The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

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Rudankort
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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by Rudankort » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:03 pm

Hello All!

Good discussion here, and I thought it might be nice to test some ideas in practice. I think that from all proposed solutions addressing the snowball effect specifically, two look more promising than the rest. These are:
- Soft prestige cap
- Maintenance costs

The first one looks especially appealing, because it will not affect people struggling with prestige at all - for them the game would play exactly as now. At the same time, it will not allow people to accumulate 200000 pps.

I've created a test version using this approach, and invite all people here to try it. Modified PanzerCorps.exe is attached to this post. It is a beta version, so not good for Multiplayer, but it should be able to open any single player campaigns installed on your system. Of course, it is strongly recommended to backup EXE before replacing it. This beta should be forwards and backwards compatible with all existing saved games and scenarios, and its effects should apply even when a saved game is loaded mid-scenario.

Here is how it works.
- I've set two parameters in the game: normal prestige per slot (NormalPrestige) and max prestige per slot (MaxPrestige). The former is equal to 400 and the latter to 800. These values are of course very arbitrary. In the future we may need to deduce them from game's data and change them from scenario to scenario (depending on available equipment etc.). But for now, they should give us a start. 400 prestige points accomodate all but high end units in each class, and 800 is enough to buy most units in the game, including OS.
- As long as player's prestige is below normal, he gets full prestige, just a now.
- When player's prestige gets above normal, all prestige earnings are reduced using a koefficient: (MaxPrestige-Prestige)/(MaxPrestige-NormalPrestige). In other words, the closer we get to MaxPrestige, the less prestige we earn.
- The koefficient never drops below 0.1, so 1/10 of normal prestige income is the slowest earning possible. It is perfectly possible to get above MaxPrestige, and thus get all Tiger II force, but it will take more time than now, and after that prestige will accumulate very slowly too.
- Player's prestige is calculated as follows. For each core unit its cost is UnitCost+TransportCost, adjusted to unit's strength. So, a normal 10-strength unit at full OS is 1.5 of its normal cost. Unspent prestige and units in reserve are calculated with 0.5 koefficient. This means that the game allows to accumulate more prestige if it remains "passive" (does not actively participate in the battles). Bonus units are not taken into account at all.
- Player's prestige is recalculated every time he gets income, not just at the beginning of a scenario etc., so it does not help in any way to keep units in reserve and deploy later etc. In particular, prestige bonus for DV comes at the end of the battle, when all the units which actually contributed to this outcome are deployed. We might need to adjust this on the maps with exit zones, but this should be good enough for a test.
- Difficulty adjustment is done before the koefficient is applied. This means that player on Rommel will hit the cap later than on Colonel.
- Soft cap affects only single player campaign games, and only the side whcih plays the campaign (germans in all the official content).

The idea of this mechanics is to slow down core progression in case it happens too fast. High end units are still the most desirable (which makes sense, I'm sure real commanders would love to have an army consisting solely of the best equipment), but the player should not be able to get them all at once. In this game prestige is supposed to provide a quality cap, so as long as it remains limited, quality cap should work. At the same time, player is still motivated to earn as much prestige as he can, and with as small force as possible. This is pure theory though. How it works in practice remains to be seen.
Attachments
PanzerCorps113_SoftCap_Beta1.rar
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Tarrak
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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by Tarrak » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:25 am

This sounds like a very good idea. I will hopefully find enough time this weekend to give it a proper test run.

Razz1
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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by Razz1 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:50 am

Very good!

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by brettz123 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:35 am

Like the idea will give it a shot later.

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by CielRouge » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:15 am

I realize this thread is a little old, but I just stumbled onto it and wanted to throw out one more idea that could theoretically stem the flow of prestige and lead to more historical core compositions - dynamic costs.

I know deducter's mod changes costs of units throughout the various years of the GC's (which is a great start), but it would also be nice if a specific type of unit would get more expensive the more of that unit you owned. Your first Tiger II would cost the same as it does now, but the second might be 25% (or more) more expensive and so on. . . this would mean you could still have a core of all the same unit types, but it would be far, far more expensive than diversifying your core. And within a class, you might not immediately upgrade all of your Pz IV's to the new Pz IVG that just came out because it would be so expensive. It would be more cost effective to only upgrade one or two and leave some of the others as an older model.

But it would also be nice to see some of the unit costs from deducter's mod (or something similar) in the stock game. It makes sense that brand new units that have just come off the production lines are going to be far more expensive with costs dropping as production ramps up. Currently, a new unit comes out and the cost never changes so there's never any reason to hold off on upgrading to the latest and greatest as soon as the release date hits.

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by darkdork » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:39 am

Could the following help tweek the problem with overstrengh elite units that rarly or never take loses?

Overstrength unit can only ever attack with max 10 attack rolls.

A 15 str panzer can only make 10 attack rolls
A 15 str panzer that has suppression 6 can attack with 9 rolls.

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by Zhivago » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:39 pm

darkdork wrote:Could the following help tweek the problem with overstrengh elite units that rarly or never take loses?

Overstrength unit can only ever attack with max 10 attack rolls.

A 15 str panzer can only make 10 attack rolls
A 15 str panzer that has suppression 6 can attack with 9 rolls.
Why have an overstrength panzer unit at all (or spend the prestige to pay for overstrength) if they are just limited to 10 attack rolls?

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by robman » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:35 pm

Zhivago wrote:Why have an overstrength panzer unit at all (or spend the prestige to pay for overstrength) if they are just limited to 10 attack rolls?
It would provide a cushion against losses that would help to avoid (or at least postpone) spending a turn reinforcing the unit. This would be especially attractive for air units, since air units can only reinforce one at a time over an airfield, whereas land units can reinforce just about anywhere. But even so, most players would be generally less inclined to overstrength under this rule.

darkdork
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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by darkdork » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:49 pm

Zhivago wrote:Why have an overstrength panzer unit at all (or spend the prestige to pay for overstrength) if they are just limited to 10 attack rolls?
It makes the unit more resilient, it can operate longer without having to take downtime to repair.

You could tweek the costs of overstrength vs the cost of "field repairs" so you actually saves prestige by having overstrength unit.
IE to make elite field repairs should be more expensive per "tick" repaired then a overstrength point before the battle costs.
This would make overstrength a no brainer, so to counter act this, you could make a system that removed all overstrenght ticks before each battle. That way you would have to plan ahead, what units will get into heavy fighting and take casuallties, those units you would overstrength before the battle. Se it as you have stocked up the unit with spare men/machines and supplies before the battle.
Maybe even every overstrenght point could give a extra ammo/fuel.

Also it would help against suppresion. If your overstrength 15 tank attacka a inf in the open with a art behind, and get 4 suppression, it could still attack with 10 attacks(11 left but max 10..) If you had not overstrengthen the tank it would only have had 6 attacks after beeing suppressed by the art.

In short, elite overstrengthen units would be more resilient to suppression and damage and still beeing able to operate at full capacity.

The biggest problem with snowballing is the max exp max overstrenght unit almost never takes and cacuallties and therefore you are not drained of any prestige at all when you get your elite core up and running.

matterhorn

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by matterhorn » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:29 pm

So far I would prefer two ideas:

- limited war production capacity
- fixed number of units per unit class

both as an option

I think there's nothing wrong with power core-playing (which leads to/increases the snowballing effect) as long as it is fun to the player.
There may are a lot of (casual) players who play this way and like it. Who knows?
So with options you won't take away this from anybody.

limited war production capacity:
============================
The idea was yet discussed.
I thought about how it could look like when realized.
There could be frames for the unit icons on the purchase window:
green frame - unlimited access
orange frame - limited access / units are available (the number of available units could be represented by a number in the left corner of the unit icon)
red frame - no (more) units available

This way one could see at one glance what can be purchased/upgraded.

Additionally there could be a pop-up window for new produced equipment as there is already for new available equipment.

fixed number of units per unit class:
===============================
With this option enabled one could simply not neglect unit classes like recon, AT, AA or level bombers.


With the two options enabled the player would automatically have a more diversified core (and a weaker core reducing the snowballing effect).

That maybe would be interesting for (new) players who have played so far with a power core but think that it is not that challenging anymore.
Playing with one or both of the options enabled would enhance the challenge again.


If you would have the two options above, it would be nice to have an option for "reform units" too, as a more diversified core will be weaker/more vulnerable.

For me an experience loss of 40% for a reformed unit seems to be fair (500 > 300, 250 > 150).


just my 2 cents

==============

BTW:
Thanks to everybody for the ideas and thoughts in the AA unit thread.

Naxor
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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by Naxor » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:18 am

Let's keep this simple. Just put 2500 prestige point price tag for tiger and other super units. I don't like idea of "rubber band" prestige. There is no point playing well if you don't get proper reward from it.

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by Iscaran » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:07 am

I find the idea of maintenance costs interesting and also the suggestions from matterhorn to have "production limits" in place...

Say for example 1 Tiger II unit per month/scenario after its release date can be added to a core.

In a final game and considering any of the options would make it I'd like to see both options as "triggerable" by user in campaign start options...since I like Panzer Corps as it currently is also very much and I am quite doubtful if such concepts wouldnt change the game play experience so it becomes something else which might not be appalling to all players.

matterhorn

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by matterhorn » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:26 am

Iscaran wrote: ...
the suggestions from matterhorn to have "production limits" in place...
...
Hmm... to be fair, the idea was posted before. I just wanted to say which two ideas are my favorites and why.

Anyway, thanks for your comment :wink:

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by produit » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:26 pm

I am looking to this thread a bit late, and as Nikivdd said, we had also this discussion in our mod.
Have a look to the system in Battle for Wesnoth (the open source turn by turn game). The system is quite good.
- You buy unit at their standard cost
- To put an experienced unit on the map (coming from an older scenario), you have to pay also for it
- After each scenario, your prestige is reduced by a factor (going from 0.9 in easy to 0.3 in hard, if I remember well)
- You get a prestige bonus for some scenarios when you finish earlier

It is true, that this model is not perfectly fitting, because the concepts of Overstrength and upgrade of unit is not there, but with a factor of 0.5, the prestige you gained in a scenario is reduced to 3% 5 scenarios later. It is simple and remove completely a huge amount of prestige storing. (with a factor of 0.3, you have only 2.5% left after 3 scenarios).

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by soldier » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:36 pm

I see quite a few posts here suggesting limts to the amount of tigers you can upgrade or purchase per turn, so on and these are valid suggestions as there is currently nothing to stop you instantly upgrading your entire army (bar prestige). Its very easy and i think it does have a noticeable influences on the snowball effect.

But I'd prefer to focus on the mechanics of upgrading rather than placing some blanket restriction like one upgrade, per unit type, per turn. After all what are these figures based on ?

I'd like to flag my suggestion for upgrading which essentially deactivates the unit you have just upgraded, making it unavailable for the next battle. This is to simulate units which are being rotated to the rear for rest and refit while being trained how to use their new equipment. So you could still upgrade your entire fighter wing to the latest Fock Wolfe if you wanted but you might find yourself a bit short on fighter cover for the upcoming battle. This adds an element of strategy to the upgrade process, as a "shopping spree" will actually weaken your force (at least temporarily) and might make it a slightly more difficult process to field the latest and greatest unit roster straight up.

This idea is probably aimed more at the power gamers who play at the higher difficulty levels. Of course the snowball phenomenon is a mulit layered issue that requires a similar approach in problem solving that one suggestion cannot solve alone.

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by Uhu » Mon May 06, 2013 10:48 pm

As for the theme easy-hard, snowball effects and so on I still not understand one thing:
how could it comes that when I play the vanilla campaign on Rommel than most scenarios are really hard and needs many replay until I get a DV. Instead in the DLC-s making DVs are easy any I have tons of prestige (which I in vanilla didn't have). The only explanation for me is that the Grand Campaigns wasn't enough tested for gameplay balance.

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by Tarrak » Tue May 07, 2013 12:09 am

Uhu wrote:As for the theme easy-hard, snowball effects and so on I still not understand one thing:
how could it comes that when I play the vanilla campaign on Rommel than most scenarios are really hard and needs many replay until I get a DV. Instead in the DLC-s making DVs are easy any I have tons of prestige (which I in vanilla didn't have). The only explanation for me is that the Grand Campaigns wasn't enough tested for gameplay balance.
Vanilla campaign needs multiple replays for DV because of the, in my opinion pointless and annoying, race against the clock. You aren't really fighting the enemy there but time and the time for DV is usually very tight. All the AI got to do is bog you down enough with it's famous cheap unit spam. The DLCs for me finally feels like fighting an enemy. Achieving DV there is not about rushing but beating them. When it's come to prestige tho i didn't really feel a difference between vanilla and DLC campaign. I stockpile or lose prestiges in both at about the same rate. The difference is just the vanilla campaign is a lot shorter so the snowballing effect only really kicks in in the end where either you are defending yourself against hopeless odds on the losing path or attack USA which just kills tons of your prestige with the evil landing operation. In the DLC you start to feel the snowballing effect after about the same amout of missions (around 30 to 40) but there you are just about to invade Russia.

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by Uhu » Tue May 07, 2013 10:01 am

You could have right on that. Although I had no problem against the "race against the clock". :) I like scenarios where you really have to work for the DV even if you have to play it several times. Still I liked most the heroic defending scenarios on Rommel.
I was bored already in France in the DLCs. Despite that I used Deducter's mod, where most equipment is much more expensive. I stopped at mid '42 because it still brings no fun that I can hope that maybe in 44-45 there will be hard battles... I'm still at the opinion that the quality of gameplay design was low at the Grand Campaigns because the game designers had to make it so that the more experienced player have the fun too. I didn't read any warning messages of the announcement that it is not recommended for more experienced players... :roll:

I'm not 100% sure but I think with better planned prestige allocation it could work better.

Tarrak wrote: Vanilla campaign needs multiple replays for DV because of the, in my opinion pointless and annoying, race against the clock. You aren't really fighting the enemy there but time and the time for DV is usually very tight. All the AI got to do is bog you down enough with it's famous cheap unit spam. The DLCs for me finally feels like fighting an enemy. Achieving DV there is not about rushing but beating them. When it's come to prestige tho i didn't really feel a difference between vanilla and DLC campaign. I stockpile or lose prestiges in both at about the same rate. The difference is just the vanilla campaign is a lot shorter so the snowballing effect only really kicks in in the end where either you are defending yourself against hopeless odds on the losing path or attack USA which just kills tons of your prestige with the evil landing operation. In the DLC you start to feel the snowballing effect after about the same amout of missions (around 30 to 40) but there you are just about to invade Russia.

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by Tarrak » Tue May 07, 2013 6:02 pm

Hmm i think you are confusing experienced with skilled. :P I am quite experienced at the game but i am afraid i am not good enough.

I am still reasonably challenged with the DLCs. Year 1939 may be a bit on the easy side yes but so it was for the Germans really so it depict reality quite good. 1940 is not to hard but it got a few missions which make me sweat, 1941 starts quite easy again but picks up on difficulty. With Stallingrad the real fun begins. From there i am starting to fight the problem that my prestige actually starts to go down and i am using up my saved reserves (not like i ever managed to have more then 30k by that time on FM). From there on DVs are not actually easy to get anymore and it gets harder and harder.

For me the difficulty is quite spot on. I openly admit i am not the most talented commander on the world, on the contrary but i got quite some experience with the game. I am probably still above the average of all players. You can not judge the skill and experience of average players by the forum community here. This is the collection of the most dedicated and experienced players. You have to design the game difficulty for the average audience. If you find the game still to easy you can mod the difficulty. If even Deducter's mod is to easy for you just fiddle around with the rules even more to make it harder. If you enjoy the races against the clock just use the cheat to reduce the amount of turns per scenario by a certain amount and here you go. :)

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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Post by guille1434 » Sun May 12, 2013 3:15 pm

Another idea that I think it would help counter the snowball effect: Add a new parameter in the eqp file... May be call it "Availability" which would be the max number of units of the type in question to be available for purchasing. So if you put an availability number of 1 to a "super unit", the player will not be able to purchase more than one of it for his core force (no matter if he has lots of prestige). This would be useful to represent units that historically were produced in small numbers.
May be someone posted a similer idea, but I think is a good one.

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