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"Reverse engineering of a tank video game" Topic


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990 hits since 27 Jul 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2017 5:43 p.m. PST

The game system I've been working on could be called reverse engineering a tank video game (at least that's what has worked best to explain it). Traditional game activations and IGO-UGO turn structures are replaced with a "Time & Action" concept using one-second games turns as a timing mechanism in a similar way a video game uses a frame by frame representation to display graphics movement. This enables the game to use historic weapons platform performance without the need for abstraction. The timing aspect synchronizes movement and firing eliminating the need for additional over watch and opportunity fire rules.

Comparison to tank video games: A video game streams the action on a frame by frame basis with 50-70 frames per second. As frame images come into view the video game player can react to move or shoot. His reaction does not translate immediately into shooting. There is a delay for the player's reaction time and even more, if he is not paying close attention or the enemy is obscured. Then there is the amount of time to maneuver and/or rotate his turret onto the target. Finally there is the aim time generally shown as an accuracy circle representing the expected dispersion of the shot. Longer aim times means better accuracy. There may be 400-800 frames that go by before firing takes place or about 8-10 seconds.

In Treadheads the game is "streamed" with turn numbers being called out sequentially with each turn representing one second of time. All players who reacted in a previous turn who are scheduled to shoot in the current turn do so. That means there can be simultaneous firing. If no shooting is scheduled for a turn play moves immediately to the next turn. After performing an action the player immediately plans their next shot or action and the turn it will be performed as there is no orders phase.

Reaction to enemy threats can occur on any turn when two or more units come into LOS and within spotting range. They all perform a mutual Situational Awareness Check (simulates reaction time and spotting effectiveness with a single D20 die roll) to determine how quickly they can react. The result can be that you can engage (start rotating the turret or move) in the next turn or there is a delay in a number of game turns in responding.

Delays are caused by being surprised in your flanks or rear, environmental factors, crew buttoned up/suppressed and the efficiency of the crew. There is a single D20 roll to randomize the final result because we don't want it to be predictable. Unbuttoned and unsuppressed units will have a distinct advantage in gaining the initiative. When engaging a target to shoot the game uses the historical turret rotation rate and a variable aim time before shooting.

With the game using one second turns the historical turret rotation and rate of fire time can be used without abstracting it. The variable aim time is a risk-reward decision the player makes. Shooting first is important but not if you miss. The player can decide to shoot sooner but with an accuracy penalty. Any Engagement Delay and aim time factors are hidden from the enemy producing the initiative and a fog of war without additional rules, exceptions or die rolls.

Time & Action for activation: Since turns are used as a timing mechanism actions can be assigned as a timing value for their speed using historic performance. For example, the T-34/85 had a turret rotation of 30 degrees per second. If it needs to engage a target 100 degrees away it takes 4 seconds. There is no need to abstract the value. If a gun has a historic rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute that translates to firing every 6 turns. However, that value would be adjusted for loading, crew performance and aim time and maybe a SNAFU. I've used information from manuals, TRADOCS and equipment testing with very little borrowed from other games.

There are enough variables so the future turn of action cannot reliably be predicted. This produces a fog of war. The amount of time to perform an action replaces initiative determination rules. Being quicker than your enemy gives you the initiative.

Movement: A video game has a tank image moving across the screen frame by frame. Treadheads uses "virtual movement" as a way to portray exactly where all moving units are on the playing surface on a turn to turn basis. Physically moving each vehicle each second of time would be unplayable. The movement arrows are used to show which vehicles are moving, their direction and speed. The length of the arrow is how far it will move in five turns. This gives a good visual representation of movement on the playing surface.

Each movement arrow is divided into five increments showing how far the vehicles will "virtually" move each turn. Movement is not plotted but is restricted by the direction of the arrow and the vehicles ability to move. Every 5th turn is a Mutual Movement Phase when all units on the playing surface are physically moved the length of the arrow in the direction the arrow is pointing (no free form movement).

After moving the arrow is flipped over and used to show the new direction. To track and ensure each unit moves during their movement phase the movement arrow (printed on both sides) color should match up with the color of the turn card (blue or green). To bring a unit to a halt, players simply remove the arrow. Movement increments are small enough to allow players to respond and integrates the time for movement and firing eliminating the need for additional and complicated over watch and opportunity fire rules.

Over Watch and Opportunity Fire: Being able to synchronize moving and firing without automation is the challenge for any game system. Because most games (I'm sure there are exceptions and some games do it better than others) use a structured move/shoot or random activation they require additional rules and exceptions to accommodate over watch and opportunity fire. Because Treadheads can use turns as a timing mechanism it can simulate a second by second integration with firing and moving without additional rules.

Over Watch is reflected by facing the gun/turret in the expected direction the enemy will appear. Crews have 360 degree awareness but threats in their flank or rear will take longer to respond to and longer to rotate your turret. Your "opportunity" to fire at a moving target depends on how quickly you can respond. If you are not quick enough the target may move out of LOS or another enemy may fire before you and knock you out. When the turn comes to fire if the targets "virtual" movement has put it out of your LOS you've lost the target and must engage a new one.

The movement arrows give a prediction of where the target will be on a turn by turn basis so the player can estimate the amount of time needed to engage a moving target. That means if a defender knows and enemy will need 10-12 turns to engage, aim and shoot and his movement will put him out of LOS in less than 10 turns he can move out of LOS and hide before being shot at or force the enemy to use less aim time with an accuracy penalty.

Example: On turn #25 a moving and buttoned up T-34/76 comes out of a tree line pointing directly at and surprising an unbuttoned German Panzer IV with the T-34 in his front 45-degree aspect. On turn #25 they both perform a Situational Awareness Check. The T-34 has a tactical advantage by flanking the Panzer IV, however, being buttoned up and moving his Situational Awareness is diminished. The result of the Situational Awareness Check involving a single D20 die roll is that the Panzer IV detects the T-34 on his flank right away with no delay but the T-34 has a three turn engagement delay before noticing and responding. The delay aspect eliminates the need to perform a Situational Awareness Check each turn.

The Panzer IV wants to engage and rotates his turret taking four turns to get it aimed at the T-34 who for the next three turns continues moving straight unaware of the Panzer IV. The target is at 1100 meters so he takes the maximum amount of time to aim which is 7 seconds so he'll fire on turn #36 which is unknown to the T-34.

After a three turn engagement delay on turn #28 the T-34 notices the Panzer IV with his gun pointed directly at him. His options would be to stop and fire, stop and reverse back into the woods and hide, shoot on the move or move and evade (no firing when evading). He decides to stop (moving his model up three segments along the movement arrow for virtual movement from turn #26 to 28 and then removing the arrow), aim and fire. Fortunately, the Panzer IV is already in his frontal arc and only needs one turn of turret rotation to get the gun on the target. The T-34 needs eight turns of aim time for maximum accuracy because of the two man turret puts more of a burden on the tank commander (aim times can vary between different vehicles).

The T-34 sees the Panzer IV has beat him to the punch and will fire any second. Using eight turns of aim time for maximum accuracy will most likely let the German fire first. His risk-reward decision is to spend eight turns of aim time and hope the Panzer IV misses or shorten his aim time with an accuracy penalty (Battle Sight Tactic) in an attempt to shoot first. He decides to get the shot off more quickly taking six turns of aim time with an accuracy penalty hoping for the best and shooting on turn #35.

Turns numbers 29-34 are announced and any other actions and shooting is performed and all moving units are physically moved on turn #30. When turn #35 is announced physical movement of the models is performed again (every 5 turns) and then the T-34 fires on turn #35 beating the Panzer IV to the punch by one second. He then decides to fire again at the Panzer IV or perform another Situational Awareness Check to switch to a new target. If the Panzer IV is still alive he fires on turn #36.

So what does this accomplish? It shows that seconds really do count in a shoot out. Fog of war is created by opponents not knowing the exact turn you'll shoot. The initiative is determined by the timing of an event governed by weapons platform performance, tactics, crew performance and players risk-reward decision with a small randomization. Opportunity fire does not need any special rules and rate of fire and movement remains the same. The turn by turn game sequence keeps all shooting and moving units on the table synchronized without the need for random activations or IGO-UGO sequence. The movement arrows showing speed and direction of movement add an extra dimension to the game allowing players to visualize future actions. Virtual movement places moving units exactly where they should be on a turn by turn basis without additional effort. Players can use time & action to reproduce almost any tactic or maneuver tanks performed from WWII to present time.

Wolfhag

crazycaptain Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2017 5:51 p.m. PST

Sounds fun! I do also enjoy video games for being able to do this for me when I am lazy ;)

Lion in the Stars27 Jul 2017 6:15 p.m. PST

So, kinda like Impulses in SFB?

Works. Not my cup of tea, however.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2017 11:11 p.m. PST

Sounds a bit tedious.
What about infantry, artillery, planes, etc or is this just tank vs. tank?

christot27 Jul 2017 11:46 p.m. PST

Sounds thrilling.

Andy ONeill28 Jul 2017 1:55 a.m. PST

Second by second.
I suppose that allows for a direct representation of reality.

I prefer more abstraction.
Isn't that one of the plusses of computer gaming though?
They handle all the complexities under the cover.
The players don't need to know about all that stuff.

deephorse28 Jul 2017 6:43 a.m. PST

Read the first four paragraphs and then gave up, thinking "why not just play a video game?". Sorry about that. It may well be your life's work but what's the point?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 11:04 a.m. PST

"why not just play a video game?"

You could ask that question about any tabletop wargame…or boardgame.

And the answer is….?

Thomas Thomas Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 1:55 p.m. PST

The problem in a second by second game is that players will take a minute (or two or three) to figure out what to do when in fact they only have a second.

Hence its much better to structure a game around decision points – and the need to relay that decision to driver/gunner/loader etc.

Video games have there uses (second by second being one) but so do table top miniature games which are much better at platoon level (1 tank = a platoon) using orders and decision points.

Thomas J. Thomas
Fame and Glory Games

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 3:09 p.m. PST

The problem in a second by second game is that players will take a minute (or two or three) to figure out what to do when in fact they only have a second.

TT:

Actually, having played Wolfhag's rules, it doesn't work that way. Most seconds pass in a second. grin Of course, most all wargames have that same time-mismatch problem:

Ten minute turns pass in twenty, hour turns pass in one half or two, and day-long turns pass in a much shorter time. [or two hours of game time last 8 hours of real time.]

People get excited about actual game turns that last the scale time, but even there, that isn't what happens. Players spend 10 minutes moving units distances that would take 15-20 minutes and resolve combat in 10-15 minutes that would actually take 2-3 minutes…

So, taking a minute to figure out what to do in a few seconds game time isn't all that different… Computer games aren't any different in that regards except in a few instances of first-person shooters.

deephorse29 Jul 2017 4:12 a.m. PST

And the answer is….?

The answer is to play a video game.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2017 12:22 p.m. PST

deephorse:

Well, there are any number of great video game websites and chatrooms and an high-end computer can't be any more expensive that miniature gaming.

Enjoy.

thehawk31 Jul 2017 7:00 a.m. PST

What about the differences between the tanks e.g. crew workload differences and technical differences such as optical systems? I believe they were significant.

Mobius31 Jul 2017 7:40 a.m. PST

What about the differences between the tanks e.g. crew workload differences and technical differences such as optical systems? I believe they were significant.

Right you are. Especially when range estimation error is involved. I had to write a program (so to be impartial) to have a range error factor based on the sight optics.

Mobius31 Jul 2017 9:44 a.m. PST

the T-34 fires on turn #35 beating the Panzer IV to the punch by one second.

If the PzIV is over 631m away so it takes a 76.2mm AP shell 1.0 second to reach that distance. So then does the PzIV get to fire as well?

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP31 Jul 2017 10:05 a.m. PST

Of course, it does! It happens every game. You can see where seconds really count. I have time of flight listed in 100-meter increments to help with that and to determine hitting a moving target. I just didn't go that deep into the explanation because I think I'm already losing people.

If you keep the time and action concept in mind things like that can be worked out without the need for special rules and die rolls.

Wolfhag

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP31 Jul 2017 10:18 a.m. PST

… "why not just play a video game?". Sorry about that … but what's the point?

The problem in a second by second game is that players will take a minute (or two or three) to figure out what to do …. Video games have there uses (second by second being one) but so do table top miniature games which are much better at platoon level (1 tank = a platoon)…

I can hardly object to the "ain't my cup of tea" view. I do think, though, that many of us might agree that there isn't ONE exclusively valid, ordained, correct, and perfect level of abstraction for miniatures wargaming.

When Worlfhag first began describing his rule set while it was in early development, I voiced a few of these perspectives (I do hope that I was not on too high of a horse when I did). But the initial feedback from gamers who play-tested the rules at cons in my area (my extended area -- he seems to operate in about a 150 mile radius of me) has been rather positive.

Gamers seem find the rules fun, engaging, and thought-provoking.

Even if this level of abstraction isn't my cup of tea, I could hardly argue with the feedback. And so I won't. I am intrigued by Wolfhag's undertaking, and follow his writings with some interest.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP31 Jul 2017 10:19 a.m. PST

I just got back from a four day trip to the mountains.

First, thanks for the replies.

McLaddie, thanks for the clarifications.

Mark 1, thanks for the generous comments. I've gone from Sacramento to San Jose. Maybe we can get together at End Game sometime?

Regarding computer games: Personally, I don't like video games, mainly because I'm terrible at them. I use that comparison because it is easy for new and younger players to understand the concept. I'd have to say that Treadheads most resembles the Phoenix Command system. I used their concept, not their mechanics and data. Yes, I know how unplayable it is, I have all of the books.

I admit that many of the first impressions of the game do scare people away. It's not unusual to be intimidated by something new that you don't understand. If you have no knowledge of tank crew operations and nomenclature it can be a learning curve. However, tankers pick it up right away. You learn the game by performing the same operations and making the same decisions as real tank crewman do. I don't make apologies for that as it is not any more difficult than any other system and in some ways easier.

I like using manuals and TraDocs to develop a game that can use historical weapons platform performance and tactics rather than a subjective and abstracted system. However, there are some good abstracted systems that can deliver believable results while being playable and fun. I'm not criticizing anyone or system. Play what you like and ignore detractors.

As far as claims about "realism" or the game duplicating reality? That's above my pay grade and do not make any claims. I've been involved in war games at the highest level at HQ USMC in Quantico as a "low level" player and a participant in computer moderated combined arms field exercises in 1973 before the MILES system. I do have all of the data and manuals US military umpires used to determine combat ratios, firepower, and results. Games are not reality. Never were and never will be, even the Beltway Bandit developed ones for the military. Playability and fun is what you need for entertainment. When play testing, any areas players had problems with I eliminated or modified. Calculations are no more difficult than adding a few numbers together like any other game DRM.

Some players like games where chaos rules the battlefield, units only sometimes obey commands, they randomly activate and shoot (or not) and sometimes the game turn randomly ends before you can perform an action. It can be fun and entertaining. Treadheads is fun and entertaining while being more predictable but that allows you to plan ahead and select tactics to use your strengths and tactical advantage against the enemy with fewer surprises. However, you can customize the game to get the desired level of surprises, SNAFU's and fog of war.

Two years ago at Pacificon a 14-year old that had never played a war game before kicked ass on experienced players old enough to be his grandfather. How? The experienced players had a problem wrapping their head around a new system and thought they knew it all. Their mind was stuck in a traditional game sequence where someone told them it was their "turn" to shoot or move or were waiting to roll the dice to activate. The 14-year-old said he just pretended he was the tank commander and did whatever would make sense like shooting and then moving out of LOS while reloading and waiting for the enemy to move by before popping out to shoot. He was able to estimate how much time it would take for the enemy to respond once he appeared and knew he could safely pull off a shot. Note: His opponents did not have any flank security! Experienced players were waiting to react to events rather than doing it on the turn it happened. They lost the initiative to the 14-year-old. In Treadheads you live or die on your decisions, tactics, and actions by using your strengths against your opponents weakness, not the dice.

McLaddie is a Napoleonics gamer, not a WWII tank enthusiast. In his first game he was able to effectively use the "Shoot & Scoot" tactic in the same way a tank crew would. He pulled his tank next to a slope in a turret down position (concealed from the enemy), performed a Situational Awareness Check to acquire the target and rotate the turret in its direction. He then moved to a hull down position (enemy units performed their SA Check against him because he was now in their LOS), spent a few more turns of aiming to get better accuracy and fired. Immediately after firing he reversed to a turret down position (concealed from the enemy) to reload and observe for his next shot. The enemy did not have enough time to react and engage. He did that several times successfully if I remember correctly. The "Shoot & Scoot" tactic makes it difficult for the enemy to have enough time to get an accurate shot unless they know exactly where you'll pop up or they'll have to take an accuracy penalty to get the shot off in time. It's a timing issue, not a die roll or chance to activate.

Thehawk: Yes, crew workload and optical systems do make a difference. The way I see it the workload in detecting and engaging a target and the reload, aim and fire routine is going to be the same for any crew. This is where the OODA Loop comes into play with more experienced crews performing more actions in the same amount of time than a poor crew by getting through the OODA Loop more quickly. This helps establish the initiative. When performing an SA Check to determine if there is a delay in spotting and engaging a new target there is a crew DRM on the D20 die roll. Ace -2, Veteran 0, Trained +2 and Green +4. So with all things being equal a Veteran crew normally but not always will have a 4-second advantage over a Green crew.

When shooting Ace and Veteran crews can spend less time aiming and still have the same accuracy as Trained and Poor crews that will need to spend more aim time for the same accuracy level. The rate of fire is faster for better crews too giving them a 2-4 second advantage. However, a tank like the Hetzer will take a lot longer to reload and fire than a Panzer III for all crew types. Guns with two piece ammo can take 20-25 turns to reload, aim and fire.

I have a gunnery spreadsheet formula I've modified that is based on error budget factors. PDF link
Errors are assigned a mil value and dispersion factors (the way accuracy is measured) are generated in 100-meter increments. Optics generate an aiming error of 0.3 mils (that's the best data I can find). Poor quality optics can be up to 0.75 mils or an aiming error of 1.5 meters at 2000 meters. The basic dispersion factor (accuracy) is randomized. If it is greater than the target size the round missed. Don't worry, this is all transparent to the player as there are not even any die roll modifiers to look for. Better optics and higher magnification allow a hit location modifier at shorter ranges.

Taking more aim time on the first shot includes the range estimation as Mobius stated. I think we are both using the same source info but with a slightly different interpretation. Better crews estimate the range better and will have a more accurate first shot. Range finders can be used too but take a lot longer. What I like about it is I can simulate the ranging and bracketing fire control techniques gunners used including battle sight and burst on target tactics. I used the data and aim times from the US M-60 tank manual along with historical accounts. It sounds more difficult than it is in reality to play it. Actually, any gunnery or to hit system from other games can be used too.

Thomas: There is a decision point each turn for a player to react to any enemy activity. So if a player is scheduled to shoot on turn #26 and a new threat appears on turn #22 he can attempt to respond and react and cancel his current fire order UNLESS there is an engagement delay of 4+ turns. It helps to ask yourself; "In this situation what would I do if I were a real tank commander?". By knowing the amount of time to perform an action you can estimate your chances of success or decide if it is better to move/evade than to shoot back. The unknown factor is you don't know your opponents action turn or when he will shoot.

DoctorX: I've used infantry, artillery and air support too. Just think of the "Time & Action" concept. So when a mortar or artillery round is fired it may have a time of flight of 30-60 seconds. This makes it difficult to shoot at moving targets. However, you can have a barrage area where rounds from a battery can land any turn depending on the # of guns and their ROF. MRL barrages work remarkably well. Infantry teams/sections engage in a firefight with the results determined every 5 turns allowing for a build up of firepower. During the firefight, they can be affected by direct and indirect gun fire. Suppressed infantry teams/section have a better chance for an Engagement Delay allowing an attacker to fire and maneuver better on them. HHAT weapons use the same risk-reward aim time system with escorting infantry and vehicle machine guns reacting to defend against them. It's still a WIP.

Andy: So you want something more "abstracted" I'll take that as a compliment! I am working on a more abstracted and dumbed down version for a game with 10-12 year olds at Pacificon in Sept. It will make more use of randomized die rolls to determine the "Time & Action" to shoot and relieve players of the tediousness of having to make decisions. After reviewing the results I'll post it as a free PDF.

Lion: Like SFB? Correct me if I'm wrong: A game with 10 impulse movement with and a ship moving at a speed of 5 would be physically moved by the player every other impulse. From what I can gather impulse movement slows games down because each figure is physically moved a specific distance in specific impulses which takes time. I use what I call "virtual movement" (for lack of a better term). The model is not physically moved every turn.

The way I break down movement is that if a vehicle moves 100mm in a 5-second movement phase it is "virtually" but not physically moving 20mm EACH turn along the movement arrow without any player effort or action. A vehicle moving 150mm in 5 turns virtually (not physically) moves 30mm EACH turn along the movement arrow. Every 5th turn ALL the models on the table with movement arrows are physically moved up to the 5th segment (end of the arrow) and the movement arrow is now placed to show the new direction.

Using virtual movement syncs moving and firing for seamless opportunity fire and a mutual movement phase actually speeds up the game. Impulse movement slows it down. There is no need to measure movement distance as the length of the arrow is the distance moved. When shooting, the range is measured to where it has virtually moved along the movement arrow, not where the model is located physically. I do have a video that clarifies it.

I do have a FAQ and Designers Notes document. PM me if you are interested in getting a copy. McLaddie and Christot, I already sent you a copy. I also have some videos of movement and SA Checks.

Thanks,
Wolfhag

Mobius01 Aug 2017 7:47 a.m. PST

…the M4 linkage on the periscope sight (on the Sherman) has slack such that after a some firing it produces an additional dispersion of up to 4 mils in both planes.

link

A larger dispersion may apply to all periscope sights if they need a linkage to the gun system.

4th Cuirassier02 Aug 2017 3:56 a.m. PST

I'd never really thought of a wargame as a computer game with a really poor frame rate.

RTJEBADIA02 Aug 2017 10:14 a.m. PST

Sounds like a fun game. I think some of the doubts people have are because so many games (even skirmish games) tend to be shy about focusing on the firefight and instead seek to build around the action between multiple firefights.

There was actually a similar system in a Wild West RPG, "Aces and Eights." I had similar doubts there-- 'but what about the 10 minutes walking down the street to flank the guy holed up in the saloon'-- and indeed if you are going to include engagements in that scale (rather than just the minute or two of shooting once everyone is in position) I'd recommend taking note of whether a second-by-second system overly encourages constant action when sometimes sitting attentively and waiting is better/more realistic. Aces and Eights did this by allowing both sides to fastforward in certain situations-- still the same mechanics, but you just agree neither side is changing their decisions for a certain amount of time and just move or sit in over watch or whatever. But the actual shootouts were good, and in fact yours sound even better (tanks might just be more interesting than revolvers however ;). The basic fact that most turns only take a second is the key.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2017 10:01 a.m. PST

Jbadia,
Here is a partial quote from Otto Carius (one of the top German tank commanders from WWII): "Unfortunately, impacting rounds are felt before the sound of the enemy gun's report, because the speed of the round is greater than the speed of sound. Therefore, a tank commander's eyes are more important than his ears. As a result of rounds exploding in the vicinity, one doesn't hear the gun's report at all in the tank. It is quite different whenever the tank commander raises his head occasionally in an open hatch to survey the terrain. If he happens to look halfway to the left while an enemy antitank gun opens fire halfway to the right, his eye will subconsciously catch the shimmer of the yellow muzzle flash. His attention will immediately be directed toward the new direction and the target will usually be identified in time. Everything depends on the prompt identification of a dangerous target. Usually, seconds decide. What I said above also applies to tanks that have been equipped with a periscope."

When seconds count, which is the case in most 1:1 engagement/skirmish games, using seconds as a timing mechanism solves a lot of gaming problems. That's what I've tried to model with SA Checks resulting in a delay from being buttoned up or flanked. It handles the initiative and opportunity fire without additional rules.

Aces and Eights sound similar. So in a Wild West gun fight with 30 second turns a guy starting on the second floor of a bordello could run down the stairs, through the ground floor, across the street, and into the saloon. If he encounters 6 bad guys that had a LOS to him how do you determine who shoots and when? A solution would be synching the movement and firing with reaction checks that could generate a delay in reacting and shooting. Others would like a more abstracted immediate reaction to respond and shoot.

An engagement delay by a bad guy could allow our hero to move into and out of LOS without the bad guy noticing him or even without the hero noticing the bad guy. It's not really different than any other reaction system it just uses a smaller unit of time.

The "fast-forward" concept is common sense. Most scenarios I've run are meeting engagements where both sides start out of LOS with minimal intel. They set up in formation at each end of the table with a pre-planned movement route. The game starts out with multiple movement turns until at least one enemy vehicle comes into LOS. Then the engagement/skirmish starts. Other formations continue on their pre-planned route until notified by radio or get LOS to another enemy formation. I think that's just common sense.

In the middle of an engagement if there is no enemy LOS we go back to the pre-planned movement (hidden?) until there is another LOS. If an attack is going poorly the attackers can pull back out of LOS and call for an artillery strike taking at least 30 turns. This gives the defenders some freedom of movement and time to have reserves show up or mount a counterattack. It's somewhat abstracted and may need a GM but it's pretty much common sense.

A concealed anti-tank gun detects an enemy tank at 1500 meters on turn #25 and can fire on turn #35. On turn #35 the enemy is at 1300 meters which is too far away to hit and penetrate. So what does anti-tank gun do? He decides to hold his fire and "track" the target until it gets closer, stops or presents a flank shot. Tracking a target allows you to fire in any future turn without a delay. It works great for triggering an ambush.

Of course, if the target moves out of LOS it loses the tracking and must acquire the target when it comes into LOS again. I think this is common sense and does not need a special rule.

Wolfhag

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2017 10:28 a.m. PST

Mobius,
Yes, I've heard about the Sherman periscope gun sight problems. I think the early Russian T-34 and KV-1 had similar problems.

I have not started on the early Sherman gunnery chart yet. I'm using a gunnery system based on the fire control methods crews used in WWII. The first shot is a ranging shot with a range estimation error of 20%-30% depending on the crew type. A range finder is 10%. A missed shot uses of the missed shot MPI result. So if a ranging shot with an accuracy of 2.5 meters has a result of 2.2 meters it would miss but the next shot would use an accuracy of 1.1 meters to reflect the bracketing correction. If the round hits the gun is ranged in (you have the correct elevation). The ranged in formula uses only the inherent accuracy of the gun and the aiming error. If a bracketing shot misses and the 50% value is <= the the ranged in accuracy the gun is now ranged in and uses that value for all successive shots.

Modifiers: All gunnery charts are modified for that particular vehicle model with accuracy values in 100-meter increments. The only modifier is for crew type and less than optimum aim time. A ranging shot at 800 meters Ace and Veteran crews use the accuracy for 800 meters. Trained crews for 900 meters and Green crews for 1000 meters. This handles their inability to estimate the range. For each second less than optimum aim time add 100 meters range additional for all crew types. This is actually easier than searching for die roll modifiers and there is no math involved.

So my question is would the 4 mil aiming error be included in all shots or just the ranging shot? If included in all shots (which is what it seems) hitting a target over 500 meters would need a lot of luck. Did the early Shermans also have a traditional through turret front gun sight?

Thanks,
Wolfhag

Mobius03 Aug 2017 1:55 p.m. PST

I think all Shermans had the traditional gun sight. But it might have been difficult to use. It is said the gunners couldn't get there heads in the proper position to use the M55 traditional sight.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

Mobius,
I'm assuming the periscope sight aiming error would be a fixed bias? However, would the gunner be able to overcome that somewhat by using Burst on Target for follow-up shots?

In other words, would that error be for all shots or could it be somewhat eliminated?

According to "Armored Thunderbolt" the M55 was introduced at the end of 1942. Before that, the Sherman appears to have had only the periscope sight.

Wolfhag

Mobius09 Aug 2017 8:39 a.m. PST

According to "Armored Thunderbolt" the M55 was introduced at the end of 1942. Before that, the Sherman appears to have had only the periscope sight.

I didn't know that. Thanks.
German assault gun vehicles didn't use a linkage but their periscope sights were mounted to the gun cradle through a range drum device. Like an anti-tank gun. I don't know how Russian assault guns had their periscope sights.

BTW, to fill out your gun firing tables, Miles Krogfus just posted that of the 75mm KwK 42 for the first time anywhere.
link

Gamesman612 Aug 2017 12:44 p.m. PST

Continues to sound interesting… look friars to hearing more and would like to play the rules…

It always gets me when people post along the lines of… I read half the boat and then thought why bother with this… why bother posting if yiu have nothing to add and don't want to play a game?

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2017 3:09 p.m. PST

Mobius,
Thanks, I didn't have that KwK 42 info.

From what I found out about the early Sherman not only was the M4A1 periscope giving a 4 mil error in both planes but the M55 telescope was almost as bad, including the gunners having difficulty aligning their head with the crash helmet on. I'm not sure when this was solved.

From what I could find on the Russians was the periscopes were for viewing and not aiming the gun. That includes the SU-85 and SU-152 having coax telescopes. That's probably why you don't see the sliding periscope slot around the sight like you do on German assault guns.

Some good info here but some may not be entirely accurate:
link

By the end of the week, I should have a 6-page write-up for an easier and more abstracted version of the game. The time & action concept is still used but a die roll will make engagement time variable. Maneuvering and turret rotation are abstracted together to determine how quickly you can react and engage a target.

Gunnery will involve a single D20 roll with no die roll modifiers. Rather, accuracy penalties and bonuses (like size, moving targets and moving while firing) are determined by adding or subtracting the D20 hit # in 100-meter increments. It's a more traditional approach and easier to understand. A 1 always hits and a 20 always misses with a SNAFU Check.

There will be optional rules for crew performance differences, hull down/suspension down, range finders, optional aim time and targeting weak armor areas.

Wolfhag

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