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 Post subject: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:42 pm 
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I have recently been playing a Peninsula campaign, an Atlanta Campaign and a Gettysburg game. I noticed a month or two ago that the Rebel guns in Atlanta were inflicting some fearful damage on my infantry which really made my eyebrows raise. I had some discussions with my opponent about that and we finally began looking at the parameter data between games and comparing notes.

Most veteren players know that some games list woods as 5MPs rather than 4. We also know how unpleasant it is to move a supply wagon 5 spaces on a road rather than 10. It seems, however, that these nuances are easy to pick-up on compared to learning the variations in every gun type in every game. Here is an example of what I mean, using the Napoleon as an example.

There appear to be 5 different sets of data for the Napoleon across every HPS title (which actually surprised this 5 year player). To keep this short and sweet, lets just look at the Napoleon at 1 hex. Here are the firepower numbers:

12 - Corinth, Peninsula, Ozark, Vicksburg
14 - Gettysburg
15- Chancellorsville
17 - Antietam (which includes 1st Bull Run)
20 - Shiloh, Franklin, Chicamauga, Atlanta

Thus we can see there are four titles with '12' and four titles with '20'. Then, of course, the 'in betweens'.

I will also note that the numbers seem to have been tweeked in the updates. I saw that Shiloh was '22' in version one and Franklin was '8' in its first version.

Undoudtedly, the numbers all come down to the designer's feeling about how effective a Napoleon was at close range. I'm all for some leeway in making an empirically impossible judgment into a weapon's effectiveness, yet the gap between numbers is quite significant. The first point aside, it simply isn't logical that a Napoleon fired more effectively at Shiloh, then a few months later, lost half its effectiveness at Corinth. It would be logical to say that gun construction, ammo, or crews got better during the war making later guns more effective but that relationship doesn't show up with the current data.

In addition, if we broke down the parameter data for all the weapons, I'm sure we would more wide differences in performance between titles that would be nearly impossible for anyone to keep track of especially if it is changing in updates.

Of course both players play with the same parameter data, so in a sense, the numbers don't determine what happens in a game. On the other hand, if a player is playing Corinth and Atlanta simultaneously, they probably at some point scratch their heads and say, "I'm getting some really lousy fire results. Why?" Further, they might ask how it was possible to easily charge one position with two guns in one game while in the other game in a similar situation they got blown to pieces. Again, the player could check every single weapon available to figure it out but that seems like a bit much especially for new players who might be busy enough just understanding game mechanics.

My question, therefore, is this. Should the data be 'standardized' for every game through a consensus (or at least brought closer to some center position like the movement/defensive bonus data)? Again, this is not a difference of a few percents. Napoleons at Shiloh are 67% more effective (at range one) than at Wilson's Creek. That's pretty statistically significant.

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:57 pm 
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The Napoleonic series has the same issue. I think there should be one pdt standard. Players can import pdt files from title to title, and open thier favorite scenario files in a text editor, change the pdt file line and then SAVE IT AS SOMETHING else. So you can make your own set of 'standard' pdt scenarios across all the titles. A little work, but worth the effort.

al

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:23 pm 
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rwvva wrote:
I have recently been playing a Peninsula campaign, an Atlanta Campaign and a Gettysburg game. I noticed a month or two ago that the Rebel guns in Atlanta were inflicting some fearful damage on my infantry which really made my eyebrows raise. I had some discussions with my opponent about that and we finally began looking at the parameter data between games and comparing notes.

My question, therefore, is this. Should the data be 'standardized' for every game through a consensus (or at least brought closer to some center position like the movement/defensive bonus data)? Again, this is not a difference of a few percents. Napoleons at Shiloh are 67% more effective (at range one) than at Wilson's Creek. That's pretty statistically significant.


That is probably a good question for JTS support

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:38 pm 
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I am all for standardizing the parameter data for weapons, but the last time I remember this issue being addressed in this forum, which was quite awhile back, most of the members who replied expressed their satisfaction with different parameter data. The disparities were not illustrated as they have been in this post, though.

It isn't difficult to modify the parameter data so that wagons can move faster on roads or artillery limber and unlimber using fewer movement points. But if you play different opponents, you probably need to keep the original data somewhere you can get at it.

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:46 am 
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I believe guns should be standardized. they didn't change with the years but the gunners did. they got better. So gun effectiveness should increase with time due to gunner experience. Perhaps the Confederate guns might be tweaked to simulate the problems they had with effective ordnance but I'm sure there would be objections to this. So the tubes should be standardized and remain the same throughout the war but the gunners should increase in experience from year to year.

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:57 am 
Yeah... thats what we need in these scenarios... less effective Confederate artillery. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:01 pm 
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Blake wrote:
Yeah... thats what we need in these scenarios... less effective Confederate artillery. :wink:


kinda funny.........

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:40 pm 
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I said there would be objections.:)

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:56 pm 
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Absolutely, the weapons data should be standardized. I also agree with Lt. General Ringbloom that there might be some variation in 1864 -- prior if historical data can be injected -- and after for increased experience (and also improved weaponry). Weapons effectiveness should have been established in the initial development of these games and individual designers should not have had freedom to change by whim. It destroys the credibility of the whole system.

Scenario files look for a specific .PDT filename. As Al Amos has stated, if you wish to retain the original file you must give it a different name. Your CHANGED file must bear the same filename as the original or you will get an error when you try to load the game. To employ this approach you must change every .PDT file within a given title, if you wish it to apply to all scenarios within said title.

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:49 am 
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Standardizing weapons especially artillery isn't as easy as it looks. Especially in a game system that combines so many factors into a single number. Weapon effectiveness depended on many variables including experience, training, doctrine, technology, weather, quality of the terrain, time scale, etc. For example a siz gun battery had enough cannister to sustain a full fire rate for 5 minutes. After that it was basically out of anti-personnel ammo. But at 100 yards it could reap a regiment in that 5 minutes. Our turns are 20 minutes so it makes calculating its effectiveness a little iffy. Also after one turn that battery should have been considered out of ammo until it could send its caissons back to the Army trains.

In HPS a hex is about 120 yards. But where is the target in that 120 yards when adjacent? Do you use the artilleries most effective range which is very close to 100 yards to calculate your factor? If they are less than 25 yards away artillery just makes a lot of smoke and noise (shock and awe) but is very ineffective at killing due to the tight pattern of the cannister at that range.

Then there is doctrine. No battery commander would really fire off all his cannister in five minutes unless he thought his gun was in danger of being overrun. He would pace the fire at a much slower rate. If the enemy troops weren't moving (and probably had laid down to avoid the fire) he might be firing only one gun per minutes so he could keep up a steady fire and could send caissons back to resupply ammo. Doctrine has even more effect on long range fire. Gen. Hunt had ordered his artillery to never engage in counter battery fire except in special situations. Deciding how to factors these things into a fire table requires a lot of trade offs.

Terrain itself has a significant effect. Battlefields where the land is rolling or heavily weeded medium and long range fire is very ineffective. The balls don't bounce and the enemy is largely invisible.

If the game simulated the artillery piece effectively you could come up with a good standard artillery fire table but it doesn't. The artillery fire factor just takes to many things into effect other than how big the shell is and how much powder was in the gun. This make the number more of an opinion than a fact.

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:31 pm 
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Just increase crew quality to B or A status and play with the Optional Rule that gives bonus to elite (A,B) troops in the later games.

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:43 pm 
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General Whitehead is right that there were many factors that affected artillery effectiveness, including terrain, weather, training, etc., which make the development of a fire effects table problematic, but I support General Frost's view that parameter data, at least as regards multipliers at the different ranges, should be standardized. Within the limitations of the game system as developed, a napoleon in Mississippi shouldn't be any more or less effective at any range than a napoleon in Virginia or Georgia. It is possible that terrain effects might be different, and parameter data might be modified accordingly for different battles. Fortunately, parameter data is an area you are free to modify. The problem then is coordinating with your opponents to make sure you agree on which table to use. Of course, play testing that went into balancing scenarios used the parameter data that came with the game. Probably easier to just live with the inequities.

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:53 pm 
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Al Amos wrote:
Just increase crew quality to B or A status and play with the Optional Rule that gives bonus to elite (A,B) troops in the later games.

Hi, Al,

I'm pretty sure the 10% bonus only applies to non-artillery fire, so that won't work. It ought to, though.

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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:56 pm 
One thing I would love is if the Supply Wagons on HPS Gettysburg moved at the same rate as Supply Wagons in the other games. Moving five hexes at a time is brutal on a map with 400 hexes.


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 Post subject: Re: HPS Standardized Weapons Parameter Data?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:01 am 
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I suspect that is as intended and probably more leniency that it should have. Wagon's weren't all terrain vehicles. They probably never strayed from a road or at least a path out of fear of breaking a wheel or getting stuck. They couldn't handle any steep grades even with a road which is why having the paved pikes was so critical to their movement. To get over South Mountain they had to be double teamed and haulted up one wagon at a time. I suspect they made them more mobile than they actually are because they couldn't simulate sending troops to the rear to carry ammo forward very well.

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