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WelshZeCorgi

The argument against playing with submarines

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Pros: it would be kind of awesome to play as a submarine, who doesn't like a good silent Hunter game? Would def break up the ship to ship combat. 

 

Cons: it would most likely play slower than ship to ship in an already slow paced game. And that also brings up the question, when should the game start? When the sub makes first visual/radar, hydrophone contact? Or when they're near firing position? All that time spent positioning, waiting, firing, evasion eats up a lot of time. And some sub evasions in real history took over 20 hours. Not sure how that would translate to a game. 

It would also be hard to present wolfpacks realistically to the player. In reality it was very difficult, trying to coordinate with other subs basically with little to no communication, filling the communication gap with pre-planned assault tactics with roles being defined based on the subs location relative to the convoy and enemy formation and composition. It would be unrealistic for one player to command several u boats and able to see all the friendly pieces locations with certainty. 

Element of surprise. Subs work off surprise. Even today, if a Los Angeles or a Akula class sub went into a battle with the enemy without surprise on their side, their chances of survival is decidedly lower. If you were pulled off the campaign map and into the battlemap for apparently no reason, automatically you know a sub is your opponent. Because of that, the enemy AI has a much lower chance of success than the human player, making it impossible to balance this mechanic to be fair along with the AI. 

Might be repetitive. There were a lot of sub attacks for any given nation during times like ww2. I think that any campaign that had a realistic number of uboat battles might make it repetitive. 

 

Technology. Tech changed asw late in the game. Essentially turning the hunters to the hunted. I don't think it would be fun to spend hours getting ready for an attack on a convoy, only to get depth charged by bombers or hedgehoged and defeated. Better radar and hydrophones and sonar made hiding much harder and would easily be the most frustrated aspect of the game as tech catches up with the silent killer. 

 

Just a thought experiment but say your opinion. 

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My thoughts on how to have a decent implementation of subs without requiring too much effort:

On the campaign map (so outside of the realtime battles between surface warships) subs should be abstracted with some chance of attacking and sinking ships based on technology, numbers, etc. Depending on how the campaign ends up working, the player could perhaps decide patrol areas for subs.

Within battle, if subs are present they act independently outside the player's control. If enemy ships pass close enough, they may attempt a torpedo attack. The player could increase the probability of friendly subs appearing in battle through doctrine (eg. putting all subs on "fleet support"), building "fleet" subs like the K class, or perhaps some other method but too early say without seeing how the campaign works.

So basically, similar to how Steam and Iron did it.

If people don't want to play with subs, have a campaign and custom battle option to not have them.

 

16 hours ago, WelshZeCorgi said:

Technology. Tech changed asw late in the game. Essentially turning the hunters to the hunted. I don't think it would be fun to spend hours getting ready for an attack on a convoy, only to get depth charged by bombers or hedgehoged and defeated. Better radar and hydrophones and sonar made hiding much harder and would easily be the most frustrated aspect of the game as tech catches up with the silent killer. 

At this point I don't know what the game's timeline actually is, but if we are including the entirety of WW2, I would say that while ASW tech improved so did much of the equipment to counter it. Even the surface-optimized submersibles could generally survive and remain somewhat effective provided they got the right equipment: Radar and radar detectors capable of covering all the threat bands, snorkels, acoustic homing and pattern running torpedoes, anechoic coatings, etc. That's not even counting the XXI or Walter boats which could render even the best WW2 ASW forces impotent. Of course in the case of the second Battle of the Atlantic the Germans were out-spent by the allies by a factor of 9.6 or more, and so even when they could equip some of their u-boats it wasn't nearly enough due to the comparatively massive number of well equipped allied ASW assets. Reduce the allied resources by a factor of ten or increase them for the Kriegsmarine by the same amount (or bring the XXI forward a year or two instead of the literal last days of the war) and you'd have had a very different outcome. In such a more "balanced" fight like that in the Pacific, the US Navy sub force were very effective right up to the very end of the war.

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Definitely have subs in the game, I just meant having subs in the actual battle map alone. Like when one attacks a convoy. But definitely have them on the campaign map. 

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Subs should be as abstracted as they were in RTW. Probably with a somewhat larger control of their strategic deployement, but other than that being out of the player's control. 

In general and in raw terms - submarines did not work well for surface fleet operations. The few times they were deployed with that intended use, their effectiveness was next to none and their general impact pretty much zero.

When operated independently (hence, out of the player's objective scope of tactical map control in a game like this) is when they shined. 


Besides there are precedents of submarine "implementation" in games with similar thematic of both subs being abstracted and not being abstracted. RTW and RTW2 abstract them ,and works perfectly fine (with some minor caveats here and there, specially when the AI goes bonkers and begins putting out hundreds of them, but that's a whole different discussion).
Atlantic fleet fully modelled them in and gave players control over them, strongly featuring on the dynamic campaign gamemode. Once the novelty faded (And didn't took much to fade) it ended up being a completely surplus part of the game, one I wished would be automated so I could just ignore it because it ended being tremendously repetitive (that submarines weren't really adaptable to the turn-based system of Atlantic Fleet was an extra problem with them).

When you're playing a game of this thematic and scope you know what you're signing for. And playing Silent Hunter is not part of it. To play submarine games there are games of that thematic. They must be here, of course, as they were an important part of naval warfare of the era the game covers, but there's no need to make them playable in a game which scope is centered around fleet operations where those submarines were pretty much useles. And much less plug the player into convoy battles with submarines. Something that to be accurately done would need a game on itself.

Edited by RAMJB

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Subs are likely to be abstracted. The use of subs in fleet engagement was very limited. Communication with submerged subs is nearly impossible when in battle, so if they are even implemented in battle they should be at the very least outside of our control. 

Very likely this game will do a RTW approach, though I would like to be able to design some subs myself though. I think that would still be cool to do. Furthermore I do believe that unlike in RTW subs should have a decent impact on the war effort. In RTW they were more a nuisance than a threat, whereas in both world wars the submarine was perhaps the most cost effective naval war machine built.

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22 hours ago, RAMJB said:

Subs should be as abstracted as they were in RTW. Probably with a somewhat larger control of their strategic deployement, but other than that being out of the player's control. 

In general and in raw terms - submarines did not work well for surface fleet operations. The few times they were deployed with that intended use, their effectiveness was next to none and their general impact pretty much zero.

Contributing their firepower directly, yes, the impact was near zero, but shaping movements of forces even at the tactical level simply through their possibility of encountering submarines was an important factor in some cases.   A fleet encounter where you know no submarines are present might develop very differently than it did historically.

Edited by akd
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4 hours ago, akd said:

Contributing their firepower directly, yes, the impact was near zero, but shaping movements of forces even at the tactical level simply through their possibility of encountering submarines was an important factor in some cases.   A fleet encounter where you know no submarines are present might develop very differently than it did historically.

Can you ever really know for certain that no submarines are present in a fleet engagement?

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If they are not included in tactical combat in any way in the game, then yes.

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Oh, I thought you meant in real life. But your point still stands as players in the game. I totally read that last sentence wrong.

 

Actually, that's a really interesting perspective... Yes, fleet subs in tactical combat may not do much, but it might affect battles in a more indirect, nuanced way.

I would hope we could at least be given the opportunity to experiment w/wo subs.

Edited by WelshZeCorgi

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