casualties or use one formation as a source of replacement units for other formations.

While you will build formations according to a template, once they are built each one will be treated as unique formation. So you could have two 'infantry battalions' with different TOE as a result of casualties, replacements or reinforcements.

There are no restriction on units within a formation so you could have a template for an 'Combined battalion' that includes some infantry units, several mortars, a couple of machine gun units, several anti-air units and a few light tanks. Once built, you could add a couple of heavy tanks from a a different formation.

Each individual unit within a formation will fortify separately, so there is no problem fortifying a formation that includes infantry, static and vehicles.

In terms of combat mechanics, units will fire at units, using the chance to hit, armour penetration and damage mechanics previously described. The combat round will run once per hour if no one is attacking, once every ten minutes if one side is attacking and every five minutes if both sides are attacking. I haven't decided yet how to handle aircraft, but I will probably have them attack less frequently but with higher impact.

To simplify things, I will use a low level wealth charge to maintain units outside of combat. Supply Points (same as used by ships) will be used up during combat rounds, so the more intense the combat (as per previous paragraph), the faster the rate that supplies will be consumed. This means you do have to consider the logistics when launching and maintaining an assault, but there is no overhead in micromanagement terms when units are idle.

I haven't decided yet how to handle the actual consumption of supplies but it will likely be either direct from a planetary stockpile, or by using up units with a 'logistics' component.

Supplies will be used during an occupation where the planet is not yet pacified and I could also add some form of training where supplies are used.

In terms of occupation strength / garrison, I will probably base it on the number of individual units in a formation, rather than their capability. So a pure light infantry formation will be much more effective as a garrison force than a considerably more expensive formation of heavy tanks.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 26, 2017, 08:35:25 AM
For C# Aurora, a ground 'unit' will be an individual soldier or vehicle, while a group of units will be a 'formation', although you will be able to name formations as companies, battalions, etc..

...

Each individual unit within a formation will fortify separately, so there is no problem fortifying a formation that includes infantry, static and vehicles.

In terms of combat mechanics, units will fire at units, using the chance to hit...

Is it really wise to use individual soldiers from a performance & database size perspective?

If numbers are similar to current we could be looking at upwards to 50000 soldiers if not more per side that all need to have individual fortification, individual hit chance / fire rolls / targeting and so on.

I don't think you would lose out much by reducing the scale to squads of 10 soldiers or companies of 100 soldiers which are modeled as the smallest infantry "unit", at least for purposes of calculation ( even if you can track individual casualties in more detail if you want ).


Something else which isn't totally clear is how vehicle crew will be handled ( if at all ).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 26, 2017, 09:31:19 AM
Finally started to code this up after a week or two without being able to spend time on Aurora.

For C# Aurora, a ground 'unit' will be an individual soldier or vehicle, while a group of units will be a 'formation', although you will be able to name formations as companies, battalions, etc..

I'll echo alex_brunius in my concerns on performance.

There will be no restrictions on formation sizes, so you can create anything you want, but there will limitations on the command ability of headquarters based on total formation size.

Limited on number of units or total Size of the units in the formation? I'm deliberately capitalizing Size there for the system specific meaning of a unit having a Size related to its unit type and weapons load out.

In terms of 'replacements', I will allow units to move between formations, so you could combine two formations with casualties or use one formation as a source of replacement units for other formations.

Please consider letting GFTFs provide replacements as well through training, not unlike repairs for ships. Also, how specific is the replacement requirement? Same unit, same unit type, or an abstract 'replacement' statistic?

There are no restriction on units within a formation so you could have a template for an 'Combined battalion' that includes some infantry units, several mortars, a couple of machine gun units, several anti-air units and a few light tanks. Once built, you could add a couple of heavy tanks from a a different formation.

This level of flexibility... Please give us the ability to force formations on a planet into specific templates in the midst of play, much like with missile loadouts.

Each individual unit within a formation will fortify separately, so there is no problem fortifying a formation that includes infantry, static and vehicles.

Not that you'd want to put static units with any others except as guards, in which case infantry will do fine, generally speaking. I'll repeat my worries about performance issues though.

In terms of combat mechanics, units will fire at units, using the chance to hit, armour penetration and damage mechanics previously described. The combat round will run once per hour if no one is attacking, once every ten minutes if one side is attacking and every five minutes if both sides are attacking. I haven't decided yet how to handle aircraft, but I will probably have them attack less frequently but with higher impact.

You could put them permanently on the once per hour combat pace, but with lower supply consumption, chance to hit and chance of being hit when not attacking.

To simplify things, I will use a low level wealth charge to maintain units outside of combat. Supply Points (same as used by ships) will be used up during combat rounds, so the more intense the combat (as per previous paragraph), the faster the rate that supplies will be consumed. This means you do have to consider the logistics when launching and maintaining an assault, but there is no overhead in micromanagement terms when units are idle.

I haven't decided yet how to handle the actual consumption of supplies but it will likely be either direct from a planetary stockpile, or by using up units with a 'logistics' component.

If you use units with a logistics component, let them reclaim readiness/strength by consuming supplies from a planetary stockpile. Likewise consider readiness as a potential combat modifier, exemplifying the general supply level of a formation, and that different unit types might have different thresholds when it comes to low readiness tolerance.

Supplies will be used during an occupation where the planet is not yet pacified and I could also add some form of training where supplies are used.

Oh please yes, this allows an experience mechanic for ground forces.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 26, 2017, 09:46:10 AM
Is it really wise to use individual soldiers from a performance & database size perspective?

If numbers are similar to current we could be looking at upwards to 50000 soldiers if not more per side that all need to have individual fortification, individual hit chance / fire rolls / targeting and so on.

I don't think you would lose out much by reducing the scale to squads of 10 soldiers or companies of 100 soldiers which are modeled as the smallest infantry "unit", at least for purposes of calculation ( even if you can track individual casualties in more detail if you want ).


Something else which isn't totally clear is how vehicle crew will be handled ( if at all ).

In terms of records, 1000 soldiers of the same type (unit class) will be handled as a single record for storage, but will fire 1000x. I probably should have been clearer that fortifying will be same for all units of the same unit class in the same formation. Firing 1000 shots should be a tiny fraction of a second but I will soon know when I check performance. If it turns out to be a problem, I will adjust.

There will be no vehicle 'crew'. A vehicle will be a single integrated unit (as will any static weapons)..
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Havear on October 26, 2017, 10:15:06 AM
I hate to say it, but in general this sounds like a poor change. Other than the option of adding an MSP cost during active combat, and smaller combat rounds (since wealth is already needed for upkeep), the rest seems like it's adding a *lot* of extra work for the player and back-end for little gain at best.
Off the top of my head, how about instead a template system similar to missiles: You get a dialog where you can put points into infantry weapons, heavy weapons, artillery, air power, etc. Total points determine the size and cost of the unit, just like a missile. It's familiar, allows a straight conversion of existing ground units, gives more customization, and should be far easier on the backend.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 26, 2017, 11:02:08 AM
Not that you'd want to put static units with any others except as guards, in which case infantry will do fine, generally speaking. I'll repeat my worries about performance issues though.
Static isn't bunkers.  It's towed artillery and anti-tank guns and heavy SAM batteries and HQs which set up tents.  Basically anything which has to stop and deploy before going into action. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 26, 2017, 12:01:56 PM
I think static weapons need to be defined more thoroughly.  As it stands now, unless I'm misunderstanding something, the smallest towed AT gun would be treated the same as gigantic coastal artillery.

The Pak36, Nazi Germany's 37mm AT field gun, was crewed by only two people and could be moved easily.  Why is this treated the same as a 380mm coastal artillery piece that's so big it has to be disassembled to be moved?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 26, 2017, 12:46:56 PM
Static isn't bunkers.  It's towed artillery and anti-tank guns and heavy SAM batteries and HQs which set up tents.  Basically anything which has to stop and deploy before going into action. 

Yes. And shoving anything mobile other than infantry into that formation is kind of a waste of resources. The Static unit type would be kind of limiting.

I think static weapons need to be defined more thoroughly.  As it stands now, unless I'm misunderstanding something, the smallest towed AT gun would be treated the same as gigantic coastal artillery.

The Pak36, Nazi Germany's 37mm AT field gun, was crewed by only two people and could be moved easily.  Why is this treated the same as a 380mm coastal artillery piece that's so big it has to be disassembled to be moved?

I disagree with these assertions. You can get a Panzerabwehrkanonne-36 AT gun equivalent by accepting that an infantry operated light Anti Vehicle weapon's 'size' is its crew and inherent logistical trail cost, including a tow vehicle.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Arwyn on October 26, 2017, 04:20:48 PM
I'm going to have to agree with the concerns around the static unit type.

From a pure military sense, a static unit is a non-mobile military asset. Static, by regular definition, also means something that doesnt move.

Static weapon positions are defensive military assets. They are used to defend high value positions, or interdict enemy forces moving through or into an area.

The towed anti-tank guns are a good example of mobile/static differences. In WW2, the anti-tank guns of all belligerents were used as defense assets by infantry formations to secure an area. They were towed into position, and early examples were light enough to have limited mobility to be move short distances by their integral crew. Later examples were much heavier (2 to 3 tons) and generally were field emplaced.

So, anti-tank guns were NOT mobile weapons in any strategic sense, and had little to no tactical mobility.

So, what does that mean in game? They dont move. They dont get used on the offense.

This can be anything from an infantry bunker to a naval gun emplacement.

The big difference would be on the level of fortification as Steve has already laid out. So, a regular towed AT-Gun could be fortified up to level 3 by the crews. That would range from basic field positions to dug in improvised bunkers. Anything past that would be combat engineered defenses, involving concrete.

The Maginot line for example, is a large static emplaced command. It ranged from individual anti-infantry machine gun emplacements to large anti-tank and field artillery bunkers. The big thing with these kinds of static positions is that they are offensively USELESS.

While the Maginot Line was very powerful, anything outside of the beaten zone of its guns was completely safe from the Line.

That kills a couple of birds with one stone. They are great for defense purposes, but dont fire on the offense.

Mobile systems are always a threat, because they can maneuver to bring their firepower to bear and engage enemy formations. Static positions CANT they can only engage an enemy that comes within its zone of defenses.

Historically, and even today, static positions are used because they are cheap, and very effective for their costs, for defensive purposes. It doesnt mean that they arent effective. The Soviet Union fielded entire anti-tank artillery regiments in WW2 to great effect, notable at the Battle of Kursk. But when the Soviets counterattacked at Kursk, it was with tanks, not AT guns. Historically, where AT guns showed great performance in the field, they generally got converted into assault gun/tank destroyer configurations to make them offensive weapons. They were cheaper than tanks, had had a larger gun to weight ratio than tanks, but were tactically less flexible.

Finally, their were examples of very large mobile filed guns, such as the famous railway guns used by the Germans in WW1 and WW2, but examples were used by all belligerents. Railway guns were considered MOBILE for their time, as infantry was all leg infantry (slow) and regular artillery was horse drawn. A direct TN Aurora example would easily be a railgun or laser mount on a large vehicle capable of keeping up with the rest of of the maneuvering forces.

Obviously things can get pretty blurry when you consider the range of weapons in question, but the short list is that static positions regardless of type, were cheap and effective defensive positions.

Mobile systems are designed to project offensive power against an enemy force, and are used that way. They are part of the maneuver element of a ground force, and are part of its offensive potential.

edit: Sorry this got a bit longer winded than I intended, but I did want to chime in about why statics shouldn't be firing on the offense and why.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 26, 2017, 05:43:25 PM
There's a reason I said that Static units on the offensive should only get to use their Bombardment weapons. I mean, they are the best place to shove a Heavy Bombardment weapon into all the weapon slots anyway, and it's very cute you think that being on another continent will keep you safe when I don't need that grid square anyway. Or the nearest 20ish grid squares.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 26, 2017, 07:03:53 PM
It was not unheard of for field guns in WW2 to be dragged to the front and used in a direct fire role against emplacements.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: swarm_sadist on October 26, 2017, 07:53:59 PM
For C# Aurora, a ground 'unit' will be an individual soldier or vehicle, while a group of units will be a 'formation', although you will be able to name formations as companies, battalions, etc..
Quote
There will be no vehicle 'crew'. A vehicle will be a single integrated unit (as will any static weapons)..

Blatantly stealing from OAW III, maybe a formation should be made up of squads. This way, soldiers, vehicles and weapons are stored the same within the database.

So 1 squad would equal: 1 infantry squad, 1 tank with crew, 1 artillery gun with crew, 1 heavy weapon team, 1 sniper team, etc. After all, the assistant loader or ammo runner are just the cogs, it's the gun the squad is built around that is important.

Eg: 1000 soldiers would probably look like:
1 HQ Company
3 Rifle Co
-27 Rifle Squads
-9 MG Squads
1 Weapon Co
-3 Light Bombardment Teams
-3 Light AA Teams
-3 Light AT Teams

Of course if you just want to make a team like this:

10 Commissars
100 Rifle Squads

No one is stopping you. :)

Quote
In terms of combat mechanics, units will fire at units, using the chance to hit, armour penetration and damage mechanics previously described. The combat round will run once per hour if no one is attacking, once every ten minutes if one side is attacking and every five minutes if both sides are attacking. I haven't decided yet how to handle aircraft, but I will probably have them attack less frequently but with higher impact.

Perhaps the combat times should be higher. This feels like combat would be over in a very short amount of time. Maybe:
High Intensity -> Every hour
Medium Intensity -> Every 12 hours
Low Intensity -> Every construction phase

Of course, this depends on whether every formation attacks at once, or sporadically.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Arwyn on October 26, 2017, 08:42:08 PM
It was not unheard of for field guns in WW2 to be dragged to the front and used in a direct fire role against emplacements.

True, it was used tactically, but the longer term solution was assault gun, which packed the field piece onto an mobile armored platform.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Gyrfalcon on October 27, 2017, 02:06:31 AM
Yeah, I tend to agree that modeling down to the individual soldier is a bit way too much. If you do a conventional game start with multiple sides, each infantry division is between 10,000 and 20,000 entities that need to be modeled in the database. A couple of years back, I wrote up a setting based on the current military might of the world divided up into power blocs. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation had 167 Infantry Divisions alone. Even taking the low end, that's 1.67 million database entries for about 2/3 of the military forces of one faction.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: backstab on October 27, 2017, 04:11:36 AM
Not liking the “individual” infantry and vehicle thing .... I think it should be focused at company or battalion level... what individual infantry are armed with is too tactical for this type of game
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on October 27, 2017, 07:16:40 AM
Just to reiterate. I am not tracking individual infantry. I am tracking all infantry of the same type within the same formation as a single entity. I am also not tracking individual vehicles. As with infantry, I am tracking all vehicles of the same type within the same formation as a single entity. This is the same as tracking a ship's crew. There are perhaps 500 'individuals' but they are tracked as a group with casualties removed from the group total. The difference here is that the 'crew' can have several different types within it.

The only 'individual' element is that a group of 1000 infantry will have 1000 shots. I don't believe that will be a performance problem but I will know for sure when I test it.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: db48x on October 27, 2017, 08:12:50 AM
I'm rather excited by the ground forces changes that've been mentioned; sounds like it'll be fun. I think this is because it resembles in some ways the real thing:

On the other hand, some of the numbers feel odd. You have 1000 infantry being the same "size" as ~60 tanks, but a more historical comparison would be ~20k infantry to ~300 tanks (or 1k infantry to 15 tanks). Or maybe my intuition is bad, after all both of those units would have varying numbers of mortars, field guns, anti-aircraft guns, trucks, cars, etc. I like that you're comparing economic costs as well, though I have less of an opinion there.

I do have two concrete questions:

Have you thought about how ground forces interact with installations? A lot of effort in a major war goes to destroying and/or capturing the enemy's industrial capacity. (At any rate it has in the last two major wars; in a lot of ancient wars no infrastructure was damaged or captured at all.)

What are your thoughts on the overall timescale of a planetary invasion? You've mentioned briefly the timescale at the micro level (individual combat rounds), but what about the macro level? WW2 was basically 6 years long, involved 50-100 million military personnel, and caused >75 million civilian casualties. (Numbers are just off the top of my head.) On the other hand I seem to recall reading some lore stating that TN troop sizes are much smaller for the same level of effectiveness, presumably due to increased mobility and firepower. On the other hand, a TN empire might be using a lot more of the planet (or a lot less). On the gripping hand... I'm bad at tri-valued logic and can't think of something for the gripping hand.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 27, 2017, 08:59:10 AM
On the other hand, some of the numbers feel odd. You have 1000 infantry being the same "size" as ~60 tanks, but a more historical comparison would be ~20k infantry to ~300 tanks (or 1k infantry to 15 tanks). Or maybe my intuition is bad, after all both of those units would have varying numbers of mortars, field guns, anti-aircraft guns, trucks, cars, etc. I like that you're comparing economic costs as well, though I have less of an opinion there.

That is valid for WW2 but not really for modern formations.

Currently for example the US army contains ( Acc. to wikipedia ) 8800 M1 MBTs and 6700 Bradley IFVs, distributed over 460 000 active personnel.

For a total of 33.7 tracked & armored fighting vehicles per 1000 men.

The ratio would probably be even higher if you counted only deployed personnel in actual formations ( divisions/brigades on the field ), since alot of the personnel is bound to be of supporting or administrative nature, and we can probably assume more advanced TN tech would allow higher vehicle ratios as well.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 27, 2017, 09:15:24 AM
Think less 'this is the absolute physical size' and more 'this is the support draw size'. That is to say, an infantry PD only requires the infantry man to operate it effectively, but a vehicle ties up several soldiers to supply it with fuel, munitions and maintenance on top of its crew for it and its weapons, which has an effect on how many individual units you can put in a given formation because those troops need to be close to the unit for actually useful turn around times.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: db48x on October 27, 2017, 02:59:31 PM
That is valid for WW2 but not really for modern formations.

Currently for example the US army contains ( Acc. to wikipedia ) 8800 M1 MBTs and 6700 Bradley IFVs, distributed over 460 000 active personnel.

For a total of 33.7 tracked & armored fighting vehicles per 1000 men.

Hmm. I specifically compared the number of men in an infantry division to the number of tanks in an armored division. I don't happen to have similar numbers for any modern armies though; your figure could be as good as mine. Perhaps a better way to do it would be to subtract out the elements that the infantry and armored division had in common (mortars, anti-tank, anti-aircraft, artillery, engineers, headquarters, logistics, supply, etc) and compare the number of people in a direct infantry combat role vs the number of tanks. An of course, try to do the same for modern units. More work than I can do before breakfast though.

Think less 'this is the absolute physical size' and more 'this is the support draw size'. That is to say, an infantry PD only requires the infantry man to operate it effectively, but a vehicle ties up several soldiers to supply it with fuel, munitions and maintenance on top of its crew for it and its weapons, which has an effect on how many individual units you can put in a given formation because those troops need to be close to the unit for actually useful turn around times.

I absolutely agree, but I think that "dozens" is a better number than "several" :) On the other hand, most of those dozens are in headquarters, supply, and logistical units, which he's said he's considering adding to the simulation. For example:

That's 12 men to fire each gun, plus 31 more per gun in all of the support roles. Maybe as alex_brunius said, the ratios are better for modern units, and we can certainly assume that they'd be better still for TN ones. Even so I think the size numbers aren't large enough.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 27, 2017, 05:13:49 PM
At a size of 15 per Heavy Bombardment Unit that sounds about right, as that would be the gun, and all personnel handling the immediate needs of the gun.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on October 27, 2017, 07:27:43 PM
The ground combat framework looks great. I just hope it runs fast, that NPRs can utilize the system, and that it doesn't require much micromanagement.

There's some discussion about naval/ground weapon equivalencies: a 10cm naval laser that can engage at 40,000km is not the same as a groundside mount on a vehicle that engages at hundreds of meters. I think ground-equivalent tech should come automatic (civilian shipping loves cluttering my Technology Report with its derivative engine designs) with the basic techs we already research, or should at least be confined to designing the actual weapon/component. (Example: no 15cm laser focal size with a separate 15cm ground laser focal size---but designing a tank might be fun, although I prefer more abstraction to more micromanagement.)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: db48x on October 27, 2017, 07:49:00 PM
At a size of 15 per Heavy Bombardment Unit that sounds about right, as that would be the gun, and all personnel handling the immediate needs of the gun.

I don't really think this weapon is a heavy bombardment weapon. There were much larger guns on ships, and at fixed emplacements. (We can ignore the Paris Gun as an aberration.) Maybe those are too large to bring with you, or to construct in hostile territory, but the defender should be able to use them. Or maybe TN tech makes manoeuvre warfare so effective that anything that can't be moved is of no use at all?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 27, 2017, 08:17:20 PM
I don't really think this weapon is a heavy bombardment weapon. There were much larger guns on ships, and at fixed emplacements. (We can ignore the Paris Gun as an aberration.) Maybe those are too large to bring with you, or to construct in hostile territory, but the defender should be able to use them. Or maybe TN tech makes manoeuvre warfare so effective that anything that can't be moved is of no use at all?

If that were true Static units wouldn't be a thing.

You are somewhat mistaken as to why heavy artillery for ships isn't the same as heavy artillery for land formations. Mostly, it boils down to ease of use and transport. A warship is generally designed around its weapon systems, and the magazines and loading systems can be trivially mechanized to support the gun; despite space being a premium on ships it's actually much more space and time efficient to have transport from magazines to the guns automated. That's at minimum 5 stories you need to lift those shells and propellant. And when you're talking heavy naval artillery of the era, every shell weighed tons. And I mean that literally.

Also critical is the simple fact that ships have a lot more freedom of movement. An Iowa class ship mounts a 16 inch, 50 caliber naval gun. This means that the gun barrel is about 20 meters long. Try fitting that through narrow, twisty streets.

This means that there are constraints on ground artillery you don't normally see on naval artillery, including that due to a lack of handling cranes shell and propellant need to be hand portable, which provides an upper limit to size, and it must be possible to transport it down a dirt road with some ease (what, you think you'll be fighting near a nice, well maintained road network? Please).

And quite frankly, you don't need a 400mm or so gun to blow up most enemy positions. High explosive shells from 100-150mm artillery generally does that quite well.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Person012345 on October 28, 2017, 12:03:15 PM
Guys, if you think staticweapons are a tactical dead end, don't put tem in your army.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 28, 2017, 04:22:41 PM
Guys, if you think staticweapons are a tactical dead end, don't put tem in your army.
On the one hand, I see your point.  One of the best parts about Aurora is how much freedom you have for role play.  If I want to build a gigantic cannon a la Ace Combat, I should be allowed to, even if its really dumb.

On the other, another amazing strength Aurora has is its attention to detail and having things make sense.  Thanks to counter-battery fire, active protection systems, anti-radiation missiles, and precision airstrikes, static weapons would be completely pointless in a conventional war between modern nation-states.  It seems like a spacefaring empire could deal with static weapons as easily as the US dealt with Iraq's thousands of T-55 tanks in the first Gulf War.  If static weapons are pointless now, I can't see them being anything but a complete joke against even-more-advanced weapons.

Barring ground-to-orbit static weapons, which will be useful just because you have no other options.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 30, 2017, 09:22:42 AM
If that were true Static units wouldn't be a thing.
"Static" does not mean "dug in forever and ever".  Towed artillery counts as static.  If someone can come up with a better name, please do.

Quote
You are somewhat mistaken as to why heavy artillery for ships isn't the same as heavy artillery for land formations. Mostly, it boils down to ease of use and transport. A warship is generally designed around its weapon systems, and the magazines and loading systems can be trivially mechanized to support the gun; despite space being a premium on ships it's actually much more space and time efficient to have transport from magazines to the guns automated. That's at minimum 5 stories you need to lift those shells and propellant. And when you're talking heavy naval artillery of the era, every shell weighed tons. And I mean that literally.
The process is more manual than you'd think.  Everyone except Germany sized their powder bags to be hand-carried from the powder tanks to the guns.  Iowa's were 110 lb each, and there were 6 per shell.  And the largest naval shells were the 3200 lb 18" off the Yamatos.

Quote
And quite frankly, you don't need a 400mm or so gun to blow up most enemy positions. High explosive shells from 100-150mm artillery generally does that quite well.
What really killed off heavy artillery was the increased capability of aircraft and missiles.  A 16" shell is impressive, but it's very rare that you need so many that airplanes aren't a better and cheaper way of delivering the firepower.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on October 30, 2017, 07:17:57 PM
"Static" does not mean "dug in forever and ever".  Towed artillery counts as static.  If someone can come up with a better name, please do.

If manoeuvre warfare is so effective that you can't have set fortifications that can't be moved when you are the defender and thus plonking your defenses right in the path the enemy's forces will take you need something that can pick up and go instantly because they are going to be flanked. And that means no towed guns.

The process is more manual than you'd think.  Everyone except Germany sized their powder bags to be hand-carried from the powder tanks to the guns.  Iowa's were 110 lb each, and there were 6 per shell.  And the largest naval shells were the 3200 lb 18" off the Yamatos.

And with shells weighing in at 800 kilograms or more for the Iowa's 16 inch guns, and heavy naval artillery doesn't seem to come lighter than a few hundred kilograms. In theory you could create a sling and haul it with crewmen, so long as the stairs permit it anyway. Realistically though? If the hoists are dead so is the gun.

What really killed off heavy artillery was the increased capability of aircraft and missiles.  A 16" shell is impressive, but it's very rare that you need so many that airplanes aren't a better and cheaper way of delivering the firepower.

Strangely we may see a return of heavy gun artillery; if the railgun currently in development by the US Navy is developed to the point it's as good as promised it's effective range with a properly guided munition is hundreds of kilometers at a minimum. It'd be much cheaper per shot than a missile and not risk a human pilot.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 30, 2017, 09:39:03 PM
Strangely we may see a return of heavy gun artillery; if the railgun currently in development by the US Navy is developed to the point it's as good as promised it's effective range with a properly guided munition is hundreds of kilometers at a minimum. It'd be much cheaper per shot than a missile and not risk a human pilot.
Missiles go much MUCH farther than a few hundred kilometers.  The Tomahawk cruise missile goes between 1300km and 2500km, and that's just the variants that are listed on wikipedia.  I would not be surprised at all if there were more-modern, classified variants that go even further.

Further, a modern conventional symmetric war is unlikely to be long enough for cost to matter.  Modern weapon systems are simply too expensive and time-consuming to build.  There will be a few decisive battles, one side will lose most/all of their modern gear, and will be unable to replace it fast enough to continue the war.  It's not like in WW2 where they were churning out a Liberty ship every week or a Sherman tank every 30 minutes.  The navy's railguns are best used against irregular opposition.  They don't have anti-ship missiles to return fire with, so its safe to get close, and they're likely to be quite spread out, meaning you'll need a lot of rounds on target.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on October 30, 2017, 11:43:21 PM
I'm not personally convinced that we are finally right about a modern symmetric war ending quickly.  Its happened so many times, and I am really just not sure we wont find some way to drag things out.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on October 30, 2017, 11:53:39 PM
Oh I don't believe the war will end.  It'll just stop being symmetric.  The official military may disband, the government may capitulate, but there will be factions that will continue fighting basically indefinitely.  It won't be two information-age nation-states slugging it out; it will be one information-age nation-state struggling to put down an insurgency in their former enemy's country.

Aurora, unfortunately, does not simulate asymmetric war at all, so I didn't bring it up. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on October 31, 2017, 12:29:35 AM
No I mean, they figured in world war 1 that the mobile artillery would destroy everything, a winner would quickly emerge, and the war would be over by christmas of 1914.  To be fair, they didn't overstate the destructive power of their guns particularly, whenever someone heavily shelled a section of the enemy lines, they would kill almost everything.   They just weren't quite good enough to eliminate every last man, and those last men tended to be in fortified machine gun nests that they had no way to quickly deal with.

I don't mean to say that machine gun nests will stop the guided missiles, the lasers, the railguns and the tacitcal nukes, but the devil is in the details.  Modern war only has more weapons systems available to muddy the analysis, not less.  I think its quite possible that on into the far future wars might last much longer than people tend to assume at the time.  Conventional wars between equal powers, not insurgencies.  I do think insurgencies could be really cool for aurora though.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on October 31, 2017, 03:18:06 AM
Further, a modern conventional symmetric war is unlikely to be long enough for cost to matter.  Modern weapon systems are simply too expensive and time-consuming to build.  There will be a few decisive battles, one side will lose most/all of their modern gear, and will be unable to replace it fast enough to continue the war.  It's not like in WW2 where they were churning out a Liberty ship every week or a Sherman tank every 30 minutes.

I disagree with modern conflicts being short by nature.

Yes the pattern where you have a modern army vs a semi-modern one ( like Iraq or Egypt ) and a limited geographical area of conflict tend to be over very quickly, but no one in their right mind though a Soviet attack on Western Europe would be over or decided in a day or a week had it materialized during the cold war.

If we move forward to today's tech what happens when two equal sides fight a conventional war and both start by shooting down or disabling all the opponents satellites for Coms, Recon and even GPS? What happens when no or very few missiles or strike planes can get through to hit key targets because of the dense layers of SAM, Interception, E-War and Point defense? What happens when neither side can deploy troops, supplies and equipment the fast way with air-lift right to the frontlines due to the risks involved, and anything shipped must be coordinated to be heavily escorted?

Sure state of the art tech nations today have the tech to win quickly vs a WW2 tech level enemy or even a semi-modern one, but they also have invested just as much in denying a more equal tech enemy the ability to use that all that fancy tech...

The aurora equivalent is a fight where neither side have the missile numbers to deal a decisive knock out strike but PD, AMMs and shields handle 99% of them... Then a decisive war can only happen if both sides risk their valuable assets in a close range knife fight, and if either side has a clear advantage in a close range engagement the other side ( in reality ) is very likely to have the ability and means to avoid it and return to within own territory.

Such a war is decided by how deep the strategic stockpiles of missiles are, how much the factories can output once you know more about what equipment you actually need to gain an advantage and by the boots on the ground, all which will take time. About stuff being expensive and time consuming to build that's what people said before WW2 as well, but changed priorities increased production output level by 1000-fold and reduced time from order to delivery by 10-fold in many cases. Before WW2 there were about 40 million passenger cars in USA, today there are over 200 million despite each car of today being endlessly more high tech, so I don't think more advanced equipment necessitates smaller production numbers at all if priorities were set to military production instead of civilian.

Due to MAD and economical inter-dependencies on Earth today I think it's pretty unlikely we would see such a war happen though.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on October 31, 2017, 07:32:52 AM
If manoeuvre warfare is so effective that you can't have set fortifications that can't be moved when you are the defender and thus plonking your defenses right in the path the enemy's forces will take you need something that can pick up and go instantly because they are going to be flanked. And that means no towed guns.
I never said that.  I was pointing out (again) that people were misunderstanding what the 'static' classification meant. 

Quote
And with shells weighing in at 800 kilograms or more for the Iowa's 16 inch guns, and heavy naval artillery doesn't seem to come lighter than a few hundred kilograms. In theory you could create a sling and haul it with crewmen, so long as the stairs permit it anyway. Realistically though? If the hoists are dead so is the gun.
I'm pretty sure there's manual operation on the hoists, although as a practical matter, they'd be too slow to matter.  There's no way at all you could manhandle a shell up to the gun.  "Stairs" are near-vertical on a battleship, and the shells themselves are really heavy.

Quote
Strangely we may see a return of heavy gun artillery; if the railgun currently in development by the US Navy is developed to the point it's as good as promised it's effective range with a properly guided munition is hundreds of kilometers at a minimum. It'd be much cheaper per shot than a missile and not risk a human pilot.
Yes, but each round is going to be relatively expensive.  Not as much as a missile, but a lot more than a gun round.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 01, 2017, 02:42:01 PM
impressed by the changes. they look good overall. I think they will be less complicated than people think since the huge chart of possibilities will be more constrained and comprehendable in the design screen.

I suggest also making ground units unfairly good at beam combat. they should get similar range and targeting bonuses as PDCs do now, if not better - enough to compete with 1-2 generations ahead of their tech level.  And they should be relatively cheap for their effectiveness.  The ideal result of this scenario is to make planets scary to engage in close assault with a main fleet.  This would encourage the use of dropships and armored assault ships that make quick runs into a planet to combat drop their units, and then the survivors withdraw to where the main fleet is holding outside range.  Or you can Star Wars it and have a massive combined arms assault.

I am still very concerned that it will just be obviated by naval bombardment though.  the material and facility losses involved in blowing away enemy ground units - even with missiles - just isn't very high.  so:  bombard until you know you can easily win the ground fight, just like you do now.  No practical amount of ground unit CIWS will stand up against box launchers, just how like beam PD can't do it on ships.  If the planet is defended by AMM stations with ammunition remaining it is by definition too dangerous to assault and the ground combat is irrelevant.

P.S. What about our ICBM bases :(

are they gonna become Static Bombardment units?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on November 01, 2017, 04:16:43 PM
P.S. What about our ICBM bases :(

are they gonna become Static Bombardment units?
Yup, which is one of the reasons I've been saying to keep PDCs in some form.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: ardem on November 01, 2017, 07:44:33 PM
With the removal of PDC there is a few extra things I like to see to counter the bombardment by missiles.

By the looks of things a navy could sit out of range of the planet and bombard the forces on the planet with size 1 missiles, which out any strike back which the PDC, with there huge armour ability had the protect and the ability to fire back. I think Orbital starbases are hugely vulnerable. Perhaps you can add to the building slots like factories and so forth "Defensive platforms", which are purely phalanx style defensive guns which shoot down inbound missiles, or if you do not go that way perhaps make some of these mega robots with defensive abilities such as they are able to effectively mount Anti missile defensive, maybe some of these Robot could mount shield generators.

I think the planet need a way to counter the AI in missile bombardment, the AI currently does this, as it is come within missile range it then bombard the planet. I like the idea like in Starship troopers where a Navy flies by and drops pods down to the planet and then moves away with possible losses. Planet capture should be a risky procedure, until there is a reduction in the planet defenses. I would like to see beam or railgun fighters useful in a ground role. It would give a reason to develop them.

I would of liked PDC to stay, because they are really just a static fortress, with the inclusion of all the other things. I did not find them exclusive of each other. I would like to see options in the ground combat, in what your attack goals are. EG reduction of orbital defences, reduction of industry, destroy stockpiles.

--------------------------------------

Any chance planetary water value can influence certain effectiveness of units, such as if it a higher water content world it is harder for larger units, due to marshlands, forests for higher oxygen content planets. Where as desert worlds or lower oxygen content worlds hinder standard light troop units. etc. That way there is no one size fits all planetary invasions.

--------------------------------------

Wow I cannot wait for the planetary invasion updates even these minor changes you suggested makes me want to not glass planets.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: swarm_sadist on November 02, 2017, 05:07:51 PM
Yes, but each round is going to be relatively expensive.  Not as much as a missile, but a lot more than a gun round.
I'm not sure where you are getting that. A railgun round is just a rod of metal. All of the round's energy is kinetic. There is no explosive filler, no primer, no fuse, no guidance system (unless you want it), and you really don't even need a ballistic cap either.

They are safer to store as they require no magazines of gunpowder;
They are lighter and take up less space than conventional rounds;
They are simple to make, even to high quality standards;
They are cheap to manufacture in massive quantities;
They have the same striking power as a cruise missile;
They are almost impossible to shoot down;

On the negative side, you need a nuclear reactor or equivalent to power a gun, and the gun will go through barrels like crazy. Oh, and the round going mach 10+ through air looks like a giant fireball.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 02, 2017, 05:23:08 PM
With the removal of PDC there is a few extra things I like to see to counter the bombardment by missiles.

By the looks of things a navy could sit out of range of the planet and bombard the forces on the planet with size 1 missiles, which out any strike back which the PDC, with there huge armour ability had the protect and the ability to fire back. I think Orbital starbases are hugely vulnerable. Perhaps you can add to the building slots like factories and so forth "Defensive platforms", which are purely phalanx style defensive guns which shoot down inbound missiles, or if you do not go that way perhaps make some of these mega robots with defensive abilities such as they are able to effectively mount Anti missile defensive, maybe some of these Robot could mount shield generators.

I think the planet need a way to counter the AI in missile bombardment, the AI currently does this, as it is come within missile range it then bombard the planet. I like the idea like in Starship troopers where a Navy flies by and drops pods down to the planet and then moves away with possible losses. Planet capture should be a risky procedure, until there is a reduction in the planet defenses. I would like to see beam or railgun fighters useful in a ground role. It would give a reason to develop them.
Beam fighters should work fine for supporting ground combat by acting as a bombardment unit, per the rules posted earlier.

Beam fighters actually work in current Aurora, it's just that they cant conduct strikes because that's suicide. They have to be used as detachable beam mounts for larger vessels. Works best with Battlestar doctrine.

I agree about missile bombardment. I don't think the ground combat rules will matter as is.  Fleet salvos will overwhelm any reasonable defense. Could make TN missiles ineffective against planets with atmosphere and/or magnetic field.  Except maybe orbital bombs, which at a minimum have the weakness of requiring a ship to close to 0km.  Actually that would work really well, since if you try to do a Box Launch salvo of orbital bombs you have to take the risk of having your box launchers detonated by beam fire on the way in. 

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 02, 2017, 05:31:44 PM
IIRC ground units are undetectable from space if not actively engaged in combat. Like Surface to Orbit guns firing at ships. Without that you can do a generic bombardment, but that is, well, a generic bombardment, you are going to blow up a lot of things, and enemy ground units are probably not going to be a lot of it as facilities and population absorb the hits, along with the occasional mountain, ocean, river and desert.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 02, 2017, 05:37:56 PM
That's only for beam weapons.  Missiles bombardment will work 'as it is now'- presumably targeting the Ground Forces contact.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 02, 2017, 08:13:13 PM
That's only for beam weapons.  Missiles bombardment will work 'as it is now'- presumably targeting the Ground Forces contact.

Except that, unless engaged, there is no Ground Forces contact to shoot at. There is a planet to shoot at, sure, but how much of the planet are you willing to write off while you bomb its defenders into submission?

That's as true of missiles as it is of beam weapons.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 02, 2017, 08:20:17 PM
Where are you getting that? I went back through all of Steve's posts in this thread and unless i made an embarrassing mistake I can't find anything about ground forces targets being invisible.  Only energy weapons are mentioned as being incapable of direct targeting - at least of general targets, as anti-space weapons are still explicitly targetable by energy weapons.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on November 03, 2017, 07:47:43 AM
I'm not sure where you are getting that. A railgun round is just a rod of metal. All of the round's energy is kinetic. There is no explosive filler, no primer, no fuse, no guidance system (unless you want it), and you really don't even need a ballistic cap either.
No, for two reasons:
1. Simple metal rods are of limited use against most targets.  Maybe I kill one vehicle, but the rest of the rod's energy is expended digging a hole in the ground behind it.  That's fine in a tank, but not particularly good for artillery.  And tanks usually have some sort of explosive round, too.
2. I want to actually hit something at long range.  That means I need a guidance system, period. 
Railguns are interesting and powerful.  But they aren't a panacea, and they will require sophisticated ammo.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on November 03, 2017, 08:59:41 AM
No, for two reasons:
1. Simple metal rods are of limited use against most targets.  Maybe I kill one vehicle, but the rest of the rod's energy is expended digging a hole in the ground behind it.  That's fine in a tank, but not particularly good for artillery.  And tanks usually have some sort of explosive round, too.
2. I want to actually hit something at long range.  That means I need a guidance system, period. 
Railguns are interesting and powerful.  But they aren't a panacea, and they will require sophisticated ammo.

Do you seriously think the US Navy would invest billions into railgun research to replace guided cruise missiles if the tech as you claim were useless as artillery and inaccurate?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on November 03, 2017, 09:21:05 AM
Do you seriously think the US Navy would invest billions into railgun research to replace guided cruise missiles if the tech as you claim were useless as artillery and inaccurate?
1. For long-range land attack, they absolutely are looking at guided projectiles.  For other missions like point-defense, maybe not.  But there is no way you can use a weapon with the sort of range we're talking about without either guidance systems or a much larger damage radius than this provides.
2. Different kinds of targets require different damage profiles.  Against ships, planes, and missiles, unitary KE is great.  It's OK against bunkers, and terrible for infantry in the open.  This is a solvable problem, but it does compromise 'the projectiles are just chunks of metal'.
3. This isn't a cruise missile replacement.  They're looking at a range of 110 nm, which is an order of magnitude lower than Tomahawk.  It's a fire support weapon, not a strike weapon.  It also has roles in air and missile defense. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on November 03, 2017, 09:42:55 AM
I'm not sure where you are getting that. A railgun round is just a rod of metal. All of the round's energy is kinetic. There is no explosive filler, no primer, no fuse, no guidance system (unless you want it), and you really don't even need a ballistic cap either.
But that rod is primarily made of tungsten for its density and heat resistance. And some of the railgun shells they are making right now are quite advanced (GSP guidance systems, a flak like secondary mode, few other interesting features). DEfinately cheaper than a missile, yet not as cheap as "conventional" shells.

They are safer to store as they require no magazines of gunpowder; They are lighter and take up less space than conventional rounds;
They aren't really "lighter", they just take up less volume.
They are simple to make, even to high quality standards; They are cheap to manufacture in massive quantities;
Eh... not really "simple" to make because of the materials and extras.
They have the same striking power as a cruise missile;
True, yet that striking power will be focused to the point of impact while the cruise missile will have warheads to spread that power out in an area.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on November 03, 2017, 10:09:17 AM
But there is no way you can use a weapon with the sort of range we're talking about without either guidance systems or a much larger damage radius than this provides.

Ofcourse there is...

What you need to understand is that inaccuracy depends on unplanned deviation during projectile travel which scales linearly with travel time. ( deviations in course both from a moving target and on the projectile itself ).

If a railgun projectile travels at 5km/s compared to a battleship shell at 500m/s this means the projectile can travel 10 times as long distance before the inaccuracy from outside influence becomes identical.

This is further helped by the railgun shell spending less time at lower altitude in "thicker" atmosphere where the deviations are higher then at higher altitudes ( for example wind or air/particle resistance ).

If you fire in space and your projectile travel at 50000km/s then the projectile spends less then a millisecond traveling through the thicker atmosphere compared to a battleship shell spending up to 30 seconds or more traveling meaning it's over 30,000 times more accurate...

The limitations on accuracy instead depends on the quality of the weapons which we can also assume are thousands of times better then today.

Further orbit isn't as far away as you would think... The ISS orbits at 300-400km up compared to Battleship guns max range of 30-40km, that's just 10 times as far which compared to the other numbers involved here is nothing.

An Aurora 4x tech level railgun should technically have no problems at all hitting an ant from orbit assuming it knew exactly where to aim.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TCD on November 03, 2017, 10:41:42 AM
I am still very concerned that it will just be obviated by naval bombardment though.  the material and facility losses involved in blowing away enemy ground units - even with missiles - just isn't very high.  so:  bombard until you know you can easily win the ground fight, just like you do now.  No practical amount of ground unit CIWS will stand up against box launchers, just how like beam PD can't do it on ships.  If the planet is defended by AMM stations with ammunition remaining it is by definition too dangerous to assault and the ground combat is irrelevant.

I wonder if this will actually be true? If static ground units with orbital weapons are cheap enough then you could mass a huge number of these on important worlds. As I recall there are already changes made that make box launchers less efficient than in the current game which would favor ground PD.

The only other addition you would need is for new planetary ECM and ECCM installations, which I think would make a lot of sense. With the new rules on missile ECCM (has to be on the missile to change to-hit chance) a high level planetary ECM installation could be a major obstacle to missile bombardment.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 03, 2017, 11:11:19 AM
Ofcourse there is...

What you need to understand is that inaccuracy depends on unplanned deviation during projectile travel which scales linearly with travel time. ( deviations in course both from a moving target and on the projectile itself ).

If a railgun projectile travels at 5km/s compared to a battleship shell at 500m/s this means the projectile can travel 10 times as long distance before the inaccuracy from outside influence becomes identical.

This is further helped by the railgun shell spending less time at lower altitude in "thicker" atmosphere where the deviations are higher then at higher altitudes ( for example wind or air/particle resistance ).

If you fire in space and your projectile travel at 50000km/s then the projectile spends less then a millisecond traveling through the thicker atmosphere compared to a battleship shell spending up to 30 seconds or more traveling meaning it's over 30,000 times more accurate...

The limitations on accuracy instead depends on the quality of the weapons which we can also assume are thousands of times better then today.

Further orbit isn't as far away as you would think... The ISS orbits at 300-400km up compared to Battleship guns max range of 30-40km, that's just 10 times as far which compared to the other numbers involved here is nothing.

An Aurora 4x tech level railgun should technically have no problems at all hitting an ant from orbit assuming it knew exactly where to aim.
On Earth though, there will be a giant deadzone where the ground is in the way, because a railgun round has a much flatter trajectory than a traditional round.  So for instance, you could direct fire on any target between you and the horizon, then there's a region between the horizon and some more distant point where your target is in the "shadow" of the horizon, then after that a region where indirect fire is possible out to the maximum range of the gun.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on November 03, 2017, 11:41:01 AM
On Earth though, there will be a giant deadzone where the ground is in the way, because a railgun round has a much flatter trajectory than a traditional round.  So for instance, you could direct fire on any target between you and the horizon, then there's a region between the horizon and some more distant point where your target is in the "shadow" of the horizon, then after that a region where indirect fire is possible out to the maximum range of the gun.

This is true, which is why you probably would use lower shell velocities as needed ( even if accuracy suffers a bit it should be better then Battleship bombardment accuracy ).

But for Aurora purposes of fire to and from orbit there will be no deadzones.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on November 03, 2017, 12:19:45 PM
Ofcourse there is...

What you need to understand is that inaccuracy depends on unplanned deviation during projectile travel which scales linearly with travel time. ( deviations in course both from a moving target and on the projectile itself ).
Battleship gunnery is a major interest of mine, to the point I've read several books mostly or wholly devoted to the subject, and written a couple of essays on it.  So yes, I know that's one cause of inaccuracy.  But only one.  If it was the major one, then I'd expect that it would affect all shells in a salvo equally, and that the primary cause of misses would be tight patterns landing off-target.  This is not really the case.  Pattern size was often greater than Mean Point of Impact error.  Yes, I'd expect a railgun to be better at consistency than a WWII-era 16" gun.  If nothing else, you have a lot lower variation in muzzle velocity.  But not enough to make unguided KE rounds work at >10 km. 

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If a railgun projectile travels at 5km/s compared to a battleship shell at 500m/s this means the projectile can travel 10 times as long distance before the inaccuracy from outside influence becomes identical.
That assumes the railgun projectile is the same size as the battleship shell.  This is not true.  It's considerably smaller, which means it's much more affected by wind.  Look at a 5" vs 16" range table if you don't believe me.
That aside, let's assume you're right.  Typical battleship pattern size for a 3-gun salvo was about 1% of range.  We'll take 10% of that.  At 36 km (outer limits of battleship range) you're still missing by an average of 18m (1% is diameter, not radius).  An M1 tank has a hull that's 8m long and 3.66 m wide.  It covers about 3% of the area we expect our projectile to land in.  I'll take my guided projectiles, thank you very much.

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This is further helped by the railgun shell spending less time at lower altitude in "thicker" atmosphere where the deviations are higher then at higher altitudes ( for example wind or air/particle resistance ).
Flatter trajectory means this isn't true, either.

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If you fire in space and your projectile travel at 50000km/s then the projectile spends less then a millisecond traveling through the thicker atmosphere compared to a battleship shell spending up to 30 seconds or more traveling meaning it's over 30,000 times more accurate...
You're moving the goalposts.  This particular discussion started with someone bringing up the Navy's railgun program.  Orbital fire support with that kind of velocity of weapons is a very different thing, and a somewhat better case for unguided projectiles.

Quote
Further orbit isn't as far away as you would think... The ISS orbits at 300-400km up compared to Battleship guns max range of 30-40km, that's just 10 times as far which compared to the other numbers involved here is nothing.
Can you please stop assuming things about what I think?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 03, 2017, 12:41:44 PM
It's considerably smaller, which means it's much more affected by wind.
This isn't exactly true.  A railgun round is denser than a traditional battleship round.  Aerodynamics, including wind, correlate with the density of the round, not just the surface area or volume.  A stone ball with a diameter of 1m, thrown at 20m/s will go further than an inflated rubber ball of the same diameter at the same speed.  Because the rubber ball is less massive, the force of drag affects it more.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on November 03, 2017, 12:53:33 PM
This isn't exactly true.  A railgun round is denser than a traditional battleship round.  Aerodynamics, including wind, correlate with the density of the round, not just the surface area or volume.  A stone ball with a diameter of 1m, thrown at 20m/s will go further than an inflated rubber ball of the same diameter at the same speed.  Because the rubber ball is less massive, the force of drag affects it more.
If we're going to be really pedantic, the actual controlling factor is sectional density, mass/unit area.  Tungsten is ~2.5x as dense as steel.  (HE content of US AP shells was very low, and can be ignored at this scale.)  Mass scales with the cube of size, area with the square.  So a tungsten shell with the same sectional density will be 40% of the size of an equivalent battleship shell.  For a US 16", that means 6.4" diameter and about 2.5' long.  This is considerably bigger than a railgun shell being hypothesized.  Playing with the shape of the railgun round doesn't help, because what you gain in one dimension you lose in the others.
(OK, the actual controlling number is ballistic coefficient, but assuming similar shapes that drops out to sectional density.  And a long rod is more vulnerable to crosswinds than a normal shell, so that doesn't help the railgun, either.)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on November 05, 2017, 04:48:52 AM
So yes, I know that's one cause of inaccuracy.  But only one.  If it was the major one, then I'd expect that it would affect all shells in a salvo equally, and that the primary cause of misses would be tight patterns landing off-target.  This is not really the case.  Pattern size was often greater than Mean Point of Impact error.  Yes, I'd expect a railgun to be better at consistency than a WWII-era 16" gun.  If nothing else, you have a lot lower variation in muzzle velocity.  But not enough to make unguided KE rounds work at >10 km. 

My point here is that outside influence and moving target is the ONLY cause of inaccuracy that can't ( and will in an Auorora 4x tech level gun ) be engineered away thanks to smaller tolerances and near molecular level perfect gun assembly.


You're moving the goalposts.  This particular discussion started with someone bringing up the Navy's railgun program.  Orbital fire support with that kind of velocity of weapons is a very different thing, and a somewhat better case for unguided projectiles.

I'm not moving goalposts. You need to take a step back and realize that your trying to have a discussion about the Navy's railgun program on a forum about a Sci-Fi game. The ultimate purpose of any discussion in this thread as far as I am concerned is to promote a better and more realistic game, not to debate the viability of the Navy's railgun program. If you want to argue about the Navy's railguns I'm sure there are plenty of other forums better suited to that purpose!


That aside, let's assume you're right.  Typical battleship pattern size for a 3-gun salvo was about 1% of range.  We'll take 10% of that.  At 36 km (outer limits of battleship range) you're still missing by an average of 18m (1% is diameter, not radius).  An M1 tank has a hull that's 8m long and 3.66 m wide.  It covers about 3% of the area we expect our projectile to land in.  I'll take my guided projectiles, thank you very much.

Now let's run those math again with Aurora 4x railgun speeds of say 50000000m/s instead of 500m/s as well as orbital range (x10). This mean it's not 10 times accurate, it's 10000 times more accurate. Your average miss turns from 18m to 18cm.

That's not a "somewhat better case"... That's a totally different case.

Something else to consider is that the destructiveness of KE shells scale with speed as well, and not linear but exponential (Ek = ½mv^2). A shell going 100000 times faster contains 100000^2 as much kinetic energy. A 1kg shell travelling at 50000km/s contains about 10 million times as much kinetic energy as a 1000 kg Battleship shell at 500m/s, and about 1 million times as much total energy including HE ( considering about 10% of the energy in a Battleship shell for firesupport would be Kinetic and 90% HE ).

I'm not 100% sure exactly what would happen when shells impact the ground at those kind of speeds, and it's possible the atmosphere would slow them down considerably too, but considering the numbers involved I wouldn't feel safe even 18m away regardless of if I was in a tank or not...

A third consideration ( which Aurora models pretty well already on the scale of space combat at least ) is the cost of the shells vs guided missiles. KE shells are basically free while missiles will cost about 20% as much as the tank it's destroying cost. Using current costs it's $1.87M for a tomahawk vs $8.92M for a M1 tank or 21%. And that's assuming no missiles get intercepted on the way.



Can you please stop assuming things about what I think?

I am not assuming what you (person) think, but what you ( general audience reading ) normally would think. You are all welcome to join us in discussions improving the game.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: swarm_sadist on November 05, 2017, 11:33:24 AM
Also, a steel round hitting dirt will only penetrate about 6 times it's length. All the extra kinetic energy will go outwards and make a crater.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: 83athom on November 05, 2017, 07:53:14 PM
If we're going to be really pedantic, the actual controlling factor is sectional density, mass/unit area.  Tungsten is ~2.5x as dense as steel.  (HE content of US AP shells was very low, and can be ignored at this scale.)  Mass scales with the cube of size, area with the square.  So a tungsten shell with the same sectional density will be 40% of the size of an equivalent battleship shell.  For a US 16", that means 6.4" diameter and about 2.5' long.  This is considerably bigger than a railgun shell being hypothesized.  Playing with the shape of the railgun round doesn't help, because what you gain in one dimension you lose in the others.
(OK, the actual controlling number is ballistic coefficient, but assuming similar shapes that drops out to sectional density.  And a long rod is more vulnerable to crosswinds than a normal shell, so that doesn't help the railgun, either.)

Just for information, the design in current testing (and most likely for final product) is a long cone with 4 fins.
(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/szhz9YMl4uE/maxresdefault.jpg)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Felixg on November 06, 2017, 02:34:52 AM
I am not sure I like the idea of Static defenses losing their fortification if they open up on orbital targets. Makes them virtually useless after the first salvo (Which likely won't do any good because of how hardy the ships are designed unless they have incredible anti armor/shield properties) since the enemy will pinpoints and obliterate them.

If they spend months(years?) with combat engineers digging in, and digging in, and so on then they should get to keep that. Maybe have a staged fortification loss? Each progressive attack makes it easier to pinpoint the exact spot to hit to silence the gun, rather than immediately knowing.

Could have an interesting branch of Stealth tech (When improved by Combat Engineers rather than the unit itself) as well to improve the fortification decay as well, so rather than dropping with every shot it drops with every other shot, or every third shot and so on.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 06, 2017, 03:29:32 AM
They don't lose their fortification.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Felixg on November 06, 2017, 04:31:19 AM
They don't lose their fortification.

Ahh whew, thats good to know. I saw this post


If a unit chooses to attack, it will lose any fortification bonus. However, you will be able to attack with selected units and leave others in place.

More details later on how long it takes to fortify.

and started to worry, glad it has been changed!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 06, 2017, 05:14:31 AM
It hasn't been changed; it just refers to ground to ground combat rules instead of orbital combat rules.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on November 06, 2017, 07:39:51 AM
Also, a steel round hitting dirt will only penetrate about 6 times it's length. All the extra kinetic energy will go outwards and make a crater.
That's going to be dominant at really high velocities.  Long rods are still useful for armor penetration at tens of km/s.  In Aurora, you probably couldn't tell the difference.  The near future is a rather different matter.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 06, 2017, 07:42:54 AM
If a steel round only penetrates up to 6 times its length in ground once sufficiently large speeds are achieved and you can form needles of arbitrary lengths on demand you've basically got the perfect fortress breaking round right there. Only thing you need to do is relative densities and how far down you need to go and the round stops right as it has passed the reinforced concrete. And if it doesn't, it hits with enough force to make it moot anyway.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on November 06, 2017, 08:25:28 AM
If a steel round only penetrates up to 6 times its length in ground once sufficiently large speeds are achieved and you can form needles of arbitrary lengths on demand you've basically got the perfect fortress breaking round right there. Only thing you need to do is relative densities and how far down you need to go and the round stops right as it has passed the reinforced concrete. And if it doesn't, it hits with enough force to make it moot anyway.
That's not quite how it works.  6x depth is based on the Newtonian/hydrodynamic penetration approximation.  Basically, at some point your ability to penetrate is limited by your ability to push things out of the way, regardless of how fast you're going.  However, at higher speeds you start making craters, which can penetrate deeper.  Even if you're not quite to proper cratering, all of that energy has to go somewhere, which is likely to be unpleasant to those nearby.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: iceball3 on November 06, 2017, 10:23:11 AM
With PDCs on their way out (I'll miss them  :'( ), what will be of planetary missile bases? This will also mean that ground forces will always be exposed to planetary bombardment, with nowhere to retreat to.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Zincat on November 06, 2017, 10:29:15 AM
With PDCs on their way out (I'll miss them  :'( ), what will be of planetary missile bases? This will also mean that ground forces will always be exposed to planetary bombardment, with nowhere to retreat to.

You can build orbital missile bases, I guess?

As for bombardment, read here.
http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=8495.msg104912#msg104912
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Lossmar on November 08, 2017, 10:42:06 AM
With PDCs on their way out

My excitement for C# Aurora suddenly dropped like a stone ... ;(  :'( :'(
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: boggo2300 on November 08, 2017, 02:53:44 PM
My excitement for C# Aurora suddenly dropped like a stone ... ;(  :'( :'(

I sort of agree,  hell North Korea has multiple PDC's now
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Felixg on November 08, 2017, 06:41:58 PM
My excitement for C# Aurora suddenly dropped like a stone ... ;(  :'( :'(

Same here. PDCs were some of my favorite toys, particularly with how junk stations are.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: DuraniumCowboy on November 08, 2017, 07:17:48 PM
I myself have no issue getting rid of PDC's.  I always seem to have problems with them and as long as something else provides the basic functionality, then that works for me.

One idea, getting back to troop types.  I see Steve is looking at introducing predominant terrain, which introduces new potential units:

airmobile units, heavier lift requirement, higher firepower, lower defense, ignore terrain (basically like air car air assault infantry)
light infantry, large bonus in light terrain, low firepower, low defense, low lift
normal infantry, normal bonuses
armor, heavy lift, high offense and defense, bonus in open terrain, penalty in rough terrain, x2 reinforcement cost to heal
field artillery, no direct attack, just get a moderate Titan style bombardment attack
air defense artillery - CIWS feature

I would do missile batteries and/or energy batteries as installations

Also consider a Special Forces unit, which would be expensive to train.  They would not engage in standard combat but can be used as follows:
*  Advanced force operations/pathfinder - increase off load and drop times for conventional forces if already present
*  Infrastructure attacks, random chance to bombard enemy infrastructure/installations
*  Ability to bombard air defenses and batteries if possible along with deep space sensors
*  Psyops, randomly attack morale of enemy units on planet
*  Sabotage construction on planet
*  In cases of reconquest, train local light infantry to rise up
*  Recon, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) - increased bombardment percentage from space ships when SF present
*  Provide a substantial bonus to help pacify occupied planets, basically targeting insurgent cells (love the F3EAD!)

I think they would be autonomous, in that the above effects would just be random every cycle or automatic in some cases (like RSTA or Pathfinder).

Add some kind of long range insertion technology to drop the SF teams.

Add mechanic so that enemy forces get a chance to find and engage the SF teams each turn unless conventional forces are present, which should have a curve that makes it dangerous to stay too long without conventional forces present

Have a counter insurgancy


Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on November 09, 2017, 02:28:31 PM
Many of DuraniumCowboy's 'Special Forces' suggestions are (close to) things Espionage teams do now.  I'd love it if the Ground Combat rewrite changed the system from Espionage teams (requiring 5 officers and no troops) to Espionage Units (requiring 1 officer and some sort specialized GFTF building or unit type).  I think most estimates today put the logistics train for spies at 50 to 100 or more analysts, trainers, armourers, & other support personnel per agent in the field.  (I think Special Forces is more like 25 to one.)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on November 10, 2017, 05:14:59 AM
I still think an adequately flexible replacement system should work fine to take the place of PDCs.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Lossmar on November 10, 2017, 09:24:43 AM
Nope it wont.
I want PDC's to stay - period.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on November 10, 2017, 06:50:44 PM
Nope it wont.
I want PDC's to stay - period.

The problem is PDCs (as currently implemented) require about a thousand lines of code to handle all their exceptions, as they are ships (but not really) that don't move, don't get built in shipyards, can't have certain systems, don't need other systems, don't work properly for what they are supposed to do, and sometimes count as ground units (but not really).

Steve has been quite clear that because of the nightmare PDCs are to code, evaluate, and debug, the one thing you can't have in C# Aurora is PDCs the same as they are now.  He's implied that the new "PDCs" must be ground units that follow the ground unit rules, or ships that follow the ship rules, or buildings (installations) that follow the building rules, or orbital habitats/shipyards/complexes that follow the orbital structures rules, or some version of the above that "follows the rules" as they exist, not requires a(nother) thousand exceptions in the code.

So what is it about current PDCs that you want to keep?  Is it surface-based anti-ship weaponry that is invisible until it fires?  Is is an armoured redoubt to shelter your ground forces?  Is it a giant chunk of PPV that you can build and forget?  Is it several milion tons of hangar space in which to pseudo-mothball a fleet?

Any, perhaps all, of those things may end up in C# Aurora, but I'm 99% certain they won't be called "PDCs" if they do.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Person012345 on November 11, 2017, 02:25:01 AM
Nope it wont.
I want PDC's to stay - period.
Well this is really the equivalent to the bill nye - ken ham "what would make you change your mind" "nothing".

I'm looking forward to trying the new system and seeing if it does a good job of replacing them. Maybe further down the line steve will find a way to re-add PDC-likethings in a way that makes sense (unlike the current implementation).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Felixg on November 11, 2017, 06:39:12 PM

So what is it about current PDCs that you want to keep?  Is it surface-based anti-ship weaponry that is invisible until it fires?  Is is an armoured redoubt to shelter your ground forces?  Is it a giant chunk of PPV that you can build and forget?  Is it several milion tons of hangar space in which to pseudo-mothball a fleet?

Any, perhaps all, of those things may end up in C# Aurora, but I'm 99% certain they won't be called "PDCs" if they do.

I like to be able to mothball my fleets because the maintenance rules are such a pain in the ass otherwise.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 11, 2017, 07:16:14 PM
PDC hangars wern't really mothballing though. They were just skipping out on maintenance no matter how you intended to use the ships.  Even mothballed ships & planes require regular maintenance to not become useless. And while there might not be air in space there is definitely lots of radiation and ships filled with lots of chemicals and the like.  Would rather have an actual mothball mechanic,  although given the way tech ramps up in Aurora its hard to estimate how actually useful mothballed ships would be when reactivated.

One way of psuedo-mothballing ships is to remove their expensive components and replacing them with cheap tonnage-hogs. It requires a fair bit of expense to reactivate them once desired, although at least you can equip modern gear on them. Another is to simply refit them with tons of engineering spaces, strip them of most MSP,and leave them to rot orbiting a moon or somesuch.  They will not cost any maintenance, and the engineering spaces will limit the amount of deterioration.

Another way to use old ships is to re-role them. Sometimes i have taken obsolete military vessels and kitted them with modern commercial drives to use as far patrol and long-duration pickets.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on November 12, 2017, 02:46:57 PM
I like to be able to mothball my fleets because the maintenance rules are such a pain in the ass otherwise.

Docking is pretty much the only thing for which I've used PDCs. I love the maintenance rules when my ships are actually in use, but don't like the mysterious evaporation of trans-Newt materials it requires to simply park a ship in orbit of worlds with sufficient maintenance facilities ... so I docks 'em ... at tremendous initial capital investment, I might add. I actually like the fact have to pay to pay less and I'll miss it if there's no alternative.

If it were up to me, maintenance for parked ships where facilities are sufficient, would have a wealth, not a TN materials, cost.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 12, 2017, 06:36:24 PM
Docking is pretty much the only thing for which I've used PDCs. I love the maintenance rules when my ships are actually in use, but don't like the mysterious evaporation of trans-Newt materials it requires to simply park a ship in orbit of worlds with sufficient maintenance facilities ... so I docks 'em ... at tremendous initial capital investment, I might add. I actually like the fact have to pay to pay less and I'll miss it if there's no alternative.

If it were up to me, maintenance for parked ships where facilities are sufficient, would have a wealth, not a TN materials, cost.

They're kept at combat ready. And I mean 'immediately go right now' levels of combat ready. That would mean a lot of preventative maintenance just in case, which is where the maintenance fees come from.

Something could be said about keeping ships at a lower ready state with wealth replacing some of the TN material cost, but in that case I'd want a requirement that putting those ships back in action takes shipyard time and TN resources. Because then you actually need to weigh 'do I want to replace my ships fully, or do I keep them mothballed at a cost?' Of course, refitting a ship out of mothballs should also cost at least as much as refitting the originating ship class to whatever new gear you want to put into it, quite possibly costing somewhat more in TN materials and time compared to a combat ready ship.

And no PPV for ships in mothballs either.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Andrew on November 13, 2017, 04:28:34 AM
The thing I like about PDC's is recreating locations similar to the Rock of Gibraltar , Singapore or the other heavily fortified anchorages of navel history , I don't use them as Hangers just as bases for heavy artillery in massively fortified locations. This also recreates several sci fi novels and to me heavily built armoured fortresses seem more 'realistic' for serious planetary defense rather than relying on mobile launchers to defend against bombardment from orbit .
At the moment it looks to me that those options will be gone with the new system which is a pity. I don't have any strict ties to any of the mechanics of the PDC I just think that building a massive missile base into a mountain range to defend a planet is a cool thing to do
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: boggo2300 on November 13, 2017, 02:30:19 PM
I just think that building a massive missile base into a mountain range to defend a planet is a cool thing to do

AMEN!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on November 13, 2017, 04:43:43 PM
They're kept at combat ready. And I mean 'immediately go right now' levels of combat ready. That would mean a lot of preventative maintenance just in case, which is where the maintenance fees come from.

Something could be said about keeping ships at a lower ready state with wealth replacing some of the TN material cost, but in that case I'd want a requirement that putting those ships back in action takes shipyard time and TN resources. Because then you actually need to weigh 'do I want to replace my ships fully, or do I keep them mothballed at a cost?' Of course, refitting a ship out of mothballs should also cost at least as much as refitting the originating ship class to whatever new gear you want to put into it, quite possibly costing somewhat more in TN materials and time compared to a combat ready ship.

And no PPV for ships in mothballs either.

Others suggested mothballing ... I just want maintenance-free docking, which is why I sink enormous capital into building 200,000-ton (so far) hangars for my naval bases. I love the maintenance rules when my ships are deployed. I even love the fact the game "makes" me build naval docks to avoid TN material evaporation. I just don't want to be forced to watch TN evaporation for ships that are just sitting at base. The maintenance-rules option at startup is all-or-nothing; I want breakdowns and supply concerns, but not when my ships are in stardock (where I'd still have to pay, billet, and feed crew, which is why I'm willing to pay in "wealth").

If there was an actual mothballing feature, instead of what I'm talking about, I'd like what you recommend. (Although both would only reasonably coexist if mothballing freed up/ crew or saved on their expense---if there was a wealth cost for the military payroll.)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on November 13, 2017, 05:31:10 PM
The thing I like about PDC's is recreating locations similar to the Rock of Gibraltar , Singapore or the other heavily fortified anchorages of navel history , I don't use them as Hangers just as bases for heavy artillery in massively fortified locations. This also recreates several sci fi novels and to me heavily built armoured fortresses seem more 'realistic' for serious planetary defense rather than relying on mobile launchers to defend against bombardment from orbit .
At the moment it looks to me that those options will be gone with the new system which is a pity. I don't have any strict ties to any of the mechanics of the PDC I just think that building a massive missile base into a mountain range to defend a planet is a cool thing to do

So would you be happy if there was an Installation the size and cost* of a Construction Factory called 'Defence Centre' that functioned as CIWS for a planet?  It should probably give PPV as well, and its effectiveness be tied to planetary diameter or mass, so Earth would need (say) six times as many Defence Centres as Luna to get the same effective protection (perhaps expressed as a percent chance to shoot down incoming missiles, using the ol' armoured-missile-destruction-chance formula (1/(1+DCs)) all divided by some figure representing planetary mass or diameter).

Now Planet Gibraltar con dedicate 35% of its facilities to Defence Centres and be a really tough nut to nuke, without every planet becoming nigh-immune to bombardment.


*The cost would probably be half Duranium to represent the structure and armour, and half Neutronium for the advanced armour & kinetic weapons.  Maybe Corbomite for stealth systems and shields to protect it from direct assualt, or just because not very much seems to use Corbomite.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on November 14, 2017, 01:59:57 AM
So would you be happy if there was an Installation the size and cost* of a Construction Factory called 'Defence Centre' that functioned as CIWS for a planet?  It should probably give PPV as well, and its effectiveness be tied to planetary diameter or mass, so Earth would need (say) six times as many Defence Centres as Luna to get the same effective protection (perhaps expressed as a percent chance to shoot down incoming missiles, using the ol' armoured-missile-destruction-chance formula (1/(1+DCs)) all divided by some figure representing planetary mass or diameter).

To be honest I don't see what the point of a CIWS base at ground would be since your basically restricting the field of fire to at best half of the sky, and (at least in using Earth as an example) get issues with atmosphere and targeting.

Put it at 20000km orbit instead and you have almost free field of fire in all directions instead...


Now a missile silo might work better on the ground instead ( seeing how it needs logistics and storage for missiles, and how any hits to magazines could provide a risk meaning more need for protection ).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: boggo2300 on November 14, 2017, 03:17:20 PM
Now a missile silo might work better on the ground instead ( seeing how it needs logistics and storage for missiles, and how any hits to magazines could provide a risk meaning more need for protection ).

Actually I'd be fine with things like that,  Single use facilities that can be built just like other planetary infrastructure,  like a Missile Silo facility, A Hangar Facility, a Bunker Facility (increased protection for ground troops) sort of thing
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Felixg on November 16, 2017, 07:13:21 AM
I also enjoyed being able to build pdcs on asteroids and the like with long range beam weapons and sensor facilities to make it an attractive target,  thus creating an orbital battle station that wasn't terrible like the current stations that we have been forced to use.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 16, 2017, 07:41:01 AM
There's nothing stopping you from doing a dug-in STO beam base using ground units in C#.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: plasticpanzers on November 16, 2017, 05:08:45 PM
There is a world of difference between a Cheyenne Mountain style complex that covers a hundred square miles and a dug-in battery of SCUD missiles with a command vehicle behind a berm.   The thing is PDC's are too inexpensive in the game.   They are a simple multiplication of assets where the actual size and complexity of such a massive investment is not properly gauged.   They need an exponentially growing crew and maintenance and security as they get larger
and larger.   Its a difference between what is basically a grounded space cruiser to a PDC that most of us understand from the Sci-fi universe.   There perhaps should be a limiting size based upon population as a populace would be required to help backup maintenance and provide support services.   To replace PDCs with simple ground units and a bulldozer is not the same.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 16, 2017, 06:34:41 PM
You're limiting yourself.  Aurora isnt even really a game. It's a storytelling engine.  There is nothing stopping you from saying a fortress ship/habitat design is actually a planetary fort, or from saying that a collection of STO beam units+sensors+maintenance facility+fuel/ammo dump is a single military facility.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: plasticpanzers on November 16, 2017, 09:31:27 PM
True but using my shoe for a hammer does not make it a hammer.   In the game engine if they are the same then why bother
to include ground units?   A hole dug by a bulldozer for your SCUD is just not the same thing as a 'Planetary Defense Center'.
Miles of underground tunnels and armored launchers is not a engineer built product.   Taking the PDC away is the problem.
Giving it to ground units is both not really 'engineering possible' nor plausible.   Somehow nuclear powered shovels and picks
and multi-armored sandbags don't seem realistic...
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on November 16, 2017, 10:39:01 PM
I do agree with the general assessment that it is questionable to arbitrarily declare a unit as a PDC when it isnt, especially if said unit is meant to be able to leave the planet (is mobile), which would in turn influence its cost.  The logistics of properly working this sort of thing into the game is nontrivial.

Forcibly shoe horning something into the game extensively and at great effort isn't really great and usually people want to avoid it so as to allow the game to generate an experience for them rather than them forcing the experience from the game, thereby removing said game as an actor with agency.

e: muh edits (didnt really change the meaning of the post much)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 17, 2017, 01:03:44 AM
PDCs are just ships with limitations.  Their only real advantage in combat is 4 layers of armor, which..whatever, who cares. Build a fortress base at your planet, call it The Hill or Cheyenne Mountain. 

you can make static ground units, you can put STO weapons on them, i see no reason you cant parlay this into making them components of your PDC's defense grid. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Gyrfalcon on November 17, 2017, 01:52:27 AM
I think at this point, it's better to just stop debating this. Everyone is basically just restating their positions over and over again, and there's no ability to either understand or agree with the other party's position.

In the end, Steve has chosen not to include PDCs in the new version of Aurora, and people will have to work with the system that is, not the system that they wish existed.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 17, 2017, 01:54:35 AM
Nah.  it's not just a matter of positions. Aurora's always been klutzy.  You've always had to bludgeon it a bit.  Do the various Space 1889 campaigns make any sense at all in the game system? Not really.  They arn't firing at each other from 100 million km away 'in fiction'.  Is the game balanced? Hell no. You've always had to kludge it.

The new system, even as currently stated (not done!) easily offers you the tools to make bases you can call PDCs, either of the ship variety or of making structures + ground units.  You can even have it cost industry instead of SY by using some SM magic. (Although having to tow a SY to an asteroid, build habitats for the workers, and construct the 'PDC-base' on site would be a fairly epic industrial undertaking.)

Ultimately, I don't think Aurora works if you are unwilling to bend the system in this manner.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on November 17, 2017, 09:07:30 AM
Disagree, space 1889 games were always uninteresting to me, and I never in all of my aurora games touched the SM system except while setting up a non-earth start.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on November 18, 2017, 03:09:04 AM
Okay, but to me saying 'Aurora doesn't (naturally) do what I want, and I refuse to touch SM mode to adjust it' is equivalent to saying 'this TV isn't tuned to the channel I want to watch, and I refuse to touch the remote control to change it.'
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on November 18, 2017, 07:48:26 AM
I'm fine if they cut PDCs as they are now, but they are a great RP tool for some people since you can do so much stuff with them.  The system was very flexible, if flawed and apparantly horridly difficult to code.  Saying you can just declare ground units as a PDC with all the modules you would have wanted it to have is unreasonable, because that isn't actually bourne out in the game mechanics.  If your mountain stronghold could just be loaded up into a transport and flown to another planet, that is really weird and unpleasant.  For that matter, if said mountain stronghold was meant to hold ammo, and it actually cant, then you are left with it coming under attack and having to figure out your own mechanics, and executing them yourself regarding what happens to the planetary missile stocks in relation to that.  The PDC system pretty much took care of all of that.  Established mechanics on how many missiles it could hold, and what happens if that stockpile gets shot by a laser or whatever.  I mean, for that matter, you can attack and take control of PDCs, and garrison them with different kinds of units.  How would you even model that in the new system?  It seems like it could potentially get sniped out from under the 'garrison' units by attacking ground troops without any real chance of the garrison units even being effected, since all the ground units would be lumped together into one giant army.

Editing THAT to reflect what you want would be at the point where you need to get the DB password from Steve, and literally adjusting the game data to reflect what you want it to reflect, presumably every combat cycle, which is just totally outside what most people want to do when they are playing a game.  The game is a world that they do stuff in, not some vaguely useful tool that helps you sometimes, and hinders you other times when it makes changes to your ground units that are against your personal rules.

Aurora may have started out as a tool, but its generally understood that it has long since moved past being that.

Very few people want to go to the trouble as well, as far as I know they tend to start asking questions about why they are bothering playing the game at all instead of just playing around with fun ideas in their head while doing something else entirely.  Its a heck of a lot easier to do that, I can tell you, and its what I'd be thinking at that point.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 19, 2017, 08:25:24 AM
First screenshots of ground unit design window. This tab is for the design of individual unit classes (a single vehicle, soldier or gun emplacement). For the STO option, the mount includes the weapon, a reactor of the exact size needed for the recharge rate and a built-in beam fire control with a 4x range modifier. The cost is equal to the static platform, the weapon, the reactor and half the fire control. STO weapons have a 25% bonus to fire control range. The damage shows two numbers, which is the damage at minimum and maximum range.

The next stage (on a separate tab) is combining unit classes to create formation templates. You might have a template consisting solely of 500 Stormtroopers or you might combine different unit classes into a single template. More on that when I finish the tab.

BTW I just noticed a couple of bugs (I don't display the tracking speed of the STO unit class and the cost for the capabilities isn't in the mineral requirements). I'll fix it but can't be bothered redoing the screenshots :)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground01.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground02.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground03.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground04.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground05.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground06.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground07.PNG)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 19, 2017, 10:16:15 AM
I'll fix it but can't be bothered redoing the screenshots :)

Could you show one or two pictures of the fixed version?


As a suggestion, move the Additional Components selection window to the place currently occupied by Armour type and shift the Capability and Armour Type lists one spot to the right. This would let you turn the Component Type list into a dead list of component types and lets you select components from the Components selection window.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: DuraniumCowboy on November 19, 2017, 12:09:51 PM
Any way to consider adding mechs?

Also, maybe consider a "component" for law enforcement applications (like "non-lethal weapons").  The thought being that conventional forces aren't normally ideal for police work.  I think using police units in combat and vice versa might have some trade offs.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: jonw on November 19, 2017, 12:32:19 PM
Sexy! I'm assuming planetary CIWS functions as normal ship CIWS? Would it counter missiles directed against shipyards? Is atmosphere ignored for the STO weapons, and can other beam weapons than lasers be used?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 19, 2017, 01:58:53 PM
Sexy! I'm assuming planetary CIWS functions as normal ship CIWS? Would it counter missiles directed against shipyards? Is atmosphere ignored for the STO weapons, and can other beam weapons than lasers be used?

Yes, planetary CIWS is the same as ship CIWS. Atmosphere no longer affects combat. Other beam weapons can be used.

I hadn't considered shipyards. It is effectively the same location though so perhaps planetary CIWS should protect them. I'll give it some thought.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 19, 2017, 02:02:14 PM
Any way to consider adding mechs?

Also, maybe consider a "component" for law enforcement applications (like "non-lethal weapons").  The thought being that conventional forces aren't normally ideal for police work.  I think using police units in combat and vice versa might have some trade offs.

You can name the units in any way you see fit. So you could create an ultra-heavy vehicle design and call it a Titan, or Mech, or AT-AT. Whatever best suits the parent race.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on November 19, 2017, 03:21:48 PM
It kindof looks like a no at the moment, but would it be possible to have a super heavy armored vehicle that is just a surface to orbit weapons platform?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Scandinavian on November 19, 2017, 04:25:29 PM
The size ratios seem off to me. Looking at the table in the screenshots, a technical (light vehicle with a light crew-operated AP weapon and no armor to speak of) is size 30, while the two guys with RPGs riding along in the bed (infantry, no armor, light AT weapons) are a total size of 32. Clearly this can't be right.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Shiwanabe on November 19, 2017, 05:35:52 PM
So, there are a few oddities and bugs that I noticed. If you're got the bugs already, good, but I feel better getting them noted where you can see (sorry about stream of consciousness, was making notes as I read and analysed):

-Minerals vs cost; the final cost for specialised units is correctly calculated, but the minerals cost isn't. (cost .31 vs vendarite .2 for the Catachan Jungle Fighters)

-No indication of number of slots for a given type; I'm left slightly confused where the barrier for the secondary slots is. It'll be better in game, when I can just switch but it'll add more overhead for learning what to research if it's not easily available information.

-Lots of acronyms, no visible translations; What is max SF? AR I eventually got, but that's weird as well with Base and Racial - Might be better to just show Racial as that's what's used in the final unit.

-Surface to Orbit weapon ranges limited by Beam Fire Control Range, but FC Range is not listed on page while Speed is.

-Rifts world type but no specialisation?

-StO guns seem oddly small, base weapon+reactor+FC size with no turret? I can't say for certain as I can't see what techs you have, but they seem a bit small compared to what I remember my turrets coming to.


Other notes and things that feel weird to me:

-Construction equipment is vehicle; I'm not certain how you're doing this, but personally I feel that construction is done by infantry with vehicular support. While this could be just for building that vehicular support, it just feels weird to me that the construction equipment is not a large module for infantry.

-Infantry can't carry AP >20, but Heavy infantry can be AR 30; I don't think everything should automatically be able to pen itself, but it's odd that infantry units can become heavily armored enough to be un-pennable by infantry grade weapons. And this includes the anti-tank stuff they can carry. At current RL tech, this is hugely skewed in the other direction where infantry would be able to carry stuff with ~AP40, while having maybe AR10.

-NO ability to increase health at cost of output; Bulkhead equivalents. Kinda like the armored Magazines for missiles.

-StO cannot be placed on Mobile; It's odd that the superheavy stuff can't carry even the small examples of this.



The size ratios seem off to me. Looking at the table in the screenshots, a technical (light vehicle with a light crew-operated AP weapon and no armor to speak of) is size 30, while the two guys with RPGs riding along in the bed (infantry, no armor, light AT weapons) are a total size of 32. Clearly this can't be right.

I think you might be underestimating how much is abstracted away.

technical - vehicle, light AP weapon, min armour: 18+12+2//32
RPG 'guy' - infantry, light Anti-tank, min armour:  0+16+1//17

While this does mean that you're getting just under 2 RPGs for each technical, you're not necessarily only getting one person per RPG.

I do however feel that this might need to be adjusted as when you compare like for like:

technical - vehicle, light AP weapon, min armour: 18+12+2//32 - HP 40, shots 1/5.333size
Soldier - infantry, personal, powered armour:  0+5+2//7 - HP10, shots 1/7size

Or maybe not. Size for Size, they're fairly even. The technical gets more shots but is only one unit so anti-tank is more dangerous. While the Infantry has slightly more health with the 'bonus' of being split into units.

It's looking like it might be a case where you want better armour until they can beat it, then you want to use the smallest thing that can beat their armour. I guess it's spreadsheets time. ;)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 19, 2017, 06:40:06 PM
@Steve Walmsley how do specializations stack? Do the cost multiplications compound or do they provide a flat modifier?

Static should probably come with options for heavier armour; while shipboard weapons would basically trump anything that could be used to armour a static position, this is less true of groundforces, and it would let players (hopefully comparatively cheaply) create heavily protected static positions. I mean, right now heavy power armour infantry has a 4% chance of being penetrated by a heavy anti vehicle weapon (given that (60/30)^2 equals 4), but the odds of a static position being penetrated by the same weapon is 36%, with the same fortification ratings on the defense. Unless Static Units are really cheap to construct and maintain in a ground defense role this means that using them to depict elaborate fixed fortifications even their increased health pool doesn't really provide a benefit in comparison. Never mind their much greater size.

While I see no issue with the large size of the HQs, the sheer number of support personnel needed to run an HQ would certainly justify it, right now you can squeeze a size 800 Divisional HQ onto a size 18 vehicle. Which seems to run counter to the amount of vehicular support you'd need to effectively put an HQ on wheels.

I'd like to propose two more specialisations: Poisonous Atmosphere Combat, for those planets where the atmosphere either is toxic or has been terraformed into toxicity, which would need special training and equipment to deal with, and Urban Combat, for those planets where the dominant terrain has become, well, urban terrain.

-Lots of acronyms, no visible translations; What is max SF? AR I eventually got, but that's weird as well with Base and Racial - Might be better to just show Racial as that's what's used in the final unit.

Actually, good question. What is]/b] maxSF?

-Rifts world type but no specialisation?

Presumably mountain combat.

-Construction equipment is vehicle; I'm not certain how you're doing this, but personally I feel that construction is done by infantry with vehicular support. While this could be just for building that vehicular support, it just feels weird to me that the construction equipment is not a large module for infantry.

Given it's size 100 that seems reasonable to me, so long as it's exclusive to infantry. Given that Construction equipment is IIRC not meant to be representative of things like combat engineers but literal construction equipment meant to build fortifications, infrastructure and other militarily useful buildings.

-Infantry can't carry AP >20, but Heavy infantry can be AR 30; I don't think everything should automatically be able to pen itself, but it's odd that infantry units can become heavily armored enough to be un-pennable by infantry grade weapons. And this includes the anti-tank stuff they can carry. At current RL tech, this is hugely skewed in the other direction where infantry would be able to carry stuff with ~AP40, while having maybe AR10.

You mean AR 0. Personal armour provides in no way sufficient protection from even a light AT weapon even on a near miss, which can and often does do major internal damage. A direct hit means they can wash the poor bugger off the walls. Depicting modern day warfare of infantry vs an AT weapon involves depending on Fortification ratings to force enemy attacks to miss and to hope for the enemy to run out of munitions.

AT weapons may be rather effective when wielded against personnel, but they're also rather limited in the amount of shots you can fire.

Anyway, Heavy Powered Armour would effectively provide every infantryman with his own Infantry Fighting Vehicle in a smaller package, so... Yeah. It'd mean that all else being equal HPA attacking HPA with their heaviest armour piercing weapons penetrates less than once in 200 shots that hit. That's going to be expensive.

-NO ability to increase health at cost of output; Bulkhead equivalents. Kinda like the armored Magazines for missiles.

Sure there is; better armour and rather more directly, putting more units into a formation. Also, armour tech IIRC is meant to impact HP ratings.

-StO cannot be placed on Mobile; It's odd that the superheavy stuff can't carry even the small examples of this.

Ultra heavy vehicles should probably be able to carry Surface to Orbit weaponry, but only if that's their only mount. Then again, the size of those guns keeps growing, so eventually even that won't be enough, and coding the exception that ultra heavies with StO guns can only carry one component might not be worth the effort.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel on November 19, 2017, 08:57:46 PM
The construction equipment here is not shovels and picks. Even today, military construction units like the US Corps of Engineers are 100% motorized. You need all sorts of specialized tractors and trucks to achieve anything significant in the timeframes of modern combat. I'm absolutely fine with restricting construction / combat engineer capability to vehicles. Though in the name of modularity, having a light construction capability for infantry (picks & shovels) and heavy construction capability for vehicles (tractors etc) would allow the creation of support units as part of combat brigades as well as specialized construction/engineering brigades.

Can't wait to get to play with the templates!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 20, 2017, 12:24:42 AM
I like the look of it.  I'm glad there's a FC range bonus for STO units. Hopefully that will be enough to stave off people sitting 10,000km outside the STO range for however long it takes to kill the STO,
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on November 21, 2017, 06:23:21 AM
I belive the much-questioned "SF" is Surface Fortification - i.e. the maximum benefit the unit can gain from hiding in terrain.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TCD on November 21, 2017, 10:57:10 AM
I like the look of it.  I'm glad there's a FC range bonus for STO units. Hopefully that will be enough to stave off people sitting 10,000km outside the STO range for however long it takes to kill the STO,
I'm not sure that holds true, as effective range is so technology and size dependent, although this will certainly help. I guess this will help protect your planet against attack from fighters, FACs, smaller warships etc and force you to bring in the battleships if you want to try and outfight planetary defenses. That seems a pretty good end result, imho.

The option for cheap planet wide CIWS is also very interesting, that could make glassing a heavily defended planet much more expensive. Especially <not so subtle hint> if Steve take up my suggestion for planet wide ECM and ECCM facilities!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 21, 2017, 11:04:55 AM
How could planetwide ECM work?  I don't see that there's any way you could make them miss a planet.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TCD on November 21, 2017, 11:15:22 AM
How could planetwide ECM work?  I don't see that there's any way you could make them miss a planet.
You could make them miss their specific target on the planet though.

And its not spelled out how ECM works full stop. If its about tricking missiles into exploding prematurely then that works for a planet as much as for a battleship.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 21, 2017, 12:15:14 PM
It kindof looks like a no at the moment, but would it be possible to have a super heavy armored vehicle that is just a surface to orbit weapons platform?

The primary defence of STO units will be their fortification level (as they are 100% to hit when targeted by ships). As static units can be fortified a lot higher than vehicles, it would not be a good idea to place the STO on a vehicle.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 21, 2017, 12:16:59 PM
I belive the much-questioned "SF" is Surface Fortification - i.e. the maximum benefit the unit can gain from hiding in terrain.

Max Fort is maximum fortification level. Max SF is maximum self-fortification level. To achieve the max fort you will need assistance from a construction unit.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on November 21, 2017, 12:23:33 PM
Basically I like the idea of a gigantic super robot that can bring spacecraft to their knees.  Regardless of practicality, would it be reasonable to give them the ability to do that?  To be clear its not something hugely important either way, but if its as simple as adding a line somewhere then I am totally going to request that.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 21, 2017, 01:15:20 PM
Max Fort is maximum fortification level. Max SF is maximum self-fortification level. To achieve the max fort you will need assistance from a construction unit.

Max fortification level is changed by terrain. Does meeting the max fortification on a mountain or jungle world require assistance for units that have a max fort and max SF values that are equal?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TCD on November 21, 2017, 02:13:32 PM
Basically I like the idea of a gigantic super robot that can bring spacecraft to their knees.  Regardless of practicality, would it be reasonable to give them the ability to do that?  To be clear its not something hugely important either way, but if its as simple as adding a line somewhere then I am totally going to request that.
Isn't that an ultra-heavy vehicle with a 25cm laser called a "Death Mech"?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 21, 2017, 05:06:38 PM
Will we have StO missile launchers?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 22, 2017, 03:11:19 AM
Max fortification level is changed by terrain. Does meeting the max fortification on a mountain or jungle world require assistance for units that have a max fort and max SF values that are equal?

Max fortification level remains the same but a unit's fortification level is multiplied by the terrain modifier.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on November 24, 2017, 05:43:41 PM
Can't we keep PDCs? Frankly, I don't think anything but a truly long range missile capability is going to discourage glassing ground troops instead of trying to dig them out.
Beam armed ground troops seem improbable to me like titans. A several hundred ton heavy weapon is not easily moved around on roads, and is very conspicuous and vulnerable unless it is deployed in prepared, hidden and preferably armored positions, which is pretty much the description of a PDC
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Person012345 on November 24, 2017, 06:24:23 PM
Can't we keep PDCs? Frankly, I don't think anything but a truly long range missile capability is going to discourage glassing ground troops instead of trying to dig them out.
Beam armed ground troops seem improbable to me like titans. A several hundred ton heavy weapon is not easily moved around on roads, and is very conspicuous and vulnerable unless it is deployed in prepared, hidden and preferably armored positions, which is pretty much the description of a PDC
I don't see how a heavy missile platform would discourage glassing troops. It'd just mean they'd have to glass the PDC first.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on November 25, 2017, 12:01:07 AM
Well I mean, you'd expect the long range missile base to kill the attackers before the attackers can kill it.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Person012345 on November 25, 2017, 03:53:06 AM
Well I mean, you'd expect the long range missile base to kill the attackers before the attackers can kill it.
This has nothing to do with dissuading glassing tactics. A fleet, which is still in the game, serves the same purpose. This isn't the point of anything. A long range missile base does nothing to encourage ground invasions, which is implied to be the point by the part of his post that says "instead of trying to dig them out". The conversation is only relevant to gameplay once the attacker is in a position to invade, and PDCs don't encourage invasion over glassing. So I fail to see his point. If the objective is, quote, "to discourage glassing ground troops instead of trying to dig them out" then the entrenchment system will do it better than a "long range missile base".
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 25, 2017, 04:40:50 AM
There is only 1 thing that encourages invasion over glassing; the cost vs benefit analysis of occupation versus obliteration.

If it's deemed more profitable to invade for any reason, economic, moral or otherwise, an invasion force will be provided. For anything else the planet will either be cut from the enemy supply lines to leave enemy troops and colonies to wither on the vine, or be shot until nothing is left.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 25, 2017, 04:54:01 AM
There is only 1 thing that encourages invasion over glassing; the cost vs benefit analysis of occupation versus obliteration.

That is true for VB6 Aurora. It probably won't be in C# Aurora. When you can churn out CIWS ground units to protect a planet for less than 50 BP each, it is going to be hard to get missile strikes on a well defended planet. Taking on the CIWS units with beam-armed ships is going to be hard if there are numerous, well-fortified energy weapons on the planet (plus the CIWS will be fortified too).

In this scenario, the best way to take the planet could be a single, large wave of drop ships to deliver an invasion force. Those invading ground forces can't be harmed by the CIWS and STO units, so the planet's defending ground forces will have to be sufficient to defend the CIWS and STO units.

As these are ground units and not PDCs, you can also quickly deliver a substantial defending force to a new colony, which is much harder in VB6 Aurora.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Zincat on November 25, 2017, 05:10:22 AM
I'm really looking forward to being able to play those scenarios Steve XD
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 25, 2017, 08:20:26 AM
That is true for VB6 Aurora. It probably won't be in C# Aurora. When you can churn out CIWS ground units to protect a planet for less than 50 BP each, it is going to be hard to get missile strikes on a well defended planet. Taking on the CIWS units with beam-armed ships is going to be hard if there are numerous, well-fortified energy weapons on the planet (plus the CIWS will be fortified too).

In this scenario, the best way to take the planet could be a single, large wave of drop ships to deliver an invasion force. Those invading ground forces can't be harmed by the CIWS and STO units, so the planet's defending ground forces will have to be sufficient to defend the CIWS and STO units.

As these are ground units and not PDCs, you can also quickly deliver a substantial defending force to a new colony, which is much harder in VB6 Aurora.

Depending on defense vs offense that could be a large wave of small dropships with little armour or a small number of large dropships with lots of armour.

Knowing Aurora it'd be a lot of ships with no armour though. Energy weapons especially in this game make thick armour schemes prohibitively expensive at peer technology levels.

That said, box launched missile bombardment might be another answer to massive stacks of CIWS, if one with horrible reload times, so long as you use dedicated bombardment ships. All you need to do is establish a resupply point as close in system as possible.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on November 25, 2017, 09:45:47 AM
That is true for VB6 Aurora. It probably won't be in C# Aurora. When you can churn out CIWS ground units to protect a planet for less than 50 BP each, it is going to be hard to get missile strikes on a well defended planet. Taking on the CIWS units with beam-armed ships is going to be hard if there are numerous, well-fortified energy weapons on the planet (plus the CIWS will be fortified too).

In this scenario, the best way to take the planet could be a single, large wave of drop ships to deliver an invasion force. Those invading ground forces can't be harmed by the CIWS and STO units, so the planet's defending ground forces will have to be sufficient to defend the CIWS and STO units.

As these are ground units and not PDCs, you can also quickly deliver a substantial defending force to a new colony, which is much harder in VB6 Aurora.

Fortified just screams PDC to me, and not ground troops. If ground troops open fire, their locations are identified, and no amount of cover is going to help against the bombardment. Unless you build bunkers, which should cost resources. And if you build bunkers, and put missile launchers into them, you have yourself a PDC. And overall for the PDCs, I don't see any reason why you should not be able to build them in some form or shape. In while free maintenance can be exploited, I also would like to somehow retain fighter bases on planets, so it is rather maintenance that should be fixed.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 25, 2017, 10:47:55 AM
I understand that some people still want PDCs in C# Aurora. However, that won't happen. They don't exist anywhere in the code and have been replaced by the new ground combat system (which will be more integrated into the game than PDCs). VB6 Aurora will still be around if the lack of PDCs is a game-breaker.

In regard to fortifications, when assisted by construction units these will be seriously dug-in units, especially in rough terrain. Just firing won't be enough to render the fortifications ineffective. For STO combat, the model I had in mind for this was the surface-to-orbit combat in the Human Reach series. The two books are mentioned in this thread.

http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=3907.0

For ground combat, consider how much resistance the Japanese put up on fortified islands in WW2 when completely outgunned and with a total lack of air cover.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 25, 2017, 10:51:17 AM
That said, box launched missile bombardment might be another answer to massive stacks of CIWS, if one with horrible reload times, so long as you use dedicated bombardment ships. All you need to do is establish a resupply point as close in system as possible.

Yes, I was thinking about mass box launchers. An integrated defence probably needs AMM bases in orbit. These are protected against energy-range combat by ground-based energy weapons and they provide long-range missile defence. CIWS ground units provide the primary defence against small missile waves and backup defence for the bases vs a large wave. We could even see planetary sieges where everything else in the system is lost but the planetary defences are too strong to crack.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 25, 2017, 11:24:29 AM
I was pretty against removing PDC's, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea.

Consider this: No two fortifications in real life are identical.  So why, in VB6 Aurora, do we build PDC's following standardized designs?  Why is a PDC on Earth, which presumably could be 10km under Mount Everest, equally armored as that same PDC on some Oort Cloud dustball that's barely 1km across?

The only solution to this I can see, is to abstract away the design of the fortification and make terrain and geology factor into its stats.

But this does raise a question.  Will StO units be able to fire on targets on other bodies?  I'm thinking of a laser battery on Mars frying targets on Phobos, or visa versa.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Zincat on November 25, 2017, 12:09:22 PM
I was pretty against removing PDC's, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea.

Consider this: No two fortifications in real life are identical.  So why, in VB6 Aurora, do we build PDC's following standardized designs?  Why is a PDC on Earth, which presumably could be 10km under Mount Everest, equally armored as that same PDC on some Oort Cloud dustball that's barely 1km across?

The only solution to this I can see, is to abstract away the design of the fortification and make terrain and geology factor into its stats.

Consider that PDC  could be broken in pieces and transported elsewhere. It makes even LESS sense. So... say you build a prefab missile complex. How do you actually move it to another planet, and THEN dig under a mountain and.. put it there? How?
Defensive installations have always been tailored to the place they are deployed to. Making a prefab thing that can then be equally tailored to everywhere makes no sense.

The fortification level due to terrain does indeed make a lot more sense.

But this does raise a question.  Will StO units be able to fire on targets on other bodies?  I'm thinking of a laser battery on Mars frying targets on Phobos, or visa versa.

That's an interesting question! Awaiting Steve's answer.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 25, 2017, 12:11:59 PM
I'm not sure about AMM orbital stations; it'd depend on CIWS ground unit cost effectiveness compared to building and maintaining a station.

A worthy concern; how do we upgrade ground units?

For ground units that don't interact with the space combat part of Aurora it's implied that this automatically upgrades as new technology is developed. But for units with CIWS and StO components that's going to be really odd.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 25, 2017, 12:16:51 PM
But this does raise a question.  Will StO units be able to fire on targets on other bodies?  I'm thinking of a laser battery on Mars frying targets on Phobos, or visa versa.

Good question. It would have no problem firing on ships or bases in orbit of another body, but I assume you mean ground units on the surface of the other body. I don't see any reason why an STO unit on a separate body could not be treated the same as a ship for purposes of either engaging STO units or providing bombardment support. Will make for some interesting coding :) but should be possible.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 25, 2017, 12:19:09 PM
I'm not sure about AMM orbital stations; it'd depend on CIWS ground unit cost effectiveness compared to building and maintaining a station.

A worthy concern; how do we upgrade ground units?

For ground units that don't interact with the space combat part of Aurora it's implied that this automatically upgrades as new technology is developed. But for units with CIWS and StO components that's going to be really odd.

Ground units don't automatically upgrade. They will stay with the technology at the level they were created. If you want improved ground units, you will have to replace them. I'll create some form of cadre system though so you can retain high morale units.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 25, 2017, 12:36:55 PM
Ground units don't automatically upgrade. They will stay with the technology at the level they were created. If you want improved ground units, you will have to replace them. I'll create some form of cadre system though so you can retain high morale units.

Ah, good.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 25, 2017, 01:33:11 PM
More ground design screenshots. This tab is for the design of Formation Templates, which are the equivalent of Ground Unit Types from VB6 Aurora. Each template can have an unlimited number of Template Elements. Each Template Element has a specific number of specific Ground Unit Class (design of which is shown in the earlier screenshots). You can create Formation Templates using the New Button, then select and add Unit Classes to the Formation Template using the Add Units button.

As shown here, you can create a infantry regiment with inherent light anti-tank, or light bombardment elements to create a more rounded formation. Once a template is created, you will be able to build Formations based on that Template. A Formation is the equivalent of a Ground Unit from VB6 Aurora and will be moved and controlled as a single entity, although in combat each element can attack separately if desired. Individual units within a template element will fire on hostile targets and can be destroyed individually. I'll go into more detail on combat once I create the tabs for ground force organisation and ground combat.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground08.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground09.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground10.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground11.PNG)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 25, 2017, 01:56:15 PM
In regard to fortifications, when assisted by construction units these will be seriously dug-in units, especially in rough terrain. Just firing won't be enough to render the fortifications ineffective. For STO combat, the model I had in mind for this was the surface-to-orbit combat in the Human Reach series. The two books are mentioned in this thread.
lol. I kept wanting to use the lasers in that as examples of how fortified STO might work.  No wonder it fits.

For those who havent read those books, one of the characters is a gunner manning a planetary defense laser system on a colony world.  The systems consist of widely spread out and dug in underground lasers that individually have a number of hidden and camouflaged emitters they can bounce their beam to, giving them a massive amount of redundancy.   
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 25, 2017, 03:21:35 PM
Steve, what's the development cost?

I don't see it in the pictures of the various unit types, but it shows up in the formation building pictures.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 25, 2017, 05:15:43 PM
Can we get some info on boarding combat in the new version?  What units might be good?  Only infantry?  What about light static weapons?  I'm thinking of something like a Browning .50cal machine gun guarding an important hallway.  They're small enough to easily fit inside a ship, but too big to really be considered an infantry weapon.

What about automated internal defenses?  I'm imagining turrets on the ceilings that kill anyone not wearing an ID transponder.

Will space-ship crews have a fortification level?

And a related suggestion:
Knowledge, or lack thereof, should affect the stats of combatants inside ships.  Defenders during boarding combat should have some kind of combat bonus or attackers should take penalties.  These penalties should decrease as more ships of that class are salvaged, and should immediately be removed if any ships of that class are captured.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on November 25, 2017, 05:21:22 PM
Ground units don't automatically upgrade. They will stay with the technology at the level they were created. If you want improved ground units, you will have to replace them. I'll create some form of cadre system though so you can retain high morale units.

Maybe something like missile series could be used but for ground equipment instead here if you want to include that in the future?

If a new ground equipment model is designed it's connected to the same "series" as the previous , and then you simply want enough equipment/vehicles available to fill the formations ( latest type drawn first ).

The Guard Infantry Regiment would have the following types defined:
600 INF - PW
12 INF - HCAP
24 INF - CAP
12 INF - LB
12 INF - LAV

Upgrading in such a situation would simply push obsolete equipment from active formations into reserve ( where it could either be used as spares in case of combat losses, or dismantled, or used to train some second rate units for suppression or other needs ).

That all depends on how complex and detailed you want to go with production of equipment & vehicles though.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 25, 2017, 05:53:17 PM
Can we get some info on boarding combat in the new version?  What units might be good?  Only infantry?  What about light static weapons?  I'm thinking of something like a Browning .50cal machine gun guarding an important hallway.  They're small enough to easily fit inside a ship, but too big to really be considered an infantry weapon.

A Browning would be a Heavy Crew Served Anti Personnel team.

That all depends on how complex and detailed you want to go with production of equipment & vehicles though.

'Cadre and retrain' fits the current Aurora system for upgrading lower tech ground units to higher tech ground units though; it's how you go from Newtonian tech units to TN tech units.

I think it'd be sensible if there's 3 ways to replace lower tech units with new ones, in descending order of cost; Disband and replace with a new unit from a GFTF, Cadre and retrain with that Cadre at a GFTF, and finally shipping the entire unit to a GFTF (or ship a GFTF to them, if the planet warrants it) and get a greater discount on training a new unit than going with a Cadre would've been.

The major issue with cadres in the free form unit design that we're working with is that there's no guarantee that a future unit will be the same size, so shifting cadres around for training can get odd. OTOH, going ultradetailed with every unit being a specifically researched unit that has to be designed, researched and then build in a GFTF or construction factory from minerals before shipping them to their designated unit is a micro management mess that HOI4 gets away with by automating, but would result in madness in Aurora.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on November 25, 2017, 06:01:50 PM
The major issue with cadres in the free form unit design that we're working with is that there's no guarantee that a future unit will be the same size, so shifting cadres around for training can get odd. OTOH, going ultradetailed with every unit being a specifically researched unit that has to be designed, researched and then build in a GFTF or construction factory from minerals before shipping them to their designated unit is a micro management mess that HOI4 gets away with by automating, but would result in madness in Aurora.

I don't think it would be especially hard to add automation of similar ( or even superior) level as HoI4 to Aurora.

For example a button in production that would queue up all needed equipment/vehicles for X amount of a specific template for production. With some clever coding you could also re-use it to add a function for your factories to build all needed components for X amount of a ship that they can build.

And it would IMHO make sense if your fighter factories became generic "small vehicle/equipment" factories instead, especially now that there will be ground combat airplanes too.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 26, 2017, 06:33:46 AM
The major issue with cadres in the free form unit design that we're working with is that there's no guarantee that a future unit will be the same size, so shifting cadres around for training can get odd. OTOH, going ultradetailed with every unit being a specifically researched unit that has to be designed, researched and then build in a GFTF or construction factory from minerals before shipping them to their designated unit is a micro management mess that HOI4 gets away with by automating, but would result in madness in Aurora.

Formations will be built as a whole, not as individual units. Once the formation template is created, the total cost and mineral requirement will be used by a GFTF to build a formation based on that template, complete with all formation elements and individual units.

I haven't decided how to handle cadres yet (although see last para). Morale will be handled at the formation element level, not the formation level. So you could have an elite group of tanks and conscript infantry in the same formation.

You will be able to transfer individual units between elements in different formation, so the easiest way to replace casualties will be to create 'Replacement Formations' with a mixture of common unit types and use these to fill in any holes in Formation OOBs. You can also add extra (or different) units beyond the OOB - Formations are not restricted to their original template. In fact, once created every formation will be unique. The templates are just for the original build. Just as in real life, formations will evolve over time and two formations with the same original template could end up quite different.

For the 'cadre' mechanic, I am leaning toward an option where two units exchange formation elements but the morale rating remain with the original formation:
1) You have a formation element of sixty Mark 1 Heavy Tanks with high morale.
2) You build a replacement formation with an element of sixty MK II heavy tanks.
3) The two elements are swapped between the different formations but the element with the high morale transfers that morale to the newer tanks. I will base the morale on size, so if the new tanks are larger the morale will be diluted (but smaller size will not mean higher morale). The older tanks can either be used in a lower morale formation or stored for emergency use (I'll add a way to mothball old equipment at low maintenance cost).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 26, 2017, 06:37:54 AM
Can we get some info on boarding combat in the new version?  What units might be good?  Only infantry?  What about light static weapons?  I'm thinking of something like a Browning .50cal machine gun guarding an important hallway.  They're small enough to easily fit inside a ship, but too big to really be considered an infantry weapon.

What about automated internal defenses?  I'm imagining turrets on the ceilings that kill anyone not wearing an ID transponder.

Will space-ship crews have a fortification level?

And a related suggestion:
Knowledge, or lack thereof, should affect the stats of combatants inside ships.  Defenders during boarding combat should have some kind of combat bonus or attackers should take penalties.  These penalties should decrease as more ships of that class are salvaged, and should immediately be removed if any ships of that class are captured.

All very interesting ideas. Only infantry units will be allowed in boarding combat and they will be able to use all normal infantry weapons. I agree there should be some form of natural fortification for defending units. I really like the concept of a shipboard module that adds defence against boarding combat. Could also have infantry units (marines) stationed aboard ships for defensive purposes. Also, the lack of knowledge would be important so probably should also be built in.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 26, 2017, 08:06:35 AM
Formations will be built as a whole, not as individual units. Once the formation template is created, the total cost and mineral requirement will be used by a GFTF to build a formation based on that template, complete with all formation elements and individual units.

That's reasonable. Do they get a discount if there's excess materiel on the planet already? Like if you shrink a template so you can make more formations with the same amount of equipment (this actually happened to let Germany in WW2 field more armoured divisions on the Eastern Front)?

I haven't decided how to handle cadres yet (although see last para). Morale will be handled at the formation element level, not the formation level. So you could have an elite group of tanks and conscript infantry in the same formation.

Fairly realistic, especially if a hard fight ended up with most of the infantry in the formation dead.

You will be able to transfer individual units between elements in different formation, so the easiest way to replace casualties will be to create 'Replacement Formations' with a mixture of common unit types and use these to fill in any holes in Formation OOBs. You can also add extra (or different) units beyond the OOB - Formations are not restricted to their original template. In fact, once created every formation will be unique. The templates are just for the original build. Just as in real life, formations will evolve over time and two formations with the same original template could end up quite different.

Ah, micromanagement hell. Please tell me there's a way to return formations to template (which is really handy when you design your formations and transportation on the basis of as little wasted space as possible), ways to link evolving templates so you can update multiple formations quickly, and to rebuild damaged formations at a GFTF. Also important due to the frontline and backline mechanic, is there a way to designate a formation as a Replacement Formation that should be kept on the backline if possible?

For the 'cadre' mechanic, I am leaning toward an option where two units exchange formation elements but the morale rating remain with the original formation:
1) You have a formation element of sixty Mark 1 Heavy Tanks with high morale.
2) You build a replacement formation with an element of sixty MK II heavy tanks.
3) The two elements are swapped between the different formations but the element with the high morale transfers that morale to the newer tanks. I will base the morale on size, so if the new tanks are larger the morale will be diluted (but smaller size will not mean higher morale). The older tanks can either be used in a lower morale formation or stored for emergency use (I'll add a way to mothball old equipment at low maintenance cost).

Or scrapping old equipment. Please make that an option.

Mothballing ground equipment is going to make mothballing ships a desired option though. And this is micromanagement demanding. Please make it possible to just shove a formation into a GFTF for a while for it to be refitted. We can already do that with ships.

All very interesting ideas. Only infantry units will be allowed in boarding combat and they will be able to use all normal infantry weapons. I agree there should be some form of natural fortification for defending units. I really like the concept of a shipboard module that adds defence against boarding combat. Could also have infantry units (marines) stationed aboard ships for defensive purposes. Also, the lack of knowledge would be important so probably should also be built in.

We already have that module; infantry with the Shipboard Combat skill (that is, marines) stuffed into a transportation bay.

With these changes to the ground forces system, consider letting ground force transportation equipment either add to life support or to draw life support depending on Size. Probably both is better, but with lower efficiency than extra crew space does. Also please consider creating a ground forces personnel pool the same way there's a crewmen pool. Or let navy and army units draw from the same military personnel pool.

I'm still curious about the 'Development Cost' we see in the Formation Design window. What does it mean?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 26, 2017, 08:34:04 AM
Scrapping old equipment will be possible. I can also add some way to 'refit' a formation to a given template in the GFTF (not just the original one), although I think the more flexible system will be more interesting. Real world formations rarely correspond to their original OOB. As a result of combat, changing to match enemy capabilities and availability of equipment, formations will evolve over time. I'll see how it works out in play test.

Development cost is the research cost for a new Ground Unit Class (like researching a new missile).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 26, 2017, 09:21:59 AM
Scrapping old equipment will be possible. I can also add some way to 'refit' a formation to a given template in the GFTF (not just the original one), although I think the more flexible system will be more interesting. Real world formations rarely correspond to their original OOB. As a result of combat, changing to match enemy capabilities and availability of equipment, formations will evolve over time. I'll see how it works out in play test.

Oh, there's no reason I think not to also make the more flexible system available for things like consolidating units on the battlefield or shifting unit capabilities to where they are needed, for example if the enemy is fielding a lot of vehicles you need more AT units in the front lines.

But there's a difference between a Table of Ordnance & Equipment and the Order Of Battle. The latter describes how a formation is organised in personnel and capability, the former describes what it's got in specific weapons. And the TO&E is a lot more flexible as weapons are more likely to be swapped around than the organisation of the formation is. Once out of combat the OOB at minimum will be rectified prior to redeployment by removing units not on the OOB and replenishing units that got removed due to losses.

Well, if possible. That's an important constraint, if possible.

But on the whole nearly every military formation will be kept as close to its OOB and TO&E as possible with little divergence, and with little divergence between formations with the same roles. Mostly because there's an optimization sweet spot that a formation is meant to hit that gets you a formation that's flexible enough to meet expected problems with speed and skill, and meets unexpected problems well enough to get reinforced or otherwise supported by those who specialize in dealing with those problems. While not getting buried in logistics snarls.

Development cost is the research cost for a new Ground Unit Class (like researching a new missile).

I figured, but I wanted confirmation. Some of those things are expensive, Research point wise.

Which is rather realistic, given that the two that stand out are a super heavy tank and a shipscale 25cm laser.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 26, 2017, 10:14:23 AM
it could work like class missile loadouts: formations have priority ratings like ships do, the system checks formations by priority ratings, fills them up with missing equipment til it hits their rated size and then swaps out the most common vehicle with the highest xp in the formation that's not in the template and replace it with the least common vehicle that is for as long as it has a supply of vehicles that should be in the formation's template.  I believe that should work without requiring vehicles to be assigned a 'series' or requiring the game to assume that two vehicles with equivalent configurations but different tech are in the same series. Elements could also be assigned priorities so that cadres tend to gravitate towards the best available equpment, perhaps with the caveat that infantry has to stay infantry.

I am not sure how lethal combat is but given the timeframes involved in a combat round it seems like it'll be less WW2 and more Battle of Hoth.  Wars will be relatively short and incredibly violent.  I dont know how much time there is for a formation to adapt, loot, reconfigure, etc. in that environment.  Fortunately it also means that logistics are not a real concern.

///////


It just struck me that dropship design is under question since now ground unit size is highly variable.  Combat drop bay size will have to be modular or players will design to breakpoints.  Went and looked up real life equivalents out of curiousity:

the C-130 transport plane has an empty weight of 33 tons and can seat 64 paratroopers/72 combat troops or 2 APCs. Call that 64 guardsmen, or 2 hellhounds.  In terms of Aurora that would work out to 320 space, or 84.  It would take ~13 c-130s to transport a Guard Regiment using the infantry approximation, or 47 using the hellhound approximation. This works out to 430 tons of c-130 or 1551 tons of c-130 using the the respective approximations.  If you prefer to use the full weight of the aircraft for the tonnage equivalent, you about double the aircraft tonnage used.

an alternative figure might be based off the LCAC, a beach landing hovercraft used by the US navy.  This is not as similar to a spacecraft, but is a more military craft designed with more expectation of being shot at. It's (as best as I can find) 140 tons empty, and 200 tons full.  It can carry 180 ground troops or 4 APCs of a similar weight as the c-130 or 1 heavy tank .  The approximations work out to 900 space (infantry), 168 space (Hellhounds), or 104 space (Leman Russ).  For carrying a Guard Regiment this equates to 5 LCACs  (infantry), 24 LCACs (hellhound), or 39 LCACs (Leman Russ):  700, 3360, and 5460 tons respectively.  The full weight version is about 40% heavier.

note that the above assumptions are based off 1 guardsmen in a regiment = 1 man. Since Aurora is arbitrary you could easily say 1 guardsmen = 1 guardsmen fire team, in which case the infantry figures could easily be 4-5 times as heavy when judging based off IRL equivalents.

also p.s. im not actually sure if Aurora warship tonnage are intended to be dry weight or full load weight..?

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 26, 2017, 10:45:08 AM
It just struck me that dropship design is under question since now ground unit size is highly variable.  Combat drop bay size will have to be modular or players will design to breakpoints.  Went and looked up real life equivalents out of curiousity:

the C-130 transport plane has an empty weight of 33 tons and can seat 64 paratroopers/72 combat troops or 2 APCs. Call that 64 guardsmen, or 2 hellhounds.  In terms of Aurora that would work out to 320 space, or 84.  It would take ~13 c-130s to transport a Guard Regiment using the infantry approximation, or 47 using the hellhound approximation. This works out to 430 tons of c-130 or 1551 tons of c-130 using the the respective approximations.  If you prefer to use the full weight of the aircraft for the tonnage equivalent, you about double the aircraft tonnage used.

an alternative figure might be based off the LCAC, a beach landing hovercraft used by the US navy.  This is not as similar to a spacecraft, but is a more military craft designed with more expectation of being shot at. It's (as best as I can find) 140 tons empty, and 200 tons full.  It can carry 180 ground troops or 4 APCs of a similar weight as the c-130 or 1 heavy tank .  The approximations work out to 900 space (infantry), 168 space (Hellhounds), or 104 space (Leman Russ).  For carrying a Guard Regiment this equates to 5 LCACs  (infantry), 24 LCACs (hellhound), or 39 LCACs (Leman Russ):  700, 3360, and 5460 tons respectively.  The full weight version is about 40% heavier.

note that the above assumptions are based off 1 guardsmen in a regiment = 1 man. Since Aurora is arbitrary you could easily say 1 guardsmen = 1 guardsmen fire team, in which case the infantry figures could easily be 4-5 times as heavy when judging based off IRL equivalents.

also p.s. im not actually sure if Aurora warship tonnage are intended to be dry weight or full load weight..?

This is exactly what I am looking at right now :)

I don't think the current troop transport and combat drop modules will work any more because they are based on number of battalions and that concept no longer exists. Formations now have a transport size in tons.

My current thinking is to have three types of troop transports bays: standard, orbital insertion and ship-to-ship boarding, all of which have capacities in tons. Standard is similar to the current troop transport bays, where loading and unloading takes several hours or days. Orbital Insertion Bays have abstract drop-ships built into the transport bays (significantly more expensive and a little larger than standard bays). Orbital Insertion Bays can be used as normal troop transport bays, with normal load and unload times, or they can be used to instantly drop troops on to a planetary surface from orbit, in which case the bay is damaged and has to be repaired by a shipyard (replacing the abstract drop-ships). Ship-to-ship boarding bays can also function normally, but have a secondary function for launching infantry units (with boarding capability) against  other ships. This doesn't damage the bay. Standard Bays would be commercial, while the other two would be military systems.

There are some additional considerations. This effectively removes the concept of short-duration troop transport modules (combat drop modules) as units are now a specific size, which means any FAC-sized troop carriers would be carrying very small numbers of troops (platoon-size). In VB6 Aurora, the ground warfare concept was very much Starship Troopers (the book, not the film) using highly capable individual troopers. C# Aurora ground combat is more like Warhammer 40k, with large varieties of different troop types, including very large vehicles. To land a substantial force against hostile fire, troop ships could become large and heavily-armoured. Smaller and numerous would still be possible but you would need more ships than in VB6. In fact, one of the objectives of the new ground combat system is to require a much more significant investment in naval planetary assault capabilities.

However, because the individual troopers can still be very capable, you could try (for boarding):

Space Marine
Transport Size (tons)  12     Cost  1.44     Armour  30     Hit Points  10
Crew-Served Anti-Personnel:      Shots 6      Penetration 10      Damage 10
Vendarite  1.44    Development Cost  72

A force of 25 Space Marines would only be 300 tons and cost 36 BP and would be a formidable foe for the average ship's crew. Those could be sent in FAC-sized ships for boarding if needed (named Stormbirds or Thunderhawks probably).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 26, 2017, 10:53:15 AM
the C-130 transport plane has an empty weight of 33 tons and can seat 64 paratroopers/72 combat troops or 2 APCs.

On this specific point. The sizes for the units in C# Aurora (for example, a Guardman being 5 tons) includes living space, life support, etc. for months at a time. A better comparison might be the US Navy Wasp class (40,000 tons), which has an air wing and carries about 2000 troops, or the America class (45,000 tons, 1700 troops). The transport requirement for vehicles are much closer to their actual size, because they have minimal numbers of personnel.

2000 troops for C# Aurora requires 10,000 tons of capacity (more than that for the proposed drop-ship equipped bays), so they are in the same ball park once you add the rest of the transporting ship.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: jonw on November 26, 2017, 11:04:34 AM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=9679. msg105289#msg105289 date=1511714708
. . .  Orbital Insertion Bays can be used as normal troop transport bays, with normal load and unload times, or they can be used to instantly drop troops on to a planetary surface from orbit, in which case the bay is damaged and has to be repaired by a shipyard (replacing the abstract drop-ships). 

Repaired by shipyards in addition to be docked in hangars? I'm thinking that since commercial hangars now exist, one function of large commercial hangar ships would be to act as forward repair bases for invasion fleets, sort of like current amphibious dock ships.

Regarding boarding - what type of defense strength are you anticipating? Are you boarding with a whole division, or with just your 25-guy team of specialists? I think the FAC-size boarding vessel is both cool and still makes sense, so the boarding module would need to be quite a bit smaller than the drop-a-whole-diviision-to-a-planet one.  This could also be fielded by hangars, and if done that way I think it makes sense for the boarding module to be damaged too.  It could then be repaired in the hangar. 

This all looks very cool and I'm really looking forward to it!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 26, 2017, 11:14:01 AM
Another option; break with the VB6 method of handling cargo transfers and go with the munition/fuel handling mechanics. A transport ship has a load capacity expressed in tons drawn from its troop transport bays, and a transfer rating expressed in tons per (time unit), which would probably be the same time unit as munition/fuel handling mechanics or the smallest time unit relevant to planetary combat rounds. Yes, this probably means they are getting shot at while loading/unloading from point blank range and while at 0 speed, this should probably get covered in the rules somehow to prevent transport ships getting slaughtered while (un)loading by STO units.

A dropship comes in Infantry and Other, and has a drop and load capacity expressed in tons as well as a maximum unit size, which is often smaller than the drop capacity. Infantry dropships can drop infantry on planets or act as boarding ships, while 'other' rated dropships can drop every unit type including infantry but up to a maximum size of the unit. Larger units need a normal transport ship.

Dropping troops 'consumes' the drop bay because there's no more drop pods/ships available, but they can be rebuild with maintenance supplies at a Maintenance station, or a hangar.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 26, 2017, 11:36:49 AM
On automated shipboard defenses:

Since we're still using the boarding pods abstraction, perhaps in addition to the internal security turrets module, we could have a module representing external security turrets.  These would be too tiny to use against ships or missiles, but would be for preventing boarders from breaching the hull.  Either by shooting down their pods, or by shooting them while they try to cut into the hull.  These would be like how modern warships have mounted M249 LMG's and M2 .50cals to defend against small craft and swimmers.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 26, 2017, 11:43:15 AM
Droppods/boardingpods would effectively be .5 to 1 MSP missiles. CIWS and other missile intercepting guns would be fine.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: MagusXIX on November 26, 2017, 11:49:01 AM
Suggestion

Marines in a transport module is the current golden standard for adding boarding defense to a ship.

An automated system, when compared to equivalent research/tech of marines, could be ...

PROS
Cheaper to produce, in terms of lives, materials, training time, build points, etc.
Uses less hull space than a single marine company + transport mod (so it works on small ships too.)
No additional life-support considerations.

CONS
Less versatile (cannot be unloaded like marines can, for instance.)
Uses energy (maybe a kinetic version does not, but is less effective in other ways to compensate?)
Less efficient hull-space-to-boarding-defense ratio. This reflects that Marines are more like antibodies in that they move around the ship to wherever they are needed, but these automated defenses are static (turrets, not robo-marines.)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: MagusXIX on November 26, 2017, 12:04:24 PM
Droppods/boardingpods would effectively be .5 to 1 MSP missiles. CIWS and other missile intercepting guns would be fine.

Maybe I just need clarification on how big 1 MSP is in terms of volume, but I had assumed that a dropship of some kind, even if it's just a one-man pod (which if it's dropping an entire company of Marines, it ain't,) will still be at least three or four times as large as an anti-missile missile. (Room for 1 marine + combat gear + hull-cutting equipment + fuel + engines, etc.) If indeed it has to drop an entire Marine Company, it's likely notably larger than a 747 airplane. Bigger than a C130, which would handle roughly a platoon (sans boarding equipment) rather than a whole company, and certainly bigger than, say, a modern AAV (amphibious assault vehicle) which are roughly squad-sized (12 or so bodies.)

Still, you're almost certainly right about already existing AMM options working just fine for intercepting dropships/boarding-pods. Are armored boarding pods already a thing? If not, they ought to be.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 26, 2017, 12:19:53 PM
AMMs are kinda irrelevant. By the time you reach boarding range either theyre out of AMMs or you're dead.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 26, 2017, 12:27:06 PM
Maybe I just need clarification on how big 1 MSP is in terms of volume, but I had assumed that a dropship of some kind, even if it's just a one-man pod (which if it's dropping an entire company of Marines, it ain't,) will still be at least three or four times as large as an anti-missile missile. (Room for 1 marine + combat gear + hull-cutting equipment + fuel + engines, etc.) If indeed it has to drop an entire Marine Company, it's likely notably larger than a 747 airplane. Bigger than a C130, which would handle roughly a platoon (sans boarding equipment) rather than a whole company, and certainly bigger than, say, a modern AAV (amphibious assault vehicle) which are roughly squad-sized (12 or so bodies.)

Still, you're almost certainly right about already existing AMM options working just fine for intercepting dropships/boarding-pods. Are armored boarding pods already a thing? If not, they ought to be.

An MSP is 2.5 tons.

The thing about Drop Pods is that you can optimize them ludicrously towards short range boarding capacity, given the manner in which Aurora handles boarding. This means high power engines, practically no fuel storage, and high agility systems attached to a shell with an inertial compensation capacity of 'yes.' Infantry may have a Size of 5 tons in the game, but that's largely a result of their support and logistics trail. For a boarding action you don't need all that; either your troops are wearing void rated protective gear or they're dead anyway, so you might as well depend on their internal air supply until they manage to secure a foothold. Likewise with their munitions; you want them to have enough munitions for the battle, but at the same time it's foolish to weigh them down with more than they need.

Breaching systems are likely mounted on only part of the droppods, and/or supplemented by advanced cybernetic warfare systems that are meant to hack enemy computers, no matter how alien said computers may be. As that way you would be able to force open airlocks. Breaching systems either consist of multiple bricks of high explosives, cutting equipment, or both, if not done by clamping down the droppod on the ship and lighting off the last of the fuel in the engine to burn a hole down.

You can squeeze a lot of stuff into a relatively small and lightweight frame so long as the payload isn't that much. And a 200 kilogram at most infantryman? That still leaves you with a literal ton to play with for everything you need to take him from the ship he's in to the ship he's boarding.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: MagusXIX on November 26, 2017, 12:27:52 PM
AMMs are kinda irrelevant. By the time you reach boarding range either theyre out of AMMs or you're dead.

Right, I remember now. This coupled with inability to reliably disable enemy engines is part of why I never bother with designing/using boarding vessels anymore. My kingdom for the ability to target specific modules.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 26, 2017, 12:44:04 PM
You guys seem to be misunderstanding what I meant by boarding pods.  Currently in VB6 aurora, a combat drop module fires boarding pods at the boarding target.  These pods are NOT the fighter with the combat drop module in its design.  They are the combat drop module itself.  Currently, you lose some boarders in the increment the dropship executes the boarding assault depending on the speed of the target relative to the dropship, to simulate some pods missing and flinging people off into deep space.  The external turrets I mentioned are for shooting pods down, not the dropships.  To continue with the C130 and paratroopers comparison, it's less like shooting down the C130, and more like shooting the paratroopers while they float down in their chutes.  The turrets could also shoot at the boarders while they try to cut through the hull.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on November 26, 2017, 01:50:23 PM
My current thinking is to have three types of troop transports bays: standard, orbital insertion and ship-to-ship boarding, all of which have capacities in tons. Standard is similar to the current troop transport bays, where loading and unloading takes several hours or days. Orbital Insertion Bays have abstract drop-ships built into the transport bays (significantly more expensive and a little larger than standard bays). Orbital Insertion Bays can be used as normal troop transport bays, with normal load and unload times, or they can be used to instantly drop troops on to a planetary surface from orbit, in which case the bay is damaged and has to be repaired by a shipyard (replacing the abstract drop-ships). Ship-to-ship boarding bays can also function normally, but have a secondary function for launching infantry units (with boarding capability) against  other ships. This doesn't damage the bay. Standard Bays would be commercial, while the other two would be military systems.

Part of me likes the ability to have dropships as small FACs that can launch for the final million kilometers of the trip so the troop transports don't have to risk defense fire, but thinking about it your way is probably better. Less micromanagement that way, since you don't have to offload the troops from the transports to the dropships manually.

I had one thought, and it's kind of a biggy. As long as we're treating the troops and dropships as basically launching from hangars... would it be worth considering making space fighters and aerospace fighters the same craft? So that, say, carriers could use their fighters as part of the ground landing, and a planetary garrison could launch their fighters into space to help in the defense?

One way I could see doing it would be to just give planets an effectively infinite hangar capacity, but only for fighters (though unlike when in ship based hangars, you'd be paying maintenance on them like I assume you do for ground troops, so it's not as unbalanced as it sounds). Then fighters engaging in ground combat would still have their stats based off of their components, but maybe with an accuracy bonus compared to orbital bombardment for the weapons.

If I understand correctly, right now there's a divide between aircraft and space based fighters, which makes sense from a technical perspective. But fighters being able to enter the atmosphere is kind of a sci-fi staple, and it gives beam fighters an interesting role as hybrid space/ground units.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Tavik Toth on November 26, 2017, 02:10:41 PM
Steve, when it comes to planetary defence, have you thought of adding something like the SDI from the cold war? That is, armed laser, missile and/or kinetic sattelites meant for defending colonies and the like.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 26, 2017, 02:13:43 PM
You can do that yourself already.  Just build very small ships that are basically just a single weapon, a reactor, and a fire control.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on November 26, 2017, 02:27:33 PM
Part of me likes the ability to have dropships as small FACs that can launch for the final million kilometers of the trip so the troop transports don't have to risk defense fire, but thinking about it your way is probably better. Less micromanagement that way, since you don't have to offload the troops from the transports to the dropships manually.

I had one thought, and it's kind of a biggy. As long as we're treating the troops and dropships as basically launching from hangars... would it be worth considering making space fighters and aerospace fighters the same craft? So that, say, carriers could use their fighters as part of the ground landing, and a planetary garrison could launch their fighters into space to help in the defense?

One way I could see doing it would be to just give planets an effectively infinite hangar capacity, but only for fighters (though unlike when in ship based hangars, you'd be paying maintenance on them like I assume you do for ground troops, so it's not as unbalanced as it sounds). Then fighters engaging in ground combat would still have their stats based off of their components, but maybe with an accuracy bonus compared to orbital bombardment for the weapons.

If I understand correctly, right now there's a divide between aircraft and space based fighters, which makes sense from a technical perspective. But fighters being able to enter the atmosphere is kind of a sci-fi staple, and it gives beam fighters an interesting role as hybrid space/ground units.

Yes, the micromanagement of moving from transport bay to drop module is something I am trying to avoid.

One option is just to ignore the concept of 'ground unit aircraft' and just have normal ship-borne fighters interacting with ground combat using some form of close-range air-to-ground munitions (essentially in the same location as the planet). The anti-air units on the ground would have a capability against those fighters while they are attacking but not if they are simply in orbit. That avoids any complexities around having aircraft as ground units.

In fact, you could design smaller fighters intended for this type of combat. They would need smaller launchers (probably size 1) because they would be dropping 'bombs' (missiles without fuel or engines), rather than launching normal missiles. Assuming they are linked with a forward air controller on the ground, they wouldn't need a fire control. They also would need very little fuel. Engines would be smaller as well, so you are probably getting down to 100 tons or less. Probably hard to hit by any remaining planetary defences on the way in and out due to high speed. Given they are essentially dropping nukes at close-range against specific targets identified by a controller on the ground, that would probably be quite effective. Or they could be equipped with less effective non-nuclear munitions to avoid environmental damage.

In terms of aircraft based on planets, that in fine in C# Aurora as they can be maintained normally by maintenance facilities.

Just thinking out loud, but it would be fun to have carriers standing off out of energy range and sending in strikes to aid the ground war.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 26, 2017, 02:38:59 PM
I really really like the idea of bombers dropping actual bombs instead of missiles with million-km ranges.  I know it's already possible in VB6 Aurora, but it just never comes up.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 26, 2017, 03:43:30 PM
If possible it'd be superior to use a cruise missile variant instead with a tiny high efficiency engine and just enough fuel to be dropped from outside ground beam weapon ranges. Only thing you need is a fire control unit that can hit the planet and/or connect with a forward fire controller. Don't need fighters for that either, just shove the missiles into the AMM launchers. It'd be much cheaper despite increased cost of the missiles because you don't end up constantly having to replace the bombers.

Also, I don't know what range you are thinking those FCCs will guiding the bombs from, but generally speaking even for the smallest warhead designs, if you are close enough to paint the target you are close enough to be collateral damage. While the blast wave of the Davey Crocket (according to NukeMap) as a 20 ton TNT equivalent nuke won't reach much beyond a 100 meter radius, the acute radiation sickness death radius is about 500 meters, many FCCs will end up closer to their targets than that. And that's the smallest nuke known to be possible to make, small enough to be man portable, if not easily.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 26, 2017, 04:31:16 PM
Well, fire support coordinators could be quite a distance away.  They aren't necessarily painting targets by hand.  Maybe they use small UAVs?  A UAV at 2000m altitude can see much farther than someone at sea level.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on November 26, 2017, 05:21:22 PM
I had one thought, and it's kind of a biggy. As long as we're treating the troops and dropships as basically launching from hangars... would it be worth considering making space fighters and aerospace fighters the same craft? So that, say, carriers could use their fighters as part of the ground landing, and a planetary garrison could launch their fighters into space to help in the defense?

... If I understand correctly, right now there's a divide between aircraft and space based fighters, which makes sense from a technical perspective. But fighters being able to enter the atmosphere is kind of a sci-fi staple, and it gives beam fighters an interesting role as hybrid space/ground units.

I'm not a fan of conflating atmospheric fighters with space fighters. In my role-playing there are no manned atmospheric fighters at all (just drones integral to the current 7.1 battalions) and my space "fighters" are more analogous to the "riders" found in C.J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union material than they are to, say, Star Wars X-Wings. My current strikecraft weigh 222 tons and have a range of a billion km. Those craft are not going to be conducting atmospheric operations; I suspect the tiniest fuel tanks get even the lowest tech engines a lot more mileage than would be needed to fly over the ridge and drop some bombs. If the craft are capable of orbit, why would they ever attack at ranges analogous to airplanes?

Yes, the micromanagement of moving from transport bay to drop module is something I am trying to avoid.

One option is just to ignore the concept of 'ground unit aircraft' and just have normal ship-borne fighters interacting with ground combat using some form of close-range air-to-ground munitions (essentially in the same location as the planet). The anti-air units on the ground would have a capability against those fighters while they are attacking but not if they are simply in orbit. That avoids any complexities around having aircraft as ground units.

Seems like aircraft as ground units would be a simplification rather than a complication; it's just another type of weapons system where abstraction can give the appearance/effect we expect to see. I don't see SF ground units going into combat without aerial drones being integral to their units already, but a "ground unit" squadron of airplanes certainly seems like it would cover---in a way consistent with how Aurora (7.1, at any rate) seems to work---the airplane action others seem to want.

Tangential to airplanes specifically, I dread the idea of having to personally design every single weapons system from the personal plasma rifle to the aerial combat drone---a civ would just use the tech it has available when the unit is constituted ... the very thing we'll be doing we design all this stuff at the micro-level.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 26, 2017, 05:40:28 PM
Tangential to airplanes specifically, I dread the idea of having to personally design every single weapons system from the personal plasma rifle to the aerial combat drone---a civ would just use the tech it has available when the unit is constituted ... the very thing we'll be doing we design all this stuff at the micro-level.

That's only a problem at the starting tech level, when you design your units for the first time. After that all you need to do after reaching a new tech threshold is update your previous designs.

Or not, if you see no need for it. You don't have to after all, NPR ground assaults are probably not going to be a thing.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on November 26, 2017, 08:45:40 PM
That's only a problem at the starting tech level, when you design your units for the first time. After that all you need to do after reaching a new tech threshold is update your previous designs.

Or not, if you see no need for it. You don't have to after all, NPR ground assaults are probably not going to be a thing.

Well, I guess I could be optimistic, but when I update the previous designs of my ships that's not exactly the simplest of tasks. The difference is that my ships are major assets that deserve design attention. The composition of the minutest elements of the ambiguous constituent parts of ambiguously defined units that combine to form what used to be straightforward battalions for roles of marginal importance within the game that the A.I. will never be able to implement if NPRs ever do engage in ground combat ... I've lost my train of thought somewhere, which is sort of analogous to what I think an overly complex (and probably permanently buggy) ground combat scheme might do.

I just hope this isn't a missing the forest for the trees situation---seems like there'll be more effort in design (including redundant research) than in making tactical choices about what units to commit and less flexibility when we must commit resources and planning (important/pleasurable to me) along separate research and building tracks. For example, if there was an actual interplanetary infantry formation, it wouldn't be so specialized that it couldn't re-equip and re-train itself for different environments. Since that's the inherent nature of having such a formation, is it beneficial to go through the trouble of micromanaging its design to the level of deciding whether troops have "power armor"? (Answer: if they have the technology and the money, the troops absolutely WILL have power armor, but probably not every trooper, just the ones that constitute a heavy weapons squad/platoon/company whose capabilities would already be reflected in the effectiveness of the higher-level organization.)

Hopefully, my concerns are just overblown, but I might as well put them out there.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 26, 2017, 10:57:19 PM
That's only a problem at the starting tech level, when you design your units for the first time. After that all you need to do after reaching a new tech threshold is update your previous designs.

Or not, if you see no need for it. You don't have to after all, NPR ground assaults are probably not going to be a thing.
NPR ground assaults had better be a thing.  If ground combat doesn't actually happen, what is the point of all this?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on November 27, 2017, 01:43:47 AM
Yes, the micromanagement of moving from transport bay to drop module is something I am trying to avoid.

One option is just to ignore the concept of 'ground unit aircraft' and just have normal ship-borne fighters interacting with ground combat using some form of close-range air-to-ground munitions (essentially in the same location as the planet). The anti-air units on the ground would have a capability against those fighters while they are attacking but not if they are simply in orbit. That avoids any complexities around having aircraft as ground units.

In fact, you could design smaller fighters intended for this type of combat. They would need smaller launchers (probably size 1) because they would be dropping 'bombs' (missiles without fuel or engines), rather than launching normal missiles. Assuming they are linked with a forward air controller on the ground, they wouldn't need a fire control. They also would need very little fuel. Engines would be smaller as well, so you are probably getting down to 100 tons or less. Probably hard to hit by any remaining planetary defences on the way in and out due to high speed. Given they are essentially dropping nukes at close-range against specific targets identified by a controller on the ground, that would probably be quite effective. Or they could be equipped with less effective non-nuclear munitions to avoid environmental damage.

In terms of aircraft based on planets, that in fine in C# Aurora as they can be maintained normally by maintenance facilities.

Just thinking out loud, but it would be fun to have carriers standing off out of energy range and sending in strikes to aid the ground war.

I do like the idea of having atmospheric fighters, but I would like to see some trade off here instead of making all space fighters capable of atmospheric flight & combat by default.

On a planet with no Atmosphere space fighters should work just fine though IMHO.

But to fight in an atmosphere above a certain density you should really need to optimize the fighter design either for atmospheric combat, or for space combat.

Why not have something like an "Atmospheric combat modifications" component you can add to fighters (25-50 ton ish), so that the capability is not totally free. Or maybe it should be the other way around, that the default fighters ( pre-TN tech ) are only atmospheric capable, and that you need to add a different researched component to allow them to work in Space?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on November 27, 2017, 02:19:56 AM
I'm not sure having fighters need a special component to work on some planets (but not all) really adds anything to the game besides needless complication. Realistic, sure, but realistic doesn't necessarily mean good gameplay.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on November 27, 2017, 04:19:59 AM
I'm not sure having fighters need a special component to work on some planets (but not all) really adds anything to the game besides needless complication. Realistic, sure, but realistic doesn't necessarily mean good gameplay.

The gameplay it adds IMO are the following:
- It makes planets feel more different and unique ( An important theme consistent with many other changes for C# Aurora )
- It limits a bit having a single weapon that can do everything ( Fighter spam works as PD, space strike, planetary support )
- It would be inconsistent and illogical to have all other planetary capable weapons be highly dependent on type of planet, terrain and atmosphere, but fighters be excluded from this.

For similar reasons I do think there should be some sort of damage reduction going on for beams firing through Earth or thicker atmospheres ( in both directions ).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 27, 2017, 06:12:32 AM
NPR ground assaults had better be a thing.  If ground combat doesn't actually happen, what is the point of all this?
It's a difficult thing to code the AI to do, since battlefleets needed to be coded to not necessarily glass planets.  Steve seems to mostly prefer playing multiple empires, and its his game :^)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: IanD on November 27, 2017, 08:01:32 AM
Snip
 is it beneficial to go through the trouble of micromanaging its design to the level of deciding whether troops have "power armor"? (Answer: if they have the technology and the money, the troops absolutely WILL have power armor, but probably not every trooper, just the ones that constitute a heavy weapons squad/platoon/company whose capabilities would already be reflected in the effectiveness of the higher-level organization.)

Given the current aversion to combat losses if you are playing a democracy and do not provide adequate protection for all your troops you should suffer a public unrest penalty. (Should there be a measure of how much public support there is for a war?)

As for a "model" I prefer the Ogre system which mixes power armour with all types of vehicles to either Starship Troopers (the book) or Warhammer 40k (where the individual units appear to a non-player to be much weaker).
However my principle worry is that upgrading will be far too complex. Current army battalions do not disband when they get a new piece of kit. Allowing  weapons series (as for missiles) and upgrading being automatic (costing wealth) within a series would remove a lot of the micromanagement.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: backstab on November 27, 2017, 11:38:47 AM
Steve, how is non TN technology equipment going to be represented?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on November 27, 2017, 01:13:30 PM
My current thinking is to have three types of troop transports bays: standard, orbital insertion and ship-to-ship boarding, all of which have capacities in tons. Standard is similar to the current troop transport bays, where loading and unloading takes several hours or days. Orbital Insertion Bays have abstract drop-ships built into the transport bays (significantly more expensive and a little larger than standard bays). Orbital Insertion Bays can be used as normal troop transport bays, with normal load and unload times, or they can be used to instantly drop troops on to a planetary surface from orbit, in which case the bay is damaged and has to be repaired by a shipyard (replacing the abstract drop-ships). Ship-to-ship boarding bays can also function normally, but have a secondary function for launching infantry units (with boarding capability) against  other ships. This doesn't damage the bay. Standard Bays would be commercial, while the other two would be military systems.
I really, really don't like this.  It seems intuitively obvious that the roles of 'move troops long distances' and 'land troops on hostile planets' will be separated, particularly in a setting where the last line of ground defenses is much stronger than it is in 7.1.  I understand the micromanagement aspect, but this just seems bizarre.  We can only land with LSTs and LCIs?  There's literally no way to build a ship where we cram them into seats for a few hours before landing them, keeping the big ships out of range of the last-ditch point-defense fire?  The life-support facilities are big and expensive.  Why am I hauling them into the teeth of enemy fire?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on November 27, 2017, 01:38:19 PM
Yes, the micromanagement of moving from transport bay to drop module is something I am trying to avoid.

One option is just to ignore the concept of 'ground unit aircraft' and just have normal ship-borne fighters interacting with ground combat using some form of close-range air-to-ground munitions (essentially in the same location as the planet). The anti-air units on the ground would have a capability against those fighters while they are attacking but not if they are simply in orbit. That avoids any complexities around having aircraft as ground units.

In fact, you could design smaller fighters intended for this type of combat. They would need smaller launchers (probably size 1) because they would be dropping 'bombs' (missiles without fuel or engines), rather than launching normal missiles. Assuming they are linked with a forward air controller on the ground, they wouldn't need a fire control. They also would need very little fuel. Engines would be smaller as well, so you are probably getting down to 100 tons or less. Probably hard to hit by any remaining planetary defences on the way in and out due to high speed. Given they are essentially dropping nukes at close-range against specific targets identified by a controller on the ground, that would probably be quite effective. Or they could be equipped with less effective non-nuclear munitions to avoid environmental damage.

In terms of aircraft based on planets, that in fine in C# Aurora as they can be maintained normally by maintenance facilities.

Just thinking out loud, but it would be fun to have carriers standing off out of energy range and sending in strikes to aid the ground war.

Instead of specialized non-nuclear bombs for missile fighters, how about letting beam fighters make, I dunno, call it ground support strikes on ground units? Either by having a special order to enter the atmosphere and act as ground troops, or a special sort of orbital bombardment where fighters get an accuracy bonus but can be hit by normal ground weapons (as opposed to dedicated PtS weapons) in exchange? Not all fighters use missiles :p

I suppose that gets back to the problem of having a unit with special rules that was the whole reason for eliminating PDCs, though. Thinking about it I suppose it might not be necessary; beam fighters could still perform orbital bombardment, after all, though I suspect they might end up being less cost efficient for it than large warships that could absorb more PtS fire.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on November 27, 2017, 02:31:28 PM
I really, really don't like this.  It seems intuitively obvious that the roles of 'move troops long distances' and 'land troops on hostile planets' will be separated, particularly in a setting where the last line of ground defenses is much stronger than it is in 7.1.  I understand the micromanagement aspect, but this just seems bizarre.  We can only land with LSTs and LCIs?  There's literally no way to build a ship where we cram them into seats for a few hours before landing them, keeping the big ships out of range of the last-ditch point-defense fire?  The life-support facilities are big and expensive.  Why am I hauling them into the teeth of enemy fire?
Ideally I think we'd have two modules.  One to hold troops, one to improve their unloading speed; just like how cargo loading works.  The speed-improving module would be representing drop pods or parachutes or whatever to allow combat drops.  This way you dont have to move units back and forth between modules, one module just speeds up the other.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel on November 27, 2017, 04:14:45 PM
I like the 3 different troop "bays".

I also would prefer that space fighters are kept separate from atmospheric fliers. Having a ground unit that represents helicopters, jets and so on, that are tailored to fly inside an atmosphere.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Zincat on November 27, 2017, 04:23:36 PM
I would also like to keep space fighters separated from atmospheric fighters. Because it makes sense.

In space there's no attrition, so there's zero reasons to have an aerodynamic space fighter . No matter what all the various sci-fi sagas showed you, a cube is a perfectly valid form for a space fighter. Because, with no attrition, there's no compelling reason to choose any form over any other. In fact a cube could be optimal, because it is compact and arguably more robust than a streamlined, long and slim shape.

Not so in atmosphere, where in fact said cube might be completely unable to fly at all.

So, in the spirit of realism (and yes, for roleplay reasons too!) I'd like to keep the two classes separated. You could say that atmospheric fighters need a "symbolic component" named "aerodynamic profile". And that space fighters, if they don't have such a module, suffer severe penalties if directly interacting with planetary defenses...
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on November 27, 2017, 04:37:06 PM
I really, really don't like this.  It seems intuitively obvious that the roles of 'move troops long distances' and 'land troops on hostile planets' will be separated, particularly in a setting where the last line of ground defenses is much stronger than it is in 7.1.  I understand the micromanagement aspect, but this just seems bizarre.  We can only land with LSTs and LCIs?  There's literally no way to build a ship where we cram them into seats for a few hours before landing them, keeping the big ships out of range of the last-ditch point-defense fire?  The life-support facilities are big and expensive.  Why am I hauling them into the teeth of enemy fire?
i think the idea is that the drop enabled modules represent shuttles or drop pods or Roks or what have you, whatever's necessary to go the last bit from the ship to the surface.

i'm a little sad at losing dropships, but i can make it work for me RP wise, personally. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on November 27, 2017, 06:32:08 PM
Given the current aversion to combat losses if you are playing a democracy and do not provide adequate protection for all your troops you should suffer a public unrest penalty. (Should there be a measure of how much public support there is for a war?)

The logistics personnel need power armor? Concept of underfunded troops would be interesting, but I don't think that's what I'm suggesting. My concern is with the possibility of redundant micromanagement---a civ with the tech and money to have something like power armor will equip appropriate units with the appropriate amount.

Current army battalions do not disband when they get a new piece of kit. Allowing  weapons series (as for missiles) and upgrading being automatic (costing wealth) within a series would remove a lot of the micromanagement.

Yep, can't be said enough. I also like the weapons series, automatic upgrade idea.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: serger on November 27, 2017, 11:44:13 PM
In space there's no attrition, so there's zero reasons to have an aerodynamic space fighter .
Errmmm.
Transnewtonian space is a liquid space. Transnewtonian fighter have to be... not aerodynamic, but hydrodynamic. Ultrahypersonic hydrodynamic, well.
Stings, not cubes or even x-wings.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: serger on November 27, 2017, 11:55:14 PM
Well, surely, liquid is not a liquid at some relativistic velocity. If you have a velocities of 10 or 20 kkms relative to medium, than any oncoming liquid medium will be hyperdense hard radiation for you, not liquid at all. But that's transnewtonian physics we have in Aurora. You cannot understand it, you just have to memorize it as it is. :)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on November 28, 2017, 02:34:23 AM
In space there's no attrition, so there's zero reasons to have an aerodynamic space fighter . No matter what all the various sci-fi sagas showed you, a cube is a perfectly valid form for a space fighter. Because, with no attrition, there's no compelling reason to choose any form over any other. In fact a cube could be optimal, because it is compact and arguably more robust than a streamlined, long and slim shape.

If we want to use physics though you do have one major advantage of an elongated shape, which smaller surface area facing the enemy. In Space your likely to be facing a threat only from one very specific direction at a time, and your also likely to know exactly what that direction is well before coming under attack. If you make your object 8 times longer you can reduce the surface area facing the enemy by 4 times (retaining the same volume), thus using an all or nothing approach giving it 4 times as thick armor, and giving any projectiles that penetrate the armor 8 times as much stuff to penetrate before they reach the vulnerable components in the rear of the ship.

More importantly you present a 4 times smaller surface area for the enemy to hit by making an elongated shape instead of a cube.

To optimize an even armor distribution covering all directions it's true you want a cube ( or really a sphere ), but that might not always the best defense in practice since you also present a much bigger target.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bughunter on November 28, 2017, 02:38:35 AM
Elongated shape doesn't work with the missile model of hits actually being near misses as the damage could be from any direction.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: IanD on November 28, 2017, 03:22:46 AM
The logistics personnel need power armor? Concept of underfunded troops would be interesting, but I don't think that's what I'm suggesting. My concern is with the possibility of redundant micromanagement---a civ with the tech and money to have something like power armor will equip appropriate units with the appropriate amount.

Yep, can't be said enough. I also like the weapons series, automatic upgrade idea.

A friend of mine was in the REME in Iraq, not a frontline posting. They had the webbing for the ceramic plates, just no ceramic plates till half way through their deployment when they got one, so they could cover their front or back, just not both! Cheapskate MOD.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Gyrfalcon on November 28, 2017, 07:09:23 AM
Going to throw this out there for debate and to see how much is agreeable or workable.

There are two things I would ideally like in the new system:

1 - The ability to reinforce damaged units using wealth (and time) when they are located in a non-hostile location. Perhaps limited by being located on a colony with a GFTC present. This is to avoid the peacetime micromanagement of having to create, produce and deploy reinforcement units simply to repair a regiment that had gotten mauled while on deployment.
2 - The ability to designate an improved version of a unit in a series (so from basic guardsmen with Mk I personal weapons to Mk II personal weapons). Like with the above option, all regiments making use of guardsmen would start to 'repair' themselves to the new standard using wealth and time. The whole cadre system to me only makes sense if you're making a major change in unit type, say from unarmored infantry to powered armored infantry that would require extensive retraining.

Basically, I enjoy the micromanagement of designing and deploying my military forces, even down to the unit scale as it is now. However I don't enjoy having to play Army Corp of Logistics and then also have to micromanage down to the rifle and bullet their supplies and equipment. As much as possible when it doesn't add anything important to the experience, I think that should be abstracted and handled by the game, not forced on the player. Where reinforcement units make perfect sense is in an active warzone/invasion. Outside that, I don't want to have to deal with them  for every last little thing.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: byron on November 28, 2017, 07:32:32 AM
i think the idea is that the drop enabled modules represent shuttles or drop pods or Roks or what have you, whatever's necessary to go the last bit from the ship to the surface.

i'm a little sad at losing dropships, but i can make it work for me RP wise, personally.
I get that we aren't literally putting the ship on the ground.  But I still really don't like the idea that the only size of troop transport we get is the one that is set up to carry them indefinitely.  So if I want to land on a planet's moon, subdue it, then shuttle troops to the planet?  Sorry, takes the same size of shuttle that it took to get them there in the first place. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on November 28, 2017, 03:35:48 PM
In fact, you could design smaller fighters intended for this type of combat. They would need smaller launchers (probably size 1) because they would be dropping 'bombs' (missiles without fuel or engines), rather than launching normal missiles. Assuming they are linked with a forward air controller on the ground, they wouldn't need a fire control. They also would need very little fuel. Engines would be smaller as well, so you are probably getting down to 100 tons or less. Probably hard to hit by any remaining planetary defences on the way in and out due to high speed. Given they are essentially dropping nukes at close-range against specific targets identified by a controller on the ground, that would probably be quite effective. Or they could be equipped with less effective non-nuclear munitions to avoid environmental damage.

In terms of aircraft based on planets, that in fine in C# Aurora as they can be maintained normally by maintenance facilities.

Just thinking out loud, but it would be fun to have carriers standing off out of energy range and sending in strikes to aid the ground war.
Should not any weapon system be able to be used as ground support? What you really need is some tactical link from your forward observers to your fleet, but then also far away missile ships and beam ships could be used. Especially railguns which don't suffer from dispersion should be able to be used at extreme ranges, far longer than against ships since their target cannot dodge at anything near the speed another ship is capable of.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on November 28, 2017, 05:17:11 PM
Should not any weapon system be able to be used as ground support? What you really need is some tactical link from your forward observers to your fleet, but then also far away missile ships and beam ships could be used. Especially railguns which don't suffer from dispersion should be able to be used at extreme ranges, far longer than against ships since their target cannot dodge at anything near the speed another ship is capable of.

Sorry, I have to dispute that railguns don't suffer dispersion.

They do.

However, because railguns use solid slugs instead of a stream of particles or light you don't notice it in the same way. You'd need to fire a lot of shots but you would notice a definite tendency for slugs to hit not on target, but slightly off.

And depending on the range, 'slightly' off in arc seconds would be quite a lot more in kilometers.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 02, 2017, 04:42:17 PM
I've been giving the 'ground unit aircraft' vs 'space fighters providing close air support' some more thought.

If we use an amphibious invasion as an analogy, any air support in the early stages would be provided by carrier-based aircraft (or from land bases nearby) due to the lack of basing facilities where the invasion is taking place. Once engineers get ashore they can build an airbase and aircraft can operate from there.

My current line of thinking is to have aircraft operating from carriers but with equipment specifically designed for non-nuclear ground combat (if nukes are needed, they can be fired at ground units as part of normal combat, as in VB6, by any type of ship). This equipment would be on the lines of 'Heavy Bombardment Module' or Medium Anti-Tank Module', etc. and would have a limited ammunition supply (set during module design) that can be replenished at a carrier using maintenance supplies (instead of tracking actual bombs, missiles). The fighter would also need a special sensor for precision targeting of ground units. In general, the fighter modules would be more powerful than normal ground unit weapons, but with limited ammo supply (think 1000 lb bomb vs 155mm shell). You could design fighters specifically for ground combat, or hybrids that can fight against ships and ground units.

The fighters could be given an order of 'close air support' for the population location. They would fly to that location, taking fire from any planetary defences on the way in, but on arrival would be assumed to be operating at low altitude and therefore could not be targeted by planetary defences. Once their ammunition is exhausted they leave the planet, potentially taking fire on their return journey to the carrier for re-arming. Any fighters in 'close air support' mode could be linked to fire direction units and would act during ground combat phases. As they attack, they would be vulnerable to anti-air units.

Because this is dependent on being at low altitude, the modules would have to be restricted to fighters only. Larger ships could still use their main armament to provide support from orbit, where they would be vulnerable to fire from STO units but safe from anti-air.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on December 02, 2017, 05:20:54 PM
I've been giving the 'ground unit aircraft' vs 'space fighters providing close air support' some more thought.

If we use an amphibious invasion as an analogy, any air support in the early stages would be provided by carrier-based aircraft (or from land bases nearby) due to the lack of basing facilities where the invasion is taking place. Once engineers get ashore they can build an airbase and aircraft can operate from there.

My current line of thinking is to have aircraft operating from carriers but with equipment specifically designed for non-nuclear ground combat (if nukes are needed, they can be fired at ground units as part of normal combat, as in VB6, by any type of ship). This equipment would be on the lines of 'Heavy Bombardment Module' or Medium Anti-Tank Module', etc. and would have a limited ammunition supply (set during module design) that can be replenished at a carrier using maintenance supplies (instead of tracking actual bombs, missiles). The fighter would also need a special sensor for precision targeting of ground units. In general, the fighter modules would be more powerful than normal ground unit weapons, but with limited ammo supply (think 1000 lb bomb vs 155mm shell). You could design fighters specifically for ground combat, or hybrids that can fight against ships and ground units.

The fighters could be given an order of 'close air support' for the population location. They would fly to that location, taking fire from any planetary defences on the way in, but on arrival would be assumed to be operating at low altitude and therefore could not be targeted by planetary defences. Once their ammunition is exhausted they leave the planet, potentially taking fire on their return journey to the carrier for re-arming. Any fighters in 'close air support' mode could be linked to fire direction units and would act during ground combat phases. As they attack, they would be vulnerable to anti-air units.

Because this is dependent on being at low altitude, the modules would have to be restricted to fighters only. Larger ships could still use their main armament to provide support from orbit, where they would be vulnerable to fire from STO units but safe from anti-air.

I like this idea (but I was always pressing for a uniform air and space fighter), though I have some thoughts on the implementation. For one, I worry from how you phrase things that you have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to fighters armed with beam weapons instead of missiles.

Ideally I think I'd kind of prefer it if the same (non-missile) weapons worked in space and on the ground. Orbital bombardment already means there has to be some conversion for space based beam weapons damaging ground units, so making it so fighters could use their gauss cannons (or similar) while carrying out Close Air Support missions make sense, even if it's basically just orbital bombardment with an accuracy bonus. If weapons have a chance to break on firing and/or an MSP cost, then they'd still have ammo concerns. For missiles, what about using the same launchers but entirely different missions (so it would be like WW2 carrier strikes, and loading aircraft with either bombs or torpedoes)? I'd be okay with requiring a special fire control for close air support (even if I'd probably prefer otherwise since any weight would be a big penalty on fighters when not performing air support and I like the idea of them serving a dual purpose). If you need designs with completely different weapons, though, there's really no point in hybrid space and air fighters.

The fighters flying to the planet and then being too close for PtS weapons makes sense, though you'd probably want to have them switch over after the weapon firing phase (so PtS weapons always get one shot at point blank range before the fighters land), since otherwise fast fighters might be able to close and land before the PtS weapons can shoot. This also makes the landing a vulnerable time and incentivizes fighter designs with enough ammo to stay in the fight instead of having to constantly return to their carrier.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 02, 2017, 06:39:23 PM
Another option to limit the usefulness of naval grade weapons in a ground combat role outside of very careful FFC coordinated strikes would be by imposing a strict weight limit, but going by weight is a bit complicated as an option. The Airbus 380 has a maximum takeoff weight of 575 tons without the use of TN minerals, which is equal to 11.5 HS is Aurora. It might move through the air like a whale and as such not really viable as a weapons platform, but TN minerals and enough thrust would solve that problem right quick.

Then again, there are optimisation questions involved; in space a flying brick is a perfectly viable design because there's no, well, anything resistance really unless you engage in a spot of most likely undesired lithobraking followed immediately with a rapid unplanned disassembly event of the entire craft and crew. Trying a flying brick design can work in atmosphere, but it's got two problems. The first is that it requires a lot of thrust, which is solvable, the second is that it will have the flight profile of a flying brick, which is rather harder to resolve without inducing an unexpected lithobraking event followed by the rapid unplanned disassembly of the craft and crew even with a flight computer handling most of the load.

Building something a little more aerodynamically stable would require trade offs between the space viability of the craft and the atmospheric viability of the craft. Worse, there are distinctly different design requirements for how deep and fast you want to go (you really, really, don't want to go Aurora standard speeds even at the lowest engine levels in an Earthlike atmosphere). This could manifest as a mass penalty because of the fact that while air designs generally work perfectly well in space, the opposite is not necessarily true and as such designs will generally look to be stable in atmosphere first and let the computers handle space stability while the now unnecessary wings and steering surfaces occupy mass and volume that could've gone more efficiently in space to other components.


Still, Steve, if you are coding for 'ship on planet', that's perfectly transferable to ships loading/unloading any kind of cargo, including troop carriers. Huge landing ships just became a lot more viable, especially if you can get the loading times low enough.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on December 03, 2017, 02:37:46 AM
Unless the ground combat module is weightless, I don't see any way to build an effective hybrid fighter. The mass budget for weapons of a fighter is extremely tight. Would it not be better to add dedicated bombardment ammunition? That could be used by box-launcher fighters, beam fighters have an useful weapon already, and it could also be used as the upper stage of a bombardment drone/missile fired from far off warships.
As for guidance, I'd imagine the most important source of target information comes from units on the ground requesting strikes. For these kinds of strikes, only a datalink is needed.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 03, 2017, 06:21:39 AM
Unless the ground combat module is weightless, I don't see any way to build an effective hybrid fighter. The mass budget for weapons of a fighter is extremely tight. Would it not be better to add dedicated bombardment ammunition? That could be used by box-launcher fighters, beam fighters have an useful weapon already, and it could also be used as the upper stage of a bombardment drone/missile fired from far off warships.
As for guidance, I'd imagine the most important source of target information comes from units on the ground requesting strikes. For these kinds of strikes, only a datalink is needed.

I did consider using new munition types instead. However, that gets complex because I would be adding many new warhead types to the missile design window (and then building/tracking all the necessary munitions). That doesn't seem right when ordnance tracking is not necessary for ground units. With a specialised module, I can use ground-combat-equivalent equipment with no micromanagement.

The module sizes would be relatively small so specialised ground attack fighters could be smaller than the 'normal' type. A hybrid would be possible where a normal-sized fighter sacrificed some ship-to-ship capability for a ground attack ability.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 03, 2017, 06:59:13 AM
I like this idea (but I was always pressing for a uniform air and space fighter), though I have some thoughts on the implementation. For one, I worry from how you phrase things that you have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to fighters armed with beam weapons instead of missiles.

Ideally I think I'd kind of prefer it if the same (non-missile) weapons worked in space and on the ground. Orbital bombardment already means there has to be some conversion for space based beam weapons damaging ground units, so making it so fighters could use their gauss cannons (or similar) while carrying out Close Air Support missions make sense, even if it's basically just orbital bombardment with an accuracy bonus. If weapons have a chance to break on firing and/or an MSP cost, then they'd still have ammo concerns. For missiles, what about using the same launchers but entirely different missions (so it would be like WW2 carrier strikes, and loading aircraft with either bombs or torpedoes)? I'd be okay with requiring a special fire control for close air support (even if I'd probably prefer otherwise since any weight would be a big penalty on fighters when not performing air support and I like the idea of them serving a dual purpose). If you need designs with completely different weapons, though, there's really no point in hybrid space and air fighters.

The fighters flying to the planet and then being too close for PtS weapons makes sense, though you'd probably want to have them switch over after the weapon firing phase (so PtS weapons always get one shot at point blank range before the fighters land), since otherwise fast fighters might be able to close and land before the PtS weapons can shoot. This also makes the landing a vulnerable time and incentivizes fighter designs with enough ammo to stay in the fight instead of having to constantly return to their carrier.

I definitely will have to add some equivalence for energy-armed warships. For precision targeting, they would be linked to a forward fire direction unit and fire during the ground combat phase.

One option would be to give the ship weapons AP and Damage ratings equal to a multiple of their damage (perhaps 10x). So a 10cm laser has 30 AP and 30 Damage while a 25cm laser has 160 AP and 160 Damage. A 10cm railgun would have 4 shots at 10/10 and a 20cm railgun 4 shots at 40 / 40. The downside of that simple method is that a single decent shipboard laser would be able to take out any ultra-heavy vehicle (which could be up to 500 tons) and that seems too powerful when the same laser probably wouldn't take out a fighter in one shot. However, if I make the multiple less (say 5x), then a 10cm railgun round might not take out an armoured infantry man.

The issue is that vehicles have a single armour value, regardless of size, while larger ships gain additional armour with size, making them more resistant even with the same armour value. A better solution is probably using the square root of the energy weapon damage. If we use 20x SQRT then the minimum damage is 20/20 (10cm railgun round or gauss cannon). 10cm laser is 35/35, a 25cm laser is 80/80 (80% chance of knocking out super-heavy vehicle with ceramic composite tech and 45% vs ultra-heavy)

An alternative option is to have orbital fire support as bombardment fire support, with certain calibres classed as light, medium, heavy, or super-heavy bombardment and used in the same way as artillery. The issue here is that 'heavy bombardment' for a ground unit has different values depending on tech so I think ships still need to translate to a number value (BTW the proposed fighter ground support modules would have numeric equivalents based on the tech at the time). To create the bombardment 'flavour' I use the first solution but lower the AP value.

Having said all that, the system needs to be one where orbital fire support gives a significant advantage but doesn't completely rule the battlefield. Open to suggestions :)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on December 03, 2017, 07:02:38 AM
I did consider using new munition types instead. However, that gets complex because I would be adding many new warhead types to the missile design window (and then building/tracking all the necessary munitions). That doesn't seem right when ordnance tracking is not necessary for ground units. With a specialised module, I can use ground-combat-equivalent equipment with no micromanagement.

The module sizes would be relatively small so specialised ground attack fighters could be smaller than the 'normal' type. A hybrid would be possible where a normal-sized fighter sacrificed some ship-to-ship capability for a ground attack ability.

I think this will be really cool. Looking forward to having some dedicated Ground support bombers and having my Space Fighters/Bombers get some hybrid small ground attack ability too so you can send big strikes to escort in landing ships and overwhelm PD + support the boots on the Ground.


Any ideas about basing such Carrier fighters on the actual planets more permanently? An "airbase" Ground unit or cheap building that can refuel and rearm them or something of that sort ( So you don't have to go back and forth between Carriers when your for example defending and the attacker landed STO units or blockades orbit? )

Would these fighters have the ability to fight against enemy fighters in dogfights close to the ground?

Would these fighters be targetable by ships in orbit when they are "flying low"?



Having said all that, the system needs to be one where orbital fire support gives a significant advantage but doesn't completely rule the battlefield. Open to suggestions :)

One of the most crude but effective ways to do this I've seen in other games is to cap damage that airpower / artillery support can do to X% of the enemy hitpoints/morale or whatever is being used. That allows it to weaken the enemy significantly but not totally destroy everything.

Edit: Another decent approach is using force multipliers. This means they do very little actual direct damage, but their main contribution is either an efficiency penalty to the enemy, or an efficiency bonus to your own ground troops, or both.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 03, 2017, 07:13:44 AM
The other subject I am still debating is how to handle drop mechanics. I am still leaning toward my original suggestion of abstract drop ships built into troop transport bays. I understand the argument regarding the bay required for long-distance transport is a lot larger than the bay designed needed for a short run at the planet. However, for everything but infantry units, those two bays are the same size.

I could create specialised short-duration troops bays only for infantry and allow transfers from long-duration to short-duration bays (as in VB6). That adds complexity and you still need to get the vehicles down using larger ships so I am not sure the game play gain is commensurate with the extra complexity.

There could also be an option for non-expendable abstract drop ships, so the ship stays in orbit a little longer to get the troops down and the drop ships back. In this case, the ship could also pick up troops from the ground using the same method.

An alternative is to have small formations in small ships, overwhelm the defences with sheer number of ships and then combine into larger formations on the ground.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 03, 2017, 09:19:51 AM
An alternative option is to have orbital fire support as bombardment fire support, with certain calibres classed as light, medium, heavy, or super-heavy bombardment and used in the same way as artillery. The issue here is that 'heavy bombardment' for a ground unit has different values depending on tech so I think ships still need to translate to a number value (BTW the proposed fighter ground support modules would have numeric equivalents based on the tech at the time). To create the bombardment 'flavour' I use the first solution but lower the AP value.

You already gate weapon values behind tech levels for both space and ground side weapons. You can use calibres to define how heavy the bombardment type is, and the various range boosting technologies for beam weapons to determine the multipliers. Or the other way around, depending on how ground units define their techlevel and damage ratings. This would naturally mean that early on heavy bombardment weapons are impossible for ship based support, while later on it's basically the only thing available outside the close in protection specialists.

The other subject I am still debating is how to handle drop mechanics. I am still leaning toward my original suggestion of abstract drop ships built into troop transport bays. I understand the argument regarding the bay required for long-distance transport is a lot larger than the bay designed needed for a short run at the planet. However, for everything but infantry units, those two bays are the same size.

I could create specialised short-duration troops bays only for infantry and allow transfers from long-duration to short-duration bays (as in VB6). That adds complexity and you still need to get the vehicles down using larger ships so I am not sure the game play gain is commensurate with the extra complexity.

There could also be an option for non-expendable abstract drop ships, so the ship stays in orbit a little longer to get the troops down and the drop ships back. In this case, the ship could also pick up troops from the ground using the same method.

An alternative is to have small formations in small ships, overwhelm the defences with sheer number of ships and then combine into larger formations on the ground.

With 'ship is grounded on planet' mechanics in place you don't need a separate drop bay technology, exactly. Let a fleet tally its total troop carrying capacity so multiple smaller ships can carry a large formation (and losses of such ships cause losses in the formation somewhat unevenly) and have a module that massively boosts unloading speeds for ground forces without necessarily impacting loading speeds. Advancing technology may impact how large a ship may be grounded, starting at just large enough to fit an engine and the smallest troop transport bay with the unloading module. You may need to restrict by unit weight and declare that no unit larger than the ship's troop transport bay rating may be loaded into a ship.

This can also let you define the crew complements of landed ships as a special ground unit type that, if defeated, cause the ship to be wrecked or taken over by the opposing party.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on December 03, 2017, 11:45:54 AM
A few things:

First, about fighters providing close-air-support.  I really love the idea of having a new module that allows loading of non-nuclear weaponry.  But the weapon type NEED's to not be decided on design.  In real life, modern strike fighters can carry munitions capable of attacking nearly any surface target.  The F18 for instance can carry anti-ship missiles, anti-tank missiles, rocket pods, dumb bombs of varying sizes, smart bombs of varying sizes, cluster bomb containers of varying sizes, and probably more I'm unaware of.  Any F18 can carry all of these, it's not like one version of F18 gets ATGM's, one gets rockets etc.  The F18 has hard-points where deck crews can attach the desired weapon.  So my suggestion is to have the ground attack module filled when the fighter takes off, not when it's designed.  Maybe have a few versions of varying sizes to allow loading of heavier or lighter weaponry, also maybe lock some of them behind techs.  This raises a question though.  Will there be ANY non-space-worthy air units, like helicopters or actual aircraft?  Another question: How will anti-air (NOT StO) weapons damage to fighters be calculated?  How will it even make any sense?  These fighters can have armor that can survive nuclear weapons, how can any non-StO weapon hurt them?

Second, the non-abstract dropships are very important for more than just troop transport module size reasons.  It's pretty nonsensical that I would have to run the gauntlet of StO fire with huge transport ships.  On D-Day, the LST's didn't go right up to the beach through defensive fire.  They unloaded their infantry into Higgins boats which then went to the beach.  This is even worse for boarding actions.  Assuming relative speed will play a part in the new boarding mechanics as it did in VB6, it's practically mandatory to use dedicated dropships.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 03, 2017, 12:51:47 PM
A few things:

First, about fighters providing close-air-support.  I really love the idea of having a new module that allows loading of non-nuclear weaponry.  But the weapon type NEED's to not be decided on design.  In real life, modern strike fighters can carry munitions capable of attacking nearly any surface target.  The F18 for instance can carry anti-ship missiles, anti-tank missiles, rocket pods, dumb bombs of varying sizes, smart bombs of varying sizes, cluster bomb containers of varying sizes, and probably more I'm unaware of.  Any F18 can carry all of these, it's not like one version of F18 gets ATGM's, one gets rockets etc.  The F18 has hard-points where deck crews can attach the desired weapon.  So my suggestion is to have the ground attack module filled when the fighter takes off, not when it's designed.  Maybe have a few versions of varying sizes to allow loading of heavier or lighter weaponry, also maybe lock some of them behind techs.  This raises a question though.  Will there be ANY non-space-worthy air units, like helicopters or actual aircraft?  Another question: How will anti-air (NOT StO) weapons damage to fighters be calculated?  How will it even make any sense?  These fighters can have armor that can survive nuclear weapons, how can any non-StO weapon hurt them?

Second, the non-abstract dropships are very important for more than just troop transport module size reasons.  It's pretty nonsensical that I would have to run the gauntlet of StO fire with huge transport ships.  On D-Day, the LST's didn't go right up to the beach through defensive fire.  They unloaded their infantry into Higgins boats which then went to the beach.  This is even worse for boarding actions.  Assuming relative speed will play a part in the new boarding mechanics as it did in VB6, it's practically mandatory to use dedicated dropships.

Interesting idea on the non-nuclear weaponry. I guess there could be light, medium or heavy pods and the type of ordnance could be decided by the move order. Bombardment mission, anti-tank mission, etc.. That flexibility (vs normal ground units) would be countered by limited ammunition per mission. Alternatively, a more WW2 situation with many different fighter types for different missions.

In regard to large ships or small ships braving the STO fire, you still have the option to build specialised physical drop ships (using smaller formations). However, a 100 ton tank will take up the same amount of space on a large ship intended for deep space, or a small one intended to make the final run. What you say is true for infantry, but as I noted in my original post I could create specialised short-duration troops bays only for infantry and allow transfers from long-duration to short-duration bays. That adds complexity and you still need to get the vehicles down using larger ships so I am not sure the game play gain is commensurate with the extra complexity.

One alternative I considered was to include the total manpower for each Ground Unit Class (assuming a certain number of crew per vehicle / weapon type) and then have transport sizes without life support. Extra life support could be added to the ship to support the ground personnel and would be modified depending on the deployment time of the ships. However, you would need to know up front in this case how many personnel were likely in your future ground units. In the end I decided that added too much complexity and went for the simpler idea of abstract drop ships.

As for abstract drop ships vs landing on the planet - actually landing would open up the ships to fire from anti-air (or even enemy vehicles) so I think sending down drop ships from orbit is the equivalent of sending in landing craft on D-Day. The STO units are the equivalent of coastal artillery.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 03, 2017, 01:04:23 PM
I think this will be really cool. Looking forward to having some dedicated Ground support bombers and having my Space Fighters/Bombers get some hybrid small ground attack ability too so you can send big strikes to escort in landing ships and overwhelm PD + support the boots on the Ground.


Any ideas about basing such Carrier fighters on the actual planets more permanently? An "airbase" Ground unit or cheap building that can refuel and rearm them or something of that sort ( So you don't have to go back and forth between Carriers when your for example defending and the attacker landed STO units or blockades orbit? )

Would these fighters have the ability to fight against enemy fighters in dogfights close to the ground?

Would these fighters be targetable by ships in orbit when they are "flying low"?



One of the most crude but effective ways to do this I've seen in other games is to cap damage that airpower / artillery support can do to X% of the enemy hitpoints/morale or whatever is being used. That allows it to weaken the enemy significantly but not totally destroy everything.

Edit: Another decent approach is using force multipliers. This means they do very little actual direct damage, but their main contribution is either an efficiency penalty to the enemy, or an efficiency bonus to your own ground troops, or both.

Yes, I did consider some form of airbase that would allow re-arming on the planet. An invading force could send down construction units and build one (or maybe invade a moon and build one there).

I can think of some serious complexities around how 'low flying' fighters and orbital ships interact :)  Perhaps the easiest option is for low flying fighters to be treated as a ground unit. They could be armed with the equivalent of anti-air weapon modules for use against other low flying fighters (using an air superiority mission). Orbital units could target low-flying fighters in the same way as other 'ground' units using forward fire direction (although this situation is probably unlikely). I'll iron this out when I code it.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on December 03, 2017, 01:30:47 PM
You plausibly need the short duration troop bays for boarding craft.  Though that could be abstracted just like orbital drops as long as the transport can get close to the boarding target, if boarding speed requirement rules are relaxed.

If you have modules on a combat ship set up like

Troop Transport Bay
Combat Drop Module (allows drops as opposed to unloads)

there's potential for a rare-tech Teleporter (ala w40k Teleportarium) that allows short distance infantry assaults.

I think air/orbital support should stick to being classed as Bombardment weapons.  Modern artillery doesn't suffer from firepower problems - targeting is the main difficulty. 

Anti-Aircraft weapons could also be roled to decrease bombardment damage, except maybe from super heavy bombardment (like non-fighter orbital), representing area denial, low-level CIWS, etc.   Given their tonnage requirements, even the smallest orbital weapons could plausibly be classed as heavy or super heavy bombardment weapons compared to ground units, so if you have an exception for super-heavy it excises the potential problem of Hydra flak tanks reducing laser bombardment damage.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: serger on December 03, 2017, 02:02:37 PM
1. We have now ground units, that can be deployed for unlimited time on any celestial body, that have solid or liquid surface (atmosphere is not necessary). So, they have their own unlimited life support. Why are they can be deployed at comet, but cannot be deployed at any hold?

2. We have sensors and weapons, that can see and shot on any direction, without any obstacle (such as planet or ship's own corpus). So, it's quite strange, that some small crafts can hide from enemy fire behind planet's surface. It seems to me, that unit, that have an ability to hide from TN sensors, simply must be non-TN.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on December 03, 2017, 02:52:20 PM
For storing equipment not on board of dropships:
While each item may physically take up the same amount of space, equipment can be stored more space efficiently in a large hold in containers than in drop pods with all items distributed to individual units.
Furthermore, hold space is cheaper than drop ships, so you may well want to drop in multiple waves if your army is large/not enough assault ships are available. You should be able to impress some civilian transports as troop carriers all the way to the planet.

How will supply be implemented? The quickest way to end an invasion should be to retake space and cut them off from any resupply. The VBA version of just charging some wealth seems inadequate for the otherwise much more detailed ground forces
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on December 03, 2017, 03:20:11 PM
Having said all that, the system needs to be one where orbital fire support gives a significant advantage but doesn't completely rule the battlefield. Open to suggestions :)

I think a lot of this stuff would benefit from abstraction. The support spaceships in orbit give to friendly troops planet-side should be automatic based on the weapons in the orbiting fleet and could be reflected in the modification to ground force unit effectiveness (its combat rolls). Approaching all support (not just orbital) this way gives a simple framework that delivers the outcomes we should expect from ground combat and provides a simple mechanism for resolving the outcomes (which would make eventual NPR ground combat a lot easier for its AI). I think the constituent components of ground units could function similarly---as modifiers for a single, base combat mechanic. If the difficulty is the interaction between the space and ground combat mechanics, this solves it (I think), at least from the orbit-to-surface angle.

This wouldn't eliminate direct targeting of surface contacts by spaceships---I'd attempt to take out STO units at long range before I ever tried to park a fleet in support of a ground campaign. I don't think discrete "ground" platforms (a tank or aerial drone, for instance) should be targetable at all, even if we design them as part of ground units ... but my feeling was that STO capability would be at least a battalion-equivalent manpower and logistical organization anyway.

A planetary invasion scenario could develop as follows: a contest between whatever unit takes the role of PDCs and attacking ships using space combat rules, followed by troop landings and ground combat (using its rules) that is modified by the support-presence of ships in orbit, which is a huge advantage that should allow a smaller attacking force to contest against superior numbers instead of being overwhelmed by mass popular uprising (in the case of a homeworld). The orbital presence modifier could also be applied to speeding up the assimilation process or preventing the spontaneous generation of new enemy ground units (yeah, that should be a thing!) on a conquered world held by insufficient forces ... another way to make colony/population size matter.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on December 03, 2017, 11:28:19 PM
Having said all that, the system needs to be one where orbital fire support gives a significant advantage but doesn't completely rule the battlefield. Open to suggestions :)

I favor the abstraction approach myself as well, but I'm thinking about it in maybe a different way.

As I see it, we have two mechanics, "bombardment" from artillery and "orbital bombardment" from ships, that maybe should be treated as one mechanic. As powerful as they are, they don't win the battle; you still need boots on the ground for that. Well, mostly anyways; I think a fleet with enough firepower and a scorched earth policy should probably be able to glass a planet from orbit without landing troops.

So first off, I think ships should be able to fire at a planet like they kind of can now, but just have the damage randomly (not necessarily evenly) split between population, buildings, and troops. Call that general bombardment.

Then there would be what we're talking about here, maybe call it support bombardment. I think artillery and spaceships should probably work exactly the same there; at least I can't think of a major difference in how they'd probably be used. This also means that the defenders could effectively match the advantage of orbital bombardment by their own artillery units (until they got blown up, anyways). There should still be a chance of collateral damage (as should all ground combat, though maybe support bombardment should be higher), but it shouldn't be the primary damage source like in a general bombardment.

The question then is how to ensure you can't completely destroy your enemy with support bombardment. There's already a module for calling down artillery fire, which is good, but there should probably be some method to limit how much that benefits you. Having a thousand ships providing bombardment shouldn't be a thousand times as effective as having one, basically. One option is to give a bonus to the rolls of the supported unit, but I'm not so sure about that; might be too abstracted for me. I think a good balance mechanism might be to limit how much artillery can fire at a single enemy unit; after all, targeting is the issue, and landing a hundred shells on the same spot is probably not that much more effective than a dozen.

That just leads to another problem in that not all artillery is created equally, though. If your ships have 30cm lasers and 10cm lasers, you probably don't want your limited artillery shots to all be the 10cm ones. The specifics of this might depend heavily on how the balance details of ground units shake out, but one option I can think of is to have the game automatically assign the smallest support artillery certain to kill the target if it hits (or else the largest available if none are certain kills). That would probably result in a fairly ideal spread most of the time.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: serger on December 04, 2017, 12:16:49 AM
The question then is how to ensure you can't completely destroy your enemy with support bombardment. There's already a module for calling down artillery fire, which is good, but there should probably be some method to limit how much that benefits you. Having a thousand ships providing bombardment shouldn't be a thousand times as effective as having one, basically. One option is to give a bonus to the rolls of the supported unit, but I'm not so sure about that; might be too abstracted for me. I think a good balance mechanism might be to limit how much artillery can fire at a single enemy unit; after all, targeting is the issue

1. Roll to spot enemy units, depending on their visibility. Lesser unit "volume" remains after bombardment - lesser visibility they have, lesser chance to spot these remains and target them with bombardment.

2. Have a chance of friendly fire losses. More troops you have on the ground - more chance of friendly fire losses. Orbital bombardment may have more such chances, comparing to ground units fire.

So it will be a moment, when you'll have to have more and more units on the ground just to spot enemy remains, and your units will suffer more and more losses from your own orbital bombardment. It will be cheaper to stop bombardment and send light forces to clear battlefield.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel on December 04, 2017, 03:11:54 AM
1. We have now ground units, that can be deployed for unlimited time on any celestial body, that have solid or liquid surface (atmosphere is not necessary). So, they have their own unlimited life support. Why are they can be deployed at comet, but cannot be deployed at any hold?
That's an abstraction because ground combat was originally an afterthought. Otherwise we would have to construct supply networks to maintain ground units on comets/asteroids, maybe including civilian contracts for them, as well as rotation periods because nobody stays in warzone 24/7/365 forever. While I'm all for that detail and micromanagement, I doubt many others are. Though we do already have that for ships, so extending it to GU's wouldn't be too much of a change...  :P
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on December 04, 2017, 01:17:55 PM
In regard to large ships or small ships braving the STO fire, you still have the option to build specialised physical drop ships (using smaller formations). However, a 100 ton tank will take up the same amount of space on a large ship intended for deep space, or a small one intended to make the final run. What you say is true for infantry, but as I noted in my original post I could create specialised short-duration troops bays only for infantry and allow transfers from long-duration to short-duration bays. That adds complexity and you still need to get the vehicles down using larger ships so I am not sure the game play gain is commensurate with the extra complexity.

One alternative I considered was to include the total manpower for each Ground Unit Class (assuming a certain number of crew per vehicle / weapon type) and then have transport sizes without life support. Extra life support could be added to the ship to support the ground personnel and would be modified depending on the deployment time of the ships. However, you would need to know up front in this case how many personnel were likely in your future ground units. In the end I decided that added too much complexity and went for the simpler idea of abstract drop ships.

As for abstract drop ships vs landing on the planet - actually landing would open up the ships to fire from anti-air (or even enemy vehicles) so I think sending down drop ships from orbit is the equivalent of sending in landing craft on D-Day. The STO units are the equivalent of coastal artillery.

I don't like the drop module idea, as you don't send in the landing ships; Your transports carry ships which carry landing ships, which has one layer too much. If you go for fast craft, they almost need a carrier due to the resulting fuel consumption, and I don't see how a drop pod should be faster or more survivable than an entire small ship landing on the ground. Also, such a ship definitely should not be burdened down with any long term life support.
Replacing drop modules with needing extra crew space plus cargo space on an ship would smoothly integrate troop deployment times with ship deployment times, and allow to build separate ships for infantry/heavy units. A marine boarding shuttle might need no extra cargo space at all, while a tank lander only carries very little personnel.
You can still build your own drop pod by building a ship with minimal engine, enough cargo space and a lot of short term crew berths, and stick them into a hangar until you are right on top of the planet.
The abstraction of drop modules runs contrary to the more detailed ground forces; If we can pick the exact unit composition we want our tank battalions to have, please give us the freedom to design perfectly matched landing craft to go along with
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TCD on December 04, 2017, 01:35:46 PM
1. We have now ground units, that can be deployed for unlimited time on any celestial body, that have solid or liquid surface (atmosphere is not necessary). So, they have their own unlimited life support. Why are they can be deployed at comet, but cannot be deployed at any hold?
Is this actually true? I don't think Steve has said anything about whether ground units will require maintenance supply points? I agree that it wouldn't make sense for a super heavy TN tank to be maintenance free, but I don't think it will be. Having troops consume local/orbital MSPs or suffer escalating losses would be a neat addition.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on December 04, 2017, 03:48:54 PM
IMO the self design paradigm for dropships runs up against the problem that the typical scifi dropship is way too small to carry Aurora-C formations.  literally the only scifi book, game, or show dropship i can think of that would fit would be Battletech, which used very large dropships so they could fit large numbers of very large battlemechs. 

like, a 'drop pod' carrying companies of tanks or hundreds of infantry is kinda ridiculous for the vast majority of RP.

Maybe dropships could also be set up as a kind of ground unit..? *shrug*

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on December 04, 2017, 08:18:54 PM
I favor the abstraction approach myself as well, but I'm thinking about it in maybe a different way.

As I see it, we have two mechanics, "bombardment" from artillery and "orbital bombardment" from ships, that maybe should be treated as one mechanic. As powerful as they are, they don't win the battle; you still need boots on the ground for that. Well, mostly anyways; I think a fleet with enough firepower and a scorched earth policy should probably be able to glass a planet from orbit without landing troops.

"Boots on the ground" is exactly the concern I'm addressing. If orbital fire support is applied as a modifier to ground combat, there's no need to calculate anything except the bonuses that get applied to ground unit effectiveness and no need to give special/extra orders---it makes sense, why would weapons in orbit not support combat on the surface? The same could be true of artillery bombardment, air power, special infantry formations, and perhaps even armored vehicle equivalents---each just a different bonus that gets applied to unit effectiveness. In the absence of ground units, there's no such thing as orbital fire support; we either glass the surface, damaging installations and environment, or leave it, as I believe is the case in 7.1 already.

Some of this discussion seems to trip over tactical considerations when we aren't making any tactical decisions. We're going to drop troops on a planet and the game is going to resolve the outcome; we make the strategic choices about what worlds to attack and the composition of the forces we attack with. The only thing the game needs to do is make those outcomes believable by using a combat mechanic that properly weights the effect of various ground unit types and external factors (like the number of shipboard weapons counting towards an orbital fire support modifier, planet type modifiers, etc.) against each other.


Quote
The question then is how to ensure you can't completely destroy your enemy with support bombardment. There's already a module for calling down artillery fire, which is good, but there should probably be some method to limit how much that benefits you. Having a thousand ships providing bombardment shouldn't be a thousand times as effective as having one, basically. One option is to give a bonus to the rolls of the supported unit, but I'm not so sure about that; might be too abstracted for me. I think a good balance mechanism might be to limit how much artillery can fire at a single enemy unit; after all, targeting is the issue, and landing a hundred shells on the same spot is probably not that much more effective than a dozen.

Solved when there can't be fire support without combat units to which to apply the modifier and the modifier doesn't have to scale geometrically---as you say, there'd be no added benefit to, say, a hundred ships versus ten, if the mission is orbital fire support. Diminishing returns seems like it'd be easy to bake into the equation. I highlighted the very thing I've been suggesting in your quote. Unless we're giving orders to individual combat units, it's already abstracted, which is a good thing---if the rules are simple enough, the NPRs might be able to handle it in the future.

I keep trying to grasp the fire direction module business ... seems like a range-finder, a comm-link, and GPS would do the trick without even a 1 HS component being necessary. I have fire controls that can track at 40,000km/s and hit targets 600,000km distant, but these weapons can't lay down accurate fire from a couple of miles above a planet's surface? Fire director/controllers seem like they're solving a problem that doesn't exist. What's being gained other than taking a tactical necessity and scaling it up to a strategic hassle? Targeting is not a problem on the scale on which the game is being played; fire support effectiveness just needs to scale with the attrition of its target as you've suggested.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on December 05, 2017, 03:10:11 AM
I keep trying to grasp the fire direction module business ... seems like a range-finder, a comm-link, and GPS would do the trick without even a 1 HS component being necessary. I have fire controls that can track at 40,000km/s and hit targets 600,000km distant, but these weapons can't lay down accurate fire from a couple of miles above a planet's surface? Fire director/controllers seem like they're solving a problem that doesn't exist. What's being gained other than taking a tactical necessity and scaling it up to a strategic hassle? Targeting is not a problem on the scale on which the game is being played; fire support effectiveness just needs to scale with the attrition of its target as you've suggested.

Fire direction isn't about targeting. It's about spotting/designation of priority targets and communicating them.

Basically from orbit all your ships would see is a huge ocean of moving dots, foes and friendlies. Knowing which foes that needs taking out with priority because they are threatening/firing on your friendlies, or because your friendlies need them suppressed to advance is what Fire direction is about.

Another important point of forward fire direction/observation is assessing the damage inflicted and if further fire is needed or not.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on December 05, 2017, 11:10:23 AM
One problem with having orbital bombardment only be a modifier on ground combat is that you can't soften enemy ground units up before yours arrive.  In WW2 in the Pacific, some Japanese-held islands were shelled for weeks before the marines arrived.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on December 05, 2017, 11:20:52 AM
You can still do that, it just has to be an indiscriminate bombardment that'll cause lots of civilian casualties
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on December 05, 2017, 01:17:04 PM
You can still do that, it just has to be an indiscriminate bombardment that'll cause lots of civilian casualties
Why? Unless you are using nukes, you should be able to limit collateral damage. With beams/railguns in orbit, you should not be hitting anything you did not intend to. That doesn't mean there is no collateral damage, but in no way comparable to an indiscriminate bombardment.
The tricky part about orbital bombardment is that it has various effects:
-Direct damage against units spotted from orbit, independent of ground forces
-Direct damage against units from fire missions called in by own troops, very much dependent on ground forces.
-Damage against logistics, transportation.
-Denial of space, forcing units move under cover, restrict enemy use of aircraft/drones, removal of enemy observation satellites
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: obsidian_green on December 05, 2017, 10:09:06 PM
Fire direction isn't about targeting. It's about spotting/designation of priority targets and communicating them.

Basically from orbit all your ships would see is a huge ocean of moving dots, foes and friendlies. Knowing which foes that needs taking out with priority because they are threatening/firing on your friendlies, or because your friendlies need them suppressed to advance is what Fire direction is about.

Another important point of forward fire direction/observation is assessing the damage inflicted and if further fire is needed or not.

There's no way company-sized ground units don't already have spotting and target-designation capability; I think squads in modern armies already have it. Relaying information to orbital artillery is little different than relaying it today to artillery, to air assets, naval fire support, etc ... except maybe the ability to skip a satellite relay, when that's necessary because the orbiting ship would be the satellite. The link isn't to the firing platform, but to HQ. Range-finder, GPS, and a comm-link. And I'm sure the ships in orbit have telescopes; current spy satellites see a good bit more than dots---can't they read license plates?

However, a ship component (as opposed to some ground coordination element that would be a redundant HQ) might not be a bad idea, not as a fire direction module, but as a surface-support coordination station/center that can be assigned an army officer instead of a naval officer, and that officer can provide an additional or better orbital fire support bonus. Maybe the standard modifier (no surface-support coordination center) does a better job at providing a defensive modifier to ground forces than an offensive one, but the station allows planning for the coordinated strikes that get expressed in the mechanics as a better offensive bonus to ground forces.

Why? Unless you are using nukes, you should be able to limit collateral damage. With beams/railguns in orbit, you should not be hitting anything you did not intend to. That doesn't mean there is no collateral damage, but in no way comparable to an indiscriminate bombardment.
The tricky part about orbital bombardment is that it has various effects:
-Direct damage against units spotted from orbit, independent of ground forces
-Direct damage against units from fire missions called in by own troops, very much dependent on ground forces.
-Damage against logistics, transportation.
-Denial of space, forcing units move under cover, restrict enemy use of aircraft/drones, removal of enemy observation satellites

I think this outlines the considerations well and I think the application of a ground unit modifier covers all the bullet points that aren't already handled under the 7.1 ship combat rules. Direct damage vs. units from orbit is how 7.1 already works. Independent ground contacts are already targetable, iirc (and cause some collateral damage---I know it kicks up dust). The rest could all be covered by the modifier applied by the presence of ships in orbit and could have different effects if there are discrete mechanics for the elements covered in the last two bullet points. I think the ability to model those effects is a good selling point for orbital fire support as a modifier rather than devising a completely new scheme to count "space shots" like ground shots are being counted. It achieves the purpose/effect of orbital fire support without the extra combat rolls and adds flexibility for other potential effects (like the spotting and mobility issues mentioned).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: serger on December 05, 2017, 11:45:05 PM
And I'm sure the ships in orbit have telescopes; current spy satellites see a good bit more than dots---can't they read license plates?
They can't.
Atmospheric disturbance limit their max resolution to the objects with a size of 0.2 - 0.5m.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on December 05, 2017, 11:55:23 PM
One problem with having orbital bombardment only be a modifier on ground combat is that you can't soften enemy ground units up before yours arrive.  In WW2 in the Pacific, some Japanese-held islands were shelled for weeks before the marines arrived.

I think this should probably be the case no matter what, so that you can't just destroy ground forces from orbit without landing soldiers. Yeah, it worked in WW2, but only when bombarding relatively small areas where you knew there had to be enemies and had no worries about damaging civilian structures, and even then it was fairly limited in effectiveness.

Against an entire planet, where you have no idea where the ground units might be hiding? Yeah, probably not practical with anything short of general destruction on a planetary scale.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Kelewan on December 06, 2017, 04:09:54 AM
Hi,

I would like to point out that there are 3 level to consider in this discussion.

level 1 (game balance): There have to be multiple ways to conquer a planet, and ways to counter them.  On one hand, If there is one way to always
    win the battle without a downside, everyone will be using it and it will get boring or frustrating depending if you are the attacker or the defender. 
   On the other hand if you can defend every planet that will be boring or frustrating the other way around.  So the game mechanics have to provide
   multiple methods, each with pros and cons, to provide a  challenging  experience. 

level 2 (programming): Steve has to convert the mechanics into code that is fast enough that is still fun to play and that we don't die of old age or boredom.
    Reducing special cases will speed up the game, but more important it will also speed up programming and it will reduce the likelihood of bugs.

level 3 (realism / suspension of disbelief): We need some sort of reason why some things work or don't work.  That need to be somewhat consistent. 
    IMHO this is the least important level of discussion, but it seams it is the dominant part of this thread. 
    Don't get me wrong.  I am not against using WW2 ships and coastal landing as guideline or model but this is a fictional game where we can make
    up reasons why some things are working and others are not .

This discussion started with my question how the new ordnance handling would impact PDCs, and Steve realized that his would be an other special
case (level 2 (programming)) and that there are many ways to abuse PDCs (level 1 (game balance))

So I think we should focus more on the following questions

- Is the new system balanced?
- Are there different ways to try to conquer a planet,  and are there ways to counter these ways and ways to counter the counter, . . . .
- Is there something missing in ground combat that will help the balance?
- Are there other ways to make the ground combat  challenging and interesting, that are at least as easy to program?
- Are there ideas that keep the balance and use mechanics already in the game.   

and at last if we have figured out the rules we want

- Which are the "in game reasons" why the rule work the way the work

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: serger on December 06, 2017, 05:11:57 AM
First, I cannot agree that realism / suspension of disbelief is the least important level of discussion, third after programming problems.
Quite the contrary, I think that game balance and suspension of disbelief are the most important, the most fundamental aspects of the game, while realism is just subsidiary instrument (one of them) of disbelief suspension. So there are 2 levels, and balance / suspension of disbelief are just 2 parallel parts of 1st level.
And, more of that, Aurora is a great and unique story telling SciFi game, not a game of great challenges (I have won at 1000% of difficulty with the same easiness, as at 100% or 200%). So, suspension of disbelief is much more important for me in Aurora.

Second, if we look at programming level, then we see that balancing of the multiple methods is a great problem itself just at that level. Current version of AI is already broken, AI just cannot use those multiple methods, and multipleyer is not an option for all players except, maybe, very rare maniacs. It's very hard to code good balanced AI. On the contrary, that's relatively easy to code interconsistent model, not a patchwork quilt of different methods and objects. And that interconsistency is a key instrument of disbelief suspension.

I think, that for the first versions of C# Aurora it will be good to have some simple mechanics (to have working AI at all), even if it will be some "one button strategy". We'll get our pleasure for long months just finding that strategy, while Steve always will have an option to add some new feature.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel on December 06, 2017, 04:35:15 PM
I think this should probably be the case no matter what, so that you can't just destroy ground forces from orbit without landing soldiers. Yeah, it worked in WW2, but only when bombarding relatively small areas where you knew there had to be enemies and had no worries about damaging civilian structures, and even then it was fairly limited in effectiveness./quote]
Pointless nitpick but it didn't actually work in WW2 at all, nor in WW1. Iwo Jima is probably the best example but there are hundreds of them, where the attacker wasted hundreds or even thousands of tons of high explosives without gaining much, if any, advantage. Iwo Jima was bombarded/raided for nine months, which was upgraded to a continuous bombardment of the entire island for the last 3 days before the invasion. While the shelling did cause some caves and pillboxes to collapse, it did not cause significant casualties nor did it crack the morale of the Japanese. We can also look at Sevastopol or Normandy for extensive and/or lengthy bombardments of geographically restricted areas that did not achieve their goals.

Similarly, in the 2003 Iraq invasion, the US led coalition forces were ambushed by Iraqi defenders at several occasions, despite a complete control of air and the most sophisticated fire-support network possible. Iraq had been divided into squares that were continuously monitored by Global Hawk UAVs and each GH-square was then divided further into Predator-monitored smaller squares. While this prohibited mechanised Iraqi forces from moving, it was not capable of wiping out resistance on ground, and localized counter-attacks happened, especially in urban areas.

But we are in agreement: there really should be no way to destroy enemy ground forces from space, not even if you blanket the planet with nukes. Planets are just too big and humans are resilient. Unless Steve introduces an EXTERMINATUS option, of course  ;D

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on December 06, 2017, 05:50:17 PM
I'm fine with being able to just glass planets from space, as long as it wipes out anything you'd want to take when you do it (and potentially ruins habitability for some time as well, so you can't even recolonize). After all, if someone doesn't want to bother with ground forces, then I don't think they should have to.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: ardem on December 06, 2017, 08:31:39 PM
Why do we not make it easier like Battletech and build large transports that have the option to land (Landing Module % of the mass of the size of ship for landing and taking off).

You can build teh drop ships at various size and once they have landed then they become you furthest back line defence and still able to be attacked from defensive air cover and space, still able to use it defensive CIWS and shields to help itself. But not able to be attacked from other ground units until all front line troops removed.

On defensive front, since PDC is gone, the defending side has no access to ground fighters as the space stations would be wiped. I think you either have the ability to land space fighters, or make it only ground based fighters as another Ground based option.

I like the idea an engineer group needs to make a airstrip before, although I expect all TN ground fighter to be VTOL so it really only setting up facilities such as fuel and armaments. Or if we take my concept above in transports that have ground based landing option maybe on landing they are the facilities.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Gyrfalcon on December 08, 2017, 01:10:35 AM
A further question for the organization side of things. Given that the whole system is being overhauled, will there be more organization at the high level (such as Corps, Armies and Army Groups?) It'd give something for rank 4 generals to command.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 09, 2017, 09:38:02 AM
A further question for the organization side of things. Given that the whole system is being overhauled, will there be more organization at the high level (such as Corps, Armies and Army Groups?) It'd give something for rank 4 generals to command.

I'm still debating about command. The variety of unit sizes makes it less straightforward than before so I think an HQ will be rated on the number of units it can command and the maximum size of those units. So a brigade HQ might be 25,000 tons and 10 units for example. A division HQ could be 100,000 tons and 40 units. If either limit is exceeded, the effectiveness of the HQ bonus will be reduced, with no bonus at double the limit. The limit on the number of units will be higher than before so some smaller, specialised units can be included in the command structure. I see no reason why a Corps or Army level HQ could not be added as well.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 09, 2017, 10:05:53 AM
I'm still debating about command. The variety of unit sizes makes it less straightforward than before so I think an HQ will be rated on the number of units it can command and the maximum size of those units. So a brigade HQ might be 25,000 tons and 10 units for example. A division HQ could be 100,000 tons and 40 units. If either limit is exceeded, the effectiveness of the HQ bonus will be reduced, with no bonus at double the limit. The limit on the number of units will be higher than before so some smaller, specialised units can be included in the command structure. I see no reason why a Corps or Army level HQ could not be added as well.

Consider letting players create even higher level commands as part of the administrative system similar to Naval commands. There's a point where higher level HQ units become implausible as combat units because they'd be shoved either off planet or under a kilometer of rock and behind the entire army.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 09, 2017, 12:13:28 PM
Thanks for all the comments and feedback related to landing operations.

I haven't completely decided on the final numbers yet, but in principle I am going for the following options for landing on planets:

1) Troop Transport Bays will be similar to before, except there are now three sizes (small, standard, large), which are: 100 ton (2 HS), 1000 tons (20 HS) and 5000 tons (100 HS). This is a commercial system and functions in the same way as in VB6 Aurora.

2) Troop Transport Bays - Drop Ship Equipped is a new module which can function as a normal troop transport bay or quickly deliver troops from orbit using abstract drop ships. If the fast orbital delivery is chosen, there will be two options for the drop - Normal and Abandon. A normal drop will include waiting for the drop ships to return to the bays, which will require two minutes without additional research. A new tech line will reduce drop ship return times, starting with 90 seconds for 2000 RP and ending with 20 seconds for 64,000 RP. In an Abandon drop, the drop ships make a one way trip, allowing the ship to leave orbit immediately after the drop. In this case the bay is damaged (to simulate the loss of the drop ships) and can only be repaired at a shipyard. A ship with intact drop ships can also pick up troops from a planet, although this requires double the normal return trip time (as it is faster to unload than load). In all cases, the ship may only carry out landing or recovery operations if it starts the movement phase in the same location as the planet. For example, in an Abandon drop, the troop ship will arrive at the planet, take any fire for that turn, then launch drop ships and move away in the following turn. There are drop ship equivalents for the three normal bays. They have the same capacities but are 20% larger, 150% more expensive and a military system.

3) Troop Transport Bays - Boarding Equipped is a new type which can function as normal troop transport bays or launch infantry units in a boarding attack against a hostile ship (in a similar way to VB6 Aurora). There are equivalents for the Small and Standard normal bays. They have the same capacities but are 10% larger, 50% more expensive and a military system.

There are no longer any short-duration troop transport modules, as the 'landing craft' are now the abstract drop ships. This is partly to reduce micromanagement and the number of different ground-related orders, but also to create a real flavour of an opposed landing and to require investment in 'amphibious' operations. Any STO weapons on the surface will be able to target the landing ships on the way in and out of the drop zone. The player has a few options in terms of the troop ships. For example, large and heavily armoured dropping large formations, small and fast with small formations or raiding parties, or bare bones and expendable. Of course, additional ships can accompany the troop ships in an attempt to distract or suppress the defences.

In terms of orbital bombardment support from ground units, I will use a system where a ship is linked to a formation with Forward Fire Direction. Ships will function as bombardment units similar to artillery. I will probably use 20x the square root of the energy weapon damage for the bombardment value with half that as the AP value. So that would be (AP/Damage) 10/20 for a 10cm railgun round or gauss cannon, 17/35 for a 10cm laser, 40/80 for a 25cm laser, etc.. The smaller weapons would be more effective en masse against infantry or static weapons while the larger weapons would be more effective against vehicles. Each Forward Fire Direction component will be able to support one ship or a number of fighters (number TBD).

I haven't completely decided yet on fighters, but I at the moment I am leaning towards new, relatively small, ground-specific modules for 'normal' fighters. Anti-air units will have a ship-type damage value, rather than a ground-type value. For the moment, there will be no 'ground unit fighters', although in the future I might add some 'attack-helicopter' type units.

Of course, all of this has to be coded so I might run into something unexpected at that point which changes things. I think it will be obvious to everyone that this diversion into completely changing ground combat has put C# Aurora back a few months. This is probably the largest overall change so far in game mechanics so I have been giving it a lot of thought before diving into the programming. Also, things are going to be slow over the next few weeks due to the Xmas run-up, although I should have some time off work over the holidays and get some work done then.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on December 09, 2017, 12:39:02 PM
1) Troop Transport Bays will be similar to before, except there are now three sizes (small, standard, large), which are: 100 ton (2 HS), 1000 tons (20 HS) and 5000 tons (100 HS). This is a commercial system and functions in the same way as in VB6 Aurora.
Thank you for including a transport bay small enough for a fighter to use!!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 09, 2017, 12:44:11 PM
Please allow Boarding Equipped Troop Transport Bays to be used as Drop Ship Equipped with only 'Abandon Drop Ship' invasion options.

With the new orbital bombardment mechanics the STO mechanics need to be reconsidered; it has become possible to make the attack bounce on the armour, so 'fortify or die' is no longer an absolute requirement to defend against orbital bombardment for Static units. While it certainly seems like ships will have the advantage in damage, especially as the calibers of the guns escalate, the relatively lower cost of the ground forces would give them the volume of fire advantage, and a dozen lasers at point blank range can be quite damaging against a ship.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 09, 2017, 01:00:44 PM
Please allow Boarding Equipped Troop Transport Bays to be used as Drop Ship Equipped with only 'Abandon Drop Ship' invasion options.

With the new orbital bombardment mechanics the STO mechanics need to be reconsidered; it has become possible to make the attack bounce on the armour, so 'fortify or die' is no longer an absolute requirement to defend against orbital bombardment for Static units. While it certainly seems like ships will have the advantage in damage, especially as the calibers of the guns escalate, the relatively lower cost of the ground forces would give them the volume of fire advantage, and a dozen lasers at point blank range can be quite damaging against a ship.

Ships can still engage STO units using normal combat mechanics (if the STO units open fire). The orbital bombardment mechanics only apply to ground combat.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 09, 2017, 01:17:17 PM
Ships can still engage STO units using normal combat mechanics (if the STO units open fire). The orbital bombardment mechanics only apply to ground combat.

Sure, but now you've got actually translated damage and AP values to use in the engagement mechanics, rather than it being a binary question of does the shot hit at all. This makes it possible, and to my eye more consistent, if the STO combat mechanics are based on the orbital bombardment mechanics. Because those are based on the ground combat mechanics, which also acknowledge the fortification system.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 09, 2017, 01:34:03 PM
Sure, but now you've got actually translated damage and AP values to use in the engagement mechanics, rather than it being a binary question of does the shot hit at all. This makes it possible, and to my eye more consistent, if the STO combat mechanics are based on the orbital bombardment mechanics. Because those are based on the ground combat mechanics, which also acknowledge the fortification system.

The fortification system is completely separate to the damage mechanics and is used for both ground combat and STO vs Ship combat. In both cases, it reduces the chance to hit.

However, I think you saying (correct me if wrong) that if a hit is achieved by a ship on an STO unit, then the hit should be resolved using the bombardment AP & Damage values laid out in my earlier post. That would actually be more consistent and remove the need for a special case. In effect, ships could directly bombard ground units firing at them, but require fire direction for general bombardment of specific ground formations engaged in ground combat.

I don't think it would make too much different in reality because of the very low value and hit points of static units but it might be possible for them to survive a low strength hit (10cm railgun round for example) if the STO units have a tech advantage. Even given that, it probably is better to make it consistent.

EDIT: In fact, now I consider further I should keep the anti-air units consistent with ground combat values, allow them to take part in ground combat as well (as many AA units did in reality) and translate those values into normal ship to ship damage using the opposite formula. For example:

An AA unit with values of AP 10 / Damage 20, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (20 / 20) ^ 2 = 1.
An AA unit with values of AP 20 / Damage 40, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (40 / 20) ^ 2 = 4.
An AA unit with values of AP 30 / Damage 60, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (60 / 20) ^ 2 = 9.

If a hit is scored against a ground unit, the ground unit values are used. Against a (low-flying) fighter, the anti-ship values are used. I just need to make sure the costs of the AA units are consistent with their capabilities (and ensure there is a balance between ground and air). I can see that AA suppression should be one of the fighter mission orders.

I know this means that some ground unit weapons seem powerful in ship to ship terms but the technobabble can be that ground unit weapons are designed for very close combat (a few kilometres) while ship-based weapons are used across tens or hundreds of thousands of kilometres. The AA units are only effective against low-flying fighters and would be useless against anything in orbit. The ground to space interactions are really starting to come together.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 09, 2017, 02:31:16 PM
However, I think you saying (correct me if wrong) that if a hit is achieved by a ship on an STO unit, then the hit should be resolved using the bombardment AP & Damage values laid out in my earlier post. That would actually be more consistent and remove the need for a special case. In effect, ships could directly bombard ground units firing at them, but require fire direction for general bombardment of specific ground formations engaged in ground combat.

That is what I meant, yes.

I don't think it would make too much different in reality because of the very low value and hit points of static units but it might be possible for them to survive a low strength hit (10cm railgun round for example) if the STO units have a tech advantage. Even given that, it probably is better to make it consistent.

This is quite probable. However, it does mean that giving Static units access to better armour similar to other ground units can give you more options and answer the question of 'do I want to fortify a desert or barren world' with 'yes.' Because now you can armour the STO units effectively, if not necessarily cheaply. On the other hand, jungle/mountain STO units will remain cheap and effective, or more expensive and really, really annoying to try and bombard into submission due to not being locked to the lowest armour level.

It also means you can now actually create effective hardened defense positions instead of glass cannons a properly prepared enemy assault force can force relatively easily. And yes, a properly dug in, armoured Static defense unit is going to be horrible to dig out; that's something the various defensive positions the Japanese established in the Pacific as well as the Vietcong demonstrated very ably.

EDIT: In fact, now I consider further I should keep the anti-air units consistent with ground combat values, allow them to take part in ground combat as well (as many AA units did in reality) and translate those values into normal ship to ship damage using the opposite formula. For example:

An AA unit with values of AP 10 / Damage 20, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (20 / 20) ^ 2 = 1.
An AA unit with values of AP 20 / Damage 40, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (40 / 20) ^ 2 = 4.
An AA unit with values of AP 30 / Damage 60, would translate to an normal weapon damage of  (60 / 20) ^ 2 = 9.

If a hit is scored against a ground unit, the ground unit values are used. Against a (low-flying) fighter, the anti-ship values are used. I just need to make sure the costs of the AA units are consistent with their capabilities (and ensure there is a balance between ground and air). I can see that AA suppression should be one of the fighter mission orders.

I know this means that some ground unit weapons seem powerful in ship to ship terms but the technobabble can be that ground unit weapons are designed for very close combat (a few kilometres) while ship-based weapons are used across tens or hundreds of thousands of kilometres. The AA units are only effective against low-flying fighters and would be useless against anything in orbit. The ground to space interactions are really starting to come together.

So long as that's only against ships and fighters that are registered as 'on planet' and not landed that's fine.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on December 09, 2017, 02:54:31 PM
Do CIWS fit into this damage conversion dynamic at all?  Probably not, eh.

60-90 seconds seems like forever to sit at zero range for heavy beam weapons.  I can't  see myself ever using anything but Abandon for contested planets. I suppose the ground units are off the ship even at the start though? So they are safe, at least from the STO weapons.

i'd love to see it be a design-level consideration rather than a technology-level consideration. i.e., the number of drop modules you include in your design VS amount of troop bays determines its capabilities, ala Cargo Handling Systems.   You'd have a minimum number for doing Abandons - representing just piling troops into pods, shuttles etc and throwing them at the earth.  Then a threshold for doing return drops, representing that shuttles are loaded normally and have enough fuel to return to orbit.   After that additional modules would reduce the return time, representing lighter loads on shuttles and faster unloading, up to a minimum threshold.  In this context, improved tech would improve the performance per-module and reduce the minimum threshold.

Another possibilities in this design would be ships that could do sequential Abandons - an Abandon only need irreparably damage the minimum # of modules needed to conduct the Abandon.    So in an RP you could have a 'drop pod cruiser' that only does abandons, but can do them multiple times because of its redundant drop modules.

Not sure of the difficult code wise of that VS dedicated modules though.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Arwyn on December 09, 2017, 07:34:03 PM
Steve, one thing to consider would be if the troop type actually needs a drop module.

For example, Starship Troopers Mobile Infantry is power armor equipped, a drop ship was not needed as they deployed from drop pods from orbit. This same mechanism is used for a lot of sci-fi power armor troops. It is actually also used in Battletech, as Battlemechs were orbital dropped in drop pods instead of having drop ships going into contested spots.

The problem with the Battletech analogy is that the Dropships WERE ships. They ran from 200 tons to 50,000 tons and got insystem via a jumpship. Just like Aurora.

Another FASA game system, which would be more applicable to the Aurora discussion, was Renegade Legion. Infantry could deploy via drop pod from orbit, or ride down in a grav APC which dropped from orbit and rode down with a heat shield. There WERE drop ships, but they were usually used for large equipment and non-drop capable combat units like tracked tanks for non-bounce infantry (straight leg infantry).

So, perhaps the troop modules could be;

1) Standard troop transport bay- rated for size like you mention, and a stock commercial system.
2) Drop module- A module for storing and launching orbit drop pods. The module is sized to match the transport bay. Military system.
3) Dropship module- a small hanger module for dropships, once again rated to support the size of transport bay. This would be integral abstract dropships.
4) Hanger Bay- Purpose built multi-role dropships, just like we currently have. More flexibility, but more space/weight/cost.
5) Troop Landing module. Military system. This would be the actual bay, drop doors, equipment ready racks, ect for an actually assault landing. Sized to match the transport bays

Breaking it up like this would allow different combinations. Such as a dedicated troopship for power armor infantry that has the troop transport bays, drop modules for insertion, and a dropship bay for recovery or planetary loading. Something like;
4x Small troop transport bays
4x Small drop modules
1x Small dropship module (recovery boats) 

Something like a Battletech style Leopard dropship;
4x Heavy troop transport bays
4x Heavy troop landing module

But you could also build something like a large infantry transport for low intensity or non-combat areas, something like;
Infantry Troop Transport/Lander
6x Small troop transport bays
1x Troop Landing modules

So, something like the above could ferry troops around, and land on the surface (abstractly) but only deploy a single unit at a time.

Something like this system could give you the capability of doing an LCI/LHA style carrier with dropships, a Leopard style assault lander, a Starship Troopers style Troopship with drop modules, or an Orbital Assault carrier with dedicated multi-role troopships (hanger bay style).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on December 09, 2017, 11:59:58 PM
I agree that it sounds like what you're going for are closer to drop pods than drop ships. Might even want to give up on the recoverable drop ships after a delay idea if you want to keep things simple, though there's nothing wrong with it.

About the only suggestion I would have is merging the drop ship/drop pod modules and the boarding ones, instead of having separate modules. It's simpler, and makes sense that something that could drop troops from orbit could drop them onto a spacecraft.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on December 10, 2017, 12:29:09 AM
It's simpler, but you lose on design level complexity.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on December 10, 2017, 03:24:08 AM
There are no longer any short-duration troop transport modules, as the 'landing craft' are now the abstract drop ships. This is partly to reduce micromanagement and the number of different ground-related orders, but also to create a real flavour of an opposed landing and to require investment in 'amphibious' operations. Any STO weapons on the surface will be able to target the landing ships on the way in and out of the drop zone. The player has a few options in terms of the troop ships. For example, large and heavily armoured dropping large formations, small and fast with small formations or raiding parties, or bare bones and expendable. Of course, additional ships can accompany the troop ships in an attempt to distract or suppress the defences.

The problem I see here is that IMHO the design choice of armored vs fast vs expendable should go into the dropships not their carriers. For me the troop carrier will always be a interstellar freighter designed to stay the heck out of harms way. This then unloads into the specialty ships that make the actual attack, the dropships, which should absolutely land themselves and unload directly on the ground, safe from STO units. The abstract dropships should have some range, being deployed outside beam range and make an attack run, taking the fire of any STO units. As already mentioned, with 2 min wait time (which seems very short to me to disembark) only 'abandon' will ever be used against a contested planet, making all non-dropship equipped bays without a purpose.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 10, 2017, 07:15:45 AM
I agree drop pods is a better description than drop ships, as ships implies something larger. I envisioned the pods as a TN version of a CH54 Skycrane, although more compact. The reason to abstract them is to avoid all the potential complexities around different unit sizes.

I agree that in a heavily defended landing zone, 'abandon' is the most likely option. However, I wanted the 'recover' option for more lightly defended planets and for heavily armoured troop ships designed to withstand ground fire for 60 seconds or so, but mainly because there needs to be some way to pull troops out when the landing is going badly. Maybe there could be a fourth bay type - abandon only - but i'm not sure that option would used very often when the recover option is so useful to have just in case.

I'm considering changing 'cargo handling systems' to 'cargo shuttles' and cargo/colony ships without that module will only be able to use Spaceports or a smaller 'Landing Field' (new installation). In that case, the pod-equipped troopships would be the only ones able to deliver and pick up troops at minor colonies. The commercial troopships would be moving from port to port, rather than the Aurora equivalent of picking up troops off a beach.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 10, 2017, 07:16:22 AM
Do CIWS fit into this damage conversion dynamic at all?  Probably not, eh.

No, CIWS is just for missile interception.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 10, 2017, 07:39:23 AM
This is quite probable. However, it does mean that giving Static units access to better armour similar to other ground units can give you more options and answer the question of 'do I want to fortify a desert or barren world' with 'yes.' Because now you can armour the STO units effectively, if not necessarily cheaply. On the other hand, jungle/mountain STO units will remain cheap and effective, or more expensive and really, really annoying to try and bombard into submission due to not being locked to the lowest armour level.

It also means you can now actually create effective hardened defense positions instead of glass cannons a properly prepared enemy assault force can force relatively easily. And yes, a properly dug in, armoured Static defense unit is going to be horrible to dig out; that's something the various defensive positions the Japanese established in the Pacific as well as the Vietcong demonstrated very ably.

It is a good point about the planets with less useful terrain for defending. However, I have to be careful about balance with static weapons as they are very cheap compared to vehicles. One of the reasons to pay for vehicles is for the armour options. In effect, the weapons on a ship are in a large, mobile armoured box, which is a vehicle. Static in the Aurora sense is a weapon that can be moved, but not very effectively. Towed anti-tank for example. Static weapons often have some form of forward facing armoured shield but that is not in the same league as a tank.

The other consideration is that the cost of a unit includes a multiple for armour strength. Given the high fortification benefits of static weapons, it may be better to have three well-fortified weapons with minimal armour, than a single well-fortified weapon with triple armour.

Having said that, I will add a couple more armour options for static units. They are currently always armour strength 1 (multiplied by racial tech). I will add armour 2 and 3, which gives them the same options as infantry but still less than a medium vehicle (AS4).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: King-Salomon on December 10, 2017, 08:20:42 AM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=9679. msg105581#msg105581 date=1512911745
I'm considering changing 'cargo handling systems' to 'cargo shuttles' and cargo/colony ships without that module will only be able to use Spaceports or a smaller 'Landing Field' (new installation).  In that case, the pod-equipped troopships would be the only ones able to deliver and pick up troops at minor colonies.  The commercial troopships would be moving from port to port, rather than the Aurora equivalent of picking up troops off a beach.

waiting for more than a year for something like this :)

I also wouldn't name the "Landing Field" "Landing Field" as (for me as I see it) it wouldn't make sense for spacegoing ships to be able to land on a planet - this is what shuttles are for. .  so why not name a "new installation" "Dirtside Shuttle Port" etc with abstract shuttles to fly from dirtside to the orbital installations/ships

also, when you are thinking about more "abstract" shuttles, wouldn't it make sense to get a "Shuttle bay" at ships (really small for 1-5 shuttles) with "abstract personal shuttles" to transport personal? They could be used to send new ship captains/officers etc to the ship instead of automatic "beaming" - if a ship does not have a shuttlebay, the new officer will only get to it at the next possible location - hell, it could even add a "timer" to simulate the flytime till the "shuttle" arrives with the timelag reduced by the last engine-research AFTER the ship gets an overhaul etc pp

so many possibilites -. -

but back to the topic, I really think it would be great to chance it so that it would be "shuttles" to transport A to B - for me that's what I am pretending all the time when I play the game as it just does not make sense for me otherwise :)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 10, 2017, 08:57:00 AM
It is a good point about the planets with less useful terrain for defending. However, I have to be careful about balance with static weapons as they are very cheap compared to vehicles. One of the reasons to pay for vehicles is for the armour options. In effect, the weapons on a ship are in a large, mobile armoured box, which is a vehicle. Static in the Aurora sense is a weapon that can be moved, but not very effectively. Towed anti-tank for example. Static weapons often have some form of forward facing armoured shield but that is not in the same league as a tank.

The other consideration is that the cost of a unit includes a multiple for armour strength. Given the high fortification benefits of static weapons, it may be better to have three well-fortified weapons with minimal armour, than a single well-fortified weapon with triple armour.

That is true depending on how well you can pile up the Fortification bonus. Static units on forest/jungle/mountain/rifts worlds don't need as much armour to be cost effective, and might well become less cost effective at the higher armour levels because of the need to leverage numbers properly. However, as desert worlds come with a fortification level penalty you need to compensate somehow for the greater chance for an STO unit to be wiped off the planet in a single salvo, even if it's more expensive.

It also means that low fortification limit worlds ground combat focused Static units are actually useful, rather than a speedbump at best compared to piling in more infantry.

Having said that, I will add a couple more armour options for static units. They are currently always armour strength 1 (multiplied by racial tech). I will add armour 2 and 3, which gives them the same options as infantry but still less than a medium vehicle (AS4).

Given the Fortification system, that sounds entirely right.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Barkhorn on December 10, 2017, 11:07:23 AM
What if we have only one combat drop order, in which the abstract drop-pods are destroyed on use, but if the troop transport stays in place for X time, they're automatically replaced?

This way the player can attempt to recover the drop pods, but later abandon them when it proves too dangerous.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 10, 2017, 11:17:00 AM
I also wouldn't name the "Landing Field" "Landing Field" as (for me as I see it) it wouldn't make sense for spacegoing ships to be able to land on a planet - this is what shuttles are for. .  so why not name a "new installation" "Dirtside Shuttle Port" etc with abstract shuttles to fly from dirtside to the orbital installations/ships

Good idea - I will do that.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Admiral666 on December 10, 2017, 01:42:39 PM
This is all fantastic. You're absolutely right in saying that the various interactions are starting to come together.

One question (apologies if I overlooked it already being discussed): If you choose to do a non-Abandon drop, and you lose half of your drop pods/ships to STO/AA fire during that drop, how is that reflected? Will you be able to pick up your troops at a 50% slower rate, or will you be unable to pick them up at all? Will the Troop Bay component reflect that partial damage, no damage at all, or be completely destroyed?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 14, 2017, 12:39:54 PM
This is all fantastic. You're absolutely right in saying that the various interactions are starting to come together.

One question (apologies if I overlooked it already being discussed): If you choose to do a non-Abandon drop, and you lose half of your drop pods/ships to STO/AA fire during that drop, how is that reflected? Will you be able to pick up your troops at a 50% slower rate, or will you be unable to pick them up at all? Will the Troop Bay component reflect that partial damage, no damage at all, or be completely destroyed?

This is a problem I have been trying to resolve. The easiest option is not to have AA fire vs drop pods as that avoids any of these complexities. The defensive fire will solely come from STO vs troop transport instead.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 14, 2017, 12:57:57 PM
A few thoughts on ground commanders.

1) I am going to have the same options for ground commander ranks as for naval commanders. It will no longer be restricted to just four ranks. This is because you can easily create smaller units than battalions, so you may want more junior officers than Colonels, plus larger overall formations may be possible

2) I will base the default rank requirement on the size of a formation, but allow the player to change that (as he can with ship classes).

3) The physical HQ units (a Unit Class with an HQ component which is part of a formation) will be restricted in the size of formations they can control but there will no restriction on commanders (so you can put a major in charge of a brigade if you wish)

4) However, for a given formation to receive any benefits from the superior formation, that superior formation will need a higher ranked commander.

5) In addition, superior command benefits will be passed from commander to commander, not formation to formation. A formation without a commander will not receive benefits from higher echelon commanders. This should create a natural hierarchy without any up front requirements.

I'll also add some lower level HQ components, so you can create battalion or company HQ units within smaller formations. An HQ unit will be needed if a formation wishes to have subordinate units. For the larger HQs components (Brigade, Division, Corps, etc.), I envision them being a unit that is part of a formation with support elements, such as artillery or AA, with subordinate front line units attached, but in the end it will be to the player how to organise his military (as it is with the naval portion of Aurora).

This might change a little if I ran into issues with implementation, but I wanted to outline the principles.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 14, 2017, 01:13:31 PM
How far can we escalate the HQs upwards? Or is there a way to create an administrative command.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Person012345 on December 14, 2017, 01:23:05 PM
This is a problem I have been trying to resolve. The easiest option is not to have AA fire vs drop pods as that avoids any of these complexities. The defensive fire will solely come from STO vs troop transport instead.
This would be fine for me, depending on the RP'd method it'd be suicide to literally drop men into a battle zone for example by shuttle (in real life for example you don't drop paratroopers over the battlefield). Whilst for literal drop pods it may be less suicidal, it's fine as an abstraction to say that they are dropped a short way behind the front lines and then move to support as in real life, rather than directly into an ongoing battle where they will be blown to pieces by AA.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 14, 2017, 05:34:20 PM
How far can we escalate the HQs upwards? Or is there a way to create an administrative command.

I am going to stay with HQs for the moment and leave Admin Commands for the Navy. I might add something in the future but not for the first version of C# Aurora.

I'll probably have HQs for company, battalion, brigade, division, corps and army, with increasing total formation sizes. However, that will be the name of the component. You could call the unit with that component something else. The only restriction is going to be that if one HQ reports to another, the higher HQ has a higher-ranked commander in order for any bonuses to function. Theoretically, you could have a formation containing a unit with a division HQ reporting to a formation containing a unit with a Brigade HQ. The commander ranks are the key, plus the HQ itself must have a sufficiently large command rating (in tons) for its own formation and any subordinate formation.

Overall, it should be very flexible and allow a lot of command layers if you so desire. You could build any modern army structure for example.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Shuul on December 14, 2017, 05:41:04 PM
Hi Steve!
While I like all the new additions, complex Ground Combat is not the feature I really want to get involved into.
Will we have some tools to make it easier for guys like me, who wants to build big space ships only?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 14, 2017, 05:56:44 PM
Hi Steve!
While I like all the new additions, complex Ground Combat is not the feature I really want to get involved into.
Will we have some tools to make it easier for guys like me, who wants to build big space ships only?

Yes, it shouldn't be too hard to auto-design some ground formations, as I will need to do that for NPRs anyway. It will be a lot easier than writing the automated design for ship classes :)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: vorpal+5 on December 15, 2017, 01:46:03 AM
Have you considered the possibility of ship templates made by players, as a library (x in fact, as they would have tags and weight associated to tags perhaps). Said differently, there are things that can be delegated to the community.
This can be a complement and not a replacement to the AI code for ship design.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: sloanjh on December 15, 2017, 07:18:54 AM
A formation without a commander will not receive benefits from higher echelon commanders.

Does this mean you've moved away from the concept of "named" commanders being exceptional individuals swimming in a sea of unnamed commanders, and that a unit without a commander represents on commanded by an unnamed commander?  Or does it mean that unnamed commanders are so incompetent that they can't benefit from the skills of the higher echelon commanders?

John
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on December 15, 2017, 12:44:52 PM
I still see a lot of problems with the approach of drop bays being damaged on an abandon drop. For one I would like to be able to swap in dropships from another ship in.
Also, how does it work with picking up drop ships? Do bays get restored then?
I want to avoid at all costs having ships sit in orbit wait on drop craft unloading, so I'd like to first abandon drop one wave, with the second wave coming in picking up the drop ships of the first wave as they send in their own.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on December 15, 2017, 01:50:39 PM
Have you considered the possibility of ship templates made by players, as a library (x in fact, as they would have tags and weight associated to tags perhaps). Said differently, there are things that can be delegated to the community.
This can be a complement and not a replacement to the AI code for ship design.

I'm definitely in favor of this; even without access to the actual AI programming, if Steve is willing to open up the template format I'm sure he'd get loads of submissions. We could even run design competitions.

I hope he'll consider it, maybe for one of the later releases.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 15, 2017, 02:05:32 PM
I still see a lot of problems with the approach of drop bays being damaged on an abandon drop. For one I would like to be able to swap in dropships from another ship in.
Also, how does it work with picking up drop ships? Do bays get restored then?
I want to avoid at all costs having ships sit in orbit wait on drop craft unloading, so I'd like to first abandon drop one wave, with the second wave coming in picking up the drop ships of the first wave as they send in their own.

Too inconvenient to program. You'd have to program actual dropships instead of an abstraction as well as determine how well they do in a ground combat engagement. Steve wants to avoid that mess, hence the abstract 'drop' mechanics and the presumption that ground forces do not defend dropships after the drop since they are expected to either see those things leave or won't be picked up any time soon and will abandon them for better positions.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: QuakeIV on December 15, 2017, 11:15:40 PM
I'm personally not sure that what he is doing is neccesarily cleaner than just letting people design actual drop ship vessels.

It seems like the only one who should proclaim an idea to be prohibitive should be steve himself, rather than people trying to interpret what he has said so far.
 Worst case scenario, Steve ignores the idea because he thinks its not a good idea and doesn't feel like replying at the time.  May as well let people discuss it in the mean time.

I personally kinda think it would be cleaner if you had ships that can enter atmo like fighters, that have short term troop bays in them.  Maybe disregard the idea of a 'drop pod bay' entirely and just have that module be something for mobile troop transport ships.  Then you just carry those ships in hangers on ships that have long term troop storage bays in them.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: El Pip on December 16, 2017, 02:43:32 AM
I personally kinda think it would be cleaner if you had ships that can enter atmo like fighters, that have short term troop bays in them.  Maybe disregard the idea of a 'drop pod bay' entirely and just have that module be something for mobile troop transport ships.  Then you just carry those ships in hangers on ships that have long term troop storage bays in them.
As I understand it the aim is for the mothership to be at risk while it is launching the drop pods. If the drop pods were independent then the logical decision is to give them a bit of extra fuel on so the mother ship could stand off from the planet and launch in safety.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on December 16, 2017, 02:46:51 AM
Too inconvenient to program. You'd have to program actual dropships instead of an abstraction as well as determine how well they do in a ground combat engagement. Steve wants to avoid that mess, hence the abstract 'drop' mechanics and the presumption that ground forces do not defend dropships after the drop since they are expected to either see those things leave or won't be picked up any time soon and will abandon them for better positions.
I don't understand why this should be any more complicated to implement than other solutions. It is a design consideration.
I know that Steve wants to keep it simple, but my feel is that 'abandon drop' will be used exclusively against defended targets. If this always damages the bay, and you can only fix it at a yard, there is no point in building non-drop bay equipped transports ever, making it pointless to even implement those. Abandon or wait feels like inflexible handling of drops when you need them to just wait five more minutes somewhere to improve your schedule.

Also, the combat drop is one of the central elements of any assault, and we are getting all the fancy options of non-abstract combat troops. Having abstract drop ships still does not feel adequate to me. Some types of infantry and vehicles may drop directly from orbit, some flying vehicles may be able to achieve orbit again under their own power.

Quote
As I understand it the aim is for the mothership to be at risk while it is launching the drop pods. If the drop pods were independent then the logical decision is to give them a bit of extra fuel on so the mother ship could stand off from the planet and launch in safety.
Which IMHO would be the sensible thing to do in the first place. And there again Aurora usually gives you the building blocks to build what fits your doctrine and gives you options to try out. Forcing the mothership into danger feels still just wrong to me.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on December 16, 2017, 03:17:43 AM
I don't understand why this should be any more complicated to implement than other solutions. It is a design consideration.
I know that Steve wants to keep it simple, but my feel is that 'abandon drop' will be used exclusively against defended targets. If this always damages the bay, and you can only fix it at a yard, there is no point in building non-drop bay equipped transports ever, making it pointless to even implement those. Abandon or wait feels like inflexible handling of drops when you need them to just wait five more minutes somewhere to improve your schedule.
That rather depends on whether drop bays are military or not :)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Whitecold on December 16, 2017, 04:04:33 AM
That rather depends on whether drop bays are military or not :)
All right, if you need ships to transport troops between your own colonies, but for any kind of assault they will be useless. And once you built a decent assault transport fleet, they will likely fulfill all your internal deployment needs.
I want those civ class troop transports be around, and I want them to transship into proper assault transports on location, but I just can't see how this should work if all your assault transport are one-time use only, because they a) have destroyed troop bays or b) are expanding clouds of debris.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: swarm_sadist on December 16, 2017, 07:44:27 AM
One request I have for ground forces is that we be able to transport ground troops and their equipment on colony ships and cargo ships.

More specifically, be able to split a ground formation into it's personnel and equipment separately, load them onto colony ships and cargo ships respectively, then unload and combine them at their destination.

This would allow much larger formations to be transported between friendly staging areas, but not be deploy-able directly into combat. Like using a container ship to transport tanks and equipment, and sending the troops on a cruise ship.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 16, 2017, 10:18:21 AM
Does this mean you've moved away from the concept of "named" commanders being exceptional individuals swimming in a sea of unnamed commanders, and that a unit without a commander represents on commanded by an unnamed commander?  Or does it mean that unnamed commanders are so incompetent that they can't benefit from the skills of the higher echelon commanders?

John

The gameplay reason is to avoid having very large hierarchies filled with formations with no commanders and relatively junior officers at the top. By removing bonuses from formations without specified commanders, players have to create realistic command hierarchies, comprising between size and availability of commanders. It also avoids a potential exploit of creating a lot of very small formations to generate benefits from multi-level hierarchies, because you would need too many commanders to accomplish that (although you can still do it on a smaller scale for specialist units). On the other hand, creating a few very large formations making transport more difficult, reduces flexibility and does not allow for unused commanders to gain experience. In-game, that does translate to a situation where the assumption is that 'non-named' commanders are not skilled enough to benefit from their superiors.

BTW I've given a little more thought to headquarters components and realised that I don't even have to name them as brigade, division, etc. I'll have generic component names with a variety of command ratings and the player can name the Ground Unit Class that uses that component. That will allow players to decide for themselves how large they want their battalions or brigades (or regiments, legions, etc.).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 16, 2017, 10:32:55 AM
I still see a lot of problems with the approach of drop bays being damaged on an abandon drop. For one I would like to be able to swap in dropships from another ship in.
Also, how does it work with picking up drop ships? Do bays get restored then?
I want to avoid at all costs having ships sit in orbit wait on drop craft unloading, so I'd like to first abandon drop one wave, with the second wave coming in picking up the drop ships of the first wave as they send in their own.

I've decided to abstract the drop pods, so tracking pods on the ground or from one ship to another won't be possible. The ships could be different sizes so I would have to track the total drop pods tonnage and account for any damage from opposing ground forces. Also, there wouldn't be any point in having the 'Wait and Recover' order because it would always better to 'Abandon' and collect later. Finally, landing in multiple waves wouldn't be a good idea anyway, given the potential for STO units. It would be more effective to send all ships in together and divide hostile fire.

Once you abandon, the pods are lost and can't be subsequently recovered.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 16, 2017, 10:36:17 AM
I know that Steve wants to keep it simple, but my feel is that 'abandon drop' will be used exclusively against defended targets. If this always damages the bay, and you can only fix it at a yard, there is no point in building non-drop bay equipped transports ever, making it pointless to even implement those.

Non-drop bays are commercial, while the other bays are military.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 16, 2017, 10:38:05 AM
One request I have for ground forces is that we be able to transport ground troops and their equipment on colony ships and cargo ships.

More specifically, be able to split a ground formation into it's personnel and equipment separately, load them onto colony ships and cargo ships respectively, then unload and combine them at their destination.

This would allow much larger formations to be transported between friendly staging areas, but not be deploy-able directly into combat. Like using a container ship to transport tanks and equipment, and sending the troops on a cruise ship.

The way the ground units are setup, there is no division between equipment and personnel. I avoided that deliberately because of the complexities involved.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 16, 2017, 12:40:41 PM
I've finalised the HQ components. There are 9, with command ratings (in tons) of 1250, 2500, 5k, 10k, 20k, 50k, 250k, 1m, 4m.

All but the last three are available from the start. The last three are 10k, 20k and 40k RP. There should be sufficient options for a variety of different formation sizes and some army-level HQs.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 16, 2017, 03:55:20 PM
Someone asked about conventional ground forces so I thought some comparisons may be interesting.

The first two vehicles here are a Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank and a Warrior AFV, both in service with the British Army. The Challenger has a base type of Vehicle, while the Warrior is a new base type, Light Vehicle, which is 12 tons and has a single component slot. The base armour and weapon modifiers are 3 (compared to 10 for all the other screenshots so far). 3 is the new rating for conventional armour (2 in VB6 Aurora) and 3 is also the minimum weapon modifier for ground unit classes.

The third screenshot is the same Challenger tank, but with base armour and weapon modifiers of 5, which is effectively Trans-Newtonian tech level 1. The conventional Challenger would have a 36% chance of penetrating the armour of this upgraded vehicle and a 60% chance of a kill if it did so (22% overall chance to kill). With superior numbers, the conventional forces would be able to put up a fight.

The final screenshot is a TL 4 heavy vehicle, which would be a fairly common type of tank at that level. TL4 is ceramic composite armour and 20cm lasers, with armour/weapon modifiers of 10. It isn't just a higher level of base technology (giving higher modifiers) that the conventional vehicles will have to face, but larger opponents with improved armour and weapons. The conventional Challenger has a 4% chance of penetrating the armour and a 30% chance of a kill if the armour is penetrated (1.2% overall chance to kill). This is more like war of the worlds :)

Conventional forces will be able to research larger vehicles and weapons (the modern US army building a 500 ton tank with a massive gun), but they will still be handicapped by their lower overall technology. Overall though, this should make TN vs conventional battles a lot more interesting, especially if the conventional side has a large numerical advantage.

BTW, the conventional vehicles work out pretty well in terms of matching real life. The real Challenger is 62 tons, while the Warrior is 25 tons. I tried to simulate the main gun and machine for the Challenger and the 30mm autocannon on the Warrior. In fact, as a result of this I will probably add an additional type of weapon, somewhere between anti-personnel and anti-tank to simulate the fast firing weapons of the Warrior or Bradley.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/GUCompare01.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/GUCompare02.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/GUCompare03.PNG)

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/GUCompare04.PNG)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 16, 2017, 05:23:40 PM
The gameplay reason is to avoid having very large hierarchies filled with formations with no commanders and relatively junior officers at the top. By removing bonuses from formations without specified commanders, players have to create realistic command hierarchies, comprising between size and availability of commanders. It also avoids a potential exploit of creating a lot of very small formations to generate benefits from multi-level hierarchies, because you would need too many commanders to accomplish that (although you can still do it on a smaller scale for specialist units). On the other hand, creating a few very large formations making transport more difficult, reduces flexibility and does not allow for unused commanders to gain experience. In-game, that does translate to a situation where the assumption is that 'non-named' commanders are not skilled enough to benefit from their superiors.

Given the flexibility in command size we'll be seeing, will there be a way for players to adjust the rank ratios?

I've finalised the HQ components. There are 9, with command ratings (in tons) of 1250, 2500, 5k, 10k, 20k, 50k, 250k, 1m, 4m.

All but the last three are available from the start. The last three are 10k, 20k and 40k RP. There should be sufficient options for a variety of different formation sizes and some army-level HQs.

Translating to infantry numbers, this means 250 troops, 500 troops, 1000 troops, 2000 troops, 4000 troops, 10 000 troops, 50 000 troops, 200 000 troops and 800 000 troops.

It also means that ground forces will have 9 or 10 (ish) promotion levels to play with. Expect players to optimize, heavily, towards the maximum weight limits and occasionally skip one level. 1250 ton Planetary Defense formations will probably have only a handful of units in them (STO and CIWS units are huge), or will simply use a larger HQ for convenience rather than to stack as many bonuses as possible.

BTW, the conventional vehicles work out pretty well in terms of matching real life. The real Challenger is 62 tons, while the Warrior is 25 tons. I tried to simulate the main gun and machine for the Challenger and the 30mm autocannon on the Warrior. In fact, as a result of this I will probably add an additional type of weapon, somewhere between anti-personnel and anti-tank to simulate the fast firing weapons of the Warrior or Bradley.

It's a Light Anti Vehicle Weapon. No seriously, that's its job. However, because it's fairly fast firing it's also great as an infantry support weapon meant to destroy lightly fortified positions or suppress enemy infantry formations.

Someone asked about conventional ground forces so I thought some comparisons may be interesting.

I'm not sure your math works out. Chance to pierce the armour is ((Armour Value)/Armour Piercing value)^2, right? because if I run those numbers, (20/12)^2 is distinctly not 0.36 , but 2.7777... Which is a marked difference in armour penetration between the two chances of penetration. And it'd be odd if the higher tech tank performed more poorly than the lower tech one.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 16, 2017, 07:09:49 PM
I'm not sure your math works out. Chance to pierce the armour is ((Armour Value)/Armour Piercing value)^2, right? because if I run those numbers, (20/12)^2 is distinctly not 0.36 , but 2.7777... Which is a marked difference in armour penetration between the two chances of penetration. And it'd be odd if the higher tech tank performed more poorly than the lower tech one.

Penetration Chance is (AP / Armour)^2
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: snapto on December 16, 2017, 08:39:13 PM
Great stuff Steve!  Had a few questions regarding HQ/commander bonuses:

Will units at the bottom of a command hierarchy receive the full bonuses of each HQ commander in that hierarchy or will they receive fractions of each HQ commander's bonuses? Also, will there be different types of bonuses for an HQ leader - say more strategic bonuses for higher ranking leaders and more tactical bonuses for lower ranked leaders?  Also, at what point (distance) will the command hierarchy be broken (will all units need to be on the same planet,system,sector, etc)?  Finally, if an HQ unit is damaged, does it still provide its full bonus(es)?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Shiwanabe on December 16, 2017, 09:00:49 PM
I've finalised the HQ components. There are 9, with command ratings (in tons) of 1250, 2500, 5k, 10k, 20k, 50k, 250k, 1m, 4m.

All but the last three are available from the start. The last three are 10k, 20k and 40k RP. There should be sufficient options for a variety of different formation sizes and some army-level HQs.

A couple of questions:
Do those limits include the HQ itself?

Can we get integer multiples between each size? (Currently it's 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2.5, 5, 4, 4 - Which just seems odd. Especially as a multiple of 2 feels inefficient.)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 16, 2017, 10:48:23 PM
Penetration Chance is (AP / Armour)^2

And death/killing chance appears to be a straight (Damage/HP) chance.

Right then, some math.

As previously calculated, the conventional Challenger tank has a 36% chance of penetrating the answer of the TN variant, a 60% chance of killing the TN variant if it penetrates and as such a 21.6% chance of killing its target on any given shot. I presume that Steve rounded to get to his 22% chance. It also has an anti personnel weapon with 6 shots but we're ignoring it. While it would be a factor in battle, it would make a killing blow maybe once every 400 shots, so can be neglected.

The TN variant, in contrast, has a 277% chance of penetrating, so it can't fail. It also has a 166.6...% chance of destroying its target on a hit, so it can't fail there either. Its anti personnel weapon has a 4.8% chance of striking a killing blow, and 6 shots per round. It'd on average delete an extra enemy tank every 4 rounds or so.

As such and roughly speaking, for a conventional force to effectively defeat a TN level 1 attack with the same weapons classes and number of weapons it has to outnumber its opponent somewhere between two and three to 1.

Against TN level 4 this gets worse. Not because the TN heavy gun is better, at guaranteed hit and destruction levels rate of fire is more important and that's the same, but because of the crew served anti personnel weapon. While the one in the Leman Russ is a Heavy variant, TN level 4 the multiplier is 10, and we can start our calculations from there. It has a 69.4% chance of piercing the conventional tank's armour, and a 55.55...% chance of killing the target on break through. This means it has an approximately 39% chance of killing an enemy tank. Per shot. And it gets 6.

So, abusing statistics in ways it shouldn't, I posit that a TN level 4 Challenger tank can kill 3.4 conventional tech Challengers per round, while the Challenger has a 1.2% chance of killing even 1 TN4 equivalent vehicle. It would, on average, need to shoot 83.333... times to guarantee a kill. A conventional tech force would need to outnumber a TN level 4 attacker 7 or 8 to one 22 to 25 to one to not be obliterated.

A smaller number than you might've anticipated, but still something that majorly favours the TN tech. The numbers will get more skewed until the TN tech force achieves an AP of 12 and a damage of 18 on its crew served anti personnel, as at that point the anti personnel gun is also a guaranteed hit and kill weapon, letting the TN force kill 7 enemy tanks with every round they fight. Further weapons advances will not impact the TN force's effective offensive capabilities, but armour advances will of course continue to matter.

A couple of questions:
Do those limits include the HQ itself?

Can we get integer multiples between each size? (Currently it's 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2.5, 5, 4, 4 - Which just seems odd. Especially as a multiple of 2 feels inefficient.)

Historically, higher to lower command ratios have shifted between 2 and 5, with conscripts and militia more often approaching 5 lower commands to each higher command and more professional and elite formations more often 2 or 3 direct lower commands per higher command. This ignores things like company level attachments that serve as a regimental heavy artillery section, the signal unit or other small units of specialists. Those would skew things quite a bit if we counted them, because you can easily have half a dozen of those attached at the regimental or division level.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 17, 2017, 05:35:52 AM
A couple of questions:
Do those limits include the HQ itself?

Can we get integer multiples between each size? (Currently it's 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2.5, 5, 4, 4 - Which just seems odd. Especially as a multiple of 2 feels inefficient.)

Everything up to 20k is assumed to be for a single formation, or small group of formations, so I have added a variety of sizes (some players may want different size base formations). 50k+ is intended for brigades, divisions and higher. The size of the HQ component is fixed at 500 tons (and therefore the same cost) from 50k, so that should be fine. If you have a division that is 150k, use the 250k HQ for example. There would be no difference in cost for a 150k HQ.

However, a formation cannot be attached to another formation with an equivalent or lower command rating, so is there is still a reason not to select the highest possible command rating.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 17, 2017, 05:44:31 AM
Great stuff Steve!  Had a few questions regarding HQ/commander bonuses:

Will units at the bottom of a command hierarchy receive the full bonuses of each HQ commander in that hierarchy or will they receive fractions of each HQ commander's bonuses? Also, will there be different types of bonuses for an HQ leader - say more strategic bonuses for higher ranking leaders and more tactical bonuses for lower ranked leaders?  Also, at what point (distance) will the command hierarchy be broken (will all units need to be on the same planet,system,sector, etc)?  Finally, if an HQ unit is damaged, does it still provide its full bonus(es)?

HQs will need to be on the same planet. If an HQ unit is destroyed, the commander will be killed if it is the only HQ unit in the formation. You can have multiple HQ units within a single formation, in which case, the chance of the commander being killed is equal to 1 / Number of HQs. If there are no HQ units remaining, you lose the commander benefit for that formation and for any formations lower in the hierarchy.

I should have mentioned at some point that an HQ unit will be needed to assign a commander to a formation :)

Lower level units will gain bonuses from higher level units in the hierarchy, albeit at reducing benefits for higher levels. So a very high point in the hierarchy will provide a very small bonus to a lot of units.

I haven't decided yet on if there will be any new bonus types.  I will tackle that when I get to the ground combat code.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: King-Salomon on December 17, 2017, 06:49:34 AM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=9679. msg105668#msg105668 date=1513511071
HQs will need to be on the same planet.

Like most of it :)

but what I am wondering - for ships it is possible to get a bonus even if the ships are in an other sol system from there parent "HQ" - ground-units get it only when they are at the same planet?

Maybe it would be great if there could be some kind of "communication unit" which allows a high-class HQ to be in communication with a "System-HQ"/Army-HQ (maybe a new installation, costs 2400) which represents army-military staff for the whole sol-system (but not outside the sol-system)

the boni from that could be restricted to non-fighting skills as in a battle short communication is needed (on the other hand, fighting boni are allowed atm for ships)

just my thinking. . .  it seems just inconsistently to allow ships boni from outside but not for ground-units
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: sloanjh on December 17, 2017, 09:00:45 AM
The gameplay reason is to avoid having very large hierarchies filled with formations with no commanders and relatively junior officers at the top.

An alternative that crossed my mind while asking the question would be to have some sort of "time in grade" requirement for promotion, with a game mechanic that allows (but penalizes) "out of zone" promotions by the player.  I didn't mention it because I couldn't think of a way to make it work, but since that's one of your concerns I think I'll throw it out there and see if anything sticks.... 

The idea is to let players quickly move good commanders up in rank (they are good commanders, after all), but have resistance to that movement from experience/political realities (to avoid the failure mode you're concerned about).  A few thoughts:

1)  Have an "experience/time in grade" clock, which sets the pace for normal advancement.  The idea is that a brand new Captain will have lower skills (read bonuses) than one who's been commanding a major combatant for 2 years.  So a newly promoted officer would get penalties to his/her command bonuses that would decay away over time.  If an officer got promoted up the chain too quickly, these penalties would compound and destroy the utility of said rapid advancement.  This is why navies have time-in-grade requirements for promotion; to avoid too-rapid promotion.

To be clear, the time-in-grade clock would be compared to a "can promote" duration (e.g. 5 years); if the officer has been in grade longer a promotion would be allowed and the clock would reset.  There might also be a "auto-promote" duration (e.g. 7 years) which would force promotion for political officers.

2)  Allow modifiers to the clock.  The big example here is battle experience: every battle where the officer was in command of an element might advance the clock by a fixed time; if the officer was serving in a staff role that time would be lower (I think this is what the medal mechanic is supposed to do in the current system).  In the absence of combat, a position in command of a ship or on a fleet staff might also run the clock faster than other positions; "unassigned" might run the clock more slowly.

3)  If you go down this road, I actually think you might want two clocks: one for experience and one for time in grade.  That way the political bonus could affect how quickly officers are promoted (time in grade clock would run more quickly for high political bonus), without running their clock faster on the experience front.

4)  Ageod's American Civil War (I & II) handles this in a cool way, except I don't see how to port the mechanic into Aurora.  When generals win battles, they rise or fall on the seniority chart for that rank, and occasionally become promotable.  The trick is that you can only promote the most senior general at a rank without paying a political penalty (negative effect on National Morale IIRC which affects productivity).  In Aurora terms, if you promote a politically un-connected officer past one with a high political rating, you would pay a price in terms of your empire's efficiency.  I can't think of such a morale rating in Aurora, though, to hook this into. If you can figure out a good penalty, then you could just allow out-of-zone promotions in the current system and not worry about the clock stuff discussed above.  Hmmm - maybe a penalty to command (and/or other) ratings that decays away with time, to abstract away inexperience and/or lack of legitimacy in the minds of the crew and/or superiors. If you did this, the decay should only happen when the officer is assigned - that defeats the exploit of rapid-promoting early, then putting the commander on a shelf while the penalty decays away.

Actually, now that I think of it, AACW is trying to do exactly the same abstraction that you are: a small number (~100?) of exceptional commanders in a sea of unnamed officers.  They abstract it through their "command points" abstraction, where bigger formations get an overall efficiency hit if they don't have a (named) commander with enough command points to manage the formation.  So the highest ranking general at a rank might only have a seniority of 3 (low numbers are higher rank).

5)  Not an idea for the above change, but something that just occurred to me: in chain-of-command succession, it seems like named officers always win over unnamed.  In other words, if I've got 6 ships in a TG, and only one has a named commander, that commander is in command of the TG even though there's 5 other unnamed ones that might be senior to the named one.

Like I said - I don't see a way to make this (out of zone promotions) work in Aurora, but it seems like a good way to reduce the burden of the "officer pyramid" if you can.  To be clear, the problem I think this solves is that the number of officers required to get to a new highest-level rank grows exponentially, so players end up tracking and assigning tons of low-level officers to support the much smaller set of captains and admirals.  It would be nice if the highest rank (read organizational skill) available in a fleet was more closely related to experience than to raw numbers.

Another thought: It would be nice if there were a mechanism where named officers could be "noticed" at all levels and have stats rolled at that point (or if the game managed unnamed officers behind the scenes with stats already rolled, but didn't display them to the player until some rank  threshold is reached).  This probability could then be skewed to let players focus more on the higher ranks, e.g. all admirals would be named, 1/2 the captains, and only 10% of the junior officers.  This would also solve the "problem" with named commanders always out-ranking unnamed commanders - if the ships with unnamed commanders had an actual commander assigned and displayed to the player, then one of their commanders might end up senior.  (You'd need to set it up so that popping a named commander onto a ship then removing him didn't change the unnamed commander to prevent players churning unnamed commanders to unnaturally get low ranking ones in command of ships.)  Even more interesting would be to have the unnamed officer stats actually affect combat, without the player being able to know the modifiers that are being applied. :)

John
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Father Tim on December 18, 2017, 07:39:41 AM
An alternative that crossed my mind. . .

<snip>

John

I find this a largely terrible idea.  The only reasosn for unnamed commanders to exist is that you (the player) have never thougt about them.  The instant you do actually care about a commander, they should stop being unnamed.  Aurora makes this trivially easy by having an actual 'Add Officer' button right there.

If you are at all worried about not having enough officers for every single one of them to have a job -- with a few left over -- then you are not building enough Academies.

Oh, and last time I checked there was a 'time in grade' mechanic -- officers are not eligible for (automatic) promotion within two years of their last promotion.  (Though of course, as 'Emperor' or whatever of your faction you are free to promote or demote whoever you like.)

Now, if we get a new 'automatic promotions' system where the player can set the rules for time-in-grade and ratio of X-1 rank to X rank (especially if this can be varid by rank) and other details I'll be thrilled.  Especially if I can finally turn off that Fnord-damned ". . . has been deemed surplus to requirements and let go from the service" bug.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 18, 2017, 09:25:57 AM
Now, if we get a new 'automatic promotions' system where the player can set the rules for time-in-grade and ratio of X-1 rank to X rank (especially if this can be varid by rank) and other details I'll be thrilled.  Especially if I can finally turn off that Fnord-damned ". . . has been deemed surplus to requirements and let go from the service" bug.

You'd think that'd be less of a bug and more of a feature if you had to pay for your ranking officers. Aurora is kinda missing the cost that comes with maintaining a personnel pool on the bench, or on ships. We do have a monetary cost in VB6 on ground units, and the maintenance system gets you something close to a shipboard personnel cost, but it's all abstracted away in the cost of maintaining the ship's TN components.

It'd be nice if there was a credit cost associated with non-production facilities like Academies and Deep Space Tracking Stations, the generic personnel pool, the named officers depending on their rank, shipboard complements depending on skill level and if we could define the ratios for officers.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: King-Salomon on December 19, 2017, 01:58:51 PM
after having read about the new "Forced Labour Camps" I am wondering if I have missed something about "Construction Brigades" in C#?

Will they still be there as atm or how will they be integrated in the new system?

Guess with some kind of "construction equipment"? and if so, will it be in different tech levels or will it be modified by as in VB7 with the "normal" production speed tech?

Was wondering as in VB7 the Construction Brigade is much larger and costly than the normal "basic fighting unit/Battalion" and how it will work in the C# system :)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 19, 2017, 02:31:36 PM
after having read about the new "Forced Labour Camps" I am wondering if I have missed something about "Construction Brigades" in C#?

Will they still be there as atm or how will they be integrated in the new system?

Guess with some kind of "construction equipment"? and if so, will it be in different tech levels or will it be modified by as in VB7 with the "normal" production speed tech?

Was wondering as in VB7 the Construction Brigade is much larger and costly than the normal "basic fighting unit/Battalion" and how it will work in the C# system :)

You will be able to build an equivalent of the construction brigade using the new ground forces system. There is a 'construction' component, so you build a ground unit class with that component and then a formation that includes a number of those units. The size of the formation will determine its construction capability.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: King-Salomon on December 19, 2017, 03:27:51 PM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=9679. msg105685#msg105685 date=1513715496
You will be able to build an equivalent of the construction brigade using the new ground forces system.  There is a 'construction' component, so you build a ground unit class with that component and then a formation that includes a number of those units.  The size of the formation will determine its construction capability.

ah ok, thanks :)

guess it will be the same with the recovery of Alien Installations? or could/would that be a component/tech for it's own?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 19, 2017, 06:27:05 PM
ah ok, thanks :)

guess it will be the same with the recovery of Alien Installations? or could/would that be a component/tech for it's own?

I was planning to use the same construction component, but perhaps specialised units designed for recovery would be more interesting.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: DIT_grue on December 19, 2017, 11:10:18 PM
I was planning to use the same construction component, but perhaps specialised units designed for recovery would be more interesting.

My first reaction was that general construction units should still be able to contribute at a significant penalty, but a few minutes more thought suggests that when you have specialised units in the model, construction workers would just make a mess even if they proceed painstakingly slowly. Messing around with a separate rewards table with more failure results seems like too much work for both programmer and player.

TLDR: Specialists would be good; failing that, the status quo isn't bad.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 20, 2017, 03:10:42 AM
BTW in the new model, formations can be composite, so you can give a combat formation some integral construction capability, or provide integral security within construction formations. Even at the unit level you can multi-task, having a vehicle with both armament and construction capability.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 20, 2017, 04:35:29 AM
BTW in the new model, formations can be composite, so you can give a combat formation some integral construction capability, or provide integral security within construction formations. Even at the unit level you can multi-task, having a vehicle with both armament and construction capability.

Generally speaking, from a sheer efficiency point of view you want to stick with combat formations and non-combat formations. Because that means that your guns aren't idling in the backline with the construction vehicles, or your very expensive construction vehicles aren't getting shot at while the guns do their work.

About the only exception to this is ruin recovery formations. And even then it's probably a good idea to just park a separate security detail along with the construction formation. It means it's easier to rotate depleted security units, or to save your construction formation while the security unit provides a defense line at the loading zone.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: TCD on December 20, 2017, 08:22:41 AM
Generally speaking, from a sheer efficiency point of view you want to stick with combat formations and non-combat formations. Because that means that your guns aren't idling in the backline with the construction vehicles, or your very expensive construction vehicles aren't getting shot at while the guns do their work.

About the only exception to this is ruin recovery formations. And even then it's probably a good idea to just park a separate security detail along with the construction formation. It means it's easier to rotate depleted security units, or to save your construction formation while the security unit provides a defense line at the loading zone.
While that is all true, there is a certain attraction at making transportation logistics easier for garrisons. I rather like the idea of adding a few construction engineers to my standard planetary garrison battalion so that they can slowly fortify themselves. Yes, I could achieve the same more efficiently by moving around a dedicated construction brigade, but that would be pretty tedious.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on December 20, 2017, 12:26:22 PM
I'd favor one unit for both entrenchment and ruin recovery. Splitting them up really adds nothing and is just complexity for the sake of complexity.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on December 20, 2017, 01:58:59 PM
While that is all true, there is a certain attraction at making transportation logistics easier for garrisons. I rather like the idea of adding a few construction engineers to my standard planetary garrison battalion so that they can slowly fortify themselves. Yes, I could achieve the same more efficiently by moving around a dedicated construction brigade, but that would be pretty tedious.

Agreed totally. Hell I'm tempted to make all my ground units 10% construction if it let's me build stuff wherever my army goes without micro management, even with PDCs removed!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: swarm_sadist on December 22, 2017, 10:21:06 PM
Agreed totally. Hell I'm tempted to make all my ground units 10% construction if it let's me build stuff wherever my army goes without micro management, even with PDCs removed!

Wouldn't it be easier to make a single large HQ for each planet you want garrisoned and simply attach an appropriately sized construction unit to it?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on December 23, 2017, 07:56:15 AM
Wouldn't it be easier to make a single large HQ for each planet you want garrisoned and simply attach an appropriately sized construction unit to it?

I have no idea! But it sounds like it would result in more units to manage if you also want amount of construction capacity to scale with amount of units deployed ( Which I'm thinking might be a good idea ).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 23, 2017, 08:15:08 AM
I have no idea! But it sounds like it would result in more units to manage if you also want amount of construction capacity to scale with amount of units deployed ( Which I'm thinking might be a good idea ).

Generally that's not needed for a garrison; garrisons remain in place for so long that even a tiny construction unit will be able to fortify all of them eventually, and unless you are expecting them to start receiving attacks immediately that's good enough. You can just squeeze in a small construction unit for that purpose.

Construction capacity starts to become important the greater the fortification modifier of a planet. This mostly because the smaller the fortification modifier the easier it gets to assault the place. I mean, don't try to attack a desert planet with anything other than an overwhelming vehicle assault; it's prime territory for such units because while their fortification stat is crap, so is the fortification modifier. There is little difference in planet based defense for such units between the kings of fortification (infantry and static units) and vehicles. And vehicles get high armour stats and hit point pools along with multiple heavy weapon systems.

On jungle planets though?

On a jungle planet you can drop all the vehicles you want but with those modifiers in play against a properly fortified infantry or static formation your vehicles will take heavy damage on the assault against comparatively little damage for the defenders. What you need here is two things; a massive numbers advantage and the ability to fort up fast. Because that trick works both ways. You can drop a small formation of infantry and static units and fort it up to the point the defender might decide an assault is unfeasible.

You are never going to assault yourself with such a small presence because seriously, are you stupid, but it gets you a small presence in the system you don't necessarily need to maintain, effectively occupies the planet and forces the enemy to concentrate forces to get you off of it, and buys you time for whatever other plan you have. Which may be an ambush on the reinforcing fleet, an assault on a different sector now the enemy is distracted or just buying time to get more, fresh formations into the fight on planet while your fleet maintains an orbital presence.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on December 23, 2017, 09:26:41 AM
Generally that's not needed for a garrison; garrisons remain in place for so long that even a tiny construction unit will be able to fortify all of them eventually,

I'm not talking about only fortification, but everything else neat you can do with construction in terms of getting logistics started. The more important planet the more forces and the more construction you want to kickstart it.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: swarm_sadist on December 23, 2017, 10:04:59 AM

On a jungle planet you can drop all the vehicles you want but with those modifiers in play against a properly fortified infantry or static formation your vehicles will take heavy damage on the assault against comparatively little damage for the defenders. What you need here is two things; a massive numbers advantage and the ability to fort up fast. Because that trick works both ways. You can drop a small formation of infantry and static units and fort it up to the point the defender might decide an assault is unfeasible.

You are never going to assault yourself with such a small presence because seriously, are you stupid, but it gets you a small presence in the system you don't necessarily need to maintain, effectively occupies the planet and forces the enemy to concentrate forces to get you off of it, and buys you time for whatever other plan you have. Which may be an ambush on the reinforcing fleet, an assault on a different sector now the enemy is distracted or just buying time to get more, fresh formations into the fight on planet while your fleet maintains an orbital presence.

You just described trench warfare...
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 26, 2017, 07:27:42 PM
First screenshot of the Order of Battle tab on the Ground Forces window. This tab helps you view and organise your ground forces. It isn't complete, but has enough functionality to demonstrate the level of detail available. While this screenshot represents a fairly standard OOB, there is a lot more flexibility than VB6 Aurora. You can add more levels in the hierarchy and attach formations directly to Division or higher command levels without having to go through lower levels. I'll show that in a later post.

This is the most basic view, where a single, lowest level formation has been selected. The top line on the right shows a summary of the entire formation, while the formation unit list shows how that summary breaks down in the constituent elements. Each element has a number of specific unit class. Morale functions at the element, rather than formation, level.

Formations, or groups of formations, can be dragged and dropped within the hierarchy, so it is very easy to rearrange the order of battle.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/OOB001.PNG)

When you click on a higher level formation, with attachments, much more information becomes available. The formation selected is shown as above, but also the the high level summary of any directly attached formations. The total organisation is the total for the current formation, plus all formations below it in the hierarchy.

As before, there is a breakdown of the elements of the current formation. That is now accompanied by a summary of all units within the hierarchy headed by the selected formation.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/OOB002.PNG)

Now we move up another level. A summary of the formation selected is shown as below, plus the high level summary of the directly attached formations. However, those directly attached formations also have attached formations so each summary contains the complete hierarchy for each directly attached formation. The total organisation is the total for the current formation, plus all formations at any point below it in the hierarchy.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/OOB003.PNG)

When Location Hierarchy is selected, the tree view expands to include systems, populations and ships. Units remain in their organisation structure but are now split between different locations. In this view, the summary and organisational lists only include formations within the same location. For example, the selected Third Imperial Guard Brigade has only two of its subordinate formation on Avalon and two on Barnard's Star-III. The summary and organisation list show just those two subordinate formations. Switching between the two views will allow the player to manage his organisational structure while being able to easily see where his formations are located.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/OOB004.PNG)

Selecting a population shows a summary of all the forces at that location.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/OOB005.PNG)

More to follow...
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on December 27, 2017, 04:24:07 AM
First screenshot of the Order of Battle tab on the Ground Forces window. This tab helps you view and organise your ground forces. It isn't complete, but has enough functionality to demonstrate the level of detail available. While this screenshot represents a fairly standard OOB, there is a lot more flexibility than VB6 Aurora. You can add more levels in the hierarchy and attach formations directly to Division or higher command levels without having to go through lower levels. I'll show that in a later post.

This is the most basic view, where a single, lowest level formation has been selected. The top line on the right shows a summary of the entire formation, while the formation unit list shows how that summary breaks down in the constituent elements. Each element has a number of specific unit class. Morale functions at the element, rather than formation, level.

Formations, or groups of formations, can be dragged and dropped within the hierarchy, so it is very easy to rearrange the order of battle.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/OOB001.PNG)

When you click on a higher level formation, with attachments, much more information becomes available. The formation selected is shown as above, but also the the high level summary of any directly attached formations. The total organisation is the total for the current formation, plus all formations below it in the hierarchy.

As before, there is a breakdown of the elements of the current formation. That is now accompanied by a summary of all units within the hierarchy headed by the selected formation.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/OOB002.PNG)

Now we move up another level. A summary of the formation selected is shown as below, plus the high level summary of the directly attached formations. However, those directly attached formations also have attached formations so each summary contains the complete hierarchy for each directly attached formation. The total organisation is the total for the current formation, plus all formations at any point below it in the hierarchy.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/OOB003.PNG)

When Location Hierarchy is selected, the tree view expands to include systems, populations and ships. Units remain in their organisation structure but are now split between different locations. In this view, the summary and organisational lists only include formations within the same location. For example, the selected Third Imperial Guard Brigade has only two of its subordinate formation on Avalon and two on Barnard's Star-III. The summary and organisation list show just those two subordinate formations. Switching between the two views will allow the player to manage his organisational structure while being able to easily see where his formations are located.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/OOB004.PNG)

Selecting a population shows a summary of all the forces at that location.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/OOB005.PNG)

More to follow...

It's nice that total combined HP can be seen in the overview, but I am lacking some corresponding basic information about the damage output ( for example a total for Units*Shots*Dmg ).

It's also not totally clear how it will look after formations have taken some damage ( or how they are repaired/reinforced ), as well as how you will be able to see fortification status and if they are engaged in combat or not in this interface ( apologies if that's not what it's supposed to show ).


Other feedback:
- It's odd to show the cost summary with 2 decimals while none of the below shows this ( last screenshot )
- It also looks odd that the Total pop forces HQ rating is lower then the division HQ ration ( last screenshot )
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2017, 04:48:03 AM
This tab isn't finished yet - This was just to demonstrate the level of detail for formation organization. I'll be adding a few more details, such as fortification, field position, etc. as I develop those. There will be also be a way to move units between formations (perhaps a separate tab).

You can click on an element to display the weapons with the AP and Damage in the lower section (as on the first screenshot). I can't really show on the same line as a single unit class could have four different weapons. However, I might add an option at the element level to show number of kills in a given time period vs a specific unit class.

The two decimal places on the cost for the population summary was a bug and is already fixed. Not sure why the population HQ is showing up incorrectly. I will check on that this evening. (EDIT: bug found & fixed)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: King-Salomon on December 27, 2017, 09:52:44 AM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=9679. msg105780#msg105780 date=1514371683
This tab isn't finished yet - This was just to demonstrate the level of detail for formation organization.  I'll be adding a few more details, such as fortification, field position, etc.  as I develop those. 

Nice Screenshots :) Good work :)

Is there a possbility to add the loction of an unit between "Name" and "Units" (or at the end of the line)? I would like to have the OOb without useing a seperate TAB to see on which plaet etc a subunit is atm - if you use the TAB "Location Hierachy" you can't see that the 4th and 45th Fassadian are part of the Third Imperial Guard Brigade and without the TAB you can't see if all units are on the same spot -. -

I know, using of the TAB would bring the information (Maybe with a little search to do) but as it is an important information were a unit is stationeered (especially with the possibility to move every sub-units on other locations) it would be great to get it with one screen. . .

and one quick question (mich might be already be answered, if so I apology): which units on the new OOB are getting possible own named "Officiers"/Commanders ? Units with a HQ element or every sub-unit? Especially as the "Moral function" is on subunit-level, it could make sense to add Lt, Cap, Maj to the Commander pool and give every sub-unit it's own Commander. . .  but guess it could performence really hard to add 100s of new officiers. . .
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2017, 10:42:43 AM
Nice Screenshots :) Good work :)

Is there a possbility to add the loction of an unit between "Name" and "Units" (or at the end of the line)? I would like to have the OOb without useing a seperate TAB to see on which plaet etc a subunit is atm - if you use the TAB "Location Hierachy" you can't see that the 4th and 45th Fassadian are part of the Third Imperial Guard Brigade and without the TAB you can't see if all units are on the same spot -. -

I know, using of the TAB would bring the information (Maybe with a little search to do) but as it is an important information were a unit is stationeered (especially with the possibility to move every sub-units on other locations) it would be great to get it with one screen. . .

and one quick question (mich might be already be answered, if so I apology): which units on the new OOB are getting possible own named "Officiers"/Commanders ? Units with a HQ element or every sub-unit? Especially as the "Moral function" is on subunit-level, it could make sense to add Lt, Cap, Maj to the Commander pool and give every sub-unit it's own Commander. . .  but guess it could performence really hard to add 100s of new officiers. . .

If you select a formation and click Location Hierarchy, the view switches to locations with the same formation selected (and vice versa), so you quickly see its position. However, I can add something for location on the normal hierarchy view, although I might have to adjust the relative size of the sections when that is visible. Or maybe, I use a similar method to the System View and have a horizontal scroll.

I haven't done the commander code yet for formations, so nothing has a commander yet. You will need an HQ component within a formation to assign it a commander. You can have as many ranks as you like within the ground forces command structure, but the minimum will be the formation level.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Robbie on December 27, 2017, 03:06:18 PM
I'm not an expert by any means but I really like the OOB screenies, is there an higher livel like Corps or Army?

Btw, I want to build the Tanith First and Only regiment too!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on December 27, 2017, 03:44:50 PM
I'm not an expert by any means but I really like the OOB screenies, is there an higher livel like Corps or Army?

Btw, I want to build the Tanith First and Only regiment too!

Infantry regiment with the woods/jungle specialty.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2017, 05:31:33 PM
I'm not an expert by any means but I really like the OOB screenies, is there an higher livel like Corps or Army?

Btw, I want to build the Tanith First and Only regiment too!

The HQ have sizes rather than designations, so you name them as you see fit. There are nine levels of HQ, so you can definitely have Corps and Army.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Robbie on December 27, 2017, 05:44:14 PM
The HQ have sizes rather than designations, so you name them as you see fit. There are nine levels of HQ, so you can definitely have Corps and Army.

Nice, even better.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: swarm_sadist on December 27, 2017, 06:52:47 PM
First screenshot of the Order of Battle tab on the Ground Forces window.
... ... ...
More to follow...

So I'm going to guess that support units and formations are not going to be in the game? Because 10,000 troops in a Division is rather small.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 28, 2017, 04:19:18 AM
So I'm going to guess that support units and formations are not going to be in the game? Because 10,000 troops in a Division is rather small.

That is cosmetic, just like hull types for ships. You can name HQs (and your formations) whatever you like. If you think a Division should be 20,000 men, or 5000 men, you can do either. Besides, even in real life division sizes vary from country to country. A WW2 Soviet rifle division was about 10,000 men for example.

There will be support units in the game, such as construction and logistics, but these screenshots were an example of organisational structure.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 28, 2017, 06:48:14 AM
On the Formation Templates tab, there is a now a rank column. This is a default set by the programme as a suggestion for that template, based on your racial rank structure. You can override this using the Change Rank button. When a formation based on that template is constructed, its required rank will be the same as the template, although it can be overridden later (see below).

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground007.PNG)

The Order of Battle tab has gained new columns: AR = Assigned Rank, RR = Required Rank. Assigned Rank is the rank of the officer currently assigned to that formation. Required Rank is the rank that will be used by Automated Assignments to assign available officers to that formation. The Required Rank is initially based on the template that was used to construct the formation, but a new one can be assigned by the player. In this case, the 3rd Tallarn Raiders has been assigned a required rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground006.PNG)

On the Commanders window, the required rank of the formation is used when displaying potential commanders. The 3rd Tallarn Raiders now requires a Lieutenant Colonel in this view. The greyed out formations already have commanders assigned. If desired, you can assign any commander to any formation. However, as commanders only benefit from the bonuses of superior officers, it will be more effective to stay within your desired command structure. Also, note there are now more ground force ranks. You have the same flexibility now as naval ranks.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground008.PNG)

In this screenshot, a brigadier has been assigned to the First Tallarn Raiders. The First Imperial Guard Brigade is still using the default, rather than a player-assigned rank, so it accounts for that by making the required rank a Major General, superior to the brigadier in the subordinate formation.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground009.PNG)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: King-Salomon on December 28, 2017, 08:50:29 AM
Really great screenshots :D thanks a lot :)

some weeks ago I was sceptical if the time was worth to chance the ground-combat system so radical but since them I am convinded :) :)

some minor points I thought about as seeing the screenshots (and not something with a high priority):

1) would it be possible to colour-code some of the data you see to help to get a quick overview what is good and what is bad?
f. e.  in the Commanders View something like "excelent Health" or a high Skills color-coded as green, Bad Health as red?  I am a fan for UIs which give you as much info as possible on 1 view and relly good or bad things would be great to highlight

2) The Commanders personal History at the right top box: it is written in chronological order from  buttom to top but if there are 2 Actions at the same day (29. Nov 2109 Relieved from Command and new Assinement) it is the other way around - which is no big problem but a little strange to read the history and the new assignement is before he is relieved from his old duties).  Just the question if it is possible to get the relieve part happening before the new assignement part in chronological order

3) will the "location" of a commander be of some importance in C#? or will it be possible to "teleport" commanders as teammembers or to bew assignements as in VB atm?



Some other points which I thought about tonight:

A) with the new Ground Unit System you will have a lot of sub-units - each of the sub-units able to be moved on it's own.

Let's say you have 1 Division like your example Division on a planet - that are 3 Brigades á 12 Subunits = 36 Units with only 1 Division - if you now what to transport 3-4 sub-units you have to go through a long list at the Ship-order menue to find the units -. -
worse: if you want to be sure that the Units belong to the same Brigade you have to name them so that you will identify the parent unit or have to flip between screens to write down which sub unit belongs to which parent to make sure you transport the right sub-unit. . .

now I am thinking what kind of namelist you have with 3-4 Divisions an one place with over 100 subunits on a planet. . .

will there be a system to make unit-transport easier that it is atm? color-coding, sub menues, etc? or would it be possible to get a OOB-like list at the transport-order-menue?

Sorry but I was playing VB in the evening and was thinking about the trouble with lots and lots of sub-units -. -  - long lists of names are hard to read most of the times without some "help"  (same with the list with all the jump-points, colonies, planets, moons etc when you select a destination for an order. . . )


B) with all the new Ground-Commanders you might need - would it make sense to split the Academy in 3 Installations? Naval-Academy, Army-Military-School, University - with 1200 costs each? I know you said you have thought about it Steve and came to the conclusion that it is beter to stay with 1 installation - but I guess that was bevore the Ground-Units chanced so massivly - I guess REALLY specialisation of Academys would be helping a lot (and would be logical from the Fluff-side to give each part of the military and the civis it's own Academy) - The ability to give an Academy a Commander is great - but to slit it up in it's own in addition to giving it Commanders would be nice to have I guess. 
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 28, 2017, 12:41:38 PM
Really great screenshots :D thanks a lot :)

some weeks ago I was sceptical if the time was worth to chance the ground-combat system so radical but since them I am convinded :) :)

some minor points I thought about as seeing the screenshots (and not something with a high priority):

1) would it be possible to colour-code some of the data you see to help to get a quick overview what is good and what is bad?
f. e.  in the Commanders View something like "excelent Health" or a high Skills color-coded as green, Bad Health as red?  I am a fan for UIs which give you as much info as possible on 1 view and relly good or bad things would be great to highlight

2) The Commanders personal History at the right top box: it is written in chronological order from  buttom to top but if there are 2 Actions at the same day (29. Nov 2109 Relieved from Command and new Assinement) it is the other way around - which is no big problem but a little strange to read the history and the new assignement is before he is relieved from his old duties).  Just the question if it is possible to get the relieve part happening before the new assignement part in chronological order

3) will the "location" of a commander be of some importance in C#? or will it be possible to "teleport" commanders as teammembers or to bew assignements as in VB atm?



Some other points which I thought about tonight:

A) with the new Ground Unit System you will have a lot of sub-units - each of the sub-units able to be moved on it's own.

Let's say you have 1 Division like your example Division on a planet - that are 3 Brigades á 12 Subunits = 36 Units with only 1 Division - if you now what to transport 3-4 sub-units you have to go through a long list at the Ship-order menue to find the units -. -
worse: if you want to be sure that the Units belong to the same Brigade you have to name them so that you will identify the parent unit or have to flip between screens to write down which sub unit belongs to which parent to make sure you transport the right sub-unit. . .

now I am thinking what kind of namelist you have with 3-4 Divisions an one place with over 100 subunits on a planet. . .

will there be a system to make unit-transport easier that it is atm? color-coding, sub menues, etc? or would it be possible to get a OOB-like list at the transport-order-menue?

Sorry but I was playing VB in the evening and was thinking about the trouble with lots and lots of sub-units -. -  - long lists of names are hard to read most of the times without some "help"  (same with the list with all the jump-points, colonies, planets, moons etc when you select a destination for an order. . . )


B) with all the new Ground-Commanders you might need - would it make sense to split the Academy in 3 Installations? Naval-Academy, Army-Military-School, University - with 1200 costs each? I know you said you have thought about it Steve and came to the conclusion that it is beter to stay with 1 installation - but I guess that was bevore the Ground-Units chanced so massivly - I guess REALLY specialisation of Academys would be helping a lot (and would be logical from the Fluff-side to give each part of the military and the civis it's own Academy) - The ability to give an Academy a Commander is great - but to slit it up in it's own in addition to giving it Commanders would be nice to have I guess.

Commanders
1) History order is fixed for C# Aurora. The orders shown in the last screen shot were generated in VB6 Aurora.
2) Commanders have a specific location when they are assigned. Otherwise, they teleport around.
3) I've changed the name text to orange for commanders with poor health and red for those with very poor health.

Ground Forces
1) If by sub-units, you mean formation elements (60 x Tank for example), they cannot move independently.
2) Formations appear on the Fleet Orders menu in their command hierarchy, so they should be relatively easy to find (and that doesn't include element level). You can select a formation and order the fleet to load that formation and all subordinates formations with a single order
3) You can assign Commandants to Academies, which allow them to specialise in different types of officers and bonuses

http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=8495.msg104092#msg104092
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Spacemonkey969 on January 02, 2018, 11:16:03 AM
Will there be any kind of veterancy gained or unit/formation experience so the battle hardened troops have an advantage over the fng's.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 02, 2018, 12:24:37 PM
Will there be any kind of veterancy gained or unit/formation experience so the battle hardened troops have an advantage over the fng's.

The To Hit Chance in combat is modified by Morale / 100, so higher morale troops will perform better in combat. Commanders will be able to raise the morale of their troops over time.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on January 02, 2018, 01:15:04 PM
Looks great!

UI Feedback nitpicks on Part 1:

- Calling it Heavy, Medium and Light for all three of Base Unit Types, Component Types and Armor Types looks a bit confusing. Especially things like having a Heavy Vehicles with Light vehicle armor isn't perfectly clear what it does or how it would compare to a Light Vehicle with Heavy vehicle armor. Maybe Armour Types could be renamed to something like "Thin, Normal/Standard and Thick" instead?

- It's pretty unintuitive to have the "Additional Components" in the opposite corner of the UI compared to where you select the main component, and I can't find an overview in the UI for how many component slots the various vehicles/unit types support ( might be helpful to see somewhere in text or tooltip in case it can't already be seen )

- Maybe STO Weapon Types should not be shown when a unit type that can't use them is picked ( or even when you don't have any such components picked ). It looks a bit strange to see that the Example tank have a STO Weapon type selected (10cm C3 Ultraviolet Laser).
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: King-Salomon on January 02, 2018, 01:27:37 PM
maybe I have missed something but I was reading he whole chances again the last days and was thinking. . .

how will the new Ground-Force mechanic influence the addition of Titans?

It sould be logical if the whole Titan-concept would be outdated with the new system - but I think I have not read if and how it would be added with the new system. . . .

will there still be "Titans" in the new ground-force system or are these ideas obsolete now (which I would prefer)?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 02, 2018, 02:03:10 PM
maybe I have missed something but I was reading he whole chances again the last days and was thinking. . .

how will the new Ground-Force mechanic influence the addition of Titans?

It sould be logical if the whole Titan-concept would be outdated with the new system - but I think I have not read if and how it would be added with the new system. . . .

will there still be "Titans" in the new ground-force system or are these ideas obsolete now (which I would prefer)?

Titans no longer exist as a separate mechanic and I need to remove the rule post. However, you can create a Titan-equivalent using the new rules.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: King-Salomon on January 02, 2018, 02:03:58 PM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=9679. msg105833#msg105833 date=1514923390
Titans no longer exist as a separate mechanic and I need to remove the rule post.  However, you can create a Titan-equivalent using the new rules.

That's what I thought, thank you for clarification :)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 02, 2018, 02:08:28 PM
Looks great!

UI Feedback nitpicks on Part 1:

- Calling it Heavy, Medium and Light for all three of Base Unit Types, Component Types and Armor Types looks a bit confusing. Especially things like having a Heavy Vehicles with Light vehicle armor isn't perfectly clear what it does or how it would compare to a Light Vehicle with Heavy vehicle armor. Maybe Armour Types could be renamed to something like "Thin, Normal/Standard and Thick" instead?

Light Vehicle Armour or Heavy Vehicle Armour is the same no matter which type of vehicle it is on. However, a vehicle can only use armour equal to its own classification or less. So a Heavy Vehicle cannot use Super-Heavy Vehicle Armour. Infantry and Static have their own armour progressions but each is specified as Infantry or Static armour.

Quote
- It's pretty unintuitive to have the "Additional Components" in the opposite corner of the UI compared to where you select the main component, and I can't find an overview in the UI for how many component slots the various vehicles/unit types support ( might be helpful to see somewhere in text or tooltip in case it can't already be seen )

- Maybe STO Weapon Types should not be shown when a unit type that can't use them is picked ( or even when you don't have any such components picked ). It looks a bit strange to see that the Example tank have a STO Weapon type selected (10cm C3 Ultraviolet Laser).

Agree on the STO Weapons (and CIWS). I should probably just hide that section unless STO is selected. Also agree on the Additional Components. I'll probably move them underneath the main component list.

EDIT: Made the STO and Additional Component changes and updated the rules post and screenshots.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Garfunkel on January 02, 2018, 07:52:48 PM
Nice nice nice, starting to really shape up well!
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Person012345 on January 02, 2018, 09:45:15 PM
Looks great!

UI Feedback nitpicks on Part 1:

- Calling it Heavy, Medium and Light for all three of Base Unit Types, Component Types and Armor Types looks a bit confusing. Especially things like having a Heavy Vehicles with Light vehicle armor isn't perfectly clear what it does or how it would compare to a Light Vehicle with Heavy vehicle armor. Maybe Armour Types could be renamed to something like "Thin, Normal/Standard and Thick" instead?

The way I understand it, "light" vs "heavy" for the vehicle means weight, size and construction sturdiness. General things, kept vague so that one can RP it how you want. The armour is heavy armour or light armour or whatever. So a superheavy vehicle with no/light armour, think something like the space shuttle crawler. Whereas a superheavy vehicle with superheavy armour would be a super-tank or heavily armoured walker or whatever. But you can't put superheavy armour on something that isn't large and powerful enough to support it.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on January 03, 2018, 05:35:01 AM
The way I understand it, "light" vs "heavy" for the vehicle means weight, size and construction sturdiness. General things, kept vague so that one can RP it how you want. The armour is heavy armour or light armour or whatever. So a superheavy vehicle with no/light armour, think something like the space shuttle crawler. Whereas a superheavy vehicle with superheavy armour would be a super-tank or heavily armoured walker or whatever. But you can't put superheavy armour on something that isn't large and powerful enough to support it.

I sure understand what it meant, and maybe most others do as well. It's just from a usability and interface standpoint you generally want to avoid re-using the same words for alot of different things. Using "Heavy" to describe 3 different things ( vehicle weight class, armor thickness and weapon/component size ), "works" but it's not super clear.

If I say I designed a "heavy unit" for example, what did I mean then? Was it a heavy vehicle, a unit with heavy armor or a unit with a heavy weapon?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 03, 2018, 07:33:53 AM
I have almost completed the process of how a single shot works.

To Hit Check: Starting with base chance to hit (which I need to decide in conjunction with frequency of ground combat phases)
1)   If fortification level is 1, multiply by Hit Mod of Target Base Type
2)   If fortification level > 1, divide by (Fortification Level of Unit * Fortification Modifier of Terrain)
3)   Multiply by Dominant Terrain To-Hit Modifier for Firing
4)   Divide by 2 for each applicable case: Extreme Temperature, Extreme Pressure, Extreme Gravity (outside of species tolerance).
5)   Multiply by Morale / 100.
6)   Multiply by 2 for each applicable capability

Armour Penetration Check: (Weapon AP / Armour)^2

Damage Check: Weapon Damage / Target HP

If all three checks are passed, the target is destroyed.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on January 03, 2018, 01:50:01 PM
1)   If fortification level is 1, multiply by Hit Mod of Target Base Type
3)   If fortification level > 1, divide by (Fortification Level of Unit * Fortification Modifier of Terrain)

Hum, maybe this should be to just use the lower (that is to say, lower chance to hit) value of the two? That way light vehicles don't instantly become more vulnerable when slightly fortified. (Also you appear to have switched up numbers 2 and 3)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 03, 2018, 07:03:11 PM
Quick screenshot showing a formation template for an Engineer Regiment. I've settled on 150 tons for a Construction component, with a build capacity equal to 1/20th of a construction factory. A vehicle base type can hold two construction components for a cost of 12.72 BP for a vehicle with 0.1 Construction Factory Equivalents (CFE). Ten such vehicles would cost 127.2 BP and be the equivalent of one factory.

In this case, the formation has the equivalent of 2.5 construction factories, plus a small security detachment. Alternatively, small numbers of construction vehicles could be included with headquarters formations or even combat units to provide a small inherent construction capacity.

I've also updated this tab to combine components into a single column and add a preferred target type column. I'll update the rules post at some point with the new screen.

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/ConstructionRegiment02.PNG)
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: King-Salomon on January 03, 2018, 10:27:27 PM
I've settled on 150 tons for a Construction component, with a build capacity equal to 1/20th of a construction factory. A vehicle base type can hold two construction components for a cost of 12.72 BP for a vehicle with 0.1 Construction Factory Equivalents (CFE). Ten such vehicles would cost 127.2 BP and be the equivalent of one factory.

really cool screenshot  ;D

maybe I have my math wrong but what got me irritated:

a construction factory costs 150 BP - the quivalent in Construction Vehicle 127 BP

1 factory has a cargo space of 25.000t - 2,5 factories in Construction Vehicles without security have a cargo space of 8.000t = 3200/factory

1 factory needs 50k population - Construction Vehicle needs 0 population...

I guess if these numbers would stay that nobody would ever again build factories after he got TN-industries running, only ground unit facilities and construction Units (cheaper after you have the facilities running, 7,8x more mobile, no population need)...

"I've settled on 150t for a Construction component" does not sound like a "dummie number" - so maybe I have an error in my thinking  ??? ???
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on January 03, 2018, 10:37:55 PM
I think ground units have maintenance and construction factories don't, which would be pretty big if you tried to run your entire economy on them.

I take it engineers produce BP in addition to helping fortify units? I actually couldn't mind if they were purely combat engineers/ruin excavators; without PDCs there's not a lot of need for ground troops to build stuff, and still less if you start garrisoning worlds without populations.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 04, 2018, 05:53:34 AM
really cool screenshot  ;D

maybe I have my math wrong but what got me irritated:

a construction factory costs 150 BP - the quivalent in Construction Vehicle 127 BP

1 factory has a cargo space of 25.000t - 2,5 factories in Construction Vehicles without security have a cargo space of 8.000t = 3200/factory

1 factory needs 50k population - Construction Vehicle needs 0 population...

I guess if these numbers would stay that nobody would ever again build factories after he got TN-industries running, only ground unit facilities and construction Units (cheaper after you have the facilities running, 7,8x more mobile, no population need)...

"I've settled on 150t for a Construction component" does not sound like a "dummie number" - so maybe I have an error in my thinking  ??? ???

A construction factory is 120 BP, not 150 BP.

Yes, it is less space to transport construction vehicles than installations, but you need troop transport bays rather than cargo bays. A 100 HS cargo bay is 12 BP, compared to 80 BP for the same size troop transport bay. Also, you pay 12.5% maintenance per annum on ground forces so after 10 years the equivalent construction vehicles will cost double the construction factories. Finally, it is a lot easier to build construction factories than construction vehicles because they can build themselves.

The main advantage of construction vehicles is they are immediately available without the need for supporting population, so despite their higher cost they are more convenient.

Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 04, 2018, 05:55:46 AM
I think ground units have maintenance and construction factories don't, which would be pretty big if you tried to run your entire economy on them.

I take it engineers produce BP in addition to helping fortify units? I actually couldn't mind if they were purely combat engineers/ruin excavators; without PDCs there's not a lot of need for ground troops to build stuff, and still less if you start garrisoning worlds without populations.

Yes, they will produce BPs as well if they are not fortifying units.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on January 04, 2018, 07:05:30 AM
Shouldn't Construction Vehicles require mostly similar resources to build that construction factories do though?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Drgong on January 29, 2018, 02:34:04 PM
Just going to say I love the idea of more diverse units, and like the idea of PDCs being replaced with troops.

I want my Mars Desert Infantry  ;D
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Starmantle on January 30, 2018, 01:00:46 AM
I really, really love PDCs.  So there's that.

But I also really like the changes to ground forces to make them deeper and more interesting.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Nori on February 14, 2018, 11:53:30 AM
Apologies if this was asked.  But one of my favorite uses for PDCs is as inexpensive hangers.  Military ships with hangers are pretty spendy early on reducing the chance that I would use fighters (of FACs).  So, is there going to be a hanger facility that could be built on planet or as a ground unit?
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on February 14, 2018, 12:02:19 PM
The ability to shove otherwise very expensive to maintain ships into hangars and get them maintained essentially for free is a considerable part of the reason PDCs are disappearing IIRC.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Nori on February 14, 2018, 12:06:58 PM
Well, in current game rules you can't maintain fighters which was my primary question. I don't believe I've ever put anything other than 500 or 1000 ton ships in hangers. In my current game I have 80 FACs in hangers and isn't really saving me a whole lot in maintenance compared to the cost of building a PDC capable of holding them all. Though if someone instead built a 80,000 ton ship and put it in a hanger...

Maybe a new installation that allows only fighters (maybe FACs) to be hangered on planet.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: alex_brunius on February 14, 2018, 12:10:53 PM
Well, in current game rules you can't maintain fighters which was my primary question. I don't believe I've ever put anything other than 500 or 1000 ton ships in hangers. In my current game I have 80 FACs in hangers and isn't really saving me a whole lot in maintenance compared to the cost of building a PDC capable of holding them all. Though if someone instead built a 80,000 ton ship and put it in a hanger...

Maybe a new installation that allows only fighters (maybe FACs) to be hangered on planet.

C# Aurora will have different rules for fighter maintenance:
http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=8495.msg101959#msg101959

Specifically this part:

"Fighters can be maintained by Maintenance Locations and do not need to be stored in hangars (because now they use capacity whereas the VB6 rule was implemented to prevent unlimited fighters being maintained)."
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Nori on February 14, 2018, 12:12:00 PM
Nice! Sounds like that'll work.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Person012345 on February 14, 2018, 12:28:35 PM
C# Aurora will have different rules for fighter maintenance:
http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=8495.msg101959#msg101959

Specifically this part:

"Fighters can be maintained by Maintenance Locations and do not need to be stored in hangars (because now they use capacity whereas the VB6 rule was implemented to prevent unlimited fighters being maintained)."
This isn't really satisfactory though, and there may end up being a ground based hanger. I don't think steve has finalised and confirmed what he's doing in that regard. But this basically makes air support for ground combat an entirely one-sided thing for whoever has space superiority, which doesn't make sense and detracts from gameplay imo.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Bremen on February 14, 2018, 01:12:00 PM
This isn't really satisfactory though, and there may end up being a ground based hanger. I don't think steve has finalised and confirmed what he's doing in that regard. But this basically makes air support for ground combat an entirely one-sided thing for whoever has space superiority, which doesn't make sense and detracts from gameplay imo.

Fighters can at least dip into the atmosphere last I heard, becoming ground troops. This may require them to use fuel the whole time though, I'm not sure.

Even if it does burn fuel, this opens up an interesting role for fighters as planetary defense since they can probably de-orbit to avoid incoming missiles.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Hazard on February 14, 2018, 01:59:59 PM
Fighters can at least dip into the atmosphere last I heard, becoming ground troops. This may require them to use fuel the whole time though, I'm not sure.

Even if it does burn fuel, this opens up an interesting role for fighters as planetary defense since they can probably de-orbit to avoid incoming missiles.
`

If that isn't promptly followed by said missiles impacting the planet hard I'm going to be disappointed.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: Person012345 on February 16, 2018, 07:33:38 AM
Fighters can at least dip into the atmosphere last I heard, becoming ground troops. This may require them to use fuel the whole time though, I'm not sure.

Even if it does burn fuel, this opens up an interesting role for fighters as planetary defense since they can probably de-orbit to avoid incoming missiles.
Sure, until their maintenance facilities get melted and they run out of fuel.
Title: Re: Replacing PDCs
Post by: plasticpanzers on May 25, 2018, 03:35:25 AM
Been pondering the physical size of PDCs vs their ground defense.   The closer all parts of a PDC (or ground to space defense system) the
easier it is to defend it from ground attacks with ground units.   The larger it is the higher the garrison you need to protect it (say it stretches across a
small mountain range).  Folks are talking about just setting one up like a trailer park but that leaves it small and vulnerable to a simple kinetic strike
like a dumb missile or rock.  But a PDC spread over a vast area can have multiple weapons clusters but it would require a ton more troops to defend
from ground attacks being spread to far apart.   Any trailer or towed (or air carried) PDC pieces are very vulnerable and impossible to armor in any
effective way but if you have a handy mountain range say of granite.... From this expansion to spread the targets apart a really impressive PDC
might require several divisions to defend it and having less would force a malus on the defender by a ground attack.