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SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

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SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Didz on Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:47 pm

I may be jumping the gun a bit here as I've only just finished the main game tutorial, but can anyone recommend a process for getting used to the KS game system?
e.g.

  • Useful video's to watch.
  • scripted play throughs.
  • single player practice set-ups

Basically, anything that will prepare me to take part in a proper game.
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:45 am

Seriously join an MP game and we'll give you tips as you go, its by far the best method. Our games are completely non-competitive and a couple of us would be very happy to set up a training session for you, not a full blown game, if you'd prefer that.

The best advice is to try and do things that you think are historical and not what works best or is allowed in the vanilla game:

1) If attacking deploy foot artillery well back - it won't deploy close to the enemy. Horse artillery can come forwards into canister range if supported.
2) Unlike the vanilla game there is no magic canister in the KS Mod that lets you fire your guns straight through your own troops. Your guns will not fire if friends are in front of them at 150 yards distant or less OR within 150 yards of an enemy and between them and the guns. Your troops need to be well in front of your guns or on the flanks - leave a battery a clear lane of fire. Also no more magic canister blasting into a melee and killing only enemy soldiers.
3) Do not allow your infantry units to overlap, this does not work in the KS Mod and one of them will fall back to the rear if two units are left in collision for any length of time. Skirmisher units do not cause this problem.
4) Skirmishers work differently in the KS Mod - one battalion of each brigade is a representation of the skirmish capable assets of the brigade. It can represent the converged light companies, or the third rankers of Prussian or Austrian troops. There may be other skirmish capable troops in some brigades such as jager battalions, leger battalions, British rifles companies, etc. These will not skirmish by default but can be ordered to. We did not like the vanilla games system of detaching a %age of every unit as skirmishers for two reasons - the mechanism to do this was unrealistic and the myriad of tiny sub units we found stressful to micro-manage. Our change was a "Command Decision" style resolution of the issue.
5) Artillery is lethal, especially canister. Left to their own devices gun battery commanders will target squares as a top priority, then columns, then cavalry. You will notice that frontal attacks on artillery will be very expensive. Artillery however needs to be well sited. On rising ground and a gentle slope is best. Keep your battery commanders un-TC'd and give them an all-out attack stance. The battery commander may move around a bit to find the best position for his guns but let him do this and support him with your infantry when he finds the prime position rather than forcing him to ground not of his choosing. When he's deployed his guns, form your infantry to support him rather than the reverse.
6) We did away with the silly capturing guns game mechanic because it was complete fantasy. Our artillery will retire if threatened or rout away if very seriously threatened. If caught, the gun and crew surrender and the gun is eliminated. It is now extremely rare to see a gun captured and used by an enemy.
7) The AI will use proper combined arms tactics now. Cavalry will charge infantry not in square and infantry will charge squares so the AI is a more unforgiving opponent.
8 ) We have refined the advance with bayonet mechanism so that now columns of attack will be much more likely to attempt to press home a charge rather than dumbly stopping to return fire as a column.
9) Melees are less likely, last less long and often result in fewer casualties than the vanilla game. We also use cavalry in full regiments rather than the vanilla game's squadrons since this gives the mounted arm more punch and staying power. We were unhappy with the squadron system as it gave a player commanding a cavalry force too many sub-units to control as well as many of them surrendering in melee due to low headcount.
10) Cavalry is now more bloody-minded and will charge weakened infantry with more gusto. Cavalry that are successful in a melee are now more likely to pursue a beaten enemy or run amok among wavering enemy units than the vanilla game and our cavalry will rarely stand dumbly behind enemy lines after a successful charge to be shot at.
11) Our troops generally move slower. Mounted officers now move a little faster than their associated troops so that on a road march they will arrive against an enemy first and co-ordinate a deployment, rather than the vanilla game where often a unit would lead a formation and blunder into an enemy without its CO being near enough to make a decision.
12) Our casualty rates are generally lower and our musketry and artillery rates of fire are lower but troops break sooner. This helps to keep casualty rates nearer historical levels although two very determined opponents will still cause bloodbaths on occasion.
13) Support your infantry with artillery and cavalry.
14) An AI infantry force threatened by enemy cavalry will creep towards it in squares, slowly driving it back or shooting at it. We made this change because we found it easy to pin down a whole enemy infantry force with a single player controlled cavalry unit which we didn't think was a good game mechanism. This change is partly historical but mainly put in to establish a more satisfactory game experience.
15) The AI is now generally more aggressive and inventive in attack and more stubborn and fluid in defence.
16) Keep your general near your men to give them commander bonuses, especially if a unit needs rallying.
17) Rest your troops whenever you can.
18 ) Try to flank an enemy and keep your own flanks protected - troops will now fall back when flanked.
19) Support your guns with infantry. Artillery get nervous and will "redeploy" (this usually means find a location safer and further from the enemy!) if approached when unsupported. The KS Mod rewards proper combined arms play and punishes those historical armies that lacked adequate combined arms formations.
20) Our games often do not use ammunition carts (they were poorly implemented in the vanilla game) and so ammo is limited. If your division has 2 or 3 batteries attached, try to keep 1 in reserve and fresh.
21) Keep an infantry reserve as much as you can. In a division this means a brigade; in a brigade it means 1 to 2 battalions as a minimum.
22) Check the fatigue and cohesion levels of your troops and rotate worn down units out of the line when you can.
23) Counter enemy skirmishers with your own - the only other counters to them are cavalry, a bayonet charge or giving ground. A close order body of troops will almost always lose a firefight with a skirmisher enemy who is comparable in strength.
24) Keep your cavalry fresh until the later stages of a battle. A fresh cavalry regiment or brigade unleashed on a wavering enemy can be a battle winner. Cavalry will tire and become unwilling to charge after a couple of good charges. They require a very long time to rest.
25) Cavalry now fall back a hundred yards or so if kept standing under artillery fire, so hold your cavalry reserves well back.
26) pre-1813 Spanish, 1806 Prussians and 1807 Russians use linear tactics more. If we ever do sprites for 1805 or Revolutionary period/1790s N Italy the coalition armies in those campaigns will likewise use linear tactics.
27) The toolbar gives you NO information at all about enemy units now when you click on their flags.
28 ) Guns have no individual flags now (we thought it looked poor and was unrealistic to micro-manage every gun in a battery). A battery when deployed will pivot as a unit to bring fire on better targets but the individual guns now do not pivot. This makes battery flanks vulnerable and is the best way to attack artillery.

There's probably more. I will add more if I think of it.


Last edited by Mr. Digby on Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:16 pm; edited 3 times in total

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Didz on Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:25 pm

Mr.Digby wrote:2) Unlike the vanilla game there is no magic canister in the KS Mod that lets you fire your guns straight through your own troops. Your guns will not fire if friends are in front of them at 150 yards distant or less OR within 150 yards of an enemy and between them and the guns. Your troops need to be well in front of your guns or on the flanks - leave a battery a clear lane of fire. Also no more magic canister blasting into a melee and killing only enemy soldiers.
Ahh! That might explain why I couldn't get Rogers battery to fire in my last AddOn test. I was being naughty and exploiting the fact that SOWWL lets units fire through each other. So, they were deployed just behind the 32nd Foot. Looks like I got caught trying to use an exploit by the KS code Embarassed
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:03 pm

This is the problem with unrealistic game mechanics. Even the historically aware and honest players unwittingly "cheat" because the game engine lets them.

As I said above, if you do your honest best to put your mind into that of an early 19th century general and only do things that would be reasonable to such a person, the KS Mod rewards that kind of play and you'll discover changes you otherwise might not and see fewer behaviours you'll be puzzled by if you game within the rules the vanilla game uses.

I'll add:

29) We use three "tabs" on the command buttons section of the toolbar. The "move" tab is used to issue orders to troops who are distant from any fighting and while executing these moves the units will form into columns of division or road march column to manoeuvre, only deploying into the formations requested on reaching their destination. The "combat" tab should be used to issue orders to formations in close proximity to an enemy and issuing orders via this tab will result in the formations being "locked" and maintained as the units manoeuvre. This process is used to lock our linear armies into lines while near the enemy. This tab also gives a number of brigade formations as well such as brigade columns of attack, l'ordre mixte and so on. The third tab is the "orders" tab and is used for al courier comms as well as giving your subordinate formation commanders stances.
30) We don't call "fatigue" fatigue any more but use the phrase fatigue/cohesion as we take a degraded combat ability of a unit to represent not only physical fatigue but also impaired command control, some stragglers helping wounded to the rear and a host of other factors that cause combat units to perform below an optimum level. We find this better explains why units do not fight so effectively after a protracted period in intense combat better than calling it simple tiredness.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Didz on Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:21 pm

I agree, that the temptation to exploit the shortcomings of the game engine are all too strong.  My only excuse is that I know that the AI most certainly will do it, therefore, if I don't it isn;t a level playing field.  However, one of the reasons I normal avoid multi-player strategy games is that in my experience even as a member of the NWC it was impossible to get a game where players were not exploiting the programme in some way.  In the end I concluded that unless the game engine was rigorous enough to prevent it someone would find a way to cheat, and the only real solution was a human moderator umpire.

Anyway last night I spent a couple of hours trying the KS British01 scenario using just the official KS Mods, just to get a feel for how the mod works and looks.  So, I got to use the MOVE, COMBAT and ORDER tabs you mentioned, and managed to get my four divisions moving.

Picton and Stedman were ordered to Vertus, whilst Brunswick and Colville were ordered to Vatry.  My idea being to concentrate my forces in the centre and then react to whatever the enemy did to prevent the capture of Vertus.

However, having checked the combat map and confirmed that the four divisions were moving, i then decided to do a bit of personal scouting and headed for the high ground on the road between Mareuil and Montmirail (the starred location on the map).  i was worried about possible attacks on the flank of Picton's Division as it moved on Vertus.

As it happened my concerns were well founded and no sooner did I breast the slope than I spotted the enemy in what looked to be Corps strength in the direction of Epernay.  They did not appear to be on the march and so I assumed that they had not seen Picton's Division moved across their front in the valley below.

I immediately ordered all four of my divisions to march to my location, intent on concentrating my forces against what I assumed to be the main French Army.  Picton's Division responded almost immediately and began moving in the large wooded area below me and to my right.  I could hear cannon fire suggesting that somewhere beyond the tree's Picton was engaging the enemy.  

However, nobody seemed to be moving to my position on the top of the hill, so seeing Halketts Hanoverian Brigade closest to me in the valley below together with Ross' Troop RHA, i ordered both of these formations to move up the hill.  Halkett to deploy to my left, and Ross to deploy his guns to my front.  Both these commands were obeyed and you can see the results in the image below.

So overall not a bad test of the mod, I seemed able to make things happen.

Strategically, however, I'm not sure I'm in a good position. A courier arrived at about this point from the Duke of Brunswick informing me that he was heavily engaged by superior enemy forces at Vatry and desperately needed support. So, much for overwhelming the enemy at Epernay then Rolling Eyes
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:33 pm

One of the worst situations is to meet an enemy at a short range. Units move fast and situations develop quickly and before you can organise your brigade deployments and guns the enemy can be upon you. Its best to send your formations to a position you anticipate will be some distance from where the enemy could be and go forward to scout once your force is in a reasonably deployed formation.

Don't worry about MP exploits. There really are none the game allows beyond just a couple and we have gentlemens agreements in place to stop these which works. Our groups is extremely NON-competitive so the need to win is not paramount. Having a fun time is. Much of the core work of the KS Mod is in the ai.dll file which controls ai behaviour; the ai also only sees things from ground level as well, so the ai does not have an advantage over the player, in fact the reverse is true to an extent.

Our player v player games are really intense and, we feel, when played in HITS mode with couriers and no voice comms, gives one of the most rewarding online game experiences any black powder era game can give.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Didz on Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:20 am

Well I had another SP practice session last night and everything seems to be working as intended.  

Re-fought QB1 (The Namur Road Scenario) as the French and got my arse handed to me by the British.  Though the 1st Battalion 10th Line did a heroic job under my personal direction single handedly charging and overrunning the enemy batteries on their left and attacking the flank of the highland regiment guarding the road and rolling them up quite nicely, before being overwhelmed and abandoned to its fate.

Actually, I say that everything is working as expected, but thats not completely true, because as you can see below I'm still not seeing the French formed in three ranks with the KS Mod.

I'm told they should be, but when I uninstal Grogs Toolbar they seem to revert to the vanilla two rank formations, and I'm worried that might be a symptom of a bigger formation issue that I'm not noticing.

However, apart from that concern the my next challenge is to get Teamspeak and the MP system working.  Never, a smooth process in my experience although I do have Teamspeak, Mumble and Discord installed on my PC, I rarely use TS as its so finicky to set-up.  I use Mumble for my weekly role play sessions.

I've briefly looked at the Multi-player set up for SOWWL, and hopefully it just involves registration with the server to get it working.

So, I shall have a look at both these tonight.
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Grog on Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:27 pm

Ditz

I expect the reason that the French formed up in 2 lines is because the OOB that you are using is from the base game and not one created for the KS mod.

Playing the stock scenarios will mean you use stock OOBs.

Even when the KS mod is activated, you still have the option to use the Base game OOBs.

Also, the base game OOB's differ in other ways, besides formations. The stats will differ, also.

Mike

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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Didz on Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:48 pm

That might be the explanation.  I'm trying to remember now whether I loaded the QB scenario from the Waterloo menu or the User Scenario one.  Normally I would always use the User Scenario version as it is the recommended approach when using the Extended Toolbar.  But in this instance I may have deliberately chosen to use the Waterloo Scenario because I was checking whether the KS Mod caused it to crash.  (It doesn't btw.  But someone on steam was saying it did.)

Ok! I double checked, and very carefully made sure I loaded the QB scenario from the User Scenario list.
Spoiler:
As you can see they are still two deep, which suggests I've screwed something else up.

In fact, just to be sure I loaded a standard KS French Scenario.
Spoiler:
Still the French are standing two ranks deep instead of three. So, it must be something else I've done.

What actually causes them to be three ranks deep, is it code or GFX?

I wonder if somehow one of my other mods is overriding the KS code though I'm not sure why they would, because as far as I know they are just GFX mods.
Spoiler:
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:12 pm

The stock scenarios probably use uniquely named formations that have no counterpart in the KS mod. That would explain what you are seeing.

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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Didz on Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:27 pm

Uncle Billy wrote:The stock scenarios probably use uniquely named formations that have no counterpart in the KS mod. That would explain what you are seeing.
So, the KS modification to unit depth is only applied to units that are a part of the KS Mod?
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:56 pm

It is applied to any unit that uses a formation with the same name as that which is given by the KS mod. You can put any unit into a KS line formation by selecting it and then pressing the line formation button. Of course the scenario scripting may change it back at some point.

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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Didz on Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:43 pm

Well I just ran a check by de-activating all except the three KS Mods, and then running the QB01 scenario from the User Scenario menu, and the French were still in two deep line as shown in the previous screenshots. So, it's definitely not s mod conflict it must just be that the units, or their formations aren't compatible with the KS mod scripting.

I also had a go at using the command map, but couldn't work out how to go about it. So, I'll have to see if there is anything in the game manual about it.
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:34 pm

I'm beginning to think I have messed up my KS Mod somehow as I am only seeing French in 2 ranks as well (KS 1815 OOB, Friants OG division).

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: SOWWL Tutorials and Single Player Practice

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:02 pm

Depending on the men to sprite ratio, you will see 2 ranks for smaller/depleted battalions. With a ratio of 5, 475 men or less will generate a 2 rank line. Battalions would try to maintain a certain frontage by thinning out the lines when forced to.

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