What PC2 should and should not be

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Kirby
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What PC2 should and should not be

Post by Kirby » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:56 am

Hi there, let's get right into it.

It might come as a surprise, but when Panzer General came out, the biggest "wow effect" for many of us wasn't the gameplay, but it's hi-def graphics and the mouse.
The gameplay itself, which was brilliant and innovative in its own ways, wasn't that new for Amiga owners - Blue Byte, with its Battle Isle and History Line 1914-18 games already pioneered it.
Battle Isle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlW9rzzMHMg
History Line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEUaxd7alAs

Games from Battle Isle to Panzer Corps 2 are in their essence puzzle games. I guess most computer games are puzzle games, but the combat mechanics and mutual interactions with units and unit types make the BI/PG-derivative games one of the best puzzle series on the market, for over 20 years and counting.

What's intriguing is that this puzzle, in all its beauty, has also it's limitations. It shines most in either a WW2 setting (PG) or in a futuristic scenario (BI). The unique combination of trench and blitzkrieg warfare, combined with limited naval operations make this puzzle work best in the European Theater of WW2 and similar scenarios.

You might remember Fantasy General, Star General, People's General and Pacific General. Maps and units didn't fit into the core gameplay mechanics, mechanics that were eseentially lost.

PanzerCorps managed to dodge all these pitfalls and create a brilliant new game that managed not only to dodge the pitfalls I previously mentioned but also improve the gameplay in ways that perfectly fit the original idea of the puzzle. The fact that they also got all the DLCs and patched-in new mechanics right is simply astounding.
I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise, as the designer of PC is the same guy who made PG Forever.

I haven't actually played Order of Battle, but I watched some footage. This is most definitely NOT the direction PC should be heading to.

***

I expect Panzer Corps 2 to bring the following:

3D graphics
This is a tough one. On one hand, I welcome 3D as it is future-proof. 3D should serve gameplay, not dictate it. Top-down view option, clearly visible units (and unit types!) and an option to turn off distracting features should be mandatory. King's Bounty:Armored Princess and World of Warcraft are perfect examples on how to combine 2D with 3D graphics for optimal user interface (Order of Battle has a terrible interface). I was impressed how King's Bounty managed to make 3D actually enhance the tactical segment of gameplay.
I don't know about you, but I'd like to continue to see enemy from friendly units, unit types and their position as clearly as I can see them in PC.

Gameplay
I wouldn't change this too much. Air combat was always a bit dodgy, so I wouldn't mind if it worked a bit differently. You already pioneered the best way to improve on the game - scenario design.
What I also found lacking was the lack of content between scenarios, prestige expenditure and unit purchases.
Some random thoughts on how to change/improve gameplay:
- make transports detachable from infantry units (if nothing else for air tranport purposes).
- introduce prestige-based purchases for the next scenario. Example: all units bring more ammo and/or fuel for X prestige. Reconissance (pay X prestige to see some tiles in next scenario)
- unit (type) acquisitions based on something other than prestige (no more TigerII/Me262 armies).
- ability to attach artillery or AA support to units as part of the unit (for prestige, valid till end of scenario) for minor boosts in combat values (say melee attack that also does 2 supresson, +3 more air attack for infantry etc).

funat
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by funat » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:43 am

This buying of more ammo actually got me a thought. It should be nice to have a concept of logistics overall, to which we can dedicate a prestige percentage. More we add to logistics, more our front line units have access to. OR - resupply could instead of taking the whole move, take a number of move points instead.

Also - a concept of partial resupply would be nice - meaning we can resupply for 1 ammo (or 2) using 1 move point instead of the whole move. But that could radically change some tactics and should be heavily tested.

captainjack
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by captainjack » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:56 pm

The idea of buying extra fuel and extra ammo could be interesting. It would probably be best restricted in both amount (say max +1 ammo, so you can't have paras with 8 ammo), and opportunity to buy (eg between scenarios only or maybe at selected, scenario specific centres which can be overrun or destroyed). Another option might be to allow overstrength in strength points, fuel or ammo, on the basis that a bigger unit already has more ammo and fuel than a standard unit, but you could instead have a normal size unit with more fuel and more ammo per person.

Original Panzer Corps allows scenarios to include fuel and ammo awards under specific conditions (either at specific hexes or zones, or when some condition is met), but a few extra options could be interesting as long as they don't break game balance too much. Plus of course, Panzer Corps is supposed to be mainly a game of combat rather than logistics planning, so logistics should not take over.

Uhu
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by Uhu » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:20 pm

The (re)supply/logistics system needs a general improvement to lead the game into more serious wargame direction.
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proline
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by proline » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:47 am

Uhu wrote:The (re)supply/logistics system needs a general improvement to lead the game into more serious wargame direction.
Be careful what you wish for. People here love to comment about how this or that isn't realistic. Well, a serious, realistic sim taken to the extreme would mean that:

1) Units such as the tigers, panthers, jet fighters, sturmpanzer, and many others would be either removed or in such small numbers so as not to affect the outcome
2) Air would be much weaker
3) The allies would know where everything is all the time thanks to breaking the German codes
4) Mechanized transports would be less available, everything would be less mobile
5) The German navy would have no tactical role after Norway
6) The Germans would be have no chance from the start. The British Empire alone had a bigger economy than they did. Throw in Russia and America and they were ridiculously outnumbered. The only reason it took years to defeat them is because it took time to establish a beachhead and the western allies were cautious about taking too many losses.

Add these up and you don't get a very fun game. We want play with heavy tanks that affect the outcome. We want air that has a tactical effect. We want both sides to be able to win. We want troops to move around.

Sourdust
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by Sourdust » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:27 am

proline wrote:
Uhu wrote:The (re)supply/logistics system needs a general improvement to lead the game into more serious wargame direction.
Be careful what you wish for. People here love to comment about how this or that isn't realistic. Well, a serious, realistic sim taken to the extreme would mean that:

1) Units such as the tigers, panthers, jet fighters, sturmpanzer, and many others would be either removed or in such small numbers so as not to affect the outcome
2) Air would be much weaker
3) The allies would know where everything is all the time thanks to breaking the German codes
4) Mechanized transports would be less available, everything would be less mobile
5) The German navy would have no tactical role after Norway
6) The Germans would be have no chance from the start. The British Empire alone had a bigger economy than they did. Throw in Russia and America and they were ridiculously outnumbered. The only reason it took years to defeat them is because it took time to establish a beachhead and the western allies were cautious about taking too many losses.

Add these up and you don't get a very fun game. We want play with heavy tanks that affect the outcome. We want air that has a tactical effect. We want both sides to be able to win. We want troops to move around.
Yes and no...

1) yes to some of those, but there were about 6,000 Panthers made during the war - it was Germany's main battle tank in 1944-45, alongside toughened versions of PzIII and IV, and increasingly STUGs. Tigers less so - 1,300 or so produced - but they did have serious hitting power once the kinks were ironed out a bit.
2) Disagree. Air power generally didn't have much of an impact on front line battles, but it did have a decisive impact on C&C, resupply, recon, and movement. At the extreme, Germany found it impossible to move troops at all during daylight in Normandy, and allied air was crucial in spotting for artillery, wrecking resupply, and utterly preventing coordination on the German side. In PC, all of that is abstracted a bit into suppression / damage on defending units. I'm OK with that.
3) Not at an operational level. Or even strategic. Ardennes offensive genuinely came as a complete surprise to the Allies, and their codebreaking certainly didn't give them info on specific battlefield placements.
4) Yes, except for the Americans and American-equipped divisions, which were all basically fully motorised/mechanised by 1943.
5) Mostly. They did play a very important role in supplying and supporting cut-off troops in the East in 1944/45, so much so that naval support was the only serious artillery support available for East Prussia pockets, and largely kept those pockets alive for as long as they did.
6) Could Germany have won? A timeless, unanswerable question!

I do agree with your broader point that PC should not be "realistic". It's a fun abstraction of operational-level WW2 battles, not a simulation. PC should aim to be a reasonable abstraction, something that feels immersive despite glossing over, ignoring or flat-out changing many aspects of actual battlefield operations. Those after realism should get Command Ops.

Uhu
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by Uhu » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:07 pm

There are several level of historical realism - you don't need to go to the level of Gary Grigsby's games.
Your list suggests, that any development in that direction would go to the extreme level. I disagree with that. Did you played the Battlefield Europe mod? If not, look at it: there are many features, which makes the original PzC design much more WW2 related. Or you can look OOB - it has also many fresh new features (for example supply/logistics), which still do not make it much more complicated (even it is in some ways less complex, than PzC).
The supply/logistics part would make a really important improvement.
Let see the most interesting example, Fallschirmjäger/Parachutes, how they work now: they can fly and land even to the Moon, as the transport planes have unlimited fuel and these guys are being supplied by the angels, as anywhere they drop, they get supply, regardless, if they captured an airfield or not. And they are superheroes, because they can jump in bad weather. Plus they are also magicians, as they can produce whole armor groups after a few turns from a captured town.

Suggestion: it would be not so hard to implement a system, that checks the conditions, where the given unit is and how it is connected to the hinterland:
- train lines (repaired)
- roads
- no roads, but good terrain
- no roads, bad terrain
- offshore, with port
- offshore, without port
- cut off from the hinterland
- air / naval route is blocked, or not by hostile unit(s)

Also purchasing/upgrading new units should not be allowed anywhere. Repairs could be managed to, like in OOB, that full repair is not always possible

proline wrote:
Uhu wrote:The (re)supply/logistics system needs a general improvement to lead the game into more serious wargame direction.
Be careful what you wish for. People here love to comment about how this or that isn't realistic. Well, a serious, realistic sim taken to the extreme would mean that:

1) Units such as the tigers, panthers, jet fighters, sturmpanzer, and many others would be either removed or in such small numbers so as not to affect the outcome
2) Air would be much weaker
3) The allies would know where everything is all the time thanks to breaking the German codes
4) Mechanized transports would be less available, everything would be less mobile
5) The German navy would have no tactical role after Norway
6) The Germans would be have no chance from the start. The British Empire alone had a bigger economy than they did. Throw in Russia and America and they were ridiculously outnumbered. The only reason it took years to defeat them is because it took time to establish a beachhead and the western allies were cautious about taking too many losses.

Add these up and you don't get a very fun game. We want play with heavy tanks that affect the outcome. We want air that has a tactical effect. We want both sides to be able to win. We want troops to move around.
Image
Image

PoorOldSpike
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by PoorOldSpike » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:39 am

What I like about PC1 is that it's fast-moving, intuitive and free-flowing, so I hope PC2 will have that same easy feel about it too.
Last year I bought Advanced Tactics and The Op Art of War IV but quickly abandoned them because they're far too complex and I felt like I was fighting to understand the system more than I was fighting the enemy.
Also their graphics and text were too small for my poor old eyeballs (like many other games out there) and I got a headache, so I hope PC2 will keep PC1's nice big easy-to-see units and big hexes.
Perhaps game designers use gigantic monitor screens and forget that the rest of us poor slobs have only got smaller monitors..:)

Uhu
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by Uhu » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:25 pm

I have a 24" monitor and I still use it with 1280x720/768, because the units are much larger so. :) (Also my machine is an older one.)
PoorOldSpike wrote:What I like about PC1 is that it's fast-moving, intuitive and free-flowing, so I hope PC2 will have that same easy feel about it too.
Last year I bought Advanced Tactics and The Op Art of War IV but quickly abandoned them because they're far too complex and I felt like I was fighting to understand the system more than I was fighting the enemy.
Also their graphics and text were too small for my poor old eyeballs (like many other games out there) and I got a headache, so I hope PC2 will keep PC1's nice big easy-to-see units and big hexes.
Perhaps game designers use gigantic monitor screens and forget that the rest of us poor slobs have only got smaller monitors..:)
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bruce1944
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by bruce1944 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:46 pm

Lets keep the beer and pretzel aspect of the game. :D Its a fun game easy to ick up and play... :D

funat
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by funat » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:17 am

First it should be.

IainMcNeil
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by IainMcNeil » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:15 pm

Uhu wrote:The (re)supply/logistics system needs a general improvement to lead the game into more serious wargame direction.
There are no plans to make the game more realistic. Design changes will be aimed at improving gameplay and replay value but not on improved reaslism. At its core the game is very abstract (the idea of a Tiger or Pak 40 AT gun formation that covers a hex makes no sense, as these all worked with other types of units but works for gameplay). The game has a cohesive design that maintains this level of abstraction throughout and you cant change that level of abstraction and make parts of the design more realistic without causing an imbalance or forcing the other areas to change and then you end up with Decisive Campaigns or War in the East. These are great games but they're aimed at a different audience.

TDefender
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by TDefender » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:03 pm

IainMcNeil wrote:
Uhu wrote:The (re)supply/logistics system needs a general improvement to lead the game into more serious wargame direction.
There are no plans to make the game more realistic. Design changes will be aimed at improving gameplay and replay value but not on improved reaslism. At its core the game is very abstract (the idea of a Tiger or Pak 40 AT gun formation that covers a hex makes no sense, as these all worked with other types of units but works for gameplay). The game has a cohesive design that maintains this level of abstraction throughout and you cant change that level of abstraction and make parts of the design more realistic without causing an imbalance or forcing the other areas to change and then you end up with Decisive Campaigns or War in the East. These are great games but they're aimed at a different audience.
That was expected and it's exactly why I will just continue to support, buy and enjoy Order of Battle series :wink:

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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by PoorOldSpike » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:30 am

PC1 is one of the few games that I really like, but there's one thing in it that I DON'T like, namely the way AA units (towed and self-propelled) can move and fire in the same turn, as it's very unrealistic and I hope the feature is not going to be in PC2.
In real life planes come and go so quickly that there's no time to move an AA unit into range to have a crack at them!

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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by PoorOldSpike » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:15 pm

TDefender wrote:.. I will just continue to support, buy and enjoy Order of Battle series :wink:
I've got OOB and although it's supply system is very good I don't like the childish "toytown" graphics much.
Last edited by PoorOldSpike on Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Radoye
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by Radoye » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:10 pm

What is needed above all, if the devs wish the game to have longevity, is to make customization and modding as easy as possible. There is a reason why even 25 years later people are still coming back to Panzer General and the like, while many more modern looking war game titles have long since been forgotten. While moving to full 3D sure helps in how the game looks and feels, it will complicate new unit creation. Where once even MS Paint would do to draw new units (not very good ones, but still) now you need some sort of a 3D modelling software.

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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by apostrophefz » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:43 pm

PoorOldSpike wrote:
TDefender wrote:.. I will just continue to support, buy and enjoy Order of Battle series :wink:
I've got OOB and although it's supply system is very good I don't like the childish "toytown" graphics much.
Now that you said it, I agree. Despite all the great mechanics and overall solid game, there's something cute about the units.

JaM2013
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Re: What PC2 should and should not be

Post by JaM2013 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:13 pm

i wouldnt be against moving to different scale, or using army units instead of weapon type units.. For example, devs could just make army unit that can contain let say 3-4 slots where player could assign different units from his core list, while these big units would fight as one, getting benefits from units assigned to it. This way, player could create task forces specifically for particular tasks.. of course, that would require different combat formulas, or a system where these small subunits would adjust the stats of the main unit, where stats and numbers would matter..

another option would be to go down with scale and use Warhammer 40000 Armageddon approach with single unit representing a platoon, and battles would be fights between battalions/regiments at best.. (personally i like the latter, as such game is currently missing on wargaming front, as everybody focuses more on grand strategies)

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