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Harpoon insights


TonyE
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I'm always amazed how little changes in the world of Harpoon. Most of us still want that dream version of Harpoon we wanted long long ago and feel scarcely closer to that goal. On the HC side part of it is surely that for the most part players are happy with what they have. It isn't perfect by any measure but it provides the enjoyment players are looking for and in a quantity that dilutes their chances of demanding and creating that dream Harpoon.

 

One project undertaken by HHQ er WarefareSims looks to be the best bet yet by far and while I don't like the behavior perpetrated by them they still look to have the best up and coming effort by such a great degree it isn't even worth trying to measure. They'll soon have the best game in town and I'll play it not because I approve of their methods but because their product is that much closer to the dream game.

 

I've wanted to re-write HC with late a late '90s approach at worst and a mid '00s approach at best but don't have the persistence or salesmanship to drum up the required interest (and that is a huge amount of required interest). So we do what we can do improve the game based on the structural limitations imposed 20+ years ago by the original game.

 

To that end occasionally I take a stroll down memory lane to see the same conflicts and questions arise again and again. With no further ado, here we go!...

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Source: Usenet

Date: 1995/07/25

 

What Harpooners would really like is a system in which we could say

"I want the HARMs from my F-4s, the Harpoons from my F-18s and the

Walleyes from my A-6Es to arrive at the target at the same time, and

have the computer tell us when to launch each type of plane so that

they arrive at the apprpriate distance from the target at the right time to

launch their missiles. That would take advantage of the computer's

processing power to make the game less tedious for the player, without

removing any of the need for strategy. You still need to make crucial

decisions like how many fighters to fly CAP over your carrier, how many

to fly escort for the bombers, how many planes to have in the air at

any time so you always have some ready in reserve for unexpected

attacks or targets of opportunity.

 

Yep, a lot of Harpooners still want this, especially HC players, let me command without sinking me in the micromanagement.

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Yes, but it think we must keep both options in future itinerations of the game, keeping the micromanagement option for small, very detailed and very time sensitive scenarios, as a "simple" attack in a "simple" SAM emplacement (as, for instance, a SA-5b SAM site in Sirte/Surt, Libya ;) ).

And thanks you very much for the whole great work, Tony :)

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Source: Usenet

Date: 1995/07/25

 

What Harpooners would really like is a system in which we could say

"I want the HARMs from my F-4s, the Harpoons from my F-18s and the

Walleyes from my A-6Es to arrive at the target at the same time, and

have the computer tell us when to launch each type of plane so that

they arrive at the apprpriate distance from the target at the right time to

launch their missiles. That would take advantage of the computer's

processing power to make the game less tedious for the player, without

removing any of the need for strategy. You still need to make crucial

decisions like how many fighters to fly CAP over your carrier, how many

to fly escort for the bombers, how many planes to have in the air at

any time so you always have some ready in reserve for unexpected

attacks or targets of opportunity.

 

Yep, a lot of Harpooners still want this, especially HC players, let me command without sinking me in the micromanagement.

As a person who stepped from a Harpoon version 1.* demo to HCE I actually think that things change very substantially.

I took this opportunity to revisit the condensed wish list (here at Harpgamer) and sure there are quite a few items there (and pretty desirable too), but I think the current package is doing pretty well if these are the only 'deficiencies'.

For items like the calculations for getting weapons to target in a co-ordinated manner, maybe out of game utilities (eg windows 'calculator') can do the job?

(PS, in the consolidated wish list, I think that the Launcher is now well past "barely alpha").

Don

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I found something in my files from 2003 called "Strike Planner". It's a spreadsheet program that was written for Microsoft Excel, but runs in the Microsoft Works spreadsheet. I never really got used to using it, but it seems to have what Donald Sea Dog needs.

 

"Enter the Speed, Weapon & target for each Plane. The computer will calculate the launch times starting with the plane taking the longest to get to the target which appear as 0. You launch each strike the specified minutes after."

 

Give it a whirl.

Strike_planner.zip

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I'm not sure I buy in. Isn't the 'micro management' of strike packages part of the core enjoyment of the game? If all I had to do was to select a 'strike target X with planes/missiles from bases a, b, c' and then sit back and watch the show unfold, not sure if there would be much satisfaction in it. For sure I'm not following a scientific approach to my strike planning, so the moments when the anti radar missiles arrive seconds in front of the attack missiles, followed by guided bombs and the finishing done by iron bombs are rare. But when it happens I think Admiral TeTeT has executed a job rather well, and hence motivates me to spend more time with the game. Not sure how others see that aspect of game play.

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What I wouldn't mind:

* Assign the aircraft I want to attack the target and this may be aircraft from multiple launch platforms and have them take off at roughly the right time.

 

* I want to allocate weapons when the planes get close to target.

 

* I don't want to plot 'turn and burn' when there are AAMs incoming but I do want a Staff Assistant prompt to ask me if he should tell the planes to turn and burn instead of pressing on with the original mission.

 

I imagine this leaves me somewhere in the middle between the grand strategists and the minutia(ists)

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Source: Usenet

Date: 1993/06/02

I find that Harpoon is more a simulation of laws of probability than actually a description

of naval warfare...of course, this is what in large scale everything is all about, but in

Harpoon one can achieve ridiculous results by "oversecuring" (please native English-speakers,

how would you rephrase that ?): best example would be sub attacks. Hardest part of the game

is always to sink NATO subs, either getting even the first contact before one is toast; or

even after a clear fix, get a decent shot at him (only the umpteenth torpedo will do the job).

So what do I do ? Send in 3-5 Helix's and have their loads dumped 50/50 on either side of the sub-

Voila', imperialists turn to canned fishfood. Realistic ? Sure, but it works. Same thing even with

Foxtrots / Tangos /Kilos. Only have one stay quiet and deep and have the other prowle out and about

teasing the Oberon or Trafalgar to the firing range of the other. Then dump everything in the water.

 

deja vu reagrding submarines 18 years later <_>

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What I wouldn't mind:

* Assign the aircraft I want to attack the target and this may be aircraft from multiple launch platforms and have them take off at roughly the right time.

 

* I want to allocate weapons when the planes get close to target.

 

* I don't want to plot 'turn and burn' when there are AAMs incoming but I do want a Staff Assistant prompt to ask me if he should tell the planes to turn and burn instead of pressing on with the original mission.

 

I imagine this leaves me somewhere in the middle between the grand strategists and the minutia(ists)

Arr yes, I think that falls into an "aggression setting". maybe three levels 'no fear' (ignore all treats) 'normal fear'(evade weapons) 'all fear' (run home first sign of threat). I'm sure I've wished for it some time ago.

It would be good either in Staff Assistant prompts or as a game setting, I hadn't thought of the former.

Don

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I'm not sure I buy in. Isn't the 'micro management' of strike packages part of the core enjoyment of the game? If all I had to do was to select a 'strike target X with planes/missiles from bases a, b, c' and then sit back and watch the show unfold, not sure if there would be much satisfaction in it. For sure I'm not following a scientific approach to my strike planning, so the moments when the anti radar missiles arrive seconds in front of the attack missiles, followed by guided bombs and the finishing done by iron bombs are rare. But when it happens I think Admiral TeTeT has executed a job rather well, and hence motivates me to spend more time with the game. Not sure how others see that aspect of game play.

I do agree, many like the micro management so the computing of more planned attacks would need to be optional or separate from the GE, I kind of do mine in my head but sometimes (eg at 1 am in the morning) the old head isn't upto it so I'm going to try the strike planner.

Don

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Some built in tools for strike planning probably wouldn't go astray, but I don't mind the micro management.

 

(You've probably heard me say much of the effort is very simplified, as it is).

 

I'm reminded of Silent Hunter, where you can choose between 'automated' fire control solutions or, optionally, choosing to run the Torpedo Data Computer (TDC) manually. (The latter is uber grognard land. :D )

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Tony,

 

fascinating insights. Thanks for starting this really intellectual thread.

 

I´m in the Harpoon world since 1991 and I, too, still search the perfect Harpoon. Currently, I´d say that GCB2 is really good and worth a try. I agree that the guys at warfare sims are creating the ultimate naval/air warfare sim. These are pros and really dedicated.

 

I, too, still love HC. It is fun, pure fun. "Easy to learn, hard to master." That´s it. And I still love H3, too. reason are its far superior micromanagement possibilities.

 

So we can be happy with what we have, try GCB2 and look forward to Red Pill.

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