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Vietnam War Development thread

Discussion in 'Civ2 - Scenario League' started by tootall_2012, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. techumseh

    techumseh Chieftain

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    Hi tootall and happy holidays to everyone! :) I've been in the mountains with the fam for Christmas, so didn't have access to my computer until now. So, my first real look at VN 65-75 was this morning, and it's most impressive. It's quite complex, so that may deter some, but I'm looking forward to unraveling its mysteries.

    The use of the OOB map, pioneered by Boco in "El Aurens" is an elegant solution to the problem of simulation of the escalation and de-escalation by US forces. The withdrawal of American and other interventionist forces was a problem I could never properly solve. It also allows appropriate delays in the arrival of replacement units without the excessive use of the high memory cost of the "delay" event.

    Use of industrial units as targets affecting NV production is something I experimented with, and including supply trucks on the Ho Chi Minh trail is a great addition. It gives the US player strategic targets that were critical during the actual conflict.

    Tech research and connected events look like they reproduce the major strategic options of the US government and military. I look forward to experimenting with the options for "Broadening the War" as you put it, although I struggle with the Johnson administration having such aggressive possibilities vis a vis Nixon. Johnson was far more concerned with limiting the scope of the conflict than Tricky Dick, despite Nixon's goal of winding down the war.

    The mix of VC Base Areas, Depots, Supply Trucks, NLF HQs, and Industrial targets, together with the unit variation on the US/SVN side gives a real insight to the complexity of Allied operations during the war. The various research choices and strategic military options look like they will represent the grand strategy of the US command very well. Finally, it looks like you've utilized the many new features of the Nameless One's Patch Project fully.

    It looks like another outstanding contribution to the collective work of our little community. Congratulations! :thumbsup:

    Some questions:

    1. Why does the F-4E have such a high attack factor relative to other US aircraft, more than even a B-52? (I realize the firepower is higher, but still)
    2. What is the thinking behind using units on the map to represent operational status in NV, Cambodia and Laos?
    3. What is the "Ambush" unit in the Appendix (but not in the Units file)?
     
  2. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 Chieftain

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    Hi Tech,

    Though I certainly agree the scenario is intricate, as I indicated in my designer notes, I strived to make it as simple and as accessible as possible to all players by 1) designing the event files in such a way that it does the brunt of managing the overall workflow of the game and 2) by minimizing all superfluous and administrative tasks. As such, the players are left with the more interesting aspects of the conflict, i.e. making the difficult political decision as they present themselves and fighting the war. In this manner, I believe most players, once they understand the basic game concepts (which are for the most part well elaborated in the event file itself), will actually find the game easy to manage and fun to play. At least that is my hope.

    I don’t believe I could have included most of the Southeast Asian theater of operations without including the possibility of expanding the war to the players. And this is one of the aspects of the game which I struggled the most with during the design process, i.e. the historical what ifs. What was plausible or not, and what where the conditions that could have led to alternate historical situations and what could have been the consequences?

    I don’t claim to be an expert on the conflict in any manner, but through my research and internal deliberations I came up with two important questions with regards the war. Firstly, why didn’t America expand the war into North Vietnam or at least Cambodia and Laos to shut down the Ho Chi Minh Trail (HCMT) and, secondly, what led to Johnson’s ultimate failure and Nixon’s election.

    As for all my scenarios the answers I came up with should be seen, rightly or wrongly, as my own personal interpretations. Other designers, or players who may have a greater historical knowledge of the conflict, might have interpreted things differently, but the final solutions I implemented seemed, to me at least, entirely plausible.

    In the first case, there were many factors that lead to Johnson not expanding the war. As you indicated, at the top of the list, was the very real risk of Chinese intervention or more direct Russian involvement. At home, there was his pursuit of the Great Society which was a very personal political agenda and any escalating military conflict could place great strains on any budgetary allocations to fund the associated programs.

    Of course, not least of all was the American public and Congressional support for the war itself, which even in August 1965 only stood at 61%, when the US commitment to the conflict was at its lowest point. In fact, as the troop levels would increase over the next few years so would the public support decrease. By December 1967, two months prior to the TET Offensive, it only stood at 48%. After TET it would continue to decline significantly making any expansion of the war unthinkable from a political perspective in the United States. And even though Nixon did launch an incursion into Cambodia, he initially had to do it secretly and when it was discovered there was such an outcry in the US that he had to hastily call it off.

    This led me to the conclusion that if the war was ever to be expanded, it could only be done early on in the Johnson administration, when there was still strong support at home, and only if the conditions in South Vietnam itself were favorable, i.e. the military infrastructure was in place to support any cross border operations and that the military situation in the country itself was stable (in terms of the game by building of the 1st Logistical Command wonder and the killing of the NLF HQ units).

    I believe, in the end, that Johnson never would have agreed to this, even though there may have been members in the military or his cabinet that were favorable to this option. Nevertheless, thought it was very unlikely, it did still remain plausible, and therefore I decided to make this a possibility in the game provided the player was able to meet some preliminary conditions

    In the case of the second question, clearly the TET Offensive was the seminal moment not only in ending Johnson’s political career but also in fundamentally changing the course of the war itself. So I had to ask myself what could have prevented the offensive and what would have been the consequences if it had never occurred. At the time of the offensive, American combat strength in country had not quite but almost reached its total wartime peak and yet it had still failed to prevent the build up that lead to the offensive itself, despite carrying out multiple cross country operations. Therefore, to me the only possible option, to prevent the build up and supply of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces would have been the invasion of Cambodia and Laos to shut down the HCMT.

    I believe, had TET not occurred that Johnson would have run for and won a second full term, which would have led him to agree to Westmoreland’s request for an additional 200,000 troops to bring the war to an end in South Vietnam proper. But, in turn, I believe, that would have brought him the additional burden to end the war quickly and without any setbacks and would have precluded the possibility of expanding the war further because the conduct of the war to date would have been interpreted as the correct strategy.

    But if the war dragged on further, the American public would have become increasingly impatient to put an end to it, hence the need not to lose any cities under your control during Johnson’s second term. Otherwise, McGovern would win the next election and pull the country out of South Vietnam as soon as possible.

    But again, this is all speculation, based on my interpretations, of the leaders and different nations agendas of the time. Nevertheless, I feel that my conclusions are realistic.

    With regards your three questions:

    1. Why is the F-4E so strong?: By 1970-71 America had begun introducing a new potent weapon in its arsenal which increased the offensive capabilities of its Air force, i.e. smart bombs. Targets that had previously remained unscathed after numerous attacks by conventional bombs now found themselves increasingly on the losing end of smart bomb airstrikes. These new bombs were used primarily by the F-4E and F-111 aircraft.

    2. I wanted to reinforce to the players the limitations under which they need to operate in the theater, and that they need to follow specific rules of engagement. By adding visual icons on the map, they could always know, at a glance, what operations they could carry out in which country.

    3. You are mistaken, the game does include an Ambush unit, I just decide not to use the graphic seen in the ReadMe guide. Because the Ambush can be deployed in any terrain type, and needs to be invisible, I decided simply to create a ‘blank’ icon.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  3. techumseh

    techumseh Chieftain

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    All very speculative, but that's immaterial. It provides a framework for some challenging and interesting 'what-if' options that I'm anxious to explore.

    Another question: How do you want us to interpret the rule limiting airstrikes, when just flying your aircraft at low altitude means you often run into invisible ground units and automatically attack them, whether you intended to or not?
     
  4. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 Chieftain

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    I agree its speculative but based on some historical data nonetheless, which is why I believe it makes it plausible, and I guess that's what makes these what ifs interesting to explore...

    With regards the movement of air units I didn't necessarily want to add another house rule because I thought it might become self evident to players once they got use to the game, but once your air units exit the first tile of either their city or CVN battle groups base they should immediately move up to the air map (using the 'N' hotkey), then travel to their target tile and only then drop back down (again using the hotkey) to the South East Asia map to attack the selected ground target. This actually makes the game flow much faster and easier and is in reality much more realistic. The US and South Vietnamese air forces flew hundreds of thousands of air missions over the dense jungle terrain of the country during the war without 'accidently' bumping into enemy ground units.
     
  5. techumseh

    techumseh Chieftain

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    Fair enough. But how does the US player search for supply trucks on the HCM trail?
     
  6. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 Chieftain

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    Check game concept #30 of the ReadMe guide, the CIDG Striker units were specifically designed for this purpose.
     
  7. techumseh

    techumseh Chieftain

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    Right. Thanks.
     
  8. techumseh

    techumseh Chieftain

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    A couple of issues: Carrier based aircraft can't attack, the number of attacks allowed seems to be set at 0. Also, the Chinook helicopter can not para-drop. I assume it is intended to be, but right now it's just a slow naval transport.
     
  9. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 Chieftain

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    Check "Game Concept #11. Attacks per turn" and the Known Bugs section. It's appears as though there is a little bit of instability with ToTPP's code when you try to apply the attacks per turn feature to units that are in the 10th to 14th unit icon grid, i.e. units beyond 81. When I get the message that a unit cannot attack because it exceeded its attacks per turn, even though its made no attacks, I typically save the game, exit the scenario and then reload it and that usually resolves the anomaly. If you still have the problem after that, try closing Test of Time completely and then reloading the scenario,

    With regards the Chinook, I didn't apply your wonderful little paradrop feature from your Burma scenario, in my game the unit is really just a naval transport which I use to ferry troops along the coastline cities (I find it particularly useful to avoid enemy units that are hidden along the coastal highway that often impede my troop movements).
     
  10. techumseh

    techumseh Chieftain

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    Re: Carrier aircraft attacks. Have tried numerous reloads and even starting over. I cannot duplicate your reload solution. I have also tried various factors in the # of attacks field, ie. numbers greater than 1, 0, negative numbers, and leaving it blank - nothing worked. I notice that units in the 10th row do attack as planned and there are 5 static units in that row. I know it sounds like a pain, but maybe switch the units around?

    Re: Chinook helicopters. Air mobility was a key US strength, so I'm going to give mine the paratroop flag. There are only a few Chinooks, so it shouldn't tip the play balance. And it will add to the fun.

    Re: VC Base Area terrain. Is it supposed to be impassible? (Edit) I see that many US/SVN units can enter impassible terrain once an invasion or incursion has been triggered, so that answers my question.

    I just want to reiterate that this is a first class, state of the art scenario. It's very challenging and will give hundreds of hours of enjoyment. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  11. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 Chieftain

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    Hi Tech,

    Important question, are you experiencing this for all the naval air units or just some of them. I actually spent quite a few hours testing the different spots in the icon grid before I found a combination that worked, at least apparently for me. As you indicated I tried to insert all the static type units in the 10th row and above.

    Can you try to switch one that doesn't work with one of the operational icons. I coud switch it on my end but since it already works for me I need to know if that would work for you first. Just out of curiosity, are you using ToTPP v 0.131?

    I had already implemented my Chinook helicopter as a naval unit before testing your Burma scenario and since I already had some units with helicopter movement (the 1st Cavalry, 101st Airborne, UH-1's, etc) I guess it didn't occur to me to include your feature. Does it make sense to add the feature to all the helicopter capable units?

    No, that's a mistake on my part. It should be passable. You can switch the 'yes' at the end of the line to 'no':

    VC Base Area, 0,4, 1,0,1, no, 0, 0, 0, no, 0, 0, 0, no, yes,; Ddd

    I spent close to 6 months testing it but in the end ran out of steam, so any feedback is more than welcome about how it could be improved (I tried to test as much of the events as possible within the game itself but there are certain trigers that I never really got to fully test).
     
  12. techumseh

    techumseh Chieftain

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    Yes, all 5 carrier-based planes. I'll experiment with it some more. It's too important to the scenario not to fix. I have ToTPP 1.4 installed.

    I think just the Chinook. Helicopter and other air units can't carry anything. Only naval units can, and they can be given the paratroop flag, interestingly. Other troop carrying choppers (Hueys mostly) have their own infantry, which is built in to the combat factors. The air-mobile doctrine called for the helicopters to land near (or even on) enemy units and launch an over the ground attack, supported by attack helicopters like the the AH-1 Cobra or other air and artillery support. The Chinook and other heavy lift copters could move regular forces, including some heavy equipment. A house rule might limit the types of units that can be moved this way. I suspect that tanks and artillery larger than 105s might be too big and heavy.

    Thanks for the clarification on the VC Base terrain. I'll make the change. I've been itching to get at that fricken' Iron Triangle! :ar15:[pissed]
     
  13. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 Chieftain

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    All five... hmm that shouldn't be. As I indicated it works for me except the occasional times were I have to reload the game. Indeed this is important to resolve because the naval air play an important part in the game. Did you experience this problem from the beginning, i.e. you never got the naval air to work?
    Two things, 1) you mentioned you are using v 0.14, can you try it with v 0.131? And 2) can you send me a copy of your saved game. I would like to test it on my end to see if I have the same issue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  14. techumseh

    techumseh Chieftain

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    Yes, and yes. I'm gone for a few days, will do it when I get back. Note: I fought the Iron Triangle and the Iron Triangle won. :wallbash: This will take some more planning, I think.:think:
     
  15. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 Chieftain

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    Hi all,

    I've seen on the Scenario League site that the scenario has been downloaded by a number of players. I'm looking for some specific feedback on an issue that was brought up by Techumseh (as always he's been very helpful in testing and providing feedback since the scenario was released).

    In the game design, I've taken advantage of two features, to name a few, from the TNO's TOTPP project, i.e. the increased 127 unit limit and the 'Attacks per turn' (which allows you to set a specific number of attacks a unit can execute per turn).

    During the testing phase, I found that the Attacks per turn feature worked fine for the traditional first 9 rows (81 units) of the unit grid, but was a little more temperamental for some of the unit slots situated between rows 10 to 14 (units 82 to 127). After much testing, I was able to place all the units in slots that were able to handle the attacks per turn feature.

    I designed the scenario using ToTPP version 0.131, and besides the ocassional glitch, which I've always been able to resolve by reloading the save game (see post 89 above), these features have worked well for me.

    For his part, Techumseh has encountered an issue with regards the 'Attacks per turn', where a number of units in the 10th to 14th row don't work (most notably the Naval Shell, A-4 Skyhawk, F4B Phantom, A-6 Intruder, A-7 Corsair, F-8 Crusader and 101st Airmobile), i.e. when he tries to carry out an attack with the units in question, the game engine says he's already exceeded his maximum number per turn. He was originally using version 0.14 but even after trying with version 0.131, he can't seem to get the attacks per turn feature to work for these units (even after reloading the scenario).

    Since the feature works well for me but not for Techumseh it's difficult to know where the problem may reside.

    My question is has anyone else who may have tried the scenario experienced the same problem? Any feedback will be appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
  16. Patine

    Patine Warlord

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    I will give it a try definitely. But first, I must ask, I noticed in the above conversation between Techumseh and yourself that you'd stated the reason none of the units in question had been placed in the first 9 rows in the first place was to give a priority to static units being placed there. Techumseh seemed to understand this priority. Is there a particular reason for such a prioritization of unit that I may not initially, on the surface, be aware of?
     
  17. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 Chieftain

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    Hi Patine,

    As I indicated, I'm taking full advantage of ToTPP's 127 unit limit. As you now the base Civilization unit grid is 81 units, i.e. 9 rows of 9 units each.

    In the case of the 127 unit grid that translates to 14 rows of 9 units each (the last unit is for the barbarian leader). Out of the 126 units that I'm using 102 have at least an attack factor of 1 or greater. That leaves 24 units that have an attack factor of 0, what we loosely called static units in the thread above.

    As I mentionned with regards the attack per turn feature, the first traditional 9 rows of the unit grid work correctly. Therefore I placed 81 units that have an attack factor equal or greater than 1 in those rows. The attack per turn problem lies in some of the slots located between the 10th to 14th rows.

    In the case, of units that have an attack factor of zero, I didn't need to be concerned with the attacks per turn feature because they can't attack anyhow, so I placed them all between the 10th to 14th row.

    But that still left 21 units that have an attack factor greater than 0 that needed to be placed in the last five rows. After much testing I was able to find the slots that work correctly, for me at least, in these last rows and placed these 21 units in them.

    The problem we are experiencing is that the attack per turn feature for all these units in the 10th to 14th rows are all working fine for me but as Techumseh's said is not all working for him (most notably the Naval Shell, A-4 Skyhawk, F4B Phantom, A-6 Intruder, A-7 Corsair, F-8 Crusader and 101st Airmobile).

    What I'm asking is anyone else experiencing the same problem expressed by Tech, i.e. that they are getting a message from the game engine that says they've exceeded the attacks per turn for the units mentionned above even though the unit(s) in question haven't made any attack on that turn yet.

    Note: The naval shell, F4B Phantom, A7 Crusader and 101st Airmobile come later in the game, but you should be able to test and confirm if the attacks per turn feature is working for the A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Intruder and F-8 Crusader on the second turn of the scenario.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  18. minipow01

    minipow01 Chieftain

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    Hi tootall,

    I played up to the 3rd turn and can verify the same problem that techumseh is getting. The A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Intruder, and F-8 Crusader are unable to make any attack. I get a message that the unit has "spent all of its attacks (0) already". The game engine thinks the unit is not permitted to attack - hence the "0" in parentheses. By the way, I'm using version 0.131. Here is my saved game file.

    I have to say I'm really impressed with how you modeled air campaigns (amongst many other clever features). The air map is simply brilliant! It prevents my air units from randomly bumping into enemy units that I never intended to target. It also allows me to "land" in friendly cities. Nice touch with the Nakhon AFB!!
     

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  19. techumseh

    techumseh Chieftain

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    What is your operating system?
     
  20. minipow01

    minipow01 Chieftain

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    Windows 10 on a 64-bit system
     

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