Advanced Tactics Gold directions… what do you think?

Just a quick post about Advanced Tactics development with an extensive poll at the end.

I am building up enough small fixes and unofficial hot fixes to warrant an official beta patch sometime soon. Its crazy in my development agenda, but I like to keep supporting ATG and further develop it.

The last big things I added where tank models and officers. Then I tried to see if I could get the historical unit models (a bit like in DC; think Infantry Division, Pz Regiment, etc..) into ATG. However after spending quite some time on it I am not sure anymore this is a good idea. Allowing the player to create models for units (like: 40 inf, 2 at-guns, 4 horses) and have automated reinforcements being send adds more complexity to the game than I first thought. Mainly in 2 areas: 1. The player will have to have a in-game design window to specify the ideal contents of such models. But its not straight forward as for example if no halftracks are available, would trucks be ok too? or if no infantry is available will infantry ‘IV’ will be ok too? or SMG? or militia?…. 2. The player will either have to receive free of cost auto-reinforcements which would act as a magic transfer (breaking some core gameplay principles with transfers costing transfer capacity points) or an intricate system will have to be build where HQs use their land,train and navy transfer cap pts to send out these auto-reinforcements…

Anyway it is a hell of a lot more work than I expected and my gut-feeling here is that it might not be worth it. Why try to make ATG more like DC? DC already does this stuff well. Since the code base of ATG and DC have split some time ago I would ideally like to see ATG move in its own unique direction and get as much difference between DC and ATG as possible.

But my main goal with any continued ATG development is to support the community. So enough about my thoughts. What would you like to be the direction of Advanced Tactics?

What direction would you like ATG's features to move too? (select up to 3)

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21 Responses to Advanced Tactics Gold directions… what do you think?

  1. Jafele says:

    My favourite options:

    1-See if you could get leaders to be actual individual troops in a unit that can be killed.
    2-Work a bit more on the AI to get it to be smarter with research and production.
    3-Something else…. Please add a comment below this post.

    What about to implement in ATG the enhanced mod by Lancer or something similar? http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3250908

    Cheers

  2. CSO_Talorgan says:

    Ask Lancer to write a manual for the editor.

  3. kaldadarnes says:

    Warning – long post approaching…

    Everyone has their own views so I’m just humbly submitting a few ideas, i.e. no need to flame me if you disagree.

    Basically, I’d love to add some more complex decisions to the meta game of industry and research, as I think the operational strategy part of the game is excellent, but there are some areas where I think so much more depth could be added without making things hugely complicated. All my suggestions (I hope) build on what is in place, rather than introducing whole new elements. They may be rubbish, but what the heck, I’m going to lob them in the mix anyway.

    So in turn:

    Industrial strategy (build on factories, resources and research)

    1) Units placed at production facility not automatically to HQ for both player and AI (or maybe assigned to local HQ automatically only if there is sufficient Strategic transport capacity – like the ERM but for new units as well)
    2) Political points now split into Strategy points and Research points; strategy points perform like political points declare war, recruit leaders etc., research points are used for tech upgrades.
    3) Development of the “resource” concept to include manpower (cost of building units) derived from cities, and coal (for strategic movement and production) derived from mines in the same way as Raw.
    4) Development of factories concept – I envisage 3 types of production facilities (not including resources),
    a. Cities remain, but can only produce level one units, strategy and research points. However cities can also produce manpower.
    b. Armaments industries build all units (infantry, tanks, planes, guns, trucks etc. no longer factories specifically for unit types) and also produce upgrade points
    c. Research facility producing research points (more efficiently than cities)
    5) Unit upgrades now require upgrade points from armaments industries, (not just supply – the ability to instantaneously upgrade the Wehrmacht’s entire stock of PAK 38s to PAK 40s would be no longer available…). This would hopefully force players to choose which units to prioritise upgraded kit for (this was pretty common in WW2 where the elite units (especially the Waffen SS) got the pick of the kit, whilst the poor “Landser” divisions were lucky if they got a few Stug.42s

    I like to think that these together would really build on the factories and resource concept in ATG, making decisions around upgrades and infrastructure more interesting.

    Meta-game (build on research & cultures concept)

    6) Meta-technologies/doctrines – technologies that change the way your units perform regardless of level e.g.
    o “blitzkrieg theory” – boost to all your tank units’ attack power and movement.
    o “winter warfare” – increases combat performance in snow, whilst reducing supply requirements during winter,
    o “supply chain optimisation” increase supply AP range and reduces supply consumption,
    o “aerial photo analysis”, marginally increases recon scores for fighters, allows aerial photo analysis teams to be attached to HQs
    o “convoy theory” – reduces supply losses to submarines
    o “military industrial complex” – increases output from armaments industries
    o You know what, I could do this all day…

    I’d like to be able to develop doctrinal capabilities as well as technological ones.

    7) Development of the “cultures” concept, so game factors are dependent on culture
    • Officers more likely to get card types depending on culture – Germanic people get “blitz” attack cards, Anglo Saxon get Artillery bonuses,
    • Cultures industrial characteristics and needs vary – Americans get extra PP but higher supply consumption – Japanese/Asian have reduced oil needs
    • Cultures start with certain technologies enabled – German dive-bombers start at level 2
    • Again I’m just getting started here…

    The cultures concept is a great idea but feels a bit light at the moment (your culture should change your decisions about the way you play and be an important decision if you are choosing who to play)

    Improved Leaders and HQs (builds on Leaders)

    8) I’d like to see Support units. My idea is that these would be permanent “cards” to your Leader at a PP cost, possibly more senior officers can have more than one, increasing the power of experienced commanders – a few ideas are:
    o Field hospitals – changes infantry casualties to retreats
    o Armoured Recovery Vehicles – changes tank casualties to retreats
    o Intelligence officers – increase frontline recon scores
    o Radio intercept station – provide traffic analysis allowing you to see HQs and unit types (but not detail) a dozen hexes from your HQ.
    o Combat engineers – increase attack scores across rivers and against cities and fortifications
    o Field police – increase effectiveness against partisans
    o Traffic controllers – increase movement range of units in difficult terrain
    o Signals detachments – increase command range
    o Ground/Air liaison – increase AA scores and effectiveness of air strikes on nearby hexes
    o Ground operations team – increases Aircraft readiness recovery
    o Aerial Photo analysis team – increases air recon scores
    o Seriously, somebody stop me…

    I love the HQ concept and the recent development of officers is great, but I would love it to have a bit more depth – so formations really start to become distinct through their leadership.

    Other stuff

    9) Improved interface design – it’s functional but does look a little tired – DC looks great – can we get some of that love over here?

    10) Player defined unit templates, with a 1 click “reinforce to template” button (which would also allow you to “build to template” by reinforcing an empty unit). I’ve read Vic’s comments on this – but still think it could work in a simple form, even if just pulling form the units HQ and cannot pull any if troop types are not in the HQ. But heck – if it can’t be done, it can’t be done.

    11) Ability to re-equip tank units – basically, for tank formations make the men and equipment separable so elite light tank crews can move in to medium tanks, or have a more complex tech-tree for armour. I hate it when my elite light tanks become mere cannon fodder for less skilled medium tank crews. If Michael Wittman had been forced to remain in a Stug.III for his entire military career, I very much doubt that career would have lasted until 1944.

    12) Greater complexity for victory conditions in random games – I tried to create a time limit on myself in this game using an abstracted population morale. I’m certainly not suggesting that it was perfect but it would be great to have more complexity in this area so as to extend the challenge of the game. I’m not really sure how best to do it, I’m sure there must be some kind of algorithm that could work.

    These last 3 I hope could be patched easily:
    13) A player definable “mobilisation period” – being number the approx. number of turns before the AI can declares war in random games – this would allow human players to take on more challenging AI opponents without it simply being a matter of surviving the early rush. I’m not suggesting war is forever delayed, but historically there was normally a month or so of escalating tension when troops would be mobilised etc.

    14) Ability to choose culture for random games (I know you can do this already, but without having to dip into the editor)

    15) Let’s incorporate Webizen’s NATO counters as an option in the standard game (if he is prepared to surrender the intellectual property of course…)

    As ever, the ability to turn these off and on is critical as different people like different styles of game. This flexibility is, of course, part of the genius of this game.

    Wow – that was massive.

  4. mgaffn1 says:

    Would really like to see the historical unit creation applied to AI. AI in ATGold has had the tendency to create “funky” unit composition. An improvement like this would enhance realism AND playability.

    Less important on my list would be whether human player can create historical units.

    Suggestion to incorporate webizen’s NATO counters as permanent part of standard game is a good one.

    Hope you are not tempted to go down the path of fancy & prettier graphics – the salient features of ATG are playability, random map, and editor features.

  5. vic says:

    @cso,
    Lancer is very buisy on Dc3. Otherwise it would have been an excellent idea :)

    @kaldadarnes
    That was massive indeed. But some excellent ideas in between there!

    @mfaffn
    I hear you about those sensible units for the AI. It is not a bad suggestion indeed.

    @jaffele
    I am very cautious about making the vanilla game to specific. Because it will be tailoring to the tastes of some then but not to the tastes of others. And well there is already mods :)

  6. ernieschwitz says:

    Very great long post there Kaldadarnes, inspired me too….

    I think I would like the following added, not from the list, and not commented yet:

    1). The ability of engineers to build more than 1 type of road.

    2). A way to make fighters intercept better or worse, dependent on SFT, or maybe research. The reason I ask for this is that I tried to model Radar as a better chance to intercept. I could get it to work in a 2 player game (as intercept chance is something checked on your opponents turn), but not in a more than 2 player game. There was simply no way to test if a opponent had radar or not.

    3). Support of bigger maps. I would love to make a bigger map, but, at present it seems like everything above 40,000 hexes is ill adviced.

    Claus / Ernieschwitz

  7. CSO_Talorgan says:

    The solution to this:

    “Support of bigger maps. I would love to make a bigger map, but, at present it seems like everything above 40,000 hexes is ill adviced.”

    … might be this:

    “Make loading and modifying a saved game and then continuing play possible (to use ATG as a campaign tool for another tactical game)”

    … if ATG could become its own stratmap or campaign manager. When combat is joined at an “operational” level the game might adjourn to a lower level map for detailed “tactical” combat. Once that is over the game reverts to the “operational” level. Rinse and repeat. Suddenly your war has a lot more detail and the actual map has become very large indeed.

  8. vic says:

    Note to self: Check also this thread on the Matrix forums: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3855206

    Note to self: “After reading the WW2 AARs in ATG, I don’t recall a Pearl Harbor event occurring in any of the games”

  9. nicodede62 says:

    Thank you for this survey vic.

    It’s hard to make a choice, I had first check 9 boxes, I had to bring myself to 3, it’s difficult to decide :).
    Continue your work, it is excellent !

  10. Strategiusz says:

    1. Fog of war during combat.
    2. Allow players to destroy their owns buildings, roads etc.
    3. No free transport to HQ from cities by default XD.

    And the perfect game is created.
    And just for fun or experimenting:
    1 – WeGo turns.
    2- Resources have to have a supply line to a city.
    3- Climate zones visible on the map.
    4- More options for random maps.

  11. Jafele says:

    2-Resources have to have a supply line to a city.

    +1

  12. vic says:

    I chose to persist with implementing those bloody TOE models and auto-reinforcements first. I think increased FOW features might be next up after I have that TOE feature fully operational and debugged.

    Thanks for all the advice and comments. Its really motivating!

    Best wishes,
    Vic

  13. Jafele says:

    A limit to the number of troops you can recruit based on population (size and number of cities).

  14. mjr says:

    I would like to see the OOB tab on the graphs screens be made far more user friendly. Which ever unit i selected in the OOB i would like to see what SFT its made up of and be able to transfer units between each other, change HQ, create new units.
    Just to be able to organize and create my OOB from this one screen as it gives you the clearest most easily digestible overall view of your army.
    Maybe an icon added to units on the OOB screen to show you which of your units were in combat the last round to give you a quick idea of where attacks are strongest.

    Also some more hotkeys added for the new features in the TOE ect.
    While you are clicking through the UI ect we can currently use “space” to confirm an action instead of clicking the tick icon on the UI, why not also be able to use “space” to confirm any highlighted UI button also might be a good idea.
    I am all for making the UI less “clicky”

    Thanks for your work Vic.

  15. mjr says:

    Just thought to add that a transparent overlay feature that you toggle on and off much like with the supply overlay only you could draw out a simple plan on with the mouse and circle areas to pay attention to or make notes on ect.
    I find that after leaving a game for a day or two you can forget what you were doing.

  16. Greg W. says:

    Don’t know if this is too late to add to the comments. I would like to see an option to switch out nationalities, as in the Sid Meir’s Civilization game series. I would like to add/substitute Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Indian, and Persian. Ideally, I’d like to be able to easily customize any nationality and just manually change the names of the cities (e.g. Sioux, Zulu, Greek, Swede, Malay, Maori, etc.).

  17. Greg W. says:

    BTW, thanks, Vic, for all your effort on this. It’s just amazing that you continue to support ATG with all the other projects you’re working on.

  18. steevodeevo says:

    Hi all, hard to believe but I only recently discovered this game and it is amazing. it just keeps revealing more and more depth.

    Is it still supported and any more single player campaign’s and scenarios being developed or has attention moved on?
    BW,
    Steve

  19. vic says:

    Hi Steevo,

    I am still doing patches for issues, and there might very well once upon a while a new feature added but at the moment I am mostly working on Shadow Empire (SE).

    SE design is being overhauled and is going to end being relatively close to ATG.

    Best wishes,
    Vic

  20. Khanti says:

    I voted today, it’s still possible ;)
    1. Make infantry, aircraft, etc.. also customizable by allowing you to create different models of them in-game (like the tank models)
    2. Work a bit more on the AI to get it to be smarter with navies, especially concerning inter-continent warfare
    3. See if I could implement some more detailed statistics, like historical losses and kills per troop type
    But this one is also desirable:
    4. Work a bit more on the AI to get it to be a bit smarter with land combat decisions

    In short: AI! I and most players use ATG in single player mode.
    In long: 3 greatest features of ATG are: officers, custom tanks and TOE ;) Vic, You know what I mean.

  21. Khanti says:

    Work a bit more on the AI to get it to be smarter with navies, especially concerning inter-continent warfare — for me it means to teach AI that ships CAN BOMBARD not attack hex. Attacking land hexes with ships mostly do nothing, anyway.

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