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Nick Thomadis

[IMPORTANT] Artillery discussion

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As of patch 0.85 you get a much improved and self depended artillery. However we get complains that artillery should be able to fire more frequently.
 
Checking some of the reported images, I see artillery behind your formations, blocked by ridges or standing because enemy is at melee with friendly troops.
 
Now I would like to clarify something, about how the artillery and generally the targeting works in this game. Line of sight system determines what areas can your units see and can fire directly at. If though their fire arc is blocked up to a certain % by friendly troops, they hold fire.
 
To have a clear line of sight to fire with your artillery, you need to place your arty in high elevation that has not too many obstacles, like trees and houses and also expect that your cannons will not desire to fire above the heads of your units unless their position has enough altitude difference.
 
This realistic Line of Fire system makes locations strategic for specific purposes. For example you cannot expect the Round Top to serve as artillery base because most of your artillery will have difficulty to see through the trees and rough terrain. You cannot expect the low points of Seminary ridge to clearly see Cemetery ridge as there is not enough height difference to provide clear direct sight (historically this is why many CS cannons fired too high at their barrage in 3rd day).
 
We can make this system more or less strict but then artillery will become too easily manageable, will require much less skill and understanding of terrain, will make the game quite unbalanced from the tactical point of view.
 
We are open though to hear your opinions to find the proper balance as most of you require. Eager to read the feedback of the hard core players!
 
My regards to all,
 
Nick

PS.
This discussion is open also in Steam forum

 

http://steamcommunity.com/app/306660/discussions/0/35219681586567749/

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This was a very good post clarifying this subject and it makes sense.

 

Perhaps we've got a problem knowing when exactly the trees actually block the view.

So mabye we need some sort of representation of this: You've got some LOS, but the artillery can't fire.

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Is there any way we can distinguish the Napoleons cannons from the Smooth Bore Cannons then also the Howitzers??

 

Because in the real battle all the cannons were not the same. Some were made for long distance sniping, others had thicker width and shorter barrels and were made for double canister for close combat while another group would launch howitzer shells over the heads of their units only to come crashing down on the enemy. Is your gameplan just to have all cannons universally the same with the same qualities?

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All cannons are not the same but are exactly as described in historical books for each battery. You can notice that some batteries have longer fire arcs for example that are the 3rd Ordnance Rifles of the Union and other. 

The art dept did not find sufficient space to hold this information during gameplay but we may do something in the future. The good thing at least is that all batteries, indeed have different cannon types as it was in the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Some batteries have mix of smoothbore and rifle cannons. Their firepower and range reflects this but a single color difference to distinquish I think it would confuse.

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I like the elevation map for placing my artillery. In fact I have it switched on at all times. But in some cases, it is difficult to tell if the lines are showing the terrain sloping down or back up. Perhaps smaller elevation numbers can be added to certain heights that fall in between the larger ones that show the tops of an area. Or a second option which has a way to show where the slope is going down or up. Small areas such as devils den or blochers knoll have lines very close together and it can be difficult to tell if I am looking at a pit or a hill. As it is I really like how the elevation map does not really take away from the aesthetics of the game so I am unsure how much you would want to change it. But it is something to consider.

Also, when clicking on artillery perhaps the LOS/fog of war can be more pronounced so it is easier to tell what areas they can not see

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Also, when clicking on artillery perhaps the LOS/fog of war can be more pronounced so it is easier to tell what areas they can not see 

 

You can change LoS settings in the options. Increase duration and intensity to your liking so that you have time to evaluate ground.

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You can change LoS settings in the options. Increase duration and intensity to your liking so that you have time to evaluate ground.

Never knew that, thanks for the explanation here and the OP. It really helps.

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All cannons are not the same but are exactly as described in historical books for each battery. You can notice that some batteries have longer fire arcs for example that are the 3rd Ordnance Rifles of the Union and other. 

The art dept did not find sufficient space to hold this information during gameplay but we may do something in the future. The good thing at least is that all batteries, indeed have different cannon types as it was in the Battle of Gettysburg.

 

 Disagree.

For a simple thing, it's a game, is not pageant guide touchscreen for the museum armies Gettysburgh

 REB Blunt forget something. I'm playing,  I ll made the history. In other words, the story stops when I start playing.

 I move the guns like a general player not like a book.

 

No confusion, i love history. And the game reflects "the spirit", the doctrine of employment of weapons, and reflects some scenography and chronological reconstruction of events. "at this size", means scale. it's enough and really good.  

 

 But ...

 

That the distinction is relevant, canons (To distinguish a rifled barrel with a smooth bore )  in the context of the gameplay should be the units are identified graphically, at least at the scale of a game like Sudden Strike. ( The futur of General ultimate ? ) I don't want an icone or a mini flag.

 

However, to evoke a more generic way, we can not deny the problem of handling the artillery on the field. 
  And use that must be done is tedious because of the ground. 
  Mapping is very pretty and nice to have entered the name of the place instills identification of advantageous places. From this point of view is perfect.
 
What makes by default against, and this is a big job to do in the future lies in the gradation of brightness constrate altitudes. The M key is a topographic really good idea, it should be retained, but it should be supported better graphically. 
  It looks like a layer too is in a hurry.
It is also through this that is résolve involvement sightlines poorly understood.

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The main change i would suggest to ease the difficulty in artillery placement is to improve the elevation map, giving it a slight colour overlay that is darker at lower altitudes and lighter at higher altitudes in addition to the lines themselves. As it is now to figure out the correct elevation of certain terrain you have to compare it with other parts of the map to see what the high ground and low ground is, and even then there's room for error. With the new topographic map it'll be just a quick glance to figure out the altitude and direction of the slope.

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I think Teutomatoes makes a good point - the guns should be distinguishable at the game scale by their characteristics.

 

Currently in UGG the most effective guns at both canister and long-range are the 3" ordnance rifles.

 

 

Historically however...

 

Smoothbores were substantially more effective at delivering canister than rifled guns.

Rifled guns were more accurate at longer ranges.  

But for canister rifled guns had fewer projectiles (smaller bores) and tighter canister patterns (longer barrels).

 

In a game at this scale the smoothbores should have a canister pattern that mimics their historical performance - based on bore size, length of barrel, and projectiles/canister round.

 

The goal should be to get smoothbore vs. rifled guns relative to each other and internally consistent.  

From most to least effective at canister this means:

 

For smoothbores this means:

24lb Howitzers - widest and maximum-range canister pattern with maximum KIA/round - Moody's CSA Battery.

12lb Howitzers - widest and maximum-range canister pattern with maximum KIA//round (48 projectiles/round) - Brooks/Patterson CSA Batteries

12lb Napoleons - wide and maximum-range canister pattern with 50% KIA/round (27 projectiles/round) - Blount/Bachman/Taylor/Carrington/Garber/Dement/Page/Rice/McGraw/Miller CSA Batteries

 

For rifled guns this means:

James Rifles - narrower and less range canister pattern - Sterling's Battery AoP

20 lb Parrott - narrower and less range canister pattern - Graham CSA Battery

3" Ordnance Rifles - shortest and tightest canister range/pattern - Jordan/Reese/Cunningham/Smith/Johnson/Zimmerman/most of J.E.B. Stuart's artillery CSA artillery batteries

10 lb Parrott - shortest and tightest canister range/pattern - Brown/Watson CSA batteries.

 

The rest of the CSA artillery is in mixed batteries. - so I won't go into additional complexity.

The Union batteries are more homogeneous so they would be easier to implement correctly.

 

 

For artillery effectiveness at long-range the list should simply be inverted.

 

The biggest deviation from history in UGG artillery canister patterns is that 3" ordnance rifles have BOTH the longest range and biggest canister pattern.  

If the UGG relationship on artillery were correct the Union Army would rapidly have been armed with nothing but 3" ordnance rifles.

The artillery implementation is a bit upside down in this regard.

Which is the source of confusion for this topic.

 

The point is you should be able to tell the difference between a smoothbore vs. a rifled gun based on the canister, shell, and long-range projectile patterns.  

Then players can deploy them based on the historical performance characteristics.

But because these are not correctly aligned with historical performance characteristics in UGG - players can't tell the difference.

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yep; which scale map's use actually ? 

 I guess it's become difficult to find some specifical sprites at this size. But may be there's some design solutions.

 

 To my opinion more urgent, is the mapping itself for positionning. And before differents guns, "distinguishable" altimetry is the trick.

 

 Another solution is to plug some forbidding icons on line of sight ...  Ok ok ok don't hurt me to load, it's breaking the "beautiful flowers"

 

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I'm understanding the artillery mechanics better now that I've played 5 or 6 times and now have most of my batteries firing most of the time, but some of this stuff is seriously opaque. I was definitely able to get Confed artillery firing effectively from the east side of Round Top onto Union positions below, so it's not the case that wooded terrain always blocks artillery fire- in that case, it could be very confusing why some batteries are firing and others aren't. If the game is taking into account all this information (terrain obstruction, friendly obstruction, elevation etc), it should probably be presented to the player in some fashion. If a battery is unable to fire, you could just put some text over its unit picture that says [uNABLE TO FIRE: TERRAIN] or whatever.

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Some commanders had a very strong preference for the Napoleons rather than the Rifles due to their greater utility with canister at typical battle ranges. Simpler wargames rules tend to give Napoleons up to double effect at close ranges while rifles get greater range and more accuracy at longer ranges. It doesn't need to be complicated to reflect the tactical usage of both types of guns and why both continued in use.  I assumed the artillery were all generic (mixed batteries) since no distinction was made.

 

Other than the difficulty of gauging LOS from the map and not knowing the LOS rules, the artillery seems fairly straightforward, though a tool to conserve fire and the ability to right-click exact location and orientation at the destination would be great.

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MikeK - I absolutely agree that the difference between smoothbores and rifled guns can be obvious and simple.

 

Almost all AoP batteries were homogeneous.  

The list above provides the CSA homogeneous batteries.

 

An artillery targeting method would help a great deal:  

Position a battery - if no targets then the target does not appear on the screen.

Move the battery - if there are targets then all enemy units that can be targeted are identified with the target symbol.

If terrain or troops are blocking the target - the target displays a different color on those targets with a notation - artillery is blocked by "X".

 

 

Historical Notes:

12 lb Napoleons model 1857 was the most prevalent gun in both armies during the ACW.

Napoleons are the most prevalent guns in the OOB at Gettysburg.

 

McClellan proposed that all guns in the Union army should be Napoleons - to ease the logistics.

 

Northern industrialists intervened at the War Department level to ensure rifled guns remained in the mix.

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The 'Elevation' gameplay option should be named 'Topographical Map'.

 

Currently the selected unit information box is at the top left.

A similar mouseover info box should be at the bottom left, that includes LOS hints,

such as the suggestions above.

The mouseover info box could pack the same info into a smaller space.

For example, the Morale/Condition/Cover/Reload boxes could be reduced to 4 tiny

colored boxes.

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I would like to suggest an option possibly being available in the settings menu that if a cannon tries to fire at a unit and the computer thinks it is blocked that we hear a blip, beep or whatever., and give a couple of seconds so I can then cancel the target, so the cannon won't pick up an move! Maybe a special rule for cannons that hold really means hold! (except when the AI gets too close) This could be toggled on an off.

 

I would really like it if the artillery icon would change when the cannon is moving to say cannons led by a horse, it's just my preference.........

 

 

When my last computer died (the day before I got my key!) I used my ASUS netbook with an Atom CPU. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this program worked mostly excellent.

Great programing team!

 

BTW when I played my first game(with this new patch) starting back at the beginning as the Union, half way through when things were getting exciting ,my computer froze up solid. Nothing worked to get out of this ,even ctl-alt-delete would not  pop up. I had to turn off the power to get out of this. Maybe it's a fluke but I will continue testing

 

My new rig is

Intel i7-4770k   cpu at 3.50 ghz

EVGA GTX 780

16 MB fast Ram

Win7 Home professional scoring a 7.8 out of 7.9 

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To have a clear line of sight to fire with your artillery, you need to place your arty in high elevation that has not too many obstacles, like trees and houses and also expect that your cannons will not desire to fire above the heads of your units unless their position has enough altitude difference.

I really like the realistic Line of Fire system for artillery, but I'm not sure if it already works properly. Maybe there's a logical explanation but I dont understand the reason for situations like this:

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lh25nntvme2qkam/2014-08-06_00001.jpg

All 5 artilleries are positioned on the top of Herr's Ridge but are blocked by 'Davis' brigade and can shoot neither at Devin's Skirmishers nor at the upper Gamble's Skirmishers unit on the top of Mc Phersons Ridge. I dont see a reason why these cannons get blocked. The position seems to be high enough to shoot above Davis brigade which is positioned at the foot of the hill. The enemy is in line of sight and even marked as red aim and the attack doesn't get cancled either. Thus I always expect the first shot but it never happens.

But two artillery units ('Crenshaw' and 'Marye') are still able to shoot at the second Gamble's Skirmishers unit in the south and don't get blocked by Archers brigade although there seems to be the same altitude difference and they are also able to shoot above the roofs of the houses of Herr's Tavern which is even on higher ground than Davis brigade.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wv6u8idujnm1i2m/2014-08-06_00002.jpg

Davis brigade moved away now all 5 artillery units start to shoot...

 

Maybe the 'line of fire' could be implemented to the LOS/fog of war system in some way. Areas that are in line of sight but not in line of fire for example behind a brigade should be marked, for example pointed, striped or surrounded by a soft line or maybe the 'line of fire' could get a soft overlay in red. An additional colour system on the map to show the heights would be very useful as well, maybe green/low to red/high.

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One thing is clear in this game.  In multiplayer, the victors will be experts at micromanaging artillery condition and placement. 

 

 Less than any other game, indeed. (Infantry scout & Arty destroy )

 

 

 Looses for brigades are less important than moral. Moral provide from sides cover & flank, altitud, camouflage végétation, exhaustion, looses, wavering, général proximity ... 

This made artillery like a support, but not as décisiv unit.

 

 And it's its interesting occurence. Because more than details of smooth bore or not, it transcribed by the gameplay the "spirit" of this kind of war.

 Doesnt means some finest historical adjustement could be provide anymore. 

 But at first, concept is relevant.

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I really like the realistic Line of Fire system for artillery, but I'm not sure if it already works properly. Maybe there's a logical explanation but I dont understand the reason for situations like this:

 

 

This is reflect the principle of avoidance of collateral damage. 

 Solid long drag for long range answer to ballistic resolution, and passes over the heads.

Not the other types of ammunition.

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I really like the realistic Line of Fire system for artillery, but I'm not sure if it already works properly. Maybe there's a logical explanation but I dont understand the reason for situations like this:

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lh25nntvme2qkam/2014-08-06_00001.jpg

All 5 artilleries are positioned on the top of Herr's Ridge but are blocked by 'Davis' brigade and can shoot neither at Devin's Skirmishers nor at the upper Gamble's Skirmishers unit on the top of Mc Phersons Ridge. I dont see a reason why these cannons get blocked. The position seems to be high enough to shoot above Davis brigade which is positioned at the foot of the hill. The enemy is in line of sight and even marked as red aim and the attack doesn't get cancled either. Thus I always expect the first shot but it never happens.

But two artillery units ('Crenshaw' and 'Marye') are still able to shoot at the second Gamble's Skirmishers unit in the south and don't get blocked by Archers brigade although there seems to be the same altitude difference and they are also able to shoot above the roofs of the houses of Herr's Tavern which is even on higher ground than Davis brigade.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wv6u8idujnm1i2m/2014-08-06_00002.jpg

Davis brigade moved away now all 5 artillery units start to shoot...

 

Maybe the 'line of fire' could be implemented to the LOS/fog of war system in some way. Areas that are in line of sight but not in line of fire for example behind a brigade should be marked, for example pointed, striped or surrounded by a soft line or maybe the 'line of fire' could get a soft overlay in red. An additional colour system on the map to show the heights would be very useful as well, maybe green/low to red/high.

In upcoming build there will be improvements and will check if issues like this happen. Thank you for the images.

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