Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

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Fade2Gray
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Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

Postby Fade2Gray » Fri 30 Jun 2017 21:23

As it stands now, without some intensive micro, artillery comes in two categories. First one is precision targeting, and the second is area saturation. With mortars or cheap tube artillery, you can do saturation fires, especially with smoke, but if you want to do it in a fashion that isn't micro intensive then you have to use MLRS. That being said, who honestly uses tube artillery for saturation fire? It's so clumsy to do that even some of our more special members' theories of driving cheap tubes up closer before firing simply doesn't exist. If you want to saturate an area, the choice is clear, you need MLRS.

Now, I know some of you may be sick of me harping on about the Combat Mission series of games, but CM:BS makes setting up artillery to fire over a large area pretty painless. You can set a line, or even designate a large circle for your fire mission, as well as a delay in firing, how long of a fire mission you want, and so on. It's a wonderful variety of choice that makes fire missions compared to Wargame painless and a pleasure to use. Of course, after thinking about it, how could it easily translate into Wargame? Combat Mission, for some of its wonderful features, doesn't exactly have the greatest user interface.

I was thinking about this while playing Fallout: Tale of Two Wastelands, taking a break from hunting Deathclaws to pop some Legion heads, and while talking to Boone, a pretty easy way to do was right there staring me in the face, ie stealacquire the idea from the Fallout:New Vegas companion wheel.

When you select your artillery units and click "attack" on a given area, if there are multiple choices for munitions (ie HE/smoke) then a wheel pops up, with one half being HE and the other half being smoke. After making the selection, another wheel comes up. You would then have a wheel for fire mission length, which means how many shells fired before it ends and the units go to the next cue for orders. Next, time. You would have immediate, on command, or delayed with maybe 30 seconds to 2 minutes making up the rest of the wheel. Finally, you select the area to target. In the bulls eye of the wheel would be point target and the outside would be divided up into line, circle, and box. After making that selection in the final wheel, if you didn't pick point target, you would either be designating the line, circle, whatever with a click and drag commands. Maybe for all selections you could include a bulls eye for "default" choices to aid the speed of how fast you can click through it.

I think this could make it so that all artillery is much more useful, and that doing various things with artillery would be a lot less painful, and with practice and adjustment wouldn't slow down anyone much.. I also think it would be possible to make lower end tube artillery much more attractive and a feasible replacement for MLRS.
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Re: Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

Postby throwaway » Fri 30 Jun 2017 22:59

Artillery isn't fun to play against and shouldn't be buffed.

I also think it would be possible to make lower end tube artillery much more attractive and a feasible replacement for MLRS.


This wouldn't be a good thing. MLRS is a timing weapon, you hit a sector once, take advantage of that or don't, then the opponent has a couple minutes of free reign. Artillery on the other hand is a constant annoyance that is barely telegraphed and thus much harder to avoid.

A use of damaging artillery that I think is good for gameplay is shelling very specific entrenched positions, like a small city filled with atgm, or any unit that hasn't moved. You don't need creeping barrage for that. Creeping barrage would let people fuck up the opponent's entire frontline and take up some of his attention, at the cost of only a click and drag for the arty user. So I'm not a fan.

Creeping barrages for smoke would be neat, but definitely not for HE rounds.

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Re: Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

Postby Fade2Gray » Sat 1 Jul 2017 00:39

throwaway wrote:Artillery isn't fun to play against and shouldn't be buffed.


... wut

Screw that. You are against improving mechanics because of balance issues? Come on man, if somehow arty becomes UNSTOPPABLE KILLER PLZ NERF NEOW because the mechanics are improved then nerfs can be applied. Whether it is price or supply or whatever nerfs, balance can be tweaked if it is deemed necessary for the new mechanics. It happened to MLRS, especially like the SMERCH, it can happen to tubes as well.
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Re: Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

Postby throwaway » Sat 1 Jul 2017 09:20

You concluded that the changes could make lower end tube arty an alternative to MLRS. I was reacting to that, I'm happy that tube arty is for the most part underground and wouldn't want that to change. I guess you can call it a balance issue insofar that interface improvements can be offset by stat nerfs, but I see it as more of a gameplay issue that will get worse when the bombardments are no longer restricted to small avoidable areas that also take consistent micro from the aggressor to maintain.

Question: Do you envision these new bombardment shapes implemented by changing the fire pattern of arty, or would they be just macros that one can achieve with existing shift-click commands? For example, M109 has four 7-shot salvos. Would a box command amount to queuing those four salvos in a boxy shape, or would it happen in one salvo with a spread that is currently not possible? Would the fire length selector allow longer salvos than those currently in the stats?

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Re: Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

Postby another505 » Sat 1 Jul 2017 12:17

Definitely think there should be more mechanic for artillery, (and HELICOPTERS!!!) if there is ever a wg4 or similar game design

Im not sure that is a good UI to make it, Fade. it sounds a bit too, time consuming to press all those buttons after one and the other. But the goal I agree with.

I rather have like a bunch check boxes appearing instantly. I can click them really fast or just change one detail instead of pressing the first and second option the same, then to change detail 3.

And dont make too many options. Make it three per category
Shell .....................................Duration....................... Time
HE .......................................Burst.............................On Command
Smoke .................................. Medium.........................ASAP
maybe something new ............. Long................................ 30 second(not sure if really needed actually)
......................................... ^(as long as possible before reload)
You Attack pos a location, then there would be a circle for maximum accuracy AOE. You use the scroll wheel to change the size. This allows you to change size while ticking the options

Then press enter for finalizing the fire mission. Now this is important I believe, I could decide the fire mission but also micro other units instantly as i was deciding, it then allow me to edit the mission once i finish microing.
It prevents misclick, like pressing outside the boxes
Also ,if i was designing fire mission, then i see the need to micro unit, the tick boxes disappear because I controlled something else. I would be annoyed to set up the fire mission again.

One thing i would like about the fire on command is maybe press F-1 for the group of artillery to fire.

Also, tube artillery need their range influencing accuracy back....like mlrs
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Re: Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

Postby James-Bond » Sat 1 Jul 2017 13:28

Agree that'd I like a few more functions for artillery.
my personal favourite, would be the ability to draw a line to smoke.
Start point, End point, Confirm

Example your arty has 8 shots, it would aim at each 1/8 on the drawn line.
The shells wouldn't land perfectly due natural accuracy of the Arty.
Also the longer line you draw the less dense the smoke would be.

Other Features which would be nice
Salvo length: 1 Shell > Max possible
Saturation: Min > Max accuracy

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Re: Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

Postby FrangibleCover » Sat 1 Jul 2017 19:47

I think the overall concept is good but you've got too many clicks. One commo rose for ammunition type, one commo rose for mission type, set the position and go. Ammo type could be expanded to HE point/HE airburst/Smoke/Cluster/Napalm and whatever else comes out of the end of an artillery piece without increasing the difficulty too much, especially if you can set the central 'default' round in the settings. I feel like missions that are highly complex and effective are probably a bad plan; circle of varied size, line of varied length and point are probably good enough. Maybe expand them to short-duration and long-duration options on the left and right hand sides of the rose but let's not get too Combat Mission with it, that many clicks are simply not practical for an RTS.
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Re: Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

Postby nande » Sun 2 Jul 2017 03:05

Fade2Gray wrote:improving mechanics
would rather have an improved game than an improved mechanic tbh

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Re: Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

Postby R3d Sh4mbala » Sun 2 Jul 2017 06:59

Too many problems, valiant effort; but too many issues.

I have a hard time with the concept between 55pt 122mm and 55pt 152mm arty. :?
5HE 120mm mortar kills and stuns, but 6HE 122mm howizter does squat.

And from what I gathered from you veterans, that pre-release in open BETA up to a series of free DLC. The Arty mechanics were completely different. Supposedly some players didn't like GRAD sandwich. :lol:

I did some poking around with concepts, but that may require a whole new game and game engine.

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Re: Thoughts on artillery mechanics and how to improve them

Postby SmallWhaler » Sun 2 Jul 2017 13:40

A simple improvement I would like to see is the map or even the tactical layer showing the starting point of enemy artillery, so it is not a game of who has the best micro and thus the time to look "by eye". Ideally the unit would appear (but not identified) when shooting.

Also : the longest the units has stayed in position, the more accurate it is, so it is a real balance between shooting more and relocating, rather than a non-brainer micro shoot / relocate / shoot / relocate.

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