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#1 TonyE

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 06:13 PM

Feel free to ask questions about the HCE demo here.

If you don't have the demo, see http://harpgamer.com...?showtopic=3446

For those of you running the full HCE product the demo showcases additional scenarios in the WestPac battleset (though they are available here at HG for separate download). The demo also has the USNI scenario remakes that are not yet present in the full HCE game. Suffice it to say you might have interest in the demo even if you have the full game.

Many thanks again to Ralf Koehlbach for remaking USNI #3 and for extensive testing of the other remakes. Brad (CV32) remade USNI #1 & #4 while I remade #2 & #5. Brad built the entire database of platforms in addition to his other contributions. The game icons are courtesy of StalinTC. Take a look at his Icon Mod and his Sound Mod for HCE.

#2 noxious

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 06:21 PM

HCE finally has a demo version available :D

Read more at: http://harpgamer.com...?showtopic=3446


Yeah !! Congrats fellas
Tony, does that mean we get a non expiring official build too ? Or it's just the demo users getting the love ;)

#3 CV32

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 06:31 PM

Just a few notes about the HCUS (Harpoon: Commander's Edition USNI Database) DB used in the HCE Demo:

Firstly, let me say that the focus of the HCUS is, of course, on the platforms that featured in the original USNI scenarios. That said, there are a few that are different from the original, or more particularly, focus on a more specific variant of a platform that appeared as a broad representation in the original.

For example, the "Long Hull" and "Short Hull" versions of the Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) class guided missile frigate, as opposed to just a single Oliver Hazard Perry class in the original.

Another example would be the modeling of the air defense systems. While the original USNI scenarios were limited, of course, to the original Harpoon Classic method of incorporating or building air defenses right into the installations, the HCE Demo (and HCUS) take advantage of the fact that HCE allows us to model individual air defense systems (e.g. SAM batteries) and then adding them to the installation in exactly the position we want. Or alternatively, placing them outside the installations altogether.

The most obvious difference, therefore, is the level of detail. Compared to the HCUS, the HCDB is huge and in some respects, constrained for space for future growth. The HCUS, on the other hand, given its USNI focus, is aimed at modeling a single theater and the combatants that might meet each other in a circa 1992 conflict.

Although broadly similar, data values may or may not correspond to those you might find in the standard HCE database (the HCDB) or my other database, the HCDA. I have tried a a bit of different approach on a few things in this database, so you might find a few differences.

The plan is to eventually develop the HCUS into a database that focuses on the GIUK theater in the closing days of the Cold War. I hope you enjoy the database, the scenarios, and of course, the HCE Demo! :D

#4 TonyE

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 06:35 PM

Yeah !! Congrats fellas
Tony, does that mean we get a non expiring official build too ? Or it's just the demo users getting the love ;)


Thanks, the demo has been a long time in coming.

No new patch yet for the full game. There is still a fair bit for you beta testers to do and some items I want to wrap up (which will naturally make more work for you beta testers). I feel like we're getting close to another patch though fwiw.

#5 pmaidhof

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 09:49 PM

demo has been a long time in coming.


Well done guys. B)

#6 Akula

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 10:09 AM

Yeah !! Congrats fellas
Tony, does that mean we get a non expiring official build too ? Or it's just the demo users getting the love ;)


Thanks, the demo has been a long time in coming.

No new patch yet for the full game. There is still a fair bit for you beta testers to do and some items I want to wrap up (which will naturally make more work for you beta testers). I feel like we're getting close to another patch though fwiw.


Yay! More work! Errm...wait a second. :lol:

#7 Joe K

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 10:42 PM

Coming from HCG/WesPac directly to the HCE Demo, a few things jumped right out at me in short order:

1. What exactly does the "lightning bolt" indicate? Seems to appear when the group turns its radar on - but since that is already indicated by the radar range circles, is the bolt actually indicating that the group has been "painted" by enemy sensors? Or...?

2. No matter which side I play and however I deploy my groups, the AI finds them in short order, and blasts them via unseen weapons and platforms; meanwhile my units can even blaze away with radar, but never detect anything until visually - when it's waaay too late. In other words, the AI can find and "see" my groups - and kill them with unseen missiles - without using any radar whatsoever... yet I can't detect enemy groups without literally tripping over them - even if I use my radars... What am I doing wrong? Why the great discrepancy between the AI and the player in terms of detection capability?

3. Adding to my frustration, on the few times that I do detect a target and get to fire at it, the AI almost always evades my missiles - yet meanwhile they plaster my groups with un-evadable missiles; what's up with that?? It doesn't appear to be due to platform/missile characteristics, 'cause it does the same thing when I switch sides - and get to use those other platforms...

4. I can't figure out how to attack a base that has associated AA sites: My air groups will attack only one element of the base group - then stubbornly refuse to attack the other elements - or even to repeat an attack on the first element... What do I need to do to deal with these multi-element bases?

I am able to do pretty well in HCG, but in HCE, I can barely get my groups into action before they get roasted! What am I doing wrong?

Thanks!

#8 Herman

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 11:25 PM

1. What exactly does the "lightning bolt" indicate? Seems to appear when the group turns its radar on - but since that is already indicated by the radar range circles, is the bolt actually indicating that the group has been "painted" by enemy sensors? Or...?

The lightning bolt indicates that the unit with active radar is being jammed by ECM.

3. Adding to my frustration, on the few times that I do detect a target and get to fire at it, the AI almost always evades my missiles - yet meanwhile they plaster my groups with un-evadable missiles; what's up with that?? It doesn't appear to be due to platform/missile characteristics, 'cause it does the same thing when I switch sides - and get to use those other platforms...

I'm not seeing the same thing. I'm able to kill the AI units quite satisfactorily. Can you provide additional details? Saved game, perhaps?

4. I can't figure out how to attack a base that has associated AA sites: My air groups will attack only one element of the base group - then stubbornly refuse to attack the other elements - or even to repeat an attack on the first element... What do I need to do to deal with these multi-element bases?

I have experienced some similar behaviour. See:

Completed intercept of dead unit
http://harpgamer.com...a...&showbug=31

#9 Warhorse64

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 11:59 PM

Lightning bolt means there is a hostile wide-area airborne jammer (eg the EA-6B Prowler) out there somewhere jamming your radars.

#10 CV32

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 05:23 PM

Coming from HCG/WesPac directly to the HCE Demo, a few things jumped right out at me in short order:
1. What exactly does the "lightning bolt" indicate? Seems to appear when the group turns its radar on - but since that is already indicated by the radar range circles, is the bolt actually indicating that the group has been "painted" by enemy sensors? Or...?


As answered, it means that radar is being subjected to offensive electronic countermeasures (ECM), or jamming.

2. No matter which side I play and however I deploy my groups, the AI finds them in short order, and blasts them via unseen weapons and platforms; meanwhile my units can even blaze away with radar, but never detect anything until visually - when it's waaay too late. In other words, the AI can find and "see" my groups - and kill them with unseen missiles - without using any radar whatsoever... yet I can't detect enemy groups without literally tripping over them - even if I use my radars... What am I doing wrong? Why the great discrepancy between the AI and the player in terms of detection capability?


There are numerous methods by which the AI can detect your units:

(1) Passive ESM: If you have a unit that is actively radiating its radar or sonar, those emissions can be detected well beyond the range of the sensor.
(2) Active radar: Being painted by an enemy radar.
(3) Sonar: Active or passive detection by acoustic means.
(4) Visual: Spotting with the ole Mark I eyeball.

I think the thing that many players (especially new players) often forget is that once one enemy (AI) unit spots you, all of the enemy forces know where you are. So, for example, if an AI submarine gets a passive sonar detect on your ship, don't be surprised if that ship is subsequently attacked by AI aircraft.

These are generalities, of course. Is there a specific situation?

3. Adding to my frustration, on the few times that I do detect a target and get to fire at it, the AI almost always evades my missiles - yet meanwhile they plaster my groups with un-evadable missiles; what's up with that?? It doesn't appear to be due to platform/missile characteristics, 'cause it does the same thing when I switch sides - and get to use those other platforms...


That'd be a new one for me. Can you be more specific?

4. I can't figure out how to attack a base that has associated AA sites: My air groups will attack only one element of the base group - then stubbornly refuse to attack the other elements - or even to repeat an attack on the first element... What do I need to do to deal with these multi-element bases?


Attacking installations with grouped AAA/SAM defenses shouldn't be a problem, except as follows:

If your sensors don't have a good idea of the composition of an enemy base (i.e. you've detected and located the various AAA/SAM units within its formation), assigning weapons to attack those component units can be difficult. Solution? Recon, recon, recon.

I am able to do pretty well in HCG, but in HCE, I can barely get my groups into action before they get roasted! What am I doing wrong?


Frankly, I'm pretty happy you're getting your butt kicked. But that's just me and my tendency to enjoy a mean AI. ;)

Otherwise, the topic of what might be potentially wrong (or right) is just too huge to try and cover all of the possible bases. Need specifics to provide further guidance.

#11 Warhorse64

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 02:24 AM

Further to CV32's reply to #4, above, I have found that when attacking a base, which has attached SAM units in its formation, with standoff weapons, you can have a solid lock on the base itself, but you may get a good lock on the independent SAMs only when they are radiating. Examine the base in the unit window. If the SAM unit is yellow, rather than red, even if there is no uncertainty area showing, you do not have a solid lock on it at this time. It is very nearly a complete waste of time and weapons to attack the SAM under these circumstances!!!! Wait until it turns red again, indicating that you have a solid lock. Your success rate goes WAY up this way, even if you have to spend a couple of minutes loitering ... B)

#12 CV32

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 08:38 AM

Further to CV32's reply to #4, above, I have found that when attacking a base, which has attached SAM units in its formation, with standoff weapons, you can have a solid lock on the base itself, but you may get a good lock on the independent SAMs only when they are radiating. Examine the base in the unit window. If the SAM unit is yellow, rather than red, even if there is no uncertainty area showing, you do not have a solid lock on it at this time. It is very nearly a complete waste of time and weapons to attack the SAM under these circumstances!!!! Wait until it turns red again, indicating that you have a solid lock. Your success rate goes WAY up this way, even if you have to spend a couple of minutes loitering ... B)


Absolutely correct. When I said "detection and location", I really meant it. ;)

#13 Joe K

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 10:46 AM

As answered, it means that radar is being subjected to offensive electronic countermeasures (ECM), or jamming.


Thanks! (My guess had been that it was indicating detection by enemy radar, or some such...)


There are numerous methods by which the AI can detect your units:

(1) Passive ESM: If you have a unit that is actively radiating its radar or sonar, those emissions can be detected well beyond the range of the sensor.


True! (In this instance, I'm dealing with air units primarily). The puzzing thing is that I have the same issue if I leave my radars off, fly at Low or VLow, etc. Also, I cannot detect the AI groups (or their missiles) by ESM, active radar, IR, or even visual means - even when they're shooting at my air groups! Theoretically, I should "see" their missile guidance radars at least in some cases (e.g.- Sparrows, etc.) in order for them to be able to kill my groups, right? (Doesn't happen! I rarely ever get even a contact on an AI group - let alone a fix! It's really weird!)

(2) Active radar: Being painted by an enemy radar.


I should be able to detect AI groups doing this to my groups, right?

(3) Sonar: Active or passive detection by acoustic means..


(Not applicable in this situation).

(4) Visual: Spotting with the ole Mark I eyeball.


Yup... but apparently the player's groups have inferior eyeballs - 'cause my groups are getting visuals only very rarely - yet the AI groups are forever "sneaking up" on my groups, totally undetected. (Now, my eyesight isn't that great... but the GE isn't picking up on that, I hope! ;-} )


I think the thing that many players (especially new players) often forget is that once one enemy (AI) unit spots you, all of the enemy forces know where you are. So, for example, if an AI submarine gets a passive sonar detect on your ship, don't be surprised if that ship is subsequently attacked by AI aircraft.


Understood. In my case, I've been playing computer Harpoon since the Three-Sixty DOS version... most recently, HCG/WestPac... and the detection behaviors I see in this HCE demo are totally different than the earlier versions
.

These are generalities, of course. Is there a specific situation?


Well, I was playing the USNI Scenario 1, from one side, then the other - same results.


3. Adding to my frustration, on the few times that I do detect a target and get to fire at it, the AI almost always evades my missiles - yet meanwhile they plaster my groups with un-evadable missiles; what's up with that?? It doesn't appear to be due to platform/missile characteristics, 'cause it does the same thing when I switch sides - and get to use those other platforms...

That'd be a new one for me. Can you be more specific?


Throughout the USNI, Scenario 1, regardless of which side I was playing, the AI missiles were nearly invincible, yet my groups' missiles were totally spoofed in maybe 75%-80% of the cases. I replayed the Scenario several times, with similar results.

4. I can't figure out how to attack a base that has associated AA sites: My air groups will attack only one element of the base group - then stubbornly refuse to attack the other elements - or even to repeat an attack on the first element... What do I need to do to deal with these multi-element bases?

Attacking installations with grouped AAA/SAM defenses shouldn't be a problem, except as follows:

If your sensors don't have a good idea of the composition of an enemy base (i.e. you've detected and located the various AAA/SAM units within its formation), assigning weapons to attack those component units can be difficult. Solution? Recon, recon, recon.


Right... but not the case in this instance: The attacking groups would "stumble over" the AA units while approaching the target base, and indeed, the AA units would appear in the initial weapons allocation dialog, but the attacking group would get into that abortive mode after the initial attack, and would not continue to attack either the AA units nor the base itself (as described in the bug report).

And the really annoying aspect was that AI groups would attack my bases/AA units with total impunity. As far as I could tell, no missiles/guns were ever fired against the AI's attacking air groups - totally the opposite of the case when my groups attacked the AI bases/AA units. Frustrating!


I am able to do pretty well in HCG, but in HCE, I can barely get my groups into action before they get roasted! What am I doing wrong?

Frankly, I'm pretty happy you're getting your butt kicked. But that's just me and my tendency to enjoy a mean AI. ;)


I don't mind a challenge, but what I'm seeing isn't making any sense - not to mention being totally lop-sided in favor of the AI!

#14 CV32

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 11:14 AM

... I cannot detect the AI groups (or their missiles) by ESM, active radar, IR, or even visual means ... I rarely ever get even a contact on an AI group - let alone a fix! ... ... the detection behaviors I see in this HCE demo are totally different than the earlier versions ... the AI almost always evades my missiles - yet meanwhile they plaster my groups with un-evadable missiles ... regardless of which side I was playing, the AI missiles were nearly invincible, yet my groups' missiles were totally spoofed in maybe 75%-80% of the cases.


Hmm, what can I say?

The USNI scenarios were built and play tested by three pretty seasoned Harpoon players. None of them reported the behavior or results you are describing, i.e. being totally "pwned" by the AI.

The scenarios are tough, yes. Impossible, no.

I should be able to detect AI groups doing this to my groups, right?


Yes, assuming your unit(s) have ESM capability.

Well, I was playing the USNI Scenario 1, from one side, then the other - same results.


Have you read the after action report (AAR) for this scenario written by Victor in the Pacific over at the Matrix forums? He seemed to be doing okay holding his own.

I should add that there's a fair bit of variability built into USNI #1, and the scenario could be quite tough if you don't get the F/A-18s. But, you said you played it several times, so I assume you did get them at least once?

#15 Joe K

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 08:02 PM

Hmm, what can I say?

The USNI scenarios were built and play tested by three pretty seasoned Harpoon players. None of them reported the behavior or results you are describing, i.e. being totally "pwned" by the AI.

The scenarios are tough, yes. Impossible, no.


I really dunno what's up; after running it by Tony, it seems possible that something is mucked up locally on my system - although it's unclear why/how it would cause the behavior seen (i.e. - virtually no detection of AI groups, but 100% detection of my groups by the AI... plus extremely low effectiveness of my weapons (of all types) versus seeming invincibility of the AI's weapons. All I can say is that it's darned peculiar, and doesn't seem sensible. it's like something is really goofed up somehow; hmmm... is there a setting that adjusts the AI's relative effectiveness (like setting the "difficulty level") that I've missed, and might've gotten set to "max difficulty" somehow?


I should be able to detect AI groups doing this to my groups, right?

Yes, assuming your unit(s) have ESM capability.


I'm assuming they do, but I'm not sure how to confirm it. We're speaking of the types (red & blue) in the USNI, Scenario 1.


Have you read the after action report (AAR) for this scenario written by Victor in the Pacific over at the Matrix forums? He seemed to be doing okay holding his own.

I should add that there's a fair bit of variability built into USNI #1, and the scenario could be quite tough if you don't get the F/A-18s. But, you said you played it several times, so I assume you did get them at least once?


Haven't read that (wasn't even aware of it).

I've had pretty much the same aircraft available each time I've tried the Scenarios (red/blue), and the F/A-18's (curiously lacking AMRAAM) are present, as are the Sea Harriers, the Gr.s, and a bunch of -totally useless- F-16's for the blue side. The red side came up with a few MiG-29s, about eight MiG-27s, and six Su-24's each time. (FWIW, the red side was equally ineffectual at "seeing" the blue AI's groups). Actually, the Sea Harriers/AMRAAMs were much more effective than the Hornets: IIRC, the only kills I could get with the Hornet groups were against the MiG-27s (but the MiG-27's usually returned the favor by wiping out the Hornet pairs with return fire... again, not making much sense.

I gotta think that something is bogus with this; I'd have to go back and confirm it, but I don't recall any comparable problems when playing the USNI stuff in HCG; have those scenarios been altered substantially betwen versions?




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