Air units in PC2

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Molve
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Air units in PC2

Post by Molve » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:29 am

When I read about various fighters and bombers in Wikipedia, it often strikes me how they are described as useful (for various purposes), yet in the Panzer Corps game, they are all but useless.

Put otherwise, in the context of a PC scenario, air units other than "the best" are often - not merely poor, but actively harmful, as in a direct prestige drain.

In the context of the game, the air battle is very binary - either your unit is good enough to take care of itself... or it isn't.

Units that aren't only weigh you down. You are better off without them, so just suicide them for that one time gain. Any effort spent on keeping them alive and using them as anything else than throw away expendable resources is more or less wasted. Expensive units where you more or less have to use elite replacements just adds to the knife's edge.

The window of equality is so very very narrow as to be almost non-existent.

Sending bombers unescorted is suicide. Even fighter-bombers are useless except against the very weakest of enemies. Later, either you have five-star super-elite ultra hi-tech fighters or you don't have fighters at all.

This is markedly different from the ground war, where you can appreciate many more sorts of units. There are many more roles with actual value. The value of and expected lifetime of non-elite units (and even garbage units) is much much higher.

If you ask me why this is so, my number one reason would be the fact air units can instantly use the whole army's sighting range, identify the optimal (read weakest) target each and every time, and then (nearly) always zip across the map to reach that target.

Now, my questions :)

1. To the devs: Will the air battle model be different in PC2?

2. To everyone: How can we make more sorts of air units valuable without adding complexity or clutter?

PeteMitchell_2
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:01 pm

Molve wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:29 am
and every time, and then (nearly) always zip across the map to reach that target.
Thanks for raising these points, if possible, I would like to add one more important concern/question that was raised earlier already and unfortunately remained unanswered/unaddressed until now, i.e. regarding "automatically returning planes".

I had read this plane returning mechanism/function in previous dev diaries already, what if the map is bigger and you want to transfer planes from one area to another or you want to fly a long-distance attack (which might require more than one turn, possible given the range of some planes): could you then switch off the auto-return-function to airfields and carriers?

In addition, you can't set up fighter traps anymore nor keep a bomber above an enemy unit to bomb it twice during your next turn, etc.

It would be nice to understand this better/get a developer's response to this as it might change air war significantly...

Here is the link to my original concern/question in Dev Diary #8: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtop ... 12#p765655

Retributarr
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by Retributarr » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:44 am

PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:01 pm

One more important concern/question that was raised earlier already and unfortunately remained unanswered/unaddressed until now, i.e. regarding "automatically returning planes".

I had read this plane returning mechanism/function in previous dev diaries already, what if the map is bigger and you want to transfer planes from one area to another or you want to fly a long-distance attack [/b](which might require more than one turn, possible given the range of some planes): could you then switch off the auto-return-function to airfields and carriers?

In addition, you can't set up fighter traps anymore nor keep a bomber above an enemy unit to bomb it twice during your next turn, etc.

It would be nice to understand this better/get a developer's response to this as it might change air war significantly...

Here is the link to my original concern/question in Dev Diary #8: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=90012#p765655

One solution may be to...only have the 'Auto-Return' allowed to function or to be engaged when fuel is at 'Low' or 'Critical'...to then have the aircraft 'Auto-Return' to the nearest operational air-base or to a pre-designated air-base to receive supply!.

PeteMitchell_2
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:01 am

Sure, this is an option, another option would be to (be able to) just switch it off if you think you don't want to use it, i.e. just have a switch somewhere (as with weather, supply, fog of war, undo)...

robman
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by robman » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:05 pm

Molve wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:29 am
2. To everyone: How can we make more sorts of air units valuable without adding complexity or clutter?
One approach would be to introduce layers of altitude. This could be a simple as "high" and "low." Different types of aircraft within and across unit classes would differ in performance at high and low altitudes, just as in real life. For example, high-altitude interceptors (e.g., Me262) would not excel as ground attack aircraft. Moreover, different types of antiaircraft units would have different stats versus high and low altitude aircraft, again just as in real life: high caliber for high altitude targets, lower caliber/faster firing for low altitude targets. Given the 3D presentation, this shouldn't be too difficult to visually model.

uran21
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by uran21 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:42 pm

PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:01 pm
I had read this plane returning mechanism/function in previous dev diaries already, what if the map is bigger and you want to transfer planes from one area to another or you want to fly a long-distance attack (which might require more than one turn, possible given the range of some planes): could you then switch off the auto-return-function to airfields and carriers?
Aircraft are tied to the airfield (or carrier). In order to reposition it to another airfield, there will be rebase order. Rebase can be done at the distance of aircraft movement x2 (this is how it currently works). When rebasing, movement action for that particular plane is spent. If the enemy captures airfield to which some planes are tied to they will be automatically rebased during the players turn. If all airfields are captured by the enemy planes are destroyed.

BigRedJuan
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by BigRedJuan » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:53 pm

Is it safe to assume most maps have an airfield firmly within player controlled territory that is unlikely to be lost? Otherwise it seems a bit punitive to have a huge (and expensive) portion of your core immediately and permanently destroyed if you lose control of your last airbase, even if only for a turn. Since the playable map is only a portion of a much larger, though unseen, tactical map, maybe all air units could just be returned to your deployment queue and held out the remainder of the scenario if all airfields are lost? That could simulate to those assets getting redeployed to remaining (offscreen) airbases.

The core concept is interesting though, as it could encourage players to use paratroopers to seize airfields deep in enemy territory in the early stages of a mission. Anything that encourages multiples approaches to winning is fine with me. The current PC is far too predisposed to a "meta" strategy for my tastes.

uran21
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by uran21 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:31 pm

BigRedJuan wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:53 pm
Is it safe to assume most maps have an airfield firmly within player controlled territory that is unlikely to be lost? Otherwise it seems a bit punitive to have a huge (and expensive) portion of your core immediately and permanently destroyed if you lose control of your last airbase, even if only for a turn. Since the playable map is only a portion of a much larger, though unseen, tactical map, maybe all air units could just be returned to your deployment queue and held out the remainder of the scenario if all airfields are lost? That could simulate to those assets getting redeployed to remaining (offscreen) airbases.
I agree with you effect of losing the last airfield is too severe in my opinion as well, udeploying units in reserve seem to be a better solution. Not having operational airforce on the map is enough as a punishment. Considering the fact people complained about losing aircraft left out of fuel they will certainly complain about this one too so map designers will jump in by moving the last airbase deep in the rear to soften its effect anyway.

PeteMitchell_2
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:04 pm

uran21 wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:42 pm
PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:01 pm
I had read this plane returning mechanism/function in previous dev diaries already, what if the map is bigger and you want to transfer planes from one area to another or you want to fly a long-distance attack (which might require more than one turn, possible given the range of some planes): could you then switch off the auto-return-function to airfields and carriers?
Aircraft are tied to the airfield (or carrier). In order to reposition it to another airfield, there will be rebase order. Rebase can be done at the distance of aircraft movement x2 (this is how it currently works). When rebasing, movement action for that particular plane is spent. If the enemy captures airfield to which some planes are tied to they will be automatically rebased during the players turn. If all airfields are captured by the enemy planes are destroyed.
First of all, thanks a lot for your reply!

Please allow me to ask, are there still chances to further review this concept, i.e. as it seems to change the use of planes quite a lot (i.e. compared to PzC as well as to PG)? In addition, it reduces the overall effectiveness (and usefulness) of planes significantly.

Most likely you can tell already, I am not too convinced yet of this mechanism (and automatisms in general) as it arbitrarily limits what you can do with planes. If this (i.e. tying/automatically returning planes to airfields) gets implemented, many nice aerial warfare operations become impossible/obsolete.

It’s also not realistic at all… and not even to mention that core planes are planned to be destroyed once you lose your last airfield (maybe for just one turn), this is just completely off (IMHO)... many landing grounds were basically plain fields with a firm grass surface (compare here for details: http://www.ww2.dk/lwairfields.html).

Furthermore, have you ever heard of:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Landing_Ground
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway_strip

So just to understand this idea better, what is the rationale behind these proposed changes (if any)? To me it seems to make many things worse rather than improving anything. What is its value?
Last edited by PeteMitchell_2 on Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

uran21
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by uran21 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:06 pm

Fundamentally what has changed is that air war is based on sorties now as opposed to hanging in the air for days and makes the new system more realistic than the old one. At the same time, all positive aspects of the old system are preserved. In terms of core management and progression as well as combat. Aircraft fly away on player's turn but they stay on the map during enemy's turn (in other words for the whole turn, not just half turn). So you can provide supportive fire to bombers or ground units or end up in ambushes or set up some! Bombers cannot bomb the same target twice though.

Benefit it provides is not seen in the concept of sortie per se. Sortie places airfield in the focus which is a historical and realistic plus with additional mechanics it can provide for more tactical decision making. For example, planes cannot fly away during bad weather so rebasing will not work if the airfield is captured by the enemy. This will make you think twice before relocating near the front. Strategic bombers can neutralize airfields which can bounce off air support in the rear. There was an idea to suffer some damage to aircraft during airbase recapture. Take into account not all functionality is in place at this point so I cannot give you a detailed overview of it but the overall benefit is to place airfield in focus and to include additional mechanics to make decision making richer. As for refinement, I am confident player feedback will be listened very carefully during beta tests.

PeteMitchell_2
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:21 pm

uran21 wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:06 pm
Fundamentally what has changed is that air war is based on sorties now as opposed to hanging in the air for days and makes the new system more realistic than the old one. At the same time, all positive aspects of the old system are preserved. In terms of core management and progression as well as combat. Aircraft fly away on player's turn but they stay on the map during enemy's turn (in other words for the whole turn, not just half turn). So you can provide supportive fire to bombers or ground units or end up in ambushes or set up some! Bombers cannot bomb the same target twice though.

Benefit it provides is not seen in the concept of sortie per se. Sortie places airfield in the focus which is a historical and realistic plus with additional mechanics it can provide for more tactical decision making. For example, planes cannot fly away during bad weather so rebasing will not work if the airfield is captured by the enemy. This will make you think twice before relocating near the front. Strategic bombers can neutralize airfields which can bounce off air support in the rear. There was an idea to suffer some damage to aircraft during airbase recapture. Take into account not all functionality is in place at this point so I cannot give you a detailed overview of it but the overall benefit is to place airfield in focus and to include additional mechanics to make decision making richer. As for refinement, I am confident player feedback will be listened very carefully during beta tests.
Thanks a lot for your reassuring and detailed response. This helps to put things into perspective. I look forward to the beta testing then…

dalfrede
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by dalfrede » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:49 pm

It seems to me that airplane attachment to airfields also effects scenario design as well.
In sea invasion scenarios, one of the first objectives is to capture an airfield.
Can an aircraft be attached to an exit hex? Otherwise Strats can not be used at DDay!

Does it make ammo and fuel for aircraft irrelevant?
How does this affect the range of bombers?
Do they now have the movement to reach any hex on any map in one turn.
Berlin was bombed from bases in England, late in the war they even had fighter escorts.
These fighters were known to strafe ground targets on the flight home.

PeteMitchell_2
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:13 am

dalfrede wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:49 pm
It seems to me that airplane attachment to airfields also effects scenario design as well.
In sea invasion scenarios, one of the first objectives is to capture an airfield.
Can an aircraft be attached to an exit hex? Otherwise Strats can not be used at DDay!

Does it make ammo and fuel for aircraft irrelevant?
How does this affect the range of bombers?
Do they now have the movement to reach any hex on any map in one turn.
Berlin was bombed from bases in England, late in the war they even had fighter escorts.
These fighters were known to strafe ground targets on the flight home.
Interesting points, I am still a bit doubtful whether this has been fully thought through as the time equivalent between turns hasn't been normalized in PzC, in some scenarios it's hours and in others it's days...

Ah yeah, and Berlin was also bombed by long range SU bombers departing from the Estonian island of Saaremaa in August 1941 (about the same distance as London-Berlin).

uran21
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by uran21 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:35 pm

dalfrede wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:49 pm
It seems to me that airplane attachment to airfields also effects scenario design as well.
In sea invasion scenarios, one of the first objectives is to capture an airfield.
Can an aircraft be attached to an exit hex? Otherwise Strats can not be used at DDay!

Does it make ammo and fuel for aircraft irrelevant?
How does this affect the range of bombers?
Do they now have the movement to reach any hex on any map in one turn.
Berlin was bombed from bases in England, late in the war they even had fighter escorts.
These fighters were known to strafe ground targets on the flight home.
In PG movement was tied to speed and the range was defined by fuel. With a new model, this approach does not work anymore. Fuel is eliminated but the movement is a definition of range.
Obviously, the range is not realistic for two reasons, maps are of flexible scale and most maps are such that aircraft could overfly them from one end to the other. But this does not provide any decision making regarding positioning and airfields would lose their importance. In that case, all maps could have one airfield per side or no airfield at all making off map air strikes.
For now, when it comes to amphibious landings air power relies on a carrier but there is a possibility to include a feature to simulate off map airfield if content demands it.

dalfrede
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by dalfrede » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:16 pm

This brings up th4 possibility of fighter/bomber switching.
Me110s and P47s among others were used in both roles.
A P47 with two 500lb bombs could do a lot of damage to ground units, but if caught by a fighter carrying bombs could have problems.

I have modded using switchable air units between Fighter and TB, but have no way of limiting the switching to TB at an airfield.
Since bombs like fuel drop tanks can be dropped quickly switching from TB to fighter can be easy, but going out as a fighter and adding bombs mid flight is difficult.

Is this feature possible, and has it been considered.

PeteMitchell_2
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:21 pm

uran21 wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:35 pm
Fuel is eliminated but the movement is a definition of range.
Will this apply to ground units as well?

dalfrede
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by dalfrede » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:39 pm

PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:21 pm
uran21 wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:35 pm
Fuel is eliminated but the movement is a definition of range.
Will this apply to ground units as well?
No just to air and maybe naval.
If air returns to base every turn, the issue of fuel makes no sense, except for suicide attacks where the range would be doubled.

Molve
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by Molve » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:57 pm

Is it just me? I don't really understand if my question has been addressed?

Okay there is new "base" mechanism so planes don't hang frozen in the sky.

But does this discuss my question? What I was wondering about was if air combat will remain tied to one and only one "dimension" as in PC1 (and the PG games), making you sort the available models for purchase into only two main groupings: excellent and garbage units.

As opposed to the ground war, where even obsolete units can still be useful.

I realize this "dimension" is at least three actual variables - offense, defense and initiative - but still. It is madness to purchase anything else than the best fighter.

Sure, the price-performance of something like a Tiger or Tiger II tank is unbeatable as well, but not really that much. You can get quite interesting results if you try a historic approach and handicap yourself by buying only PzIV for instance (whether voluntarily or by playing on such a difficulty prestige is short).

If you try that with air units, such as sticking with Bf109 or (don't make me laugh) Bf110, well...

Still, historic information suggests a lot more air materiel were used and found success (even if limited). Which sounds like Panzer Corps on the ground but not in the air.

Which begs the question: is the combat system changed in ways that attempt to address this issue? Is it considered an issue? Is it just me?

Hope for your understanding and thank you.

maguro
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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by maguro » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:13 am

dalfrede wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:16 pm
This brings up th4 possibility of fighter/bomber switching.
Me110s and P47s among others were used in both roles.
A P47 with two 500lb bombs could do a lot of damage to ground units, but if caught by a fighter carrying bombs could have problems.

I have modded using switchable air units between Fighter and TB, but have no way of limiting the switching to TB at an airfield.
Since bombs like fuel drop tanks can be dropped quickly switching from TB to fighter can be easy, but going out as a fighter and adding bombs mid flight is difficult.

Is this feature possible, and has it been considered.
Hi dalfrede,
In PC, Implementing a feature where a fighter can switch from fighter to fighter bomber only at an airfield is possible by using a 3-way switchable unit, but it requires adding a few things to various files in the game. If you are interested, I can show you what worked for me, but I would be getting a bit off topic on this thread.

As for the PzC 2, Like the previous comments, I would hate to lose all my airplanes because all the airfields are gone. Just my two cents but I think having someway of exiting the map back to reserve status makes more sense.

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Re: Air units in PC2

Post by uran21 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:23 am

dalfrede wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:16 pm
This brings up th4 possibility of fighter/bomber switching.
Me110s and P47s among others were used in both roles.
A P47 with two 500lb bombs could do a lot of damage to ground units, but if caught by a fighter carrying bombs could have problems.

I have modded using switchable air units between Fighter and TB, but have no way of limiting the switching to TB at an airfield.
Since bombs like fuel drop tanks can be dropped quickly switching from TB to fighter can be easy, but going out as a fighter and adding bombs mid flight is difficult.

Is this feature possible, and has it been considered.
If aircraft is returned to base every turn there is actually no need for physical switching. Target will be chosen before taking off. Aircraft will be engaged in a dogfight or bombing ground targets, and after it bombs ground target and gets attacked by an enemy fighter on enemy’s turn it already dropped bombs. So those fighters that were extensively used for ground support will have raised ground attack values.

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