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jztemple
25 Nov 08, 10:42
I'm posting this to both the GameSquad and Wargamer Squad Battles forum, for those who only read one or the other.

My new site is located here: http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/

In the several years I've been playing Squad Battles off and on, I've accumulated various files, links and docs for the game. My interest has always tended towards "looking behind the curtain" of the game, trying to figure out how things worked and how to change how things worked. I've tweaked and tested and poked and prodded. It's fun, trust me.

Now I'm sure there's a lot of folks out there who have done the same thing, made mods to graphics, tweaked data files and just generally did things with the game system other than just play the scenarios. The problem is that we don't have a centralized location to capture the "corporate knowledge". Lots of the info does get posted to the forums, but it's not easily accessible and as time goes by the individual posts slowly disappear back into the archives.

To address this situation I have created a web site, or rather I'm expanding my existing Google web site. I have posted before about my Squad Battles Field Testing site, but I'm now expanding the site to include general SB information. To help populate this site, I'm starting these threads in the two forums to encourage people to post their own knowledge on all subjects Squad Battles related.

What kind of info am I looking to post on the site? Here are some examples off the top of my head of questions whose answers would make good articles for the site.

How do you mod the terrain graphics files?
Where do you find good vehicle, weapon and unit graphics?
What do the PDT files do?
Where do I find good TO&E info for SB games?
What's the best way to approach scenario xxx?
How do I make a *good* scenario?

Feel free to contribute anything that even vaguely fits the concept. I'm sure there are a lot of folks out there who have educated themselves in the Squad Battles game system and all sorts of things to share.

To make a contribution to the site, just post in this thread. I'll cut and paste and edit as necessary and put the info on the site, of course with all proper credit to the author.

Mike Cox
25 Nov 08, 11:28
Good idea. Hope your curiosity leads to more threads on specific scenarios. I always enjoy game tactic discussions.

Ozgur Budak
25 Nov 08, 13:32
Good luck and thanks for the effort. I especially like to see more tactical discussions on SB.

cromlechi
25 Nov 08, 15:01
I'm pretty new to Squad Battles, but already hooked. I think your site is a great idea and I hope to see it grow. Cannot contribute much at the moment, but maybe in the future when I am more familiar with the system.

FastPhil
26 Nov 08, 12:57
I'm pretty new to Squad Battles, but already hooked. I think your site is a great idea and I hope to see it grow. Cannot contribute much at the moment, but maybe in the future when I am more familiar with the system.

Gadzooks, methinks he dost protest too much.:p His VC have bounced my Marines out of Hue and if it goes any longer I'll probably lose the match to boot.:cry:
So much for "new to Squad Battles".:salute:

cromlechi
26 Nov 08, 14:08
Beginners luck, I'm sure!

:laugh:

jztemple
01 Dec 08, 10:25
New content has been added to the site (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/), taken from a couple of GameSquad forum posts.


The article discussing Asymmetric Scoring has been expanded to include a test scenario.

A new article has been added containing tips on one Spanish Civil War scenario in particular but also including general help as well.

jztemple
01 Dec 08, 13:42
I have added another page to the site (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/). You can find the link at the bottom of that page, titled "Game resources like forums, scenarios and mods". Anyone having more links to add there, please let me know.

jztemple
02 Dec 08, 08:42
I have added another page to the site (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/). You can find the link at the bottom of the front page, titled "Utilities of some use". On this new page you will find freeware apps that SB users might find of interest. Anyone having more links to add there, please let me know.

Mike Cox
02 Dec 08, 18:00
To the Utilities of Some Use add Hexthingy 1.1. It will superimpose a hex on Google Earth.

http://members.shaw.ca/da_clark/hexthingy/hexthingy1v1.zip

(Just make sure you get the scale right. You also need to rotate it a bit (120 degrees?) to get the same alignment as SB.)

Do that for Stalingrad and then look at the Stalingrad map in AotR. I think you'll be impressed with the work that went into it.

Mike Cox
02 Dec 08, 18:01
Also of use is Geomapper. Don't have a link. It allowed geomorphic ASL map creation for ES and AoTR. Not all maps were available, but many were.

jztemple
02 Dec 08, 19:22
Thanks for the suggestion, I've added it to the page.

jztemple
02 Jan 09, 14:22
Added a new page:

Using the Tac-Aid tool (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/using-the-tac-aid-tool) - Tac-Aid is a great little tool created by William Thomas which can demonstrate the effects of all types of shooting situations. It's easy to use and very educational for the newbie or even the experienced Squad Battle player

Let me know if there are any errors, or things that could be added.

TheBigRedOne
04 Jan 09, 15:53
Added a new page:


Let me know if there are any errors, or things that could be added.

I believe that program is also on Task Force Echo 4's Pacific War section...

jztemple
04 Jan 09, 18:13
I believe that program is also on Task Force Echo 4's Pacific War section...

Yup, that's where I found the file. I did mention that in my article at the very beginning. I don't recall seeing any discussion of the tool anywhere else and it's such a useful tool I thought it deserved some more notice.

jztemple
06 Jan 09, 06:22
Added a new page, Assaulting: A Guide to Newbies And Others (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/assaulting--a-guide-to-newbies-and-others) and put it into a new front page category, How to Play the Game, and Play it Better. I also moved the Using the Tac-Aid tool (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/using-the-tac-aid-tool) article to that category.

The Assault article required some math which I'm not 100% sure of, but I'm also working on a potential article about understanding Combat Results, and maybe that will be more elucidating. Anyway, I welcome any comments on the Assault article since I basically say "do this" and "don't do that" and I might be wrong :laugh:

TheBigRedOne
06 Jan 09, 09:49
Added a new page, Assaulting: A Guide to Newbies And Others (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/assaulting--a-guide-to-newbies-and-others) and put it into a new front page category, How to Play the Game, and Play it Better. I also moved the Using the Tac-Aid tool (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/using-the-tac-aid-tool) article to that category.

The Assault article required some math which I'm not 100% sure of, but I'm also working on a potential article about understanding Combat Results, and maybe that will be more elucidating. Anyway, I welcome any comments on the Assault article since I basically say "do this" and "don't do that" and I might be wrong :laugh:

I like your tenacity in getting into the nitty gritty of the game engine. The only comment I'll make is that you are making the game into a math puzzle a bit rather than a tactical one, which I understand isn't that far from the truth, given the algorithms of the engine. This may have a benefit in the long run if you are really good at doing math on the fly, or want to take several days to complete a turn, but I think looking at the situation more from a tactical standpoint might be easier to understand, especially for folks that aren't math oriented. I think someone like Ozgur, probably the top player in the community, doesn't spend his time thinking about the probability of killing 1.7 of his enemy in an assault versus firing at them. I'd say he'd look at it as if he really needed to assault that hex rather than firing into it, pinning the units and taking the rest of his company around the hex towards an objective

I'd include in this article a bit of the comments that were made here by some of the players. The key, at least when I assault, is numeric superiority and having your enemy pinned. I've had a lot of assaults go wrong attacking a disrupted opponent rather than a pinned one (pinned ones too, unfortunately...). That's just me, I'll go after a disrupted one, but only if I feel I've got some fairly large numbers.

The other thing you don't emphasis enough is this line: And remember that if the attack fails to force the enemy to retreat, the attacking team/squad units become pinned

This is a huge part of deciding whether to assault or not, and often times newbies get assault happy and go after hexes they probably could simply pin and by-pass on the way to perhaps assaulting an actual objective. Assaulting can really drain resources from a squad/platoon/company and should only be done when truly necessary, like trying to take an objective, or taking a position from which to launch a larger push. This does't even take into account that if you're assaulting with a leader, many times that leader gets whacked, dropping your unit's effectiveness, and if the squad is pinned, negating them altogether until another leader can get on board to rally them.

Assaulting just to assault can wear down your units so that by the time a critical push needs to be made, you don't have enough manpower to get the job done.

Also, to say someone like Mike Cox is this next statement true?

The opponent could be in a pillbox behind a fence sitting in a forest, but in the Assault calculations the enemy could just as well be out in the open

This doesn't make much sense to me. I thought an improved position, such as a bunker, make the assault much more difficult. Maybe it just seems that way to me, but would be counter-intuitive.

This all said, I appalud your energy and enthusiasm with SB. It's great to see and hope you'll continue to explore further. I hope you get active in the PBEM world and join us in the tourney. Put all that math to practice against a human!

jztemple
06 Jan 09, 10:58
Thanks for the comments. It's not my intention to make the game into a math puzzle, rather I'm trying to point out that having a basic understand of the math that drives the game engine will be of benefit for the newbie and others. It's certainly possible to play the game without looking at the numbers at all, just using the lessons of history and common sense logic. However, the game engine doesn't exactly simulate the real world. That's why I put the five point summary down at the end of the article.

I didn't incorporate the comments posted in the other thread because I didn't feel they were consistent enough to be of benefit to a newbie and I wanted the article to be based on the mechanics of the game. For instance, one comment in that thread mentioned the presence of a leader as a column shift. Yet looking at the mechanics of Assault (unless I missed something,which is always possible) a leader doesn't affect the Assault Combat Value other than being another warm body. And the leader doesn't help in the Morale Check unless the leader actually does possess a higher Morale Rating. These are good facts to know so that you don't pointlessly risk a leader in an assault.

Regarding the statement The opponent could be in a pillbox behind a fence sitting in a forest, but in the Assault calculations the enemy could just as well be out in the open, it gave me pause as well. Yet nowhere in the Assault rules does it mention terrain except for elevation. I'm assuming that the designers figured that both sides were in the hex duking it out. In fact I think the elevation penalty is excessive for this very reason.

Overall, I appreciate that some folks don't wish to delve too deeply into the math of the game and that's great, people should play how they want. For me, well, I cut my teeth counting factors for the CRT in Tactics II, so you might say that for me math and wargaming have always been wedded together.

UPDATE: I updated the article per your suggestion of adding emphasis about being pinned if your attack fails. That's certainly an important consideration.

TheBigRedOne
06 Jan 09, 11:31
However, the game engine doesn't exactly simulate the real world. That's why I put the five point summary down at the end of the article.

You could argue that in combat the real world isn't the real world either. Small number of men hold of a much larger force, a heroic last stand delays an on-rush of a platoon by 5 min, just enough time to let his comrades escape.

I think the randomness of some of the results mimic the strange happenings in war fairly well. It's what makes it fun, rather than a series of mathematical equations where the result will always be the same.

jztemple
06 Jan 09, 12:11
You could argue that in combat the real world isn't the real world either. Small number of men hold of a much larger force, a heroic last stand delays an on-rush of a platoon by 5 min, just enough time to let his comrades escape.

Reminds me of the old saying, "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet" :laugh:

TheBigRedOne
06 Jan 09, 12:20
Reminds me of the old saying, "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet" :laugh:


Unless you're playing against Ozgur, then all bets are off!

:D

Mike Cox
06 Jan 09, 19:18
Also, to say someone like Mike Cox is this next statement true?

I know No-thingk!

Actually, that would be more of a question for John. Fortifications may have a morale boost. They are tougher to dig a unit out of rather than open space.

jztemple
07 Jan 09, 06:10
I have added a new page to the site, The Long War Mod Inventory OOBs and SCNs (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/long-war-inventory-oobs-and-scns)

That page provides information and a download containing OOB and scenario files for The Long War mod by IronX. The files should be useful for those building scenarios for the mod.

The eleven OOB files attempt to capture the unique national forces created by IronX for his mod. I extracted the data from the OOB files he provided with his mod, then did a lot of cutting and pasting to put each nationality into it's own OOB file. I also created eleven scenario files. These are not playable, but instead when selected in the game allow the player to see the national force deployed for viewing. I have attempted to put each formation into a line across the map, so you can see the hierarchy.

The intent is that these files should be as an aid in helping designers build new scenarios for The Long War mod.I did the best I could to delete unneeded duplication and capture all the units from the scenarios, but no doubt some errors crept (or rushed) in. If you spot any please let me know by posting in this thread.

jztemple
09 Jan 09, 11:11
Updated The Long War Mod Inventory OOBs and SCNs (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/long-war-inventory-oobs-and-scns) page and download to fix four OOB files so that all the items show up under one national flag entry. This should make copy and paste easier when scenario building. Also fixed associated scenario files.

jztemple
14 Jan 09, 10:27
Added a new page to my site (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/avon-calling) containing ten new micro-scenarios for IronX's "The Long War" mod. Details about the scenarios are on the page, so I won't repeat them here.

cromlechi
14 Jan 09, 11:33
Hi JZTemple

I just read your article and tried out your test scenario on assaulting. It's really useful and quite surprising. I find it difficult to see the rationale of not having terrain effect an assault outcome. Surely troops that are dug in or in a building would be harder to dislodge than those in the open and this should be factored in. Perhaps I am missing something.

I also had some surprising and varied results with the test scenario. I think the first four times the Americans had a very good results reducing, dislodging and demoralizing the Japanese. It evened out a bit later but still surprising.

On another issues, I don't know if you can suggest something with the long war mod but every time I have tried to install it it doesn't work. I have an H and F drive rather than c and even though I change the path to H ... long war it doesn't seem to install properly.

Your site is great by the way.

Adam

TheBigRedOne
14 Jan 09, 12:37
Hi JZTemple

I just read your article and tried out your test scenario on assaulting. It's really useful and quite surprising. I find it difficult to see the rationale of not having terrain effect an assault outcome. Surely troops that are dug in or in a building would be harder to dislodge than those in the open and this should be factored in. Perhaps I am missing something.

I also had some surprising and varied results with the test scenario. I think the first four times the Americans had a very good results reducing, dislodging and demoralizing the Japanese. It evened out a bit later but still surprising.

I think assaults are a bit random that way, especially if the numbers are closer to even for the attacker/defender.

When I think about an assault, the only clear 'win' for me would be to dislodge or totally overrun the enemy held-hex. If you don't, you're pinned and that's a huge negative in my book. I've even had assaults I've made be successful but at a fairly substantial cost in man-power and moral/effectiveness rating as well as getting leaders killed. That's why I only assault when truly necessary.

In this experiment, did you try both with Optional Assault rule on and off? I wonder if that would even out the results a bit more. I know that several players like that rule off because it affords a bit more of a random result from time to time. The optional rule, I believe, takes the result of two 'die rolls' and averages them together, muting the odd-ball effects. Please correct me if I'm not stating that rule correctly, of course, but that's my understanding of it (without the game in front of me)

cromlechi
14 Jan 09, 12:57
Hi

I tried it without any optional rules. As I'm still quite new I still don't fully understand the optional rules and other things. As I've been off work sick this week I've had time to start educating myself a bit with the intricacies of the game.

I will give it another shot with the rule on. I understand your point, assaulting without superiority is quite a bit of a gamble. I imagine that's true in real life too even though it can sometimes pay off.

jztemple
14 Jan 09, 13:03
I just read your article and tried out your test scenario on assaulting. It's really useful and quite surprising. I find it difficult to see the rationale of not having terrain effect an assault outcome. Surely troops that are dug in or in a building would be harder to dislodge than those in the open and this should be factored in. Perhaps I am missing something.I based my article on the Users manual which doesn't state any terrain effects other than elevation. If you wish to try it, I have added a file to the bottom of the Assault article page (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/assaulting--a-guide-to-newbies-and-others) (for Pacific War again) that allows you to try assaulting a Japanese pillbox in rough terrain. I ran a few test runs and the results varied widely, just like in the original. This would, IMO, signify that terrain isn't a factor.


I also had some surprising and varied results with the test scenario. I think the first four times the Americans had a very good results reducing, dislodging and demoralizing the Japanese. It evened out a bit later but still surprising.The Combat Results game function does provide for quite a range of results. Doing the various things suggested by the article will improve your chances of a successful assault, but there will still be a number of times you will suffer.


On another issues, I don't know if you can suggest something with the long war mod but every time I have tried to install it it doesn't work. I have an H and F drive rather than c and even though I change the path to H ... long war it doesn't seem to install properly.I would suggest doing a "manual" install. First, copy your existing SAW installation and paste it as a new folder. Second, run "The Long War" mod installer, but set as it's target a temporary folder. Third, copy the contents of the temp folder and paste them into the new SAW-TLW folder you created. You will be overwriting some files of course. Fourth, go into your new SAW-TLW folder and create shortcuts of the .exe files, and run the game from those shortcuts.

The above works for me. If you are still having trouble I suggest posting over at the Wargamer Squad Battles forum into the SAW-TLW thread (http://www.wargamer.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=305722).


Your site is great by the way.Thank you! I enjoy exploring Squad Battles and providing the new content.

cromlechi
15 Jan 09, 03:51
I have managed to install it following your advice and it works! Just played the first showcase scenario and I am way impressed. Superb MOD. :laugh::D Thanks.

IronX
15 Jan 09, 12:23
Cool! I think you'll also enjoy the follow-up to TLW - The Arab-Israeli Wars - which will have more, better designed and more interesting scenarios.

Covering wars from 1967 to 2009, this new mod will have a broad array of equipment and engagement types, ranging from conventional combat using early Cold War tanks such as the M-50 Super Sherman to MOUT-type operations involving both high and low-tech weapon platforms. So even if you're not familiar with the conflicts (other than what's in the headlines today), there's going to be plenty of intense action that should make it just as much, if not more, enjoyable to play than TLW!

jztemple
15 Jan 09, 12:39
IronX, glad you like my micro-scenario set. As I get older I find that scenarios with huge unit counts can be a bit tedious, so I figured I might help those who feel the same why.

I'm really looking forward to your next mod. While I very much admire all the folks would have been working diligently on the various Squad Battles games, the last two games have been a bit lacking in, for lack of a better phrase, "sex appeal". They are excellent games, but there's something about helos, RPGs, and rifles with combo grenade launchers that grab me. And of course in TLW, throw in motorbikes and ATVs!

By the way, I have to say that in the TLW mod, the suicide bomber with the explosive vest works very well under the AI. I wasn't sure it would, but in the micro-scenario set (I won't tell you which exact scenario!) just one of these guys is a significant threat.

cromlechi
15 Jan 09, 14:31
Ironx _ i have been following your progress with the new MOD. It looks amazing. I don't know how you do it! I look forward to trying JZtemple's scenarios too.

jztemple
27 Jan 09, 13:29
Added a new page "Grunt Guns - Rifles (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/grunt-guns)" to the site. A look at five of the standard rifles in the Squad Battles series and how they compare.

TheBigRedOne
27 Jan 09, 14:50
Added a new page "Grunt Guns - Rifles (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/grunt-guns)" to the site. A look at five of the standard rifles in the Squad Battles series and how they compare.

Two other additions to this list that might make for an interesting comparison would be the Suomi M/31 from the WW, which was considered to be one of the best submachine guns in WWII compared with the US Thompson. The Suomi totally changed Russia's opinion on machine guns. From what I've read, they turned down the chance to manufacture and use them in the 30s...

jztemple
27 Jan 09, 14:55
I was going to make a separate page for SMGs, as there are a number of interesting ones in the games. Also I think I need to change the format a bit, as only five rifles fill up a page. However, it was fun to do this first page as a demonstration.

TheBigRedOne
27 Jan 09, 14:57
I was going to make a separate page for SMGs, as there are a number of interesting ones in the games. Also I think I need to change the format a bit, as only five rifles fill up a page. However, it was fun to do this first page as a demostration.

Roger that!

jztemple
30 Mar 09, 09:47
Added a new page, "The Suicide Bomber", to my website (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/). The article discusses this new unit that was added by Andrew "IronX" Glenn's The Long War mod.

Mike Cox
30 Mar 09, 18:11
Added a new page, "The Suicide Bomber", to my website (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/). The article discusses this new unit that was added by Andrew "IronX" Glenn's The Long War mod.


The 'Suicide Bomber' is not a new concept to SB. It was first introduced in the Pacific War and Proud & the Few Titles. Andrew did increase the Lethality and general effectiveness from the old Japanese AT bomb when he added in the vest. Something akin to including modern assault weapons vis a vis an old bolt action rifle.

You will see the same concept in the next official SB title as well, which is wrapping up after 18 months of work.

jztemple
30 Mar 09, 18:38
The 'Suicide Bomber' is not a new concept to SB. It was first introduced in the Pacific War and Proud & the Few Titles. Andrew did increase the Lethality and general effectiveness from the old Japanese AT bomb when he added in the vest. Something akin to including modern assault weapons vis a vis an old bolt action rifle.

You will see the same concept in the next official SB title as well, which is wrapping up after 18 months of work.

Huh, I didn't realize that, or I guess remember it. I'll be sure to amend the article to add the appropriate clarification.

jztemple
11 Apr 09, 00:35
Added a new page Killing Vehicles - Some Practical Examples (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/killing-vehicles) which discusses fire against vehicles, using some practical examples from a scenario from IronX's The Long War mod. I have avoided including the heavy math, but I'd be happy to discuss it in the forums.

Ozgur Budak
11 Apr 09, 10:49
Good article. Just a note in SB battle conditions rpgs' effectiveness drops significantly since they have low reliability. This simulates the limited ammo soldiers can carry. However the Rpg7V you used in the test doesnt loose efficiency. A problem I noticed recently. It is probably caused by detection flag it has.

jztemple
11 Apr 09, 11:26
Yes I was going to mention something about that in the article but I wanted to research it further. I used a unit directly from the Operation Bauxite OOB for a sample scenario to visualize the situation and the RPG-7V does have a reliability of C, but never drops below 100% effectiveness. I then changed it to an RPG-7 and the effectiveness of the weapon does drop significantly after each shot.

I'll probably add an addendum to the article noting that RPGs do drop in efficiency and therefore it might be a bit safer to approach, but it would still be a bit of a gamble.

I would suggest that anyone considering making a scenario avoid the RPG-7V and go with the stock RPG-7 till this is sorted out.

Ozgur Budak
12 Apr 09, 06:35
Yes I was going to mention something about that in the article but I wanted to research it further. I used a unit directly from the Operation Bauxite OOB for a sample scenario to visualize the situation and the RPG-7V does have a reliability of C, but never drops below 100% effectiveness. I then changed it to an RPG-7 and the effectiveness of the weapon does drop significantly after each shot.

I'll probably add an addendum to the article noting that RPGs do drop in efficiency and therefore it might be a bit safer to approach, but it would still be a bit of a gamble.

I would suggest that anyone considering making a scenario avoid the RPG-7V and go with the stock RPG-7 till this is sorted out.

Unfortunately nearly all post-1990 scenarios in LW and AIW use rpg7V in big numbers. I didnt notice it before since SAW scenarios have older weapons of the 70's and 80's.

IronX
12 Apr 09, 11:48
Great article, JZ. I've never noticed before that the RPG-7V doesn't lose efficiency. That's a shame. An option may be to make it a single-use weapon (x4-5 rounds per squad).

I'm wondering, however, whether the RPG-7V of the game is being confused with a different RPG version. From what I've read, the RPG-7V was introduced in 1961 and is the original model. Yes it can be fitted with a telescope and both infrared and passive night sights, but from what I understand is not a more powerful version of the 'RPG'. The RPG7VR uses a dual HEAT warhead which may be more deadly and perhaps this is the weapon modeled in the game.

jztemple
15 May 09, 13:18
Added a new page to the site: A Sample Scenario for The Long War 2.1 Update (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/a-sample-scenario-for-the-long-war-2-1-update). This scenario shows off the new weapons and vehicles from The Long War 2.1 update. It also includes a modified RPG-7 which has been converted to a single use weapon for the game.

jztemple
15 May 09, 18:39
Oops! My newly uploaded sample scenario has been updated to fix a problem with multiple RPG-7su items showing up under a single unit.

R.S. Barker
21 May 09, 00:14
I do understand that this may fall into the "unspoken, highly illegal" realm of Game Squad taboo subjects.

However, it is quite obvious we will never see a map editor to do full custom maps, so this looks to be the only way one can add in their own data.

What would make me happy is a tutorial on how to attempt to create a custom map using nothing more than notepad. I've heard about, even opened a .map in notepad but don't have a bloody clue where to begin. I suppose it would be a programming sort of solution to this issue - perhaps even using *gasp* hexadecimal and the like. I'm hoping that isn't the case..*crossed fingers* since my experience with C++ is regulated by one class on the subject this semester at college *Bleck!, I'm not a programmer!*

I'm an Ambush! freak - favorite system ever, and I've finally found a PC game that will/would allow me to recreate Ambush! in all its glory - single man squads of eight vs. both Germans and Japanese.

IF I could create my own custom maps, I could recreate the 38 missions from the Ambush!/Battle Hymn series and make them available.

Anyways, great site, I've been there a few times and like the direction your going. ^5ss

Cheers,

Ozgur Budak
21 May 09, 05:45
An interesting topic for an article could be map features' effect on armor vulnerability. Certain hex features like low wall and hedges provide some sort of protection to the nearby vehivles. It would be great if we have a test article focusing on hex side protection effects on armor.

jztemple
21 May 09, 07:00
An interesting topic for an article could be map features' effect on armor vulnerability. Certain hex features like low wall and hedges provide some sort of protection to the nearby vehicles. It would be great if we have a test article focusing on hex side protection effects on armor.
I don't know that it would rate a full article, maybe it would be a good supplement to the "Killing Vehicles" article. Vehicles get half the listed Protection value of terrain features. In the game, the Protection value of a hex is listed in the terrain info box, but not that of hex sides, so you have to pay attention to the map and call up the Parameter Data help. Also hex sides only provide protection if the target unit is at least at the elevation as the firing unit or higher. And of course targets at a higher elevation than the firing unit get the Elevation Protection Data Value.

By a strict look at the rules, there is a question as to whether the halving of terrain protection for vehicles applies to hex side features. To quote the rules:

Terrain Protection
This Protection value may be augmented by the terrain that the unit is in:
Infantry derives the full Protection value of the terrain it is in.
Vehicles get half benefit of the Protection value of the terrain.
When Infantry is in the same hex as a non-wreck Vehicle, then it gets an additional protection value equal to the Infantry Protection parameter data value.The phrase "by the terrain that the unit is in:" could be interpreted as excluding anything that is not *in* the hex itself, IE not hex sides. Maybe someone could enlighten us on this nuance?

Probably the best rule of thumb is that terrain protection values will only be of much help if the penetration value of the firing weapon is at best not much greater than the protection value of the target. In other words, an RPG-7 with a penetration value of 120 is not going to be effected very much by a low wall with a protection value of 16 if the target is a LAV III with an armor value of 13. On the other hand, that low wall will be of greater value if being shot at by an RPK 7.62 or even a DshK 12.7 HMG. If you look at the protection values of various terrain features you will note that none provide more protection for vehicles (remember that the listed value is halved for vehicles) than the armor protection value of an APC.

Squad Battles does not have a explicit "To Hit" calculation. Even if my non-tank AFV is hull down behind wall, the penetration value of an RPG is so much greater than the armor value it makes little difference how little of my vehicle might be exposed. Also the game really doesn't handle the benefits of skirts, slats or other standoff armor very well. These are reflected merely as slight increases in the armor protection value, which would be true if you were being hit by solid shot, but underplays their effectiveness against HEAT type low velocity weapons like RPGs, Bazookas and the like.

Additionally, since RPGs are not tagged as Guided Weapons, their Lethality calculations are effected by range, which from my casual research isn't true in the real world. A real world RPG hitting at 50 meters or 300 meters I believe has the same penetration and effect on the target, but in the game lethality is doubled at 50 meters, normal at up to 150 meters and then halved out to 300 meters. In Squad Battles, that halved Lethality would in effect halve the likelihood of a vehicle kill.

To summarize, if your opponent has anti-vehicle weapons (RPG, tank guns, AT guns), then any of your vehicles less armored than a tank are vulnerable anywhere in the range of that weapon. Keep those APCs in cover or concealment!

Hey, looking at the above, I guess it would make a good article! :D

jztemple
21 May 09, 07:20
However, it is quite obvious we will never see a map editor to do full custom maps, so this looks to be the only way one can add in their own data.

Never say never! :D Until a couple of years ago we didn't have Parameter or Data editors. I think it would be logical to assume that HPS would allow a map editor to be developed and released once it appears that the inclusion of such an editor would have a positive effect on sales.

Fan contributions such as scenarios and mods help HPS sales. When the Africa@War mod was released I'm thinking there was a small spike in sales of Pacific War, and when IronX releases his "Red Star Over Europe" mod I'll bet HPS gets a surge of orders for SB:Vietnam. HPS just has to be convinced that by releasing a map editor people will rush to buy older SB games because the creative folks will be issuing a bunch of new scenarios or mods using their own fan-created maps.

HPS also has to be convinced that releasing a map editor won't cut into sales by folks saying "I don't need to buy game XXX, I can just make my own maps". Also I'm sure it costs money to develop a fan-friendly map editor, one that is fairly idiot-proof.

Personally, I'm looking at an endgame situation where HPS figures that they aren't going to sell many copies of Squad Battles: Chaco War ;) and so they develop and release "Squad Battles: DIY Edition" with a map editor and a modified executable that allows modders to build scenarios and campaigns that have custom side names and other custom features, including an OOB editor and files that incorporate "in use" dates fields and other information. One can always hope :)

TheBigRedOne
21 May 09, 09:29
Personally, I'm looking at an endgame situation where HPS figures that they aren't going to sell many copies of Squad Battles: Chaco War ;) and so they develop and release "Squad Battles: DIY Edition" with a map editor and a modified executable that allows modders to build scenarios and campaigns that have custom side names and other custom features, including an OOB editor and files that incorporate "in use" dates fields and other information. One can always hope :)

So, let me understand you correctly. You're hoping to see HPS stop making new SB games just so you might get access to a map editor?

jztemple
21 May 09, 09:35
So, let me understand you correctly. You're hoping to see HPS stop making new SB games just so you might get access to a map editor?
No, I'm hoping that when HPS decides that there is no money to be made in developing new Squad Battles games in the current format they issue a Squad Battles game kit with customizing tools, rather than simply just stopping.

I would hope to have a map editor long before that.

Mike Cox
22 May 09, 11:55
and when IronX releases his "Red Star Over Europe" mod I'll bet HPS gets a surge of orders for SB:Vietnam. HPS just has to be convinced that by releasing a map editor people will rush to buy older SB games because the creative folks will be issuing a bunch of new scenarios or mods using their own fan-created maps.

So IronX releasing a game that preempts an HPS title helps HPS how? Say 100 people own Eagle Strike and he releases a game on <xx> based on it. The 100 people that own Eagles strike will D/L it and maybe another 20 who are only interested in <xx> might buy Eagles Strike. If HPS releases a <xx> game, the 20 people who are interested in <xx> will buy it as well as a portion of the 100 owners of Eagles Strike. HPS revenue is definitely impacted. Without $$ coming in on a series, JT has no incentive to improve the series in the manner he has over the years.

People like IronX who release full blown mods take money out of HPS emplyee pockets and threaten the series with a lock down to partial mods. (AotR only allows official dats, no mods, HPS Gettysburg has it's oob locked, the Nap series has had it's maps locked, etc.)

The worst part about IronX is that he had joined the development team, had access to our knowledge base (a lot of his 'ground breaking ideas' were developed by/in conjunction with other SB designers) and work and took that and released it for free.

NB, I am not an HPS employee, but I have done contract work for them.

IronX
22 May 09, 17:29
People like IronX who release full blown mods take money out of HPS emplyee pockets and threaten the series with a lock down to partial mods. (AotR only allows official dats, no mods, HPS Gettysburg has it's oob locked, the Nap series has had it's maps locked, etc.)

The worst part about IronX is that he had joined the development team, had access to our knowledge base (a lot of his 'ground breaking ideas' were developed by/in conjunction with other SB designers) and work and took that and released it for free.

Well, I'm not sure why you feel the need to personally attack me, but what you are saying is incorrect.

First off, I'd be interested to see any real evidence you have to suggest that I've taken any money away from HPS employees' pockets. I've heard this argument before and frankly it doesn't hold any water. I'd go so far as to suggest the opposite.

Also, I'd like to see an example of a 'ground breaking idea' that HPS had that I've used in one of my mods and try to demonstrate how I've taken it and released it for free. You could apply the same fallacious argument to other HPS employees who make scenarios for mods. Perhaps you do.

The notion that I joined the company and then stole someone else's ideas is both wrong and indefensible. I'd be very careful in making those sort of spurious allegations, particularly on a public forum.

Yes, I worked for HPS for a while. I worked on a title that was going nowhere and helped give it some direction. That aside, I've been careful to separate what work I did for HPS and what I do for the SB community.

So to launch this sort of scathing attack not just on me, but obviously all modders, is unnecessarily antagonistic and not helpful to anyone. While I can't speak for others, my opinion of you after this outburst has dropped markedly.

Mike Cox
22 May 09, 19:44
Fortunately, I don't have the time or interest for a flame war with the long weekend.


You could apply the same fallacious argument to other HPS employees who make scenarios for mods. Perhaps you do.

The notion that I joined the company and then stole someone else's ideas is both wrong and indefensible. I'd be very careful in making those sort of spurious allegations, particularly on a public forum.

You certainly seem willing to dip into your own personal attacks....

"Groundbreaking Ideas' was thrown about by jztemple or other fan of the work in promoting mods. Perhaps it was hyperbole in describing the mod. Nonetheless the design forum that you had access to and used to get questions answered and ideas developed certainly help you with your mods.

This was not an attack on modders in general. Art mods, scenario development, new oob's, etc, etc all great. As above my objection is to releasing full titles that preempt commercial projects. If you fail to see how that takes money out of the HPS coffers, well... And as above, I don't want to see the series go the way of the others and get locked down to mods.

Good luck to you. Have a good weekend.

jztemple
22 May 09, 20:58
So IronX releasing a game that preempts an HPS title helps HPS how? Say 100 people own Eagle Strike and he releases a game on <xx> based on it. The 100 people that own Eagles strike will D/L it and maybe another 20 who are only interested in <xx> might buy Eagles Strike. If HPS releases a <xx> game, the 20 people who are interested in <xx> will buy it as well as a portion of the 100 owners of Eagles Strike. HPS revenue is definitely impacted. Without $$ coming in on a series, JT has no incentive to improve the series in the manner he has over the years.

I disagree with this, because no mod yet put out comes anywhere near the comprehensive content of a retail HPS game. Yes, the three big mods (TLW, AIW and A@W) do have a nice degree of content, but certainly not the comprehensive OOBs, scenarios and maps of a retail release, not to mention the ancillary documentation and other extras. Mods have scenarios that aren't necessarily extensively playtested and balanced, OOBs that are selective and not exhaustive, and the maps that are adaptions of the ones from retail. That's nothing against IronX and the other modding folks, they do what they can out of love and in their spare time and what they produce is certainly appreciated, at least by me.

People who would have really *bought* the <xx> game will still buy it, even if there is already a mod out that covers the subject, because they know that the HPS release will be much more complete.

Ozgur Budak
23 May 09, 02:06
Just wanted to inform that the production of Africa at War folllowed a different path from other full mods. When TFE4 under the leadership of Frank Harmon planned making a mod based on HPS products it first contacted John Tiller just to be sure the topic of the new mod will not block or stay on HPS's line of new titles. The africa topic is the direct result of those concerns as HPS had expressed they had no future plans for that theatre. When we started working on the mod neither Frank, nor myself, Greg or other fella was working for HPS.

jztemple
23 May 09, 07:55
Just wanted to inform that the production of Africa at War folllowed a different path from other full mods. When TFE4 under the leadership of Frank Harmon planned making a mod based on HPS products it first contacted John Tiller just to be sure the topic of the new mod will not block or stay on HPS's line of new titles. The africa topic is the direct result of those concerns as HPS had expressed they had no future plans for that theatre. When we started working on the mod neither Frank, nor myself, Greg or other fella was working for HPS.

When HPS says they have no future plans for that theater, it would of course mean that they have *currently* have no future plans for it. Events might drive a reconsideration of plans. My installation and playing of the A@W mod would not deter me in the slightest from purchasing a retail HPS release about the subject. In fact playing that mod actually raised my interest in Africa's military history and makes me wish that HPS would change their minds and issue a game on the subject.

jztemple
29 May 09, 20:46
Added a new article "Map Features Effect On Armor Vulnerability (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/map-features-effect-on-armor-vulnerability)" to my site, as suggested by a post by Ozgur Budak.

TheBigRedOne
02 Jun 09, 09:47
Added a new article "Map Features Effect On Armor Vulnerability (http://sites.google.com/site/jzs-place/jz-s-squad-battles-home-page/map-features-effect-on-armor-vulnerability)" to my site, as suggested by a post by Ozgur Budak.

I'm not a total wonk in terms of analyzing the game parameter data, but a comment you made in this article bears some discussion and highlights the difference between analyzing the data and thinking in real-world terms.


Additionally, since RP Gs are not tagged as Guided Weapons, their Lethality calculations are effected by range, which from my casual research isn't true in the real world. A real world RPG hitting at 50 meters or 300 meters I believe has the same penetration and effect on the target, but in the game lethality is doubled at 50 meters, normal at up to 150 meters and then halved out to 300 meters. In Squad Battles, that halved Lethality would in effect halve the likelihood of a vehicle kill.

I don't know the physics behind shaped charges, but if the speed of the projectile has anything to do with it's effectiveness, then it would definitely should be moving slower at 300M than at 50M. At 50M it might actually still be speeding up, by 300M it would have had quite a bit of gravity slowing it down as well as pulling it lower to the ground.

What I really think the engine is taking into account is the accuracy of the weapon at different ranges. If you're firing an RPG-7 at a BMP-2 at 50M, chances are very, very good that you're going to score a hit on the spot where you're aiming, or at least very close. Chances are extremely good that you'll at least hit the target, even in the hands of an untrained fighter.

You go out to 250-300M your chances of hitting that same vehicle at all are greatly reduced, I'd say by more than half, really. 300M is over 3 football fields in length (328 yards, a little under 0.2 of a mile). An RPG is a nice weapon, but expecting to hit a target, especially a moving one, or one that's pointing and firing its guns at you, at that distance is quite unrealistic, especially under combat conditions where you are either being shot at, or at the very least hiding in a building, sweating bullets about exposing yourself long enough to squeeze the trigger. I would be surprised if an irregular fighter, like a a member of the Taliban, could hit anything short of a skyscraper at 300M on a regular basis. That's just my take.

I'd be willing to bet that even a trained soldier, under combat conditions where bullets are flying, couldn't consistently hit a target at maximum range with an unguided type of a weapon. Maybe in training where you've got time to set up, sight and fire, but when you're getting shot at, I think it would be quite different and have a huge effect on accuracy.

To this end, I think the engine does real-world combat situations justice.

jztemple
02 Jun 09, 11:34
I agree with your comments regarding the real world lessened likelihood of an RPG hitting as range is increased.

However, from my reading about shaped charges, the effectiveness of a shaped charge has little or nothing to do with the velocity of the projectile. The effectiveness is based on the jet of superhot matter that is generated by the high explosive. The jet moves at multiple kilometers per second and is only effective for a limited distance, hopefully (for the shooter) thicker than the armor of the target.

However, in the Squad Battles game engine, the lethality of a shaped charge *is* affected by range, which affects the possibility of a kill. Normally in an SB game, as an end result of the combat calculations in the game, as you note, it does work out in a reasonable analog of real world conditions, because the lessened chance of a real world hit is reflected as a reduction in the Lethality value, which reduces the chance of a vehicle kill. We don't know if the RPG hit the vehicle, only that it did or did not damage the vehicle.

What I was trying to explain in my latest article was that real world terrain effects don't apply at times in the Squad Battles engine, due to a lack of a separate "to hit" versus "to kill" determination. These differences show up very distinctly in the use of RPGs. If I drive my tank behind a wall, effectively becoming hull down, I would be providing myself, in the real world, a significant amount of protection against RPGs, since an RPG would expend it's energy against the wall. Yet in Squad Battles that wall hexside only adds it's protection value to my vehicle's protection value prior to the penetration calculation, and depending on the vehicle the addition may have little or no effect. For instance, if you have an APC with little armor, a wall hexside isn't going to reduce the penetration effect versus an RPG with it's 120 penetration.

Does this mean Squad Battles is a bad game? No. It just means that there are some combat situations where you have to accept that the SB engine wasn't designed to replicate the real world. It does provide, as noted above, a pretty good representation even in the RPG case. Just be aware there are some situations where that wall you are hiding behind isn't going to do you much good!

For some further reading about shaped charges:
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaped_charge)
Global Security.org (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/bullets2-shaped-charge.htm)
Text Book via Google (http://books.google.com/books?id=zIXkp-SSehcC&pg=PA382&lpg=PA382&dq=shaped+charge+velocity+effects&source=bl&ots=V_ErZZ4ymh&sig=wtxZvlDjEofhJUwcyxgliYJtTMo&hl=en&ei=oTslSq-FF42dlQfzmqjoBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5#PPA383,M1)

TheBigRedOne
02 Jun 09, 12:16
However, in the Squad Battles game engine, the lethality of a shaped charge *is* affected by range, which affects the possibility of a kill. Normally in an SB game, as an end result of the combat calculations in the game, as you note, it does work out in a reasonable analog of real world conditions, because the lessened chance of a real world hit is reflected as a reduction in the Lethality value, which reduces the chance of a vehicle kill. We don't know if the RPG hit the vehicle, only that it did or did not damage the vehicle.

Trying to figure out if it hit the vehicle or not, to me, is irrelevant. I play under the assumption that if the projectile did no damage, at any range, that it 'missed' the target. A fair assumption, for even at close ranges, soliders miss their targets. Sometimes you have to abandon the mathematical part of the game and go with what you see on the ground in a combat situation. If you're shooting an RPG-7 or bazooka at maximum range, I'd expect more often than not to miss the target. That's just common sense, although I did have a vehicle taken out by a Panzerschrek at maximum range recently, so go figure. There's no perfect tactical game engine.

Ozgur Budak
02 Jun 09, 15:49
I saw a rpg7 round on air. You can send it to 300 meters but after the first 60-80 meters the projectile heavily deviates from its course due to poor ballistic shape and low flying velocity. Yes for rpg rounds impact speed is not important but it is fairly improtant for the accuracy. I dont see a big problem here.

TheBigRedOne
02 Jun 09, 17:14
I saw a rpg7 round on air. You can send it to 300 meters but after the first 60-80 meters the projectile heavily deviates from its course due to poor ballistic shape and low flying velocity. Yes for rpg rounds impact speed is not important but it is fairly improtant for the accuracy. I dont see a big problem here.

Agreed, I'd even say that it's lethality is way over-valued at 1/2 the value at maximum range. If it hits a target from 240M out, it was probably more luck than anything, unless it's you, Oz, firing at my Israeli armor!

:D

For rifles and the like, the actual lethality difference is probably less pronounced since they are more accurate projectiles from a distance. A bazooka/RPG/Panzerfaust round is truly only effective from faily short ranges. SB went through and did some range adjusting a while back, bazookas were the main weapons that had their range changed. I'd almost think that an RPG could have its range lowered by one or two.

Joao Lima
03 Jun 09, 16:52
I saw a rpg7 round on air. You can send it to 300 meters but after the first 60-80 meters the projectile heavily deviates from its course due to poor ballistic shape and low flying velocity. Yes for rpg rounds impact speed is not important but it is fairly improtant for the accuracy. I dont see a big problem here.

Correct. In fact , the RPG as most weapons has got an optimum range, not too close, nor too distant. Distance does affect the performance of these weapons. It does not affect the penetration value, given that even if they hit the tank at nearly 0 speed, the jet it launches would still do the trick, but it does affect how accurate the firing is.