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Joe K's wish list


Joe K

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12. Larger formation sizes; possibly more "layers" too

 

Sometimes it would be useful to extend the formation size beyond the existing 255nm limit, but at such times, it's often desirable to have another "layer" or three to work with too - that is, keep the existing formation "rings" as-is, while adding some extended areas - for long-range pickets, searches, etc.

 

Perhaps this "ring extension" could (should?) be switchable - enabled/disabled.

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13. Realistic damage repairs - for all units, bases, etc. on both sides

 

It would add realism if all units (including bases) - on both sides - would be repaired over time.

 

This could be enhanced by factoring in things such as:

  • * the overall level of damage of the base, unit, etc. - more overall damage == longer to fix things
    * the overall war condition - if a side is generally suffering defeat, or has limited logistics, etc. == longer to fix things
    * assumed availability of repair facilities and materials - remoteness from base, industrial centers, etc. == longer to fix things
    * etc. etc.

 

Related to this would be the ability to expedite repairs of ships and subs when "put in" to a port... along with factoring in the damage state of the port itself.

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14. Aircraft aborting mission - as extension of "normal maintenance failures" and/or "fatigue"

 

One thing that I sort of "expected" when I started playing Harpoon Classic was that "normal maintenance failures" would affect aircraft readiness and mission aborts, crashes, etc. - same as for failures of shipboard systems... however, this does not appear to be the case. So, I wish for "normal maintenance failures" to also cause effects such as these on aircraft (on both sides):

  • * occasional delays in readying aircraft
    * occasional "mission aborts" where one or more a/c in a group abort the mission and return to base
    * occasional aircraft losses in flight due to mechancal failure - similar to the situation of "crashed due to pilot error while flying at Vlow"

Of course, the likelihood of these failures would depend on the assumed quality of a/c design, quality of training of the mechanics, war conditions, damage to facilities, etc.

 

Also, "wear and tear" could factor in, too - for all types of units, including bases... that is, the more use they got, the more likely to have failures.

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15. Easier way to specify number of weapons to fire, number of aircraft to launch, etc.

 

Occasionally, the default number of weapons to allocate, aircraft to launch, etc. that is offered in the respective dialog boxes differs quite a bit from the desired number - for example, a flight of six B-52s with CALCMs may default to 120 weapons to fire at a target, while only 20 are desired... or if there are 20 F/A-18Cs ready and you want to ferry 4 of them to another base, the dialog will default to all 20... In these situations, it is difficult to "de-select" the unwanted number of weapons, planes, etc. since it is necessary to manually "click down" each unwanted item, making it tedious and time-consuming to change these numbers - especially when large changes are needed.

 

Instead, it would be helpful if there was an easier way to change the quantities - like perhaps editing the number in place, or having a "run-up/-down" operation by holding down the up/down arrows on the quantiy fields, etc.

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16. "Mouse-hover" pop-up information displays, and context menus - for various informational puposes

 

This wish may involve rather broad changes - but also would offer quite broad benefits. It would be nice to have two "informational" facilities that are accessible via specific unit/group/base icons on the maps:

  • 1. A "mouse-hover" info display that appears when the mouse is "hovered" over any icon on any map, and
    2. A right-click context menu accessible by right-clicking on any icon on any map

The "mouse-hover" display would open an info display, probably showing what is typically displayed for the particular group/unit/base in the information window, but would be quicker/easier to use this way. Also, the info could be expanded a bit, for example, an aircraft group's "hover display" might include its speed, altitude, beginning and remaining number of a/c of each specific type/loadout in the group, weapons and fuel remaining, sensors state, whether detected or not, and by what, the group's target, time-to-target, whether it is currently targeted by missiles, etc. and might include additional info such as the Weather Report.

 

Other icons would produce similar displays, but of the information that is relevent to the entity represented by the icon.

 

(Note: It might be useful to have the Weather Report pop up when the mouse is hovered over any spot on the map (icon or not) - although the implementation and use of this feature might be problematic).

 

The right-click context menu would have options to open any of several logically-grouped info/status displays relevent to the group, that might be more specific and more concise than the general "mouse-hover display" - such as weapons status, fuel info, weather report, etc. - as well as relevent command/orders dialogs - such as course/speed setting, attack orders, join/split group, etc. etc.

 

Although the "mouse-hover display" and "right-click context menu" would essentially duplicate info and command options that are accessible by other means, they would be more readily accessible and more easily used this way - and could even be organized to contain more of the status details in a "one-stop shopping" display.

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17. Easier way to re-position map windows; also to "hold" window scroll position

 

One issue that has been a frequent annoyance for me is the goofy way that the map windows behave when I try to scroll them:

  • * The scroll bars don't seem to work properly at all times - specifically, dragging a scroll bar often will not move the window to the extremes of the map, and also often "jumps back" to some position other than where I dragged it to.
    * After I have painstakingly sized and positioned the map "window" for optimum viewing of an operation, it will spontaneously re-center itself when I do certain operations - like launching aircraft, setting a group's course, etc. This re-centering fouls up my view of the "theatre", so I need to "fix" the view each time; also, it's often the case that the original viewing position is what is really needed in order to set a full course, anyway.
    * Since I "overlay" my Group and Unit maps, when I change the zoom from anything greater than 8x back to anything less than 16x, it re-focuses on the Group Map (which is OK), but also positions the "viewing window" at some nonsense location, making it difficult to "find my way back" to what I was lookng at previously.

 

Anyway, a fix for these undesirable behaviors is my wish, for example, possible improvements would be:

  • * Make the map scoll bars work properly - so they permit scrolling the window to the extremes of the map - and so the viewing window stays put once positioned with the scroll bars; or
    * Make a facility to "grab and drag" the map in order to position the viewing window on the map.
    * Make a means to click a spot on the map and have the viewing window center on that spot.
    * Have a way to quickly zoom the view - like maybe a Shift-click, or a Tab-left/Tab-right for zoom-in/-out - while remaining centered on the current spot.
    * Have a way to "tack" the view - so that it doesn't auto-re-center when course commands (and others) are issued.
    * Fix the transition from magnified view (i.e. - "unit view" - greater than 8x) back to normal view (i.e. - "Group View" - less than 16x) on the Group Display so that if remains focused on the same spot on the map.

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18. A way for player's ships, subs, or planes to "auto-evade" torpedoes, missiles, enemy groups, etc.

 

One of the big frustations for me when playing the game is that if one of my subs, ships, or even planes gets fired upon, there is little to do other than just "riding it out". I don't know whether "counter-measures" are simulated automatically for the player's side or not, but there is no indication that they occur - and there is no way that I know of to "manually" deploy them.

 

About the only thing it seems that I can do to evade fire is to change the unit's group and speed. This "sort of" works for a/c groups who can go to afterburner - so I can use the "turn and burn" tactic with some success (assuming the a/c are far enough from the launch source when they do it). However, similar tactics are generally ineffective for ships and subs - due to their relative slowness, and due to my inability to "micro-manage" evasion maneuvers effectively via manual control.

 

So, my wish would be for the ability to invoke computer or "Staff Assistant"-controlled "auto evasion" tactics - which would include simulated evasion maneuvers and deployment of counter-measures, etc. at reasonable times - along with a realistic simulation of their effectiveness - or not. At least this would be better than the current options of just taking the licks or else frantically trying to control the evasion process via manual control - often at the expense of taking attention away from concurrent events elsewhere.

 

If nothing else, it would reduce the frustrating "deer-in-the-headlights" feeling of being unable to do anything. :blink:

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19. More control over gunfire (start/stop/number of rounds to use, etc.)

 

Although not often used, I find gunfire difficult to manage - particularly to cease it once started.

 

It would be helpful to be able to stop it, and it also might be useful to be able to specify the number of rounds to fire in total - so as to limit the "waste" of ammo when total destruction of the target is not the desired effect.

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20. Better switching between Group and Unit windows

 

In addition to the issues mentioned earlier about re-locating the view window when switching between the magnified ("unit" view) and the "normal" ("group" view) modes of the Group Map, I find the transition to be rather cumbersome in general... so my wish is for a smoother transition between the modes - perhaps using just one map window with a group/unit "viewing mode switch"... or at least a way to suppress the switch between Map Windows when changing magnification.

 

There are also times when it would be helpful to maintain "group view" even at the higher magnifications - this is mainly when attempting to select groups which are in such close proximity that the mouse cannot distinquish between them in order to make the selection at the lower magnifications; perhaps a "Group/Unit mode switch" would help this situation as well.

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21. Better fuel info/management for air groups consisting of a/c having different fuel status

 

When a group consists of aircraft "sub-types" that have differing fuel endurances, or when groups are joined and one sub-group has less fuel remaining than the other(s), it becomes essentially impossible to tell when the sub-group with the least fuel will run out - usually resulting in the loss of the a/c in that sub-group.

 

Perhaps a solution would be to have some way to find out the individual fuel statuses of each sub-group.

 

Relating to this is the matter of re-fueling such a combined group (which is frought with problems in general), but especially there is no control over which sub-group gets refueled first - which sometimes can affect whether a starved sub-group crashes or not - even though re-fueling has started. It would help to either have the ability to specifiy which sub-groups get re-fueled first - or at all (if there isn't enough re-fuel capacity to cover all of them).

 

Perhaps the re-fueling algorithm accounts for some of this automatically, but my observations indicate that such situations are still problematic - and so perhaps there is a better way to mange these operations.

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22. Outlines on base, group and unit icons - for better visibility on topo image maps

 

The backgrounds on the satellite image maps often "camoflage" the game icons, due to contrast problems or other issues.

 

To help alleviate this problem, it might help if the icons had narrow white or yellow outlines - or even an outline made of the "light" shade of the same color - so that contrast will be enhanced between the icons and any background color (because either the dark base color of the icons or the light outline color would contrast with whatever color the current background happens to be).

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23. Some means of more easily determining visibility conditions (daylight, weather, etc.)

 

Because there are times when ambient visibility affects detection and/or targeting (such as night attack weapons, F-117 night-stealth a/c, etc.), it would be helpful to easily determine the current conditions of daylight, weather visibility, etc. at a given group's or target's location... so, my wish is for this capability to be implemented.

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25. Log where ships, subs are sunk - for "after action reviews"

 

A graphic (iconic), or at least a text log, of the positions where ships and subs were sunk - and maybe even where aircraft were downed - would be helpful for "after-action" analysis, and if available during game play, might be useful info for tactical purposes. Probably it would be wise to have an "on/off switch" for sunken ship icons - so they could be turned on and off at will - to avoid clutter and confusion when not needed.

 

In fact, it would be great if the entire log of events during the game was written out to a text file for post-review.

 

And, for that matter, it would be really cool if the entire game could be "played back" graphically - probably at fast speed - for analysis and review! :)

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