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Starting this to get suggestions about the spotting distance problem raised by @Jatzi and myself in @1MajorKoenig's excellent Ship Designer suggestion thread.

Right now the spotting distance is far too low. As I said in the earlier thread: in WW1 a lot of battles and strategy hinged on comparative ranges - staying out of range of your opponent while continuing to fire, or otherwise trying to close the distance to bring a more numerous but smaller calibre battery into action. This was important precisely because both ships could usually see each other outside the effective range of their weapons.

The situation we have now is very different, with destroyers magically popping into existence a few km away like they're rerunning the Philadelphia Experiment, and even heavy ships unable to spot each other before they're within weapons range, or even secondary weapons range.

Case in point: 1917, and a squadron of Queen Elizabeth-class superdreadnoughts are cruising in good weather and calm seas. Out of nowhere, a deluge of 9" HE shells rains down from battlecruisers equipped with the latest Romulan cloaking devices. On the bridge, Admiral Beatty remarks, "There must be something wrong with our bloody eyes today."

Come on, let's fix this. It's ridiculous.

Ho0riVv.png

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My current interim suggestion to make this playable is just raising the base spotting range by 50% and doubling the effect of weather conditions on spotting.

A better overhaul of spotting and targeting mechanics would make a distinction between spotting range and targeting range. Both should be separate stats:

  • Spotting range would be much larger, universal across the fleet and therefore displayed to the player without confusion - the equivalent of running up the 'enemy in sight' signal.
  • Targeting range should be an individual stat for each ship, dependent on damage and weather conditions. It would represent the ability of that ship to direct accurate fire, and be effectively a hard limit on its gun range. Like gun range, it would be represented as a circle around the ship. Ideally, multiple ships would display their individual targeting ranges when selected as a group.
     

@Cptbarney / @Marshall99 / @BobRoss0902 / @Cpt.Hissy / @DerRichtigeArzt / @IronKaputt / @CapnAvont1015 / @Fishyfish / @Skeksis / @Aceituna  and everyone else in the previous threads, would love your thoughts.

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18 minutes ago, SonicB said:

My current interim suggestion to make this playable is just raising the base spotting range by 50% and doubling the effect of weather conditions on spotting.

A better overhaul of spotting and targeting mechanics would make a distinction between spotting range and targeting range. Both should be separate stats:

  • Spotting range would be much larger, universal across the fleet and therefore displayed to the player without confusion - the equivalent of running up the 'enemy in sight' signal.
  • Targeting range should be an individual stat for each ship, dependent on damage and weather conditions. It would represent the ability of that ship to direct accurate fire, and be effectively a hard limit on its gun range. Like gun range, it would be represented as a circle around the ship. Ideally, multiple ships would display their individual targeting ranges when selected as a group.
     

@Cptbarney / @Marshall99 / @BobRoss0902 / @Cpt.Hissy / @DerRichtigeArzt / @IronKaputt / @CapnAvont1015 / @Fishyfish / @Skeksis / @Aceituna  and everyone else in the previous threads, would love your thoughts.

I think this makes good sense.  It is seldom I get to maneuver before coming under fire.  Ideally you would get more precise information on range and course the closer they get and the better your tech is but I would settle for this right now.  Would be nice to deliberately being on an action instead of it just happening and the first sign of spotting is generally my guns going off.

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It would be nice if we could have smoke coming from the horizon and also as the ships get nearer the models start to render from maybe a very generic model that could be anything to whatever it actually is. I also think they should have some kind of empty object at the top of masts and some kind of band or line that sort of searches around the ship in a circular fashion, but maybe it isn't always so predictable, as you might get human errors for thinking they saw something, but it was nothing etc.

Also the ships could then train their guns in the general direction as well, they think the enemy ships are, but not fire as they can't identify if they are friendly, neutral or hostile yet and whether they are civillian or not as well.

Could tie it in with the weather system and make that dynamic so spotting range goes down or up at different intervals until bad weather clears or gets worse (like in real-life).

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Good point. In fact I can't finish one of the academy missions because my ships simply don't see enemy ships, while being shot at by 8" secondaries, and this with having all the best available tech.

I agree with yer suggestion, except no need to hard limit firing range by spotting. It is already hardcapped by guns range, and softcapped by aiming quality vs. existing setting of aggressive/normal/save, where they just won't shoot if chances to hit are too low.

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Especially for the older ships I have the same opinion. I had a pre-Dreadnought battleship which get hammered from about 10km without seeing three large cruisers. Even when they were shooting. For the newer ships it isn’t that obvious as the distances are generally pretty large but for Dreadnoughts and predreads it seems like the spotting system isn’t ideal

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49 minutes ago, 1MajorKoenig said:

Especially for the older ships I have the same opinion. I had a pre-Dreadnought battleship which get hammered from about 10km without seeing three large cruisers. Even when they were shooting. For the newer ships it isn’t that obvious as the distances are generally pretty large but for Dreadnoughts and predreads it seems like the spotting system isn’t ideal

Also if a ship is way out, you would see gun flashes (depending on weather) and also hear the roar of the guns although depends on how big they are and how close they are really. Another thing to be made better lol, r.i.p devs workload.

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21 minutes ago, Cptbarney said:

Also if a ship is way out, you would see gun flashes (depending on weather) and also hear the roar of the guns although depends on how big they are and how close they are really. Another thing to be made better lol, r.i.p devs workload.

Oof that means you got be extra careful when using 20inch guns. As for the Devs workload, they knew what they were getting into when making a realistic naval game. But all this will take time.

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1 hour ago, Cptbarney said:

Also if a ship is way out, you would see gun flashes (depending on weather) and also hear the roar of the guns although depends on how big they are and how close they are really. Another thing to be made better lol, r.i.p devs workload.

Brings up a good point. How can a ship gauge where it's shots are landing well enough, but the target being shot at can't even make out the ship. It's an impossibility unless the ship doing the shooting has a spotter plane or radar advanced enough to see the splashes.  

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I posted this in the big issues thread but it belongs here because it shows something wonky is going on with detection, at least when both sides have radar. I duplicated this in custom battle with different AI DDs as well. It's very odd that is a reverse scenario of the common, small ships being to see and fire on a big ship at close range.

 

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3 hours ago, Cpt.Hissy said:

Good point. In fact I can't finish one of the academy missions because my ships simply don't see enemy ships, while being shot at by 8" secondaries, and this with having all the best available tech.

I agree with yer suggestion, except no need to hard limit firing range by spotting. It is already hardcapped by guns range, and softcapped by aiming quality vs. existing setting of aggressive/normal/save, where they just won't shoot if chances to hit are too low.

I guess the hard cap on targeting range would be to simulate occasions when ships had the theoretical range but didn't have the targeting ability to even consider firing. That said, I just played another battle with my QE-class where the ships got separated and one could spot for the other, and found the soft cap actually worked reasonably well - the further ship had a 0.8% hit chance while still well within theoretical maximum range. This is accurate to ships of that generation which often outranged their fire control. I haven't yet looked for this specifically with lighter ships.

What I would like to see (alongside increased spotting range) as an alternative to a hard targeting range cap is more granularity with regard to aggressiveness. Five settings rather than three, going up in increments from 2% to 20% (of the locked CTH rather than unlocked) would provide a useful amount of control.

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It was mentioned in the previous thread that even battleships on the horizon would be small and easy to miss without radar, when they still had visual spotters. So with calm seas and good weather you could have like a chance to spot a ship on the horizon, which would be every ships max spotting range and would be dependent on mast height, that would increase the closer the ship got. It would go to 100% fairly quickly, there'd have to be research on how easy it is to spot ships from the horizon moving in to judge where to put that limit and how granular the increases would be. Weather would just lower the max spotting range. The chance to spot a ship on the horizon would be dependent on the tonnage I think. That's a good indicator of size. I rather like the radar system from RTW and RTW 2. It just lets you see ships beyond your spotting range although they show up as just green silhouettes so you don't know what they are. 

I like the idea of the ship model being something generic before you identify the ship. I've already said that I don't like how ships are identified in the other thread. Ship identification is dependent on key features right? Number of funnels, maybe number of turrets, and superstructure shape. I dont know the ranges where that kind of stuff begins to be noticeable but I'm sure they could figure it out. At whatever that range is ships begin to be identified. And there should be background factors that affect this. Number of classes in a navy. You only have one class of battleship? Should be fairly simple to identify your battleships then. Class features and how common they are in your navy. Does every class of destroyer in your navy have 4 funnels? Should be harder to identify which class it is. 

I don't think we should see enemy ship names just ship class names. I also don't think we should see reload information for enemy ships. Or ammo counts. I've said this before and got some backlash so I guess make it a toggle? If ppl want to have literally all the information then fine, but there should be an option not to have it. Same with torpedo reloads I think although that's a separate thing. 

Ships should sometimes be misidentified. However how this is presented would be interesting. It would mostly be a long range thing I think and would only really happen between similar classes. Would be kinda hard to think a 5 turret BB is a 3 turret CA for example. That would limit visual discrepancies which could confuse ppl. But if it happens there would have to be some discrepancies. Caliber of gun or armor thickness/speed. 

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2 hours ago, Jatzi said:

Ships should sometimes be misidentified. However how this is presented would be interesting. It would mostly be a long range thing I think and would only really happen between similar classes. Would be kinda hard to think a 5 turret BB is a 3 turret CA for example. That would limit visual discrepancies which could confuse ppl. But if it happens there would have to be some discrepancies. Caliber of gun or armor thickness/speed. 

Or your the Japanese at the Battle of Samar thinking DDs are BBs and CAs, and CVEs are fleet carriers 😁. Bad thing was the ranges were not that far one would expect to make a misclassification. 

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On 1/9/2021 at 7:55 PM, madham82 said:

Or your the Japanese at the Battle of Samar thinking DDs are BBs and CAs, and CVEs are fleet carriers 😁. Bad thing was the ranges were not that far one would expect to make a misclassification. 

Well the commander made that mistake when the Yamato wasn't actually engaged. A torpedo attack forced the Yamato to leave the battle, I think they could have avoided that but I'm not sure and anyways avoiding torpedoes irl isn't easy. Regardless he was operating off of reports and I could see a commander with the force he had facing such heavy resistance, on the ocean and in the air because basically everything that could fly and attack the japanese did regardless of how effective they were, thinking he was fighting a superior force

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8 hours ago, Jatzi said:

Well the commander made that mistake when the Yamato wasn't actually engaged. A torpedo attack forced the Yamato to leave the battle, I think they could have avoided that but I'm not sure and anyways avoiding torpedoes irl isn't easy. Regardless he was operating off of reports and I could see a commander with the force he had facing such heavy resistance, on the ocean and in the air because basically everything that could fly and attack the japanese did regardless of how effective they were, thinking he was fighting a superior force

You give to much credit to Kurita. He gets reports from his fleet, not decides what type of ships their spotters see. The Japanese "convinced" themselves they had found their primary target despite the facts they could see. Remember they were also shooting AP at those DDs/DEs from Taffy 3, despite them making torpedo attacks. Which of course doesn't jive with the facts that US heavy cruisers didn't have torpedoes. It was the ferocity of the attacks as you described that made them break off. The whole battle is a textbook example of the confusion that can be brought by the fog of war. 

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6 hours ago, madham82 said:

You give to much credit to Kurita. He gets reports from his fleet, not decides what type of ships their spotters see. The Japanese "convinced" themselves they had found their primary target despite the facts they could see. Remember they were also shooting AP at those DDs/DEs from Taffy 3, despite them making torpedo attacks. Which of course doesn't jive with the facts that US heavy cruisers didn't have torpedoes. It was the ferocity of the attacks as you described that made them break off. The whole battle is a textbook example of the confusion that can be brought by the fog of war. 

Yeah and I want stuff like that to happen here. I mean that situation is probably impossible to recreate organically in a video game but in RTW I have attacked ships that were misidentified and then greatly regretted it. That CA turns into a BB or BC? Now my cruisers are dead. The DD turns into a CL? Now my destroyers are dead. I like it. Makes me think, are those actually what they seem like. A lot of the time no. This is actually a big problem in night engagements in that game, a good problem I mean. Night battles are bad, very bad.

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