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Developer’s Corner: the Fog of War

In our recent Developer Q & A, we mentioned yet another new feature to be introduced with the imminent arrival of the Manstein build: the first iteration of the fog of war. It’s a fairly common feature in strategy games, and it should have a noticeable impact on the way Generals plan their moves.

The term “fog of war” (“Nebel des Krieges“) was coined by the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz to describe the lack of situational awareness experienced by the participants in a military conflict. In the chaos of warfare, you very often have no idea where your enemies are, or your friends, or how they are doing. What happened to the fighter squadron you saw flying over your head yesterday? Did they bomb the target or get shot down? Probably only their commanding officer knows.

To simulate this, we will turn off the lights! Beginning with the coming Manstein build, the Campaign Map will be darkened and you will only be able to see what the Assault Teams directly under your command can see. This includes both friendly and enemy units. Otherwise it would be too easy to circumvent the fog of war by logging into an alternate account on the rival faction and checking out where everyone is. However, you will remain able to see ongoing battles as orange flames anywhere on the map, so you always know where the party is happening.

This limited vision will also force Generals to discuss strategies with each other more and exchange information on the faction chat in order to organize their offensives. This lays the groundwork for the Command Structure, which we plan to implement at a later stage, and in which the upper echelons of the hierarchy would be able to get a more complete picture of the conflict, seeing what all their subordinates see.

But that’s not all: by eliminating the need to draw all Assault Teams deployed on the Campaign Map, the fog of war should greatly improve performance and reduce memory usage.

Armies in Darkness

One important detail to keep in mind is that the Campaign Map is built on a square grid. This affects how your Assault Teams’ field of vision will be represented. You may have noticed in the example above that the Light Armor AT at Königs Wusterhausen is near the top left corner of the map square (right side of the illustration). Light Armor ATs have a vision range of 0: this means they only see the map square inside of which they are located. The result is that the “spotlight” which represents this AT’s field of vision appears off-center. This is not a bug, but rather the result of the grid resolution. We may adjust the grid resolution (and vision ranges) in future builds so that everything appears more centered.

Also note that your AT’s field of vision will not travel in real-time, but only follow your AT once it reaches its destination.

Visibility Ranges

Some units see more than others! With the fog of war, Recon units will live up to their name by providing reconnaissance reports in the form of a wider range of vision. A range of 2 means the unit’s vision extends to 2 squares in every direction around the unit’s current square, thus encompassing a 5×5 grid. Motorized Recon, as well as Fighter Squadrons, can reveal a 7×7 grid (range = 3). Starting in the Manstein build, having upgraded Assault Teams becomes much more interesting!

Assault Team type Vision range
Guard 0
Motorized Guard 1
Anti-Tank Infantry 0
Motorized Anti-Tank Infantry 1
Recon 2
Motorized Recon 3
Infantry 0
Motorized Infantry 1
Mechanized Infantry 1
Paratroopers 0
Light Armor 0
Medium Armor 1
Heavy Armor 1
Medium Tank Destroyer 1
Fighter Squadron 3
 

NB: All reinforcements traveling to their assault team have a vision range of 0, limiting their view distance to their own current square.

  1. avatarBlaineUK10-21-2013

    Should re-program the field of vision to the Access Point rather than the grid, it kills my OCD, lol. Also, this system is open to very heavy abuse of multiple accounts just having ATs sitting on the front to relay information, then put them back in London/Berlin when you log off.

    • avatarReto.Stenum10-22-2013

      If you really want to spend time waiting for assault teams to move to the front, you’re welcome to do so :-)

      • avatarBlaineUK10-22-2013

        I don’t, as I’m strictly against using multiple accounts for the purposes of gaining an advantage, but sadly other people will as has already been proven by people creating accounts purely for starting battles, or running 4-5 accounts to make use of up to 50 or so ATs.

        • avatarPjosip10-23-2013

          Well, currently you will have to actually play and be usefull (by killing or capping) on the other side in order to get all those accounts for scoutig.
          Also the information will not be nearly as usefull as seing complete enemy movement on the entire map.

          So afterall it is less abusive than simply logging in with 1 account and simply look at the enemy movement.

          • avatarBlaineUK10-23-2013

            The playing and time needed is irrelevant. You could spend 1 war, maybe 2 to create an account full of Motorised Recon on the opposing faction, and you can use it for *any* number of wars in the future once it has been finished.

    • avatardra6o0n11-14-2013

      Actually, multi-account attempts for reconnaissance would still fail, its NOT like a person can view all 10 account’s browsers all at once!

      Sure you gotta flip through them via tabs or something, but you’re pretty much crippling yourself each time the more account you use.

      If anything this will make people reinforce positions in popular areas more and rely on social information (or misinformation) to determine if the enemy has moved.

  2. avatarGrDHanibal10-21-2013

    para are vision range of 0 yet fighters are 3?? medium and heavy armor are 1 shouldn’t heavy be 2 ??, and the same with mech why is it 1 like moto should be 2?? Makes sense to increase by 1 for stars earned and quality of A.T. why lvl up to mech or para if you have better or same vision range as the previous tier classification.

    • avatarReto.Vashu10-21-2013

      There are other benefits of upgrading than View Range.

  3. avatarGrDHanibal10-22-2013

    like? With fog of war only plus to upgrading is vision range as far as I can see. Why spend w.f. on a unit that has less line of sight. That’s like trading a 10 for a 2.

  4. avatarNikita199810-22-2013

    They’d better able players to see all the teammates’s AT, and hide in the fog of war enemy’s AT/

    • avatarReto.Stenum10-22-2013

      How would you do that with the current system, without enabling players to create a new account, join the opposing faction and spy on them?

  5. avatarpatton199510-22-2013

    I can’t wait for the next build :P

  6. avatarKROAT10-22-2013

    Spaying” would be hard, you first need other faction ATs (buy or earn) to see anything at all, and with this limit of field of view you see only small part as range, reconnaissance will gain in value as it should be, and with that information value will gain more value, It is the first step toward Command-information system where the sharing of information is the key in making decision for the preparation and implementation of operations of strategic, operational and tactical significance.

  7. avatardjopa10-23-2013

    “This lays the groundwork for the Command Structure, which we plan to implement at a later stage”

    so we will again be stuck with a feature that’s like 1/4 developed….
    it wouldn’t bug me too much if i wouldn’t be aware of the fact that it will takes months that we get the full feature which will work as it should….
    when will you stop doing that reto?
    why don’t you develop it up to a level when you would have to just tweak it or change it a little bit after installing it?
    for example lets take the “play with friends” feature.
    yes we have it but you can’t choose the battle you want to enter with your squad and if you want to act as an organized group you can’t because you can’t achieve the right impact.
    not to mention that if you for example make an infantry at squad of 6 people you can be sure that you will be stuck 15 or even more minutes trying to enter a match, the longest i’ve tried was 23 minutes….
    we didn’t test it until when we would have to wait because even that is just too much…..
    further more and possibly one of the bigger issues here is that when you squad up you can’t play on the campaign map, you are stuck in the squad up menu…..

  8. avatarNIQUEZOR10-23-2013

    Идея с картой хороша, но… мне кажется что нынешняя карта лучше

  9. avatarshedd10-23-2013

    “This lays the groundwork for the Command Structure, which we plan to implement at a later stage, and in which the upper echelons of the hierarchy would be able to get a more complete picture of the conflict, seeing what all their subordinates see.”

    Honestly… the Command Structure should have come first. The chat alone is really a very bad way to communicate any strategy more complex than “Need AT at X” or let alone get a coherent picture of what’s going on. Especially at times we’re whole landstrips can be “undefended” because the AT owners are offline or in another channel. My biggest fear i that any more complex planning gets interrupted all the time or will end in a bickering spamstorm that’ll render the channel unreadable.

    Fog of war is a nice feature and with a command structure a really great one but till that comes I fear it will be annoying for a lot of players, especially the new ones.

  10. avatarCYNIC10-24-2013

    I like FoW it added a bit realism and deep into strategy but this dark map… It’s depressing.
    Guys remove pls dark effect from map. Many players complains head\eyeache from this horrible design! No need to have obscured map for FoW – empty towns and inbvisible enemy\friendly units outside view range is more than enough for FoW!

  11. avatarlazyboynz10-25-2013

    I agree with CYNIC, the dark map is horrible on the eye.

    one other thought
    I would have thought Light armor would have a better recon value than other armor, as that was its roll

  12. avatarlazyboynz10-25-2013

    I should qualify my dark map comment, i mean I will find it difficult to view for a longish period of time without sore eyes or a headache.
    Happens to old folk like me.

    I like the fog of war idea :)

    • avatarReto.Stenum10-25-2013

      We’re working on a hotfix for the a bit too depressing campaign map :)

  13. avatarkAAMEhAME10-25-2013

    well fog of shit, dont wanna play this game as long you dont remove it

    cya

  14. avatarpopalexcristian11-03-2013

    I would like if only emenies can`t be seed.Not anyone.Would be useful to be seed your allies

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