Discussion of the Garrison System

Talk about on-going development of Supreme Ruler 2020 here. What would you like to see in updates or in a future Supreme Ruler title?

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George Geczy
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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#31 Post by George Geczy » Nov 29 2009

catatonic wrote:IMHO, the concept of adding "speed bumps" to the game was a mistake from the start. The next time, you might want to give more consideration to your new players (customers) who are already so shocked at the game's complexity that they would welcome an easier military aspect, instead of the "generals" who keep insisting that you make the military game harder.
Well there's actually a few factors that affect these points - one is the fact that Garrisons were meant to replace the building and positioning of conscript infantry units by 'micro management'. Both the AI and many human players would use this to create those very same 'speed bumps', so why not make the process easier; this should in a way reduce complexity by automating the process. Plus, Garrisons that are dormant are a zero CPU and memory drain, since the only wake up and act as units when enemies approach the city, and as such are much more efficient than manually placed conscript units.

As well, the AI use of Garrisons is directly affected by the military difficulty levels, and there is much less use of them at the easier levels for new players.
But the garrison problem is compounded by other questionable elements in the game:
1. Over-population of units.
It is true that this is a problem still, though we are working on it. The sale of older units between regions actually helped this a bit, sending unused units into war zones, but there's more to do.
2. Short-range units allowed to attack outside of their hex.
The tactical design of SR2020 is that units generally fight against adjacent hexes, only in rare conditions do they fight 'in hex'. As this is the design, it means that units are generally expected to be 'near the edge' with each other as they battle. This is also backed up by the 'standoff' unit policy, which is that artillery and such can remain untouched as long as an offensive unit like infantry or a tank are in the hex. It's not perfect, but it works pretty good.
3. Close combat penelties.
Some units need their stats better balanced for this, and the AI needs to understand close combat better, but again I think it is an engine concept that generally works.
4. No-miss attacks.
As has been discussed elsewhere, a 'random' factor is less necessary when the combat design is as detailed as is the case in SR2020; the damage from attacks builds up over dozens (or hundreds) of engagements in each day.
5. Overly-strong garrison units.
Yes, I agree here, the Garrison stats need adjustment.

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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#32 Post by tkobo » Dec 03 2009

2) Reduce supply levels of all front-line (border) hexes; similar to #1 (though could also be used together with #1), and it will also have some interesting game strategy effects.
Ive been thinking about this one, and i cant think of a positive effect it could be meant to have ?
On the other hand,i can this making large combats between large amounts of troops in an oranginzed frontline manner les likely to happen in game.As units would likely experience more shortages of supplies, making them retreat more often.
Seems to me, this would have the effect of making frontlines that much less common.

I would think youd want the opposite.IE features that make front line combats more common and organized.
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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#33 Post by Hundane » Dec 03 2009

It would seem that the player as well as the AI would have to have a bigger contingent of supply trucks and air transports to conduct operations on a large offensive front. At least thats what Im reading into it.

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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#34 Post by George Geczy » Dec 03 2009

Yes, it's hard to predict exactly what Front Line/Reduced Supply would result in; front lines would be easier to break, but you'd also have more trouble launching offensive actions It would benefit those that use resupply units, obviously.

It has certain positive 'reality' aspects, such as the fact that industries on a front line would have reduced production, cities on a front line would have reduced supply to the rest of our region, etc. All of which makes some sense when you consider the chaos of being close to a front line. A surrounded "pocket" of a dozen hexes or so would be considerably disrupted and easier to mop up.

But it may be correct that there isn't really any good overall gameplay results from this rule.

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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#35 Post by George Geczy » Dec 03 2009

Another idea that came up when we discussed this in the studio today is to make it so that only front line supply sources are affected - ie a city or base on the front line generates supply at half the normal rate. So front line borders are still fully supplied by sources behind the lines, but cities right on the line have their supply output reduced.

It would also be possible to combine this with the 'isolated hex no supply' idea by using a gradual reduction system. For example, if a city is bordered on one edge by the enemy, it generates 5/6th the level of normal supply. Bordered on four edges, it would be 2/6th supply level. Bordered on all six sides, it would be down to 0/6, or no supply output.

As one other note, there is the potential problem that for single player games this will make it too easy for humans to exploit the "surround and conquer" style to take out enemy strong points, but I'm not sure how much of an 'exploit' that is (say, compared to my strategy of using close combat engineers to quickly mop up isolated cities).

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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#36 Post by tkobo » Dec 03 2009

I like the idea on sides cut off,reducing supply for a city by increments.

Still not a fan of supply being cut automatically on the front though,simply by mechanics without any action from the player.The AI and some players still find the supply system "too hard" as it is.

And in more than a few areas on the map,the city on the front can be the only one for quite some distance.This to me seems like it would increase the amount of AI units getting trapped out of supply due to overmoving into a low supply area.
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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#37 Post by Tosti » Dec 04 2009

Code: Select all

I think first we have to decide what garrisons are.

1Are they regular infantry? (just stationed at the city)
2Are they reservists? (IE like the US's army reserve)
3Are they armed civilians? (people who live in the city but take up arms to defend against an aggressor)

Because of this it depends on how strong they should be, how fast they should construct, and what they should be able todo.
Personally, garrisons are way to easy to obtain, and a pain in the arse in heavily populated areas. More over they spawn way too fast. They have about the same strength as conscripts, which are 5 days to make, some garrisons spawn within a few in-game hours.

As for the above quote:
1: Yes, see 2.
2: Yes.
3: No, these would be the guerillas and partisans.

As for the AI. I almost always get the impression that every country is waging a turtle fight. The AI is almost never successful unless they attack in huge numbers with superior weapon technology. Most of these attacks are being repelled by clusters of towns, all having the max cap of garrisons in them.

Sure, some players know tactics for those problems, but it makes the AI look very clumsy imo.

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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#38 Post by tkobo » Dec 14 2009

Since your looking at changing supply for cities,could it be made so "abandoned" cities dont provide supply ?
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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#39 Post by catatonic » Dec 14 2009

tkobo wrote:Since your looking at changing supply for cities,could it be made so "abandoned" cities dont provide supply ?
I just checked my version 6.6.2 DEFAULT.UNIT file - it shows 0 supply generated by abandonded cities.
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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#40 Post by tkobo » Dec 14 2009

Hmm, ill have to look again at another one i guess then.I would have sworn i had one giving off supplies last night .It was the only surviving city for many hexes, and it seemed to be radiating supply/color.
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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#41 Post by catatonic » Dec 14 2009

[quote="Tosti]
Personally, garrisons are way to easy to obtain, and a pain in the arse in heavily populated areas. More over they spawn way too fast. They have about the same strength as conscripts, which are 5 days to make, some garrisons spawn within a few in-game hours.[/quote]

Amen brother.

However, it just occured to me the one use that I have for garrisons - when moving through an enemy region I need to cover my back in order to prevent guerillia and partisan uprisings and I station garrisons there for that purpose. Otherwise I have to leave mobile units there to "mind the store". That would also be a "pain in the arse ".

Still, what can a bunch of roudy malcontents really do? Cut supply lines? Maybe. It might be worth it to just let the partisans do their worst until I take their Capital without those stinking garrisons in my way.
"War is merely the continuation of politics [diplomacy] by other means"
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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#42 Post by Graygan » Dec 17 2009

I rarely have to deal with partisans myself. I tend to play longer games where I build up my forces and essentially blitz a nation. Partisans don't come up often enough for me to have to deal with them before the nation falls.

Of course, my preferred campaign is the Shattered World set-up, so there aren't any really massive nations. Most nations fall in days, a couple weeks at the most. Except Brazil. For some reason, Brazil always takes me forever unless I conduct a massive air-drop campaign.

Garrisons, however, are a real pain in the rear... granted, I suppose that's what they're designed to be. However, there are so many that, over time, it affects the AIs ability to conduct war. Once they've got all their manpower tied up in garrisons, they just can't field any other units.

If we could come up with some way for the AI to recognize this and get rid of those garrisons that are 50+ kilometers behind the current combat lines, it'd make it easier for the AI to field more units. For instance... in one of my current games, West Germany has taken over most of Europe(Scotland down to all the Iberian peninsula, all of italy and france except Corsica and Sardinia, east past Moscow, and down into Turkey)... yet it can't advance any more because it has no man-power left. They're all tied up in garrisons. The same goes for the enemies of West Germany. Every now and again one nation or another will build up the manpower to get a couple units going. Those units run up against garrisons, get hurt, and go back to the base to be fixed. Then they stay there for days or weeks or more until more manpower is generated. Then the cycle starts over again. If they just got rid of the couple hundred or so garrisons they have in the British Isles(thousands of kilometers behind the lines), they'd have the manpower to use the units I donated to them.

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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#43 Post by catatonic » Dec 17 2009

Graygan wrote:Once they've got all their manpower tied up in garrisons, they just can't field any other units.
This is an excellent point - garrisons are a needless drain on everyone's reserves. The player can switch off their Defense Minister, but AI opponents can't.

Still - I have not observed any AI opponent that seemed to lack enough reserves for a stand-up fight.

When you see Russia stockpile hundreds of unused bridging units, etc., and still come after you with tanks and super-planes it makes me think that manpower is not a big AI issue.

But I do not have a feel for the dynamics of smaller regions, so again, your point may have merit.

I do know that garrisons benefit smaller regions more than larger ones who have the resources to defend themselves with legitimate forces.
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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#44 Post by Graygan » Dec 17 2009

Yes. Agreed.

The dynamics of the game is different depending on the campaign. In Shattered World, there are no truly large super-powers except possibly India. Even the three Chinas are so broken up that they're not as effective as they could be. On the one hand, that makes for a more interesting game in the short-term(first 20 years or so in game). In the long term, due to the way the AI works, many nations literally run out of man-power due to combat losses and the huge number of garrisons.

In the standard campaign with Russia, China, and the US not broken up, the AI can afford to do things like that. Those super-powers have the manpower to lose a million men and still field an effective force. In Shattered World, when North China and South China lose a million men each, they're down to using a handful of units at a time. This could all be changed if the AI knew that reducing garrisons would allow it to use more powerful and mobile units. Other, smaller, nations lose manpower even faster and over time, it's a matter of attrition. Who loses the most manpower and is unable to field modern units first is the loser. If the AI were to reduce garrisons and field those modern units the nation might fall faster, but it might not... Especially if it has help in the form of donated modern units from the player.

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Re: Discussion of the Garrison System

#45 Post by George Geczy » Dec 17 2009

The Ministers for both human and AI players look at the reserve soldier status when deciding whether to increase garrisons or not.

Though I could see that changing situations might not be properly considered (ie garrisons are increased when there are lots of reserves but not decreased when the reserve pool decreases due to losses or mobile force growth).

For the AI, a garrison unit is often requested in a place where the AI would want to place a defender infantry (such as a light infantry or conscript) if Garrisons were not available.

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