Strategic Command WW2 - War in Europe is amazing (biased beta tester)


#41

I’ve been very happy with the AI. Playing the Russians I am quaking in my boots. Playing the Russians in HoI4, I wasn’t sure if some of the German attacks weren’t simply pathing errors.


#42

Mike, I thought the same thing about the learning curve as Allies vs. Axis AI. Pretty cool. So glad you’re all enjoying it.


#43

Jeff, thanks for recommending it. From reading the dev blog, it seems like the AI was something they built up over multiple iterations of the series. I think it goes to show that crafting a strong AI in a game like this requires a lot of time and a really deep understanding of the game.


#44

This sort of AI also requires building the game so that the AI can work, rather than building the systems you want and then trying to get the AI to use them (ahem, Civ VI). For instance, some folks criticize the game’s stacking system, where an air unit in a hex precludes having a ground unit there, or where a single naval counter takes up hundreds of square miles of ocean. But it is exactly that sort of thing that lets the AI do as well as it does, because it simplified the decision making for the computer opponent. Ditto the use of cities as supply sources, rather than tracking it along communications pathways (road, rail). This allows the AI to handle withdrawal and retreat much better than other ways, but it does make grogs squirmy.

Everything is a compromise eventually. It all comes down to what compromises do you want to make. I like the decision making in the design of this game. There are plenty of other games that focus on uber-detailed systems but where the AI is often baffled by the game it’s supposed to be playing.


#45

That sounds about right. A design for a game mechanic has to go hand-in-hand with a design for the AI will attempt to optimize that mechanic. The AI developer basically needs a strong veto of gameplay mechanisms. It probably helps in this case that the person who designs the game mechanics and the AI developer are the same person.


#46

Heh, yeah. Though it limits things in other ways, of course. But presumably the lines of communication should be, at least, short.


#47

Actual game design instead of throwing plain databases at the player? I swear I am getting this game when I can play it.
Jeff mentioned the Russian campaigning, and you mentionned the city centered supply system, but, out of curiosity, is there an emphasis, mechanically, on logistics in the game? My favorite experiences in the genre (Korsun Pocket, Unity of Command) tended to focus on that aspect, but they didn’t have that scope.


#48

Someone holler when this game supports multiplayer!


#49

Someone else would be better to answer this, as I haven’t put much time into this version. But logistics certainly have been important in the other iterations of this series, and I suspect it’s important still, though not at the incredibly micro-managed level of War in the East or something like that.


#50

I’m new to this series and I’m coming from a Hearts of Iron perspective but why can’t I:

  1. choose how to deploy my units at the start of a campaign?
  2. stop production of things that are in production?

Is this series more on the rails than HoI?


#51

@Dave_Perkins, MP should be going live any day.

@Left_Empty - Logistics is very, very important.

@JMR - this game is like the polar opposite of HOI IV. It embraces history and how the war develops. So each campaign is carefully crafted to balance the full war, but still have an superb order of battle.
2 - This is like real life. You have to plan your industrial war effort. If you put in an order for 2 tanks, which will take x months or a year to produce, you have already invested the money time and materiel to make that happen. you cannot magically say “I want all that money back”. It’s a realism thing. If it’s not for you, you can turn it off, but I’d suggest you learn to play with production realism because in the long run it makes the game wayyyy more fun.


Also something I forgot to mention for everyone. Go into advanced settings and turn on (check) “Escort Range Highlights”. It helps a lot with seeing who can protect your units.


#52
  1. Yes, the game starts at the start of the war, so you can’t spend a couple of years directing the buildup.
  2. The production model is much simpler than HoI. You buy units and wait for them to arrive. You get a couple of events to decide things like whether you want to sink resources into completing the Graf Zeppelin or convert one of the Italian battleships to an aircraft carrier, but there’s no ongoing production drain for units in the queue.

Is it on rails? I don’t think so. You can declare war on whoever you want, when you want. You can generally build and research what you want. It doesn’t cover the whole world, or the prewar years, so I guess you can’t conquer India or South Africa as Germany.


#53

Not on rails. Games go differently each time especially depending on diplomacy. One of the great things about the game is your ability to direct the war effort to change each scenario. You can have a game where you all but ignore North Africa and the Middle East, yet another where that is your primary objective. Same goes for air and naval foci. If you make the exact same choices, buy the exact same stuff, make the exact same moves it will tend to be similar. So it hits that sweet spot where you have predictability but good variability.


#54

I wasn’t able to take Paris until Sept '40 because the AI put up quite a fight much more than what I’m used to in HOI III and IV. Also spending a lot of points on reinforcements too.


#55

It helps to use air power to reduce enemy entrenchment. Bomb not to cause damage but to reduce entrenchment. Or at least that’s what I read! I had more trouble than you: I didn’t conquer France until October 1940!


#56

I took out France by the end of July, but I followed a strategy I read on their forums, about using the money after the conquest of Poland to buy lots of long-lead-time units, so I had a pretty big force of tanks by the time May 6th rolled around. The main problem was the traffic jams as the front moved too quickly for the tanks at the back of the column to see much action. Also, yes, using bombers to reduce entrenchment is vital. Though it’s going to be a tad expensive to repair all the damage my bombers took.

The supply system is pretty good. Towns and cities project supply on to the map, but less if they don’t have a working rail connection, and battle damage reduces this. HQs work to bump up the local supply level (based on the HQ’s supply). I think it does a good job of conveying the quality of supply, but I’m less convinced it does well with the quantity. In HoI4, a low-supply region may only support a few light divisions, so you can’t afford to operate massive mechanized formations there. Put too many units, or too many heavy units in and supply problems will bite. In SC, the same situation means that ALL units will be operating at reduced efficiency and won’t be able to be fully reinforced, but you can have one half-strength corps or six panzer corps and it’s all the same.


#57

Thanks @jpinard. You think it will make a good multiplayer game? How many turns is typical?


#58

Playing against a human will be cool. Each turn can be pretty in-depth so it’s one of those games where you can do one turn per day and feel like you accomplished something. The game scales turns based on the Month/Season. Sometimes one turn = 2 weeks. But that changes based on the campaign. You won’t be looking at a game under 20 turns unless someone makes some mistakes. Somewhere between 30-80 turns I think? I just hope Fog of War is lockable so people can’t peek if they play with that on.


#59

This threw me for a loop in my Barbarossa-as-allies game. I was looking forward to a long winter to recuperate, played a couple of turns and was like, damn, it’s late spring again so soon? Why does industrial production slow down in the winter? I remember Clash of Steel had a nice model where one economic turn represented a 3-month season, and each season had a variable number of operational turns. So summer might have 8-10 turns and winter would be 4-5 but summer and winter had the same economic output.


#60

Can’t wait to find out if multiplayer works well! If it does, I’m interested.