HOI4 Dev Diary - New Naval Combat
HoI 4 Dev Diary - Free France and Vichy
Archangel85, Leading Content Designer HoI4
Podcat, Oberkommando HOI4
Hello, and welcome back to the next DevDiary for the upcoming DLC! Today, we will talk a bit about how we are going to represent Vichy and Free France during the war.
Vichy France is perhaps the best example for what I like to call “trying to fit a history-shaped peg through a mechanics-shaped hole”. They were a puppet state of Germany by any reasonable metric - except they never formally joined the war. They weren’t at war with the Allies - and yet there were several battles between Allied and Vichy forces in Syria, Madagascar and most famously Dakar and during Operation Torch. Even after the battles were fought, however, Vichy France did not join the war, and the Vichy French troops engaged there were usually repatriated by the Allies after operations were over.
Currently, the division between Vichy France and Free France is handled by creating a civil war in France and Germany puppeting the fascist side. This automatically solves a number of issues that come with the sandbox nature of the game, such as dividing the military the player built instead of relying on pre-scripted OoBs, making sure both sides start with the same technology base and so on. It does, however, immediately put Vichy into war with Free France and (usually), by extension, the Allies.
Hi everyone! Since forums were all down yesterday the diary is coming today instead :) Today we are going to look at core changes to naval combat coming in 1.6 Ironclad. We have already discussed how missions are changed as well as basics of the new spotting system in a previous diary and a future one will be fully dedicated to submarines so I will only cover them a little for how the interact with regular fleet battles today. So lets charge in!
This is somewhat accurate in the sense that there were engagements between Allies and Vichy France and Vichy France lost territory in those engagements. But there was never a formal state of war between Vichy France and the Allies, and the total contribution of Vichy French forces to the war in Russia amounted to a single regiment of volunteers. In fact, in a lot of ways, the Allies preferred Vichy France to de Gaulle, despite de Gaulle’s winning personality and great people skills.
Its best to start by looking at problems in the old system so you can see how we have tried to solve them and iterate. We identified the following:
To really do this situation justice, we decided to make special focus trees to handle it.
Battles are extremely decisive so tiny mistakes have bad consequences
My design goals were to have:
Combats tend to snowballs as everyone and their mother’s fleet pile in
A way to separate France into a government-in-exile and a collaborating government in metropolitan France that did not require a gigantic ramshackle script system to handle all the edgecases
A big fleet was always better, together with the above point promoting doomstacking
The interface gets very confusing as ships close with each other. Distance overall is very hard to show and balance.
A Vichy France that remains neutral in the war for at least some time
It is easy to miss a combat happening while busy elsewhere.
A way for Vichy to become the “legitimate” France and even potentially join the Allies
Its “simulation nature” made balancing an incredibly hard problem. Resulting in things like the all-battleship fleets performing well.
A way to have Free France gain territories that were assigned to Vichy France when the whole thing was created, without bringing them into the war
Thankfully, we now have the ability to essentially run the civil war creation effect without actually creating a civil war. This does split the country, reassign the military, split the stockpiles, give both sides the right technologies and so on and so forth. This makes the whole process a lot less painful and reduces the number of edge cases, because as far as the game is concerned, Free France and Vichy France both qualify as France under the right conditions.
Another small change is that if you manage to get war support above 70%, a third option appears in the event about deciding between asking for an armistice or creating the Franco-British Union, allowing you to continue the fight. If you decide to surrender, the country is split between Vichy France and Free France, much as you are used to. Most overseas territories will initially go to Vichy France, as was historical, with Free France holding onto a few scattered island possessions. Both countries load a separate focus tree.
To deal with distance and screening issues we have split up the battle in 4 areas per side to represent position and distances.
Screens - Your screen ships go here. Screens are the closest to the enemy and protect the ships behind them (details below).
屏卫 - 你的屏卫舰队在这里。屏卫舰是最靠近敌人的舰种，并为其身后的其它舰艇提供保护（细节见下文）。
Free France has two main storylines to follow. On the one hand, you’ll want to recover territories that are held by Vichy. For the purpose of making things more manageable, the French colonial holdings are separated into a number of larger areas instead of being separated by modern national or period-appropriate administrative borders. These areas are: Syria, North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, Madagascar, and Indochina.
Battleline - This is where your big guns sit. Heavy cruisers, Battleships etc. Anything with heavy long range guns. These guys also help to protect carriers and convoys behind them.
Appealing to them directly through the focus has a chance to flip a few of them to your side, but the rest will have to converted by more direct means. One option is to promise the territory independence after the war, which has a chance to convert the territories and reduces resistance/increases compliance in the affected areas for the duration of the war. However, once the war is over, these areas will demand that you honor your commitment and let them go. If you refuse, you will quickly find yourself with a rather upset population resisting your administration, like France did historically in Indochina.
战列线 - 这是主力舰所在的位置。包括重巡洋舰、战列舰等一切有着重型远射程火炮的船只。这些家伙将会保护其身后的航空母舰及运输舰队。
Option two is to intervene militarily, in areas that you have access too. This takes the form of the border wars, allowing you (or, more likely, your allies) to take over territories from Vichy France without going into a full-blown war. Not all areas can be taken over by border wars - Madagascar doesn’t border any other state from which an intervention could be launched, so you’ll have to find a different way.
Carriers - Furthest back are carriers protected by the other two lines. This is also where convoys will be if part of the combat (say during invasion or a convoy raid battle).
航空母舰 - 离前线最远的就是航空母舰了，她们由另外两条线的战舰保护。如果运输舰队卷入战斗的话，这些运输舰也会在此位置（比如说在海军入侵或劫掠运输舰作战中）。
Submarines - Under the sea. This area is actually two as we separate located submarines (which can be engaged with depth charges) from unlocated submarines.
The other large branch for Free France is establishing and improving the resistance working in France. Through a number of focuses, you can boost resistance targets all across occupied France and turn the entire area into a hotbed of resistance - even if you do have to make some unlikely alliances between Communists and Industrialists.
潜艇 – 在海里。这个区域实际上分两个，因为我们将被定位的潜艇（可以被深水炸弹缠住）与未被定位的潜艇区分开来。
By splitting things up in discrete distances unlike the old system we can more easily capture the impact of distance and positioning, and keep it easier to see what is going on at a glance.
Once you have recovered the homeland and taken back Paris, you can form the Provisional Government, which reloads the original French focus tree. Should Vichy France still exist by this point without being at war with you, you get a decision to demand reunification.
On the opposite side, the biggest change is that Vichy France is no longer considered to be a puppet of Germany. Puppets are heavily weighted towards joining their master’s faction and towards following a call to arms if in a faction. I briefly considered making a special puppet level that could refuse a call to arms and set a number of scripted AI strategies to make it do so, but decided that a one-off puppet level was easily as much of a hack solution than just not having Vichy
The area they are assigned to depends on the weapons they have, which makes things tie in neatly with the ship designer. Rules for combat are now largely depend on how different weapons interact with the areas, so it is important to go over them before we continue. We also show these summarized at the top of the combat screen for quick information and to help you evaluate the combat situation:
Light Guns - These are smaller caliber guns. The armament on destroyers/light cruisers and secondary armament on heavier ships. Their job is to hit and kill smaller fast moving ships. They generally do not have the armor piercing to lay down serious hurt on capital ships. Light guns attack ships one line over. So screen ships can shoot other screen ships, and when there are no more shoot the enemies capital ships. Capital ships with secondaries can fire from behind the safety of the screens at the enemy screen.
轻型火炮 – 这些是较小口径的火炮，它们通常作为驱逐舰或轻巡洋舰上的武器以及重型战舰上的副炮。它们的任务是打击或摧毁那些较小的、快速移动的船只。他们通常不具备能对主力舰造成杀伤的穿甲能力。轻型火炮可以攻击战线上的目标，所以屏卫舰可以炮击其他屏卫舰，当没有屏卫舰时可以炮击主力舰。拥有副炮的主力舰也可以在屏卫舰队的保护下，安全地向敌人的屏卫舰开火。
Heavy Guns - These are hard hitting armor piercing guns designed to take out big ships. They have trouble hitting small fast ships, but when they do it is for significant damage. Heavy guns have the range to fire over one of the enemy lines. So they will be hitting the enemy battle line even if it is screened.
重型火炮 - 这些重型穿甲火炮是设计用来打击大型舰艇的。它们很难击中小型快艇，但一旦命中就会造成严重的损伤。重炮的射程可以超过敌人的战线，所以即使敌人的战列线处于掩护之下，它们也依然能够击中敌人。
Torpedoes - These are the big capital killers. They ignore armor, and have big damage but are terrible at hitting fast/small ships. Torpedoes can hit any line as long as it is not screened properly. So if your screening is down to 50% then half of the enemy torpedoes can be fired at your battle line, and if the battle line is also weak some torpedoes can slip through and hit carriers or convoys.
鱼雷 – 它们是大型主力舰杀手。可以无视装甲并造成巨大的伤害。但他们很难击中快速/小型的舰艇。如果敌方没有合适的掩护的话，鱼雷可以击中任意战线上的敌人。所以当你的屏卫率低于50%，半数的敌军鱼雷就可以击中你的战列线。而如果你的战列线十分虚弱，一些鱼雷就能溜过去击中航母或者运输舰队。
Anti-air - AA works a bit different. When firing back at enemy planes a ship will also get a part of the fleet’s AA armament to help it, so it’s quite nice to make sure your support ships (or battleships if you focus on carriers) are stacked with as much AA as possible.
防空炮 - 防空炮的运作机制有点不同。当你向敌机反击时，舰船也会得到一部分舰队防空武器的支援，所以确保你的支援舰（如果着重航母的话也许是战列舰）携带了尽可能多的防空炮。
Depth Charges - This is the only weapon that can hurt subs, and it only works versus revealed subs.
深水炸弹 - 这是唯一能攻击潜艇的武器，并且它只对暴露的潜艇起作用。
Carrier Planes - Carriers can carry different kind of planes. Naval and dive bombers help attack other ships and fighters help protect yourself. The whole air model in naval combats is now more in line with the rest of the game and takes place in the airzone as you would expect. So can now be disrupted etc. This fixed a bunch of issues we had with the interaction between land based air and carriers.
舰载飞机 - 航母可以运载不同种类的飞机。海军轰炸机和俯冲轰炸机用于攻击其他舰船，而战斗机则负责保护航母本身。整个海战相关的飞机模型如今更贴合游戏的其它部分了，并且如玩家所期待的那样，战斗会在空域中进行。这样它也能出现被拦截之类的情况。这解决了一系列关于陆基航空兵和航母之间互动的问题。
Next to the weapon summaries we also display the side’s positioning value. This is a value simulating how well positioned your task forces are. A low positioning could for example mean that all your screens are scattered in a storm and your capital ships are wide open to attack. Positioning affects screening directly and a low value will directly hurt the fighting abilities of the ships as they wont be in optimal range, have another ship fouling the range etc. A big effect on positioning is the relative sizes of the fleets. So the bigger fleet will have an inherent penalty to its positioning versus a smaller, more easily controlled force. An admiral’s maneuver skill helps with this though. There are also traits like Lone Wolf and the Capital Ship Raiders tech from the Trade Interdiction doctrines that help increase this penalty for the enemy. The idea is to make smaller capital raiding forces more competitive if you tech right and have a trained Admiral in charge.
在武器概要的旁边，我们还展示了该方的部署值Positioning Value。这是一个模拟特遣编队部署得如何的数值。例如，低部署值意味着你所有的屏卫舰分散在暴风雨中，而你的主力舰艇就会在阵型敞开的情况下遭受攻击。部署值直接影响到屏卫效果，而低部署值将直接影响到舰艇的作战能力，因为它们可能不在最佳射程内，或是会被另一艘舰船影响射程等。对部署值的一个重要影响是舰队的相对规模。庞大的舰队相对于较小且更易控的编队，将受到一个固定的部署值惩罚。不过，海军上将的机动技能有助于这个问题。也有一些特性，如贸易阻断学说的孤狼Lone Wolf和主力舰袭扰Capital Ship Raiders的科技有助于增加对敌人的惩罚。我们的想法是，如果你的科技选择得当，并且有一位训练有素的海军上将掌舵的话，小编制的特遣编队将更具竞争力。