What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

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What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Sulla » Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:53 pm

Hi Guys,

What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

What has always been missing, what annoys you with CC as is?

What ideas thoughts do you have on the Strategic layer and what do you feel is important?

S

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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Nembo » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:34 pm

First I'm gonna admit that I'm biased against the strategic map. I never liked the strategic layer as presented starting with CC4.

I have always felt that the strategic layer distracted from the actual core game play of the series. CC1 and CC3 are in my opinion the most pure in the series in that they lack a strategic map. They are all about tactical combat.


CC2 has a strategic layer that is largely automated. CC2's strategic map primarily serves to give context to the tactical battles you fight. Why as the Allies should you fight tooth and nail to hold Son town after capturing it? Becuase if you lose Son, XXX corp's supplies will be cut and they will have to stop pushing on to Arnhem. And in case you didn't realize that from just reading the map briefings, the developers implemented a map which shows the overall strategic goals and where your forces currently stand in regard to them, their by giving the player both a visual and verbal warning about what happens if you lose the town.
This helped gave the game and its battles a sense of urgency. Yes you knew how important that town and its bridge was, yes you were going to sacrifice those troops and bleed your paratroopers out in order to hold the town.

The game let you develop a connection with your squads by both limiting the number of battle groups in play (don't think you ever had more than half a dozen battle groups at any given moment), and by keeping each battle group locked to a specific group of maps. At the same time the game gave you a sense of the big picture and the responsibility that went with it. This gave the small tactile battles a more desperate and personal feeling. The use of small maps contributed to the tone giving a sense of closeness and the importance of time and space. The battles weren't about sweeping movements but about brutal fights in which you had to forcibly pry your opponents from important objectives.


On the other hand CC3 lacked a strat map which I feel strongly helped it out thematically and gave the game its own unique feel from all the other games in the series. CC3 wasn't about winning the war or even winning battles. CC3 was about survival. It was you and your small group of boys far away from home in lands foreign to you. That's not to say you didn't want to win, after all it was winning that gave you a chance to get better gear, and besides killing the other guy was a sure way to prevent him from killing you. Despite that at times you would see a situation and just decide that the risks to your soldiers out weighed any possible rewards. CC3 was the game where I most often used the truce button. The constantly changing locations made everything become impersonal and the larger maps gave you a sense isolation while putting a stronger emphasis on heavy weapons that could take advantage of it than either of the two previous games in the series. It wasn't winning or losing that mattered in CC3, it was the journey. Remember that while CC3 didn't have a strategic map it was the only game in the series to have a timeline.


Starting with CC4 they added the interactive strategic map, which in turn required that it be filled up with stuff to make it actually serve a purpose and not seem bare. This meant the introduction of logistics and more battle groups than ever before which in turn meant the most impersonal of all the games in the series. Often I'd find myself struggling to remember a particular battle groups track record? Where these the men that had stubbornly held the hill against enemy attacks while low on supplies or was that the battle group next to them? The mission briefings which had helped set tone and relayed information to the player became increasingly useless, for as each campaign went on it became increasingly hard for writers to predict why a player would send a battle group to a map and provide relevant info. In addition the ability to enter different maps form multiple directions required that maps be kept larger in order to accommodate multiple scenarios and also meant that they had (in my opinion) a more loose design to them. I felt in CC4 and especially CC5 I spent more time simply traversing maps than in of the previous entry in the series. And while this might be true of warfare in reality, I got hooked on playing CC because of that gritty combat the first three games provided, not by the sweeping movements of large units cutting across enemy territory in some attempt to cut the enemies lines of supply.


So whats my point? Well in my opinion, the strategic map should compliment the games themes, tone, and scope. It shouldn't distract from them. If you look at the first three games and start watching the cut-scenes you can see how they work to emphasis different themes. Everything (or at least nearly everything) in those first three games worked to compliment the themes each presented, thanks to some well though out game design and/or guidance on somebodies part. Just look at CC3's UI, I think its use of propaganda posters as a backdrop is a great example of turning something simple and mundane into a tone setter for the game. I felt that CC1-2-3 where games that each told a different story though tactical combat, CC4 and beyond I felt became increasingly pure simulations of historical battles which often required outside historical knowledge to get the most out of.


Neither way is per say right or wrong. It all depends on what you want your game to be. Personally I feel that strategy games should tell a story, even if only indirectly, because other wise they turn into pure simulations which in my humble opinion are boring.


Having said that if you go for a CC4 and after style strategic map make sure the darn screen is bigger. They don't print road maps on business cards for a reason, you'd only be able to see one street and would spend more time looking for the right map than you would plotting your road trip. Look at the below screen shots. How far ahead can you plan before you got to start scrolling back and forth using two separate sliders? Not very far.

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/upfil ... 269A43.jpg
http://slitherine.com/screenshots/origi ... 204212.jpg

Likewise a strategic map needs to be clear and easily readable. These are not easily readable. To be honest I've yet to see a strategic map that is easily readable
http://www.closecombatseries.net/CCS/im ... relia2.jpg
http://old.wargamer.com/files/articles/ ... 103045.jpg
http://www.closecombatseries.net/CCS/im ... ratmap.jpg
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Kanov » Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:25 pm

What a surprise to know another close combat type of game is being worked on.

Next, I just wanted to congratulate Nembo on that well written and thought out post, I share with you all of what you've written.

I too want again to remember the soldiers last names, I want to care about them again. I dislike the disconnection you get to your soldiers since CC4.

For me the most enjoyable "strategic" part of the whole CC series was the mostly automated CC2 one, It allowed you control in things that mattered and where fun (supply and point allocation) while it automated what was supposed to remain historical and make sense (entry of new Battlegroups , open new battle-fronts like polish drop and american boat assault in Nijmegen, keeping all historical BG's where they belonged).

That said, I do think the strategic part can be enjoyable, I like turning those strat maps to my color, I like seeing the pseudo counters and feel smart by doing "big" moves that affect the "big" picture.

If you must continue the strategic part as present since CC4, look at other games to get an idea on how to reform it: Achtüng Panzer/Graviteam Tactics and Total war come to mind.

From Achtung Panzer I would get the huge continual operational map, where every tactical battle map is infact a continuous part of the same operational map. If you haven't played it, let me explain a bit.

In Achtüng Panzer you have an operational map depicting an area, this operational map is in turn divided in several square tactical maps, when battle occurs an area consisting of a grid of 3x3 maps where the center map is the one where the attack or defense is going to take place is designated by the game to be the actual combat area, so for example if you saw a tree or a house, a river or hill inside a square on the operational map, you will see it on the tactical map. And if any adjacent enemy or friendly units are inside the 3x3 area they too will participate in the battle.

I think this bit is possible currently, since in CCM we had incredible huge maps, I think 2x4 km or something like that. Well a map like this could be the new strat map, where every tactical map represents an actual area of the larger map. Picture the huge CCM zoomed out map as your actual strategic map divided in manageable tactical maps where tactical battles occur.

From Rome total war I would take the feeling of free movement by an army (or Battlegroup) limited only by the movement points it has in a turn or if it meets an hostile army, the Area of control of an army, where if an army enters the AoC of another army then it cannot move until they battle or wait to next turn if nothing happens. The option to have reinforcements and to give the AI control of those reinforcements or to have them reinforce the battlegroup commanded by the player in a piecemeal fashion if the player already has all his unit slots filled, so he would need to wait until a current unit is killed or fled to be able to have a reinforcement unit to come in to the battle.

Instead of turns though, I would like to see adjustable real time like HoI (a second of real time on the strategic part could mean an hour in-game and using a slider you could adjust it so a second then becomes ten hours or so), so you could intercept incoming battlegroups or in the other case avoid them, hide from them, choose to fortify an area etc.

With this approach of a continual operational map, the scope of the area would be limited though, so instead of having for example the whole area of Stalingrad on the strategic map, you would only see a portion of it, like the grain elevator and its immediate surroundings. The strategic units would become smaller too, like actual companies instead of regiments/battalions etc, where every combat able unit in the force pool is used.

Speaking of force pools, this has to be changed too, it is really stupid to have all those dozens or hundreds of men in reserves and not being able to use them or at least having them not be affected by anything, they just stand there until you choose them.

Thanks!
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Pete » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:37 pm

On the strategic layer I would like:
Different types of battle groups moving with different speeds. That includes fast units moving 2 to 4 maps at once. Otherwise you will never be able to use breakthrough and exploit strategies. This is what I have been missing the most so far on the stratmap. Moving an armoured bg or infantry bg does not make much of a difference at the moment.
Move speed of bg's should depend on type of map terrain (good or bad roads, forest, swamps, etc. and size of bg in relation to terrain).
Artillery interdiction, airstrike interdiction, underground sabotage interdiction, weather effects.
Stacked battle groups, attaching and detaching units of company size to other battle groups, borrowing teams of stacked bg's (as in LSA).
In an Operation or Campaign I would like to be able to determine when a battle group enters the map. I do not want to be forced to follow the historical timeline all the time.
AI clever enough to withdraw or attack with a BG at an advantageous moment. You want to avoid an infantry BG attacking an open terrain map occupied by armoured units. AI BG retreating when morale or cohesion is getting dangerously low. AI BG retreating when the map can no longer be held, or when certain exit VL's are lost.
Lack of supply actually affecting bg's. Noticed in GtC: enemy BG allowed to pass the front line was cut off from all supply but still moved around freely.
AI should retreat BG's low on supply onto a map with supply.
All in all an AI that uses the stratmap as a chessboard. There are games out there that have better AI on the strategic level right?

Maps that play well from any side you enter them. Look at the GtC maps. They play differently from all entry points and you always stand a chance assaulting a map.

My ideal: a stratmap in Google Earth. The stratmap as a graphical layer. I don't actually want to use google earth' map or satellite imagery on the stratmap. In google earth it is so easy to draw outlines and for the modder it would be perfect if that functionality could be used to draw the outlines of a new stratmap or custom map and then add graphical content.

That being said, I also would like to retain a COI type of custom Op or Campaign by just picking random maps.
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Sulla » Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:19 am

Hia Guys,

Have been a tad busy last couple of days! Great posts by all of you.

For me the TAI and SAI layers are equally as important. We always had a great game in CC on the Tac level [yes it could be improved!] but the SAI was where it was truly let down. There are many things on the strat layer that can vastly improve the TAI level.

I will run through the posts above inline, commenting on each point later! But for me, the game to be complete needs to be a hybrid. Really a kind of WW2/Modern war version of TW, but with great AI, without the bloat and huge overhead of TW. Also the Strat layer needs no "resource management" in the traditional sense which strips away a layer. What it needs to convey and realistically, is a much larger scope of battleground [Operational] than the postage stamp in CC4/5. It needs to allow for movement, retreat, redeploy, counterattacks, feints, building up of forces, allowing for a totally realistic FOW [Fog of War]. Night fighting was something the Germans and Soviets were brilliant at. Almost Total allied air superiority in west [late war]. This forces weather, luck, restricted German redeploy during day. You can choos to move in daylight but with penalty of high chance of major attrition of force for Germans. There is much more. Good SAI so that BGs on your flanks will play an important part. Also that they can be controlled by H2H or AI players. This could put forth a great cooperative play option.

More soon, bit of a rush. ;)

Shaun
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Sulla » Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:57 am

On the strategic layer I would like:
Different types of battle groups moving with different speeds. That includes fast units moving 2 to 4 maps at once. Otherwise you will never be able to use breakthrough and exploit strategies. This is what I have been missing the most so far on the stratmap. Moving an armoured bg or infantry bg does not make much of a difference at the moment.
Move speed of bg's should depend on type of map terrain (good or bad roads, forest, swamps, etc. and size of bg in relation to terrain).
Artillery interdiction, airstrike interdiction, underground sabotage interdiction, weather effects.
Stacked battle groups, attaching and detaching units of company size to other battle groups, borrowing teams of stacked bg's (as in LSA).
In an Operation or Campaign I would like to be able to determine when a battle group enters the map. I do not want to be forced to follow the historical timeline all the time.
AI clever enough to withdraw or attack with a BG at an advantageous moment. You want to avoid an infantry BG attacking an open terrain map occupied by armoured units. AI BG retreating when morale or cohesion is getting dangerously low. AI BG retreating when the map can no longer be held, or when certain exit VL's are lost.
Lack of supply actually affecting bg's. Noticed in GtC: enemy BG allowed to pass the front line was cut off from all supply but still moved around freely.
AI should retreat BG's low on supply onto a map with supply.
All in all an AI that uses the stratmap as a chessboard. There are games out there that have better AI on the strategic level right?

Maps that play well from any side you enter them. Look at the GtC maps. They play differently from all entry points and you always stand a chance assaulting a map.


Hia Pete,

Some good comments there. Ok, there WILL be a strategic map. Nembo, I agree with all the points you made. CC2 was brilliant, CC3/CoI were my favourites, CC4 / CC5 were a wasted opportunity.

My problem with existing strat map was the size. It was not a strat map it was a postage stamp.

I can't give everything away. But, saying that there are things that will certainly be in the game. We are looking at company level per battle so 200-300 men. Battles will be fought taking into account better German infantry [they were] armour etc. Supply, Ability to Flank, ability to build up units in strength or a better way to imagine it is to drop [stack] several companies into a particular battle zone on the SM [Strat Map] allowing for possible armour breakthroughs with infantry units there to move and hold the flanks of the breakthrough. Kind of like a real battle. We are looking at fog of war, so attacking and stacking units will be a risk as you [depending on your supply] will have to thin out your holding units. As will figuring where to make primary defences. Airfields, Logistics, Air-strikes, keeping communications intact, Artillery, [distance from attacking units, can counter battery fire hit?] In an attack how at risk are your stacked units. Anti Aircraft/AA Units, where to locate? The strat map will be split into 15 / 25 sub strat maps [each allowing for significant manoeuvrer and play] allowing for variation and also AI or Human controlled company BG formations. In H2H we are looking at 6 - 10 company units side by side fighting to a plan, as a cohesive group or 1 or 2 people utilising AI controlled BGs beside them.

The whole idea is to make the game on an operational level [NOT Strategic] where your actions on the strat map or Op map make big differences as to how battles and plans will work out. So essentially it will be tactical on 2 levels. Your choices WILL affect how and what companies you end up with. Just like real war, you will have to live with the plans you make.

There will also be the ability to move units between sub strat maps. This will be dependent on movement points which will be limited for obvious reasons between sun maps. Something that is being implemented is the ability to build a company or platoon [rename men, etc] and keep them going throughout the campaign [well unless they die lol] That RPG element was I felt lost in 4/5. I personally feel that is very important.

You will be able to attack into a map, where you get to deploy will be logical and after each turn, will depend on progress, lines stabilising, time between attacks etc. The deploy areas will make total sense as opposed and will be contiguous to progress or lack thereof. Much will also be optionable, so you can have as much or little control on the strat map as you like. This is the real ethos of the game as a whole. By making as much as we can optionable, players can play as they want.

The game will also allow for quick battles, player created battles or random battles. This will be very much like classic 1 on 1 H2H but with much more detail on the tactical map. There are numerous things we want to be able to do with maps, or allow YOU to do with maps and data etc, but this will depend on how much time we can spend on this. But to me this is very important.

This is really where we are aiming to go with the strat layer. Let me know of any ideas or comments. That is obviously of necessity a pared down version.

Cheers - S

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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Sulla » Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:01 am

A point to remember.

This is a new engine, so we have a clean slate, to fix what was not working, add in what was missing and leave what worked.

S
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Kanov » Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:52 pm

Sounds pretty good so far.

About the supply, I really like Achtung panzer supply system, In that the fuel and ammo is recorded on an individual unit basis not battlegroup. So if you move a tank a lot its individual fuel supply will suffer and on the movement phase you will have to decide what vehicles to replenish with what available supply reserves of fuel you have. The same with ammo.
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Sulla » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:46 am

Kanov,

Its also getting the historical aspect to mesh with the Game aspect.

The allies had such massive supplies, of every type. Really at mid point onwards [post Stalingrad] there was a massive set of conditions that were much better for the allies.

On both fronts, East / West allies had almost total air superiority, massive differences in fuel, men, tanks, vehicles. Ultra gave much of the German movements before they happened. So the question is, how do we model that? How do we make that fun to play?

The thing that really makes for an equaliser or force multiplier is the quality of even many mid to late war German units. They were soldier for soldier much better than us. If you read official US/Brit/Can/Aus histories you see over and over, the complaint that men were too timid. Mostly the allies citizen soldiers did not make great soldiers. The commanders with few exceptions were too cautious [with reason]. We could produce truly excellent soldiers, Royal Marine Commandos, Rangers, US/UK airborne troops. Our amour was cautious, bad integration with infantry. We did have truly excellent ground to air control and artillery support. But it was at the end of the day infantry that took and held ground.

I think all of this needs modelling with a day/night cycle. The Germans did almost all movement at night, giving them an edge very often in surprise, often appearing where they were not expected and as we know, the Germans ALWAYS punished mistakes.

So supply and logistics and how it acts on the strat layer is v important. I think that each sub-strat map should have supply/communication/airfields/HQs etc as part of the battlefield.

One thing is to do away with as far as possible victory locations and work on logical targets and conditions for victory. I agree Kanev that its important on all levels to have real things, real targets that make a difference in further/later battles.

Shaun
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Nembo » Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:28 am

Sounds like your going for a far more dynamic and flexible map style, which sounds good to me. Having said that I'm not fully clear on how the two different map layers you mentioned will integrate with the final tactical combat map. I may just be dense. Base on what you understood I do feel a 3D strat map that allows for camera panning besides just a top down view would be nice.

I'm still a little concerned about how the supply will work, I haven't played Achtung panzer so I'm not aware of how it works their.

I'm gonna go off topic here. It sounds like your going for a post d-day western front setting. Which makes me feel all luke warm inside, I feel its been done over a fair amount. Which I fear will make it harder to establish a strong product identity in addition to making it harder to set a tone and theme to the game.
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby kweniston » Sun Aug 16, 2015 12:16 pm

Just a few general things:
- Don't overcomplicate the stratmap for sake of 'pur sang' realism. In the end, CC is great because of the nice mix of tactical and strategic elements. I would like to spend more time on the battlefield than planning, but that's my opinion. If you want to introduce more realism/strategic elements, make it optional and at least easy to manage.
- Make the stratmap much more clear and comprehensive. I want to see quickly and clearly where my units, battles, and important areas (i.e. bridges)/victory locations are. In CC this is where the stratmap fails imho.
- Use some sidepanels/floating panels to show different stats/items: list of ongoing battles, status of battle field locations (i.e. see critical supply/low morale areas), planning of reinforcements/arty support.
- Make the terrain more easy to read, i.e. elevation, rivers.
- Use fog of war if the terrain is not known.
- Just a thought: maybe for single player, add the option of having a military advisor in a sidepanel, pointing out strategic moves and objectives, to make the learning curve a bit less steep for beginners.
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby kweniston » Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:12 pm

Have the ability to use and capture railway stations and lines, in order to have a better/faster supply of material and men.
Add some differences between fast/big roads (autobahn) and smaller roads.

Wars are very much about key locations and logistics, I think the game should reflect this more than the current CC.
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Nembo » Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:53 am

kweniston wrote:- Don't overcomplicate the stratmap for sake of 'pur sang' realism. In the end, CC is great because of the nice mix of tactical and strategic elements. I would like to spend more time on the battlefield than planning, but that's my opinion.


I second that opinion. I loved Close Combat for the close combat it provided. And the biggest turn off I find in games today (regardless of genre) are games which have convoluted and/or simple poorly explained systems. And while this may sound a bit paradoxical, that doesn't mean I'm necessarily in favor of games that hold the players hand and/or throw up massive tutorials on how things work.

kweniston wrote:- Make the stratmap much more clear and comprehensive. I want to see quickly and clearly where my units, battles, and important areas (i.e. bridges)/victory locations are. In CC this is where the stratmap fails imho.


Again I totally agree, I think this is one of the major points why I didn't enjoy CC4/5 as much as earlier games. I tended to not complete campaigns in CC4/5 because I would get tired of the tedium that was the stratmap. Now I could be wrong, but I don't think I've ever heard a close combat fan say "damn I hate the tactical combat its like a poorly implemented mini game that distracts me from my grand strategy to win the war."

kweniston wrote:- Just a thought: maybe for single player, add the option of having a military advisor in a sidepanel, pointing out strategic moves and objectives, to make the learning curve a bit less steep for beginners.


I'd be ok with this type of feature (though I wouldn't prioritize it), just got to make sure that all the other game systems point out and agree with what the adviser says. In other words everything the adviser says a player should be able to gather from just looking at the map/game interface. My biggest concern would be that the game's design team would end up relying on the in-game adviser to make up for and explain a poorly implement start map to the player.
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Re: What would you like to see on the Strategic Layer?

Postby Therion » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:33 pm

Some ideas:

PC character with rank and specific command level in campaign.

For example commanding a platoon or a company. Generally, if commanding greater units, having the PC in specific location to take command. PC would have to appear on map to be able to take command and could be killed in action, which would end the campaign.

Then if one would have higher rank, there would be an option for automatic resolution of battles. And battles by units that the player doesn't command would always be auto-resolved.
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