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Red2112

HPS Point of Attack 2 (v2.5.0.9)

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I had to decide what I wanted for my birthday (wife is paying B|), and for quite some time I had that clear with (Cold Waters), but since, recently PoA-2 has had a mayor update (may 2017), and this is a game/simulation that I always wanted, but reviews were not to positive due to the fact that PoA-2 has been out more then a decade and Scott Hamilton (dev) spent most of the time in his bat-cave, I was in doubt with this one.

 

 At the start of this year, Scott decided to get out of his bat-cave and explain to the world what he has been up to and what his plans are with PoA-2, which in short are, that most of the bugs and user suggestions have been dealt with in this recent patch, and will soon be done with as a final product.  I understand that If you bought this some years ago, you might have some hard feelings with the way it has matured till now, but in my case and in this regard, I have nothing to complain about beacuse I have just bought the game and it´s actual state is right for me.

 

Iam quite excited as it´s those types of games I look for and can´t say there´s many of, this is sort of a "land" simulation in the likes of CMANO and maybe even more as I just started to explore what you can do with PoA-2 and its 493 page manual :)  I will qive you all a SITREP of the game as I discover and move forward, expect a video too...

 

HPS Simulation Point of Attack 2:

http://www.hpssims.com/Pages/Products/POA2/POA2b.html

 

Current version v2.5.0.9

 

Care,

 

Red

 

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PoA2_001.jpg

Edited by Red2112

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wow,who would have figured a figure skater would put out a great sim!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

;)

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Ok here it is :)

 

I did mess around with a different mission (level 5) last night and had alot of fun!  The level of detail and work put into this is amazing, especially for a one-man team sort to say.  The idea now is to put up more videos with some hands on tranning, so stay tuned if you like...

 

 

 

Care,

 

Red

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10 hours ago, Mirzayev said:

This looks a bit like the land-warfare version of CMANO. How steep was/is the learning curve for you?

 

Yes, others have said the same, although you do have Air/Sea units aswell in PoA-2, I just havent seen them yet, but if you look at the "Weapon Sys" list (PDF) on the HPS Simulation site, you will see Airframes and Vessels on the list.  Iam afraid I can´t tell you how they are implemented in PoA-2 yet, as I havent encounterd any units of that sort yet.

 

Regarding learning curve...

 

To be honest I havent really dove into it 100%, Iam just reading the manual when I have a chance and playing around with some mission, but this is my evaluation so far...

 

- Compared to CMANO and taking into account that Iam using the "novice" setting while playing, which limits quite alot of options/decisions in the game, I would say that this is more realistic then CMANO.  Its also easier to grasp at first hand without really needing to dive into the manual.  Obviously you will need to scan the manual at some point, but almost everything of the game is self explanatory so you can easily start tinkering menus/options or what have you in-game and see a result of some sort.  Of course there´s more depth to it all, but that dosen´t stop you from beeing hable to do things and play.  In CMANO, either you see a video, read the manual, or the thing just stares at you, or you make a mess and waste a bunch of "dolores"!

 

- It´s different to CMANO also in the sence that it´s kind of turn based, you have your report phase which in a way is a SITREP for the CO (the player) so nothing is happening in real-time except when the report phase/combat phase is going on which is simultaneously for both sides.  I find this kind of neat, as it gives you time to think and read the SITREP before you make a decision, after all in this game you are the CO!  In a way It´s similar to "Tac Ops 4", but this is just more hardcore!  So yeah, I think you will like it.  Also I just found out that weather effects your balistics in PoA-2!  It´s not a click fest either, which I like that, it´s a thinking man´s game!

 

I have last nights Kanium game to upload which I´ll do tonight most likely, then I will start the first part of a series on PoA-2 called "H.O.T.".  Now don´t you all start thinking bad! It´s stands for "Hands On Training" :D  So if you Like Mirzayev just stand-by for my next video and I will show more PoA-2 in a "expert mode" and with actual gameplay. Either way, while I was playing/trying a mission I was thinking you would like it!  It´s like a miniature SB without all the 3D stuff and in "top-view", actualy you could replicate our missions with all the included gear (units) in PoA-2 :)

 

--

Edited by Red2112

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A fair warning...

 

Been doing some more playing and at times the game freezes with a external exception error pop-up.  Sent some mails to Scott but no reply.  Let´s hope they fix it, and not 4 years from now! So anybody thinking of pulling the trigger on this one, be it at your own risk!  I will still try to do some videos on it but with a fair warning added...

 

Care,

 

Red

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I played this "game" when it first cam out and it was a disaster in the early 2000's.  I played it and tried to help get it fixed for 4-5 years.  It finally got somewhere decent and then then they went ahead and released a big update and broke it all to hell.  Stuck with it for another year and gave up because HPS seemed have stopped working on it.  I can't believe people are getting sucked in to it again.  And its almost impossible to communicate with the developer.  Back during the first round, he would only take phone calls to discuss issues.

 

I also came to the conclusion that a lot of detail does not mean more realistic.  In fact, in this game, the detail sometimes works against the realistic results because you can't tell what's really going on.  Back in the day, it would take 15-20 minutes to process turns.   btw, in 2003-4 it cost $90.

 

edit: I think all the updates in the last 2-3 years are still considered beta updates.  I don't think the game has had a real update in 6 or 7 years.  Those freezes and C++ errors you are running into have always been there.  The base program continues to be very unstable.

Edited by thewood

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5 hours ago, Mirzayev said:

Ah man, that sucks! Hopefully there is a fix for it. 

 

How often does this occur?

 

2 hours ago, thewood said:

I played this "game" when it first cam out and it was a disaster in the early 2000's.  I played it and tried to help get it fixed for 4-5 years.  It finally got somewhere decent and then then they went ahead and released a big update and broke it all to hell.  Stuck with it for another year and gave up because HPS seemed have stopped working on it.  I can't believe people are getting sucked in to it again.  And its almost impossible to communicate with the developer.  Back during the first round, he would only take phone calls to discuss issues.

 

I also came to the conclusion that a lot of detail does not mean more realistic.  In fact, in this game, the detail sometimes works against the realistic results because you can't tell what's really going on.  Back in the day, it would take 15-20 minutes to process turns.   btw, in 2003-4 it cost $90.

 

edit: I think all the updates in the last 2-3 years are still considered beta updates.  I don't think the game has had a real update in 6 or 7 years.  Those freezes and C++ errors you are running into have always been there.  The base program continues to be very unstable.

 

Just got a mail from Scott Hamilton about an hour ago.  He is looking into it, but overall he seems a nice man. Willing to help and fix things, actualy the "Tigers Unleashed" seems to work a bit better (I bought that too) and Iam sure he will find a solution for POA2.5.  I played 27 turns today till I got that error (Exception EEFACE) and he seems to kind of know what could be the problem.  Scott has been working on both TSS titles all this time, just hasent shown till lately as he is a one man band.  TU was updated in 2014 and POA2.5 two months ago.  The problem is that once you try POA2.5 the rest of games just don´t stack up to it, at least for me.

 

Regarding realistic results, if you read the manual you will soon see that FOW in this game works both way´s, you are the CO in this game, not a TC, so the SITREPS that get to you might be late at times, that means that for example if your last SITEREP was 4mins. ago, you don´t really know exactly were your own units are (they could have moved 2mins. ago) till you get another SITEREP of those unit(s).  You can even set-up coms networks in this game, be it wireless, fiber etc. gear must be the same between units too in most cases for the network to work, and I only red the first 100 pages B|

 

I´ll keep on and let you all know how it turns out or if any news as soon as I know, Scott has to get back to me so news will be in short...

 

Care,

 

Red

 

--

Edited by Red2112

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The fact that he got back in touch with you is good news for sure. I'm willing to give games with a rocky start another chance if the developers are serious about fixing things. 

 

I've been skimming through the 493 (!) page manual, and it seems like this game has a lot to offer. What caught my eye was attempting to mimic the "human element," by having leaders with varying skills in different areas. So, for example, you might have a highly aggressive leader with good initiative and a great grasp of employing direct fire weapon systems, but who also happens to be incompetent and has a low "breaking" threshold. I'm not sure how this plays out in game, but to me this seems like a much better method rather than the usual "general skill level" found in many other games. Plus, it is accurate in the fact that not all leaders are created equal, and that even a great leader will not be perfect. Also, the fact that they tend to improve as they survive battles gives a tad bit of an "RPG" element to the game. I guess you might even start having your favorite leaders, like a SSG who constantly ensures his Section's deadliness in combat, or a CO who always has a great understanding of the Commander's Intent. Or guys who cause you to let out a groan when you see that they are assigned to you. 

 

 

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IMHO you have to have faith/trust in someone or you wont win a war by yourself, so yeah you could say that I have trust in Scott.  If for some other reason things don´t work out then just think of it as if you had a bad dinner at a restaurant and lost $60 on a meal!  It´s not that I want to convince anyone, Iam sure we are all grown up here and can make or own decisions.  Iam just sharering my likings and adventures with all of you in a subject that most of us here like.  Either way, here´s a article that his friend Jason put up on his blog at the begining of the year...

Tigers Unleashed Article

 

Aside from this, Iam glad your liking what your reading so far Mirzayev, that´s alot coming from you, but in a way I thought you would like it, it would be hard not to if you like CMANO.  I still haven´t got to the part were they talk about leaders, just went through the first 81 pages so there´s isn´t much I could add there, but as I said, glad your liking it!  I will be doing some more reading and playing today beacuse I want to have things quite clear before I do the next video as I don´t want to mislead anyone with my comments.  More to come so stay tuned if you enjoy this...

 

Thanks for your comments Mirzayev!

Good care,

 

Red

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I would suggest not getting over-excited about the manual.  Before dropping any money on it, let them get an official (not beta) patch out.  I can't believe they still have those C++ errors floating around.  I played this non-stop around 2005-2008 (I am guessing) and found a number of things listed in the manual that just plain didn't work.  And there is no way to tell without slowing everything way down and replaying over and over to see what actions are happening.

 

Just be very careful about getting excited.  Do your due diligence on this and wait a little bit beyond a couple people getting sucked back in.  The pattern is that one or two people pick up the mantle every couple years and start pushing POA2 again.  A couple guys worked on helping fix it the first couple years of release.   They stopped working on it after a couple years of little progress  A couple years after that, a guy named Wodin started with the same thing. Then he got disillusioned.  I think there was another guy a couple years after that with the same pattern.  Now we are here.  Think about this...this game has been in development for 14 years.  And still is having issues and is years awaiting an official patch.  You can see some of the history on wargaming forums like gamesaquad and a few others.

 

edit:  

 

I did a quick google search on HPS and came across a thread.  Looks like a lot of the same old, same old.

 

http://dogsofwarvu.com/forum/index.php/topic,1273.30.html

 

You can see the frustration rising again.

Edited by thewood

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Thanks Thewood for your insight, I fully understand your thoughts and very much appreciate your warning indeed!  You can say I have done my homework since last year, Gamesquad, DOW, some others, and Wodin is actualy Jason R. from "A Wargamers needful things" (see article above), and which I have recently been in touch with too over at the Matrix forums.  Yes I understand this is old and folks are unhappy and/or spectacle about the whole deal.  All I can say is, for one I have hope that it will end soon (official) and that I have spent WAY more money on flight simulation software that didn´t deliver what was annaouced and the dev´s are happy camping all over the place with no remorse what so ever!  TU seems to be more stable, but then It´s quite understandable beacuse weapons are not as complex as in POA2.5, but yeah will just have to hope that it all get´s fixed, for the benefit of a good wargame/simulation for the community.

 

Another article were Scott speaks out...

Scott speakes to his customers artcle

 

For anybody who decides to buy TU, make sure you download the update (replace files with the update v1.00.11 Beta n) and also download the"standard.TEC" v8 (version 8) file (TSS) and replace the original with this one in the TSS Data folder (HPS Shared>TSS>TSS Data).

 

Care,

 

Red

 

--

Edited by Red2112

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4 hours ago, Red2112 said:

If for some other reason things don't work out then just think of it as if you had a bad dinner at a restaurant and lost $60 on a meal! 

 

I have a similar outlook. I have certainly played games that were the equivalent of bad meals (No Man's Sky at release, the voice acting and plot in Syrian Warfare,) and some that gave the equivalent of food poisoning (Aliens: Colonial Marine, X: Rebirth.) Then, there are some that are just not palatable to your preferred tastes (Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm.)

 

That being said, I don't plan to rush out and buy POA 2, since the learning curve requires more time and energy than I can currently devote. Still, it does present some interesting ideas and concepts that I haven't seen implemented to this scale before, so my interest is piqued. :)

 

I'll watch some more of your videos on it when you release them before I commit to a decision.

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1 hour ago, Mirzayev said:

 

I have a similar outlook. I have certainly played games that were the equivalent of bad meals (No Man's Sky at release, the voice acting and plot in Syrian Warfare,) and some that gave the equivalent of food poisoning (Aliens: Colonial Marine, X: Rebirth.) Then, there are some that are just not palatable to your preferred tastes (Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm.)

 

That being said, I don't plan to rush out and buy POA 2, since the learning curve requires more time and energy than I can currently devote. Still, it does present some interesting ideas and concepts that I haven't seen implemented to this scale before, so my interest is piqued. :)

 

I'll watch some more of your videos on it when you release them before I commit to a decision.

 

Thanks for your confidence Mirzayev!  Video up most likely before sunday, first part that will be.  Just doing more reading and testing for now.

 

Syrian Warfare, X-Rebirth, been there!  I really wanted to like X-Rebirth!  I liked the original X-3 (Terran Conflict/Reunion).  Regarding Flashpoint, it´s a bit weird on my end, I don´t seem to like the ongoing exchange of shots while turns, which do last for a while.  One thing is watching/reading a SITREP, another is watching pew-pew for 2mins!  Same goes for Command Ops 2, same feeling.  But I must say that PBEM is fun with FCRS.

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To me its almost never the cost in money.  Its the cost in the limited time I have.  I spent way too much time waiting, testing, and trying all the different "beta" patches.  The most frustrating part is they had it almost working and then went and ported it to the Tigers on the Hunt engine and cocked it all up worse then before.  I literally threw the disc across the room and broke it after one session.

 

bta, make sure you check the database and all the numbers in their for the different weapon systems.  Last time I looked, there were some serious issues and I don't think anyone has touched that.

Edited by thewood

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On 28/7/2017 at 0:07 AM, thewood said:

To me its almost never the cost in money.  Its the cost in the limited time I have.  I spent way too much time waiting, testing, and trying all the different "beta" patches.  The most frustrating part is they had it almost working and then went and ported it to the Tigers on the Hunt engine and cocked it all up worse then before.  I literally threw the disc across the room and broke it after one session.

 

bta, make sure you check the database and all the numbers in their for the different weapon systems.  Last time I looked, there were some serious issues and I don't think anyone has touched that.

 

"Tigers on the Hunt"? O.o  I guess you meant "Tigers Unleashed", BTW Tigers on the Hunt is one that I really enjoy playing, It´s one of my fave´s, only grip is the key combo to select leader + squad(s) that get´s to me after playing awhile, hope he fixes that some day!  Beside that, it´s a excelent adaptation of ASL and very challengeing to play.

 

I understand what you mean.  It´s not the first time I read a 250 page flight manual to find out later that the FMC on the damn $50 plane I bought is bugged, or just can´t capture a ILS for landing, just to mentioned some issues I have run into.  These things will get anybody mad!

 

Like above, quite ALOT in the flight sim world!

 

Regarding Tigers Unleashed (TU), it´s quite stable at the moment, done a couple of scenarios (25 turns) with no CTD´s or pop-up´s.  People say its more stable then POA2.5.  BTW got another mail from Scott, we are just exchanging info for a fix now.

 

My game play with TU today as Poland suppressing the choke point...

I had a minor victory as Poland.

 

 

TU_002.jpg

TU_003.jpg

Edited by Red2112

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First part of my H.O.T. series :D

 

LOS should be left as default which is 7.500m, more on that on my next video which will deal with weapons, DF and IF.

 

 

 

Care,

 

Red

 

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Further testing on POA2 with regards to targeting...

 

Seem that the "Combat Calculator" puts out decent numbers, Iam sure some of you here know better.  Most data is from Janes source (see bottom comment window)...

 

M1A2SEP >Target - T-72 @3.169m. (first report/FOW level 3)...

 

POA2_Combat_Cal_01.thumb.jpg.6a1ea67ab06f29a80c8c997335db74c3.jpg

 

LOS...

 

TGT_POA2_001.thumb.jpg.16432a074cead693eec08748117eeaad.jpg

 

First pulse (=15sec.)...

 

TGT_POA2_002.thumb.jpg.6e78689ecb733515601aea378dcaa8e1.jpg

 

Return fire from the T-72 (platoon to its left pop´s smoke)...

 

TGT_POA2_return_001.thumb.jpg.9346e67324a4cf76fe95e30b5b26d4b0.jpg

 

End turn (4 pulses=15sec. each)...

 

TGT_POA2_endturn.thumb.jpg.bf0110fcb8947a7e98e03ecb14d539ca.jpg

 

Result in one wreck (M1A2SEP) from 2nd platoon...

 

TGT_POA2_wreck.thumb.jpg.2fa5ad9f842dbcfe59d9215df3d2a61a.jpg

 

 

Edited by Red2112
added info.

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The problem that I have with any "hard" simulation is that the more parameters you introduce, the more you need to maintain. With a single person doing all the work you reach the saturation point eventually (and typically rather fast). Likewise the underlying model may deliver good results for some, not so good results for other constellations. In the M829A2 example I have the "feeling" that the model is too pessimistic about long-range performance and uses a too high air drag. For a specific statement I'd need to look at the firing table and then at the Odermatt calculator to see if the predictions shown in the first screenshot line up with our own estimations. But for example the fact that the presented parameters list the penetrator Brinell hardness but not the target's hardness raises "a" flag (can't tell what color, yet). Naturally, if you don't know (yet) where the target was hit you can't make a statement. And then the question is, do you actually have accurate BHN figures for all the surfaces of each weapon system that you're modelling.

 

Computers will almost always calculate "a" result. Whether the result is plausible and accurate is an entirely different question. Personally I'm following the philosophy that if you can't get certain values, or if you can't maintain them, or if the sources are wildly inconsistent with each other, you're better off NOT using the information, or to use some average standard factor. Case in point, maintenance quality. What's the metric? There's no commonly accepted standard. So even if you had certain values for every weapon system, could you directly compare them? Probably not. Would there be a formula to convert them? Probably not. Will you ever get the data, even if they exist? Probably not; most likely they are classified. Conclusion: Setting some arbitrary likelihood of a certain tank failing due to poor maintenance is probably just reflecting the developer's bias, so it's better to draw the boundary of your simulation in a way to exclude that element. But if you add it, you can certainly impress some people "Whoa! They even thought about this!"

 

Every developer will come to a different solution here. so there's no "right" or "wrong" answer. But often enough the pursuit of "accuracy" results in chasing numbers and parameters without critically looking at the big picture - does a certain detail actually haver a measurable effect on the outcome? No? Then why include it? Every detail that's in, is a potential source of error. Add to that the bugs that your code may have, and the fact that simulation results usually are way more convincing than they probably deserve if you disseminate the details (if they are documented), and you're actually creating a problem rather than being part of the solution.

 

What I just don't understand, for example, is the use of hexes outside of actual boardgames. In a computer simulation you can use much higher precision than hex coordinates to determine ranges, or calculating lines of sight. Hexes simply have no place when a computer does all the dice rolling and number crunching for you. Yet most wargames still use them when there is actually a lot of reasons against this kind of simplification. But that's probably why Steel Beasts is a different simulation than Point of Attack: Different designers, different design decisions. :)

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32 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

Hexes simply have no place when a computer does all the dice rolling and number crunching for you

 

Hallelujah...

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25 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

What I just don't understand, for example, is the use of hexes outside of actual boardgames. In a computer simulation you can use much higher precision than hex coordinates to determine ranges, or calculating lines of sight. Hexes simply have no place when a computer does all the dice rolling and number crunching for you. Yet most wargames still use them when there is actually a lot of reasons against this kind of simplification. But that's probably why Steel Beasts is a different simulation than Point of Attack: Different designers, different design decisions. :)

 

I think hexes make a lot more sense in turn-based wargames. Hexes are an easy method of judging distance, and being able to deduce how far a unit can move in a given turn. As an example, when playing Desperate Glory I know that each hex is the equivalent of 20 yards and can accurately judge when a Cavalry Platoon is within effective fire range for their carbines.

 

If I move to another wargame that uses hexes, there is less of a learning curve on how to read the map. Once I know the scale, and how many "movement points" a hex uses, I can begin calculating how long it will take a certain unit to get into direct fire range. 

 

The hex concept starts to fall apart when introducing real time, as suddenly the whole idea of "movement points" is thrown out and movement corresponds to real time, versus the amount of time represented in a turn. Due to this, units will no longer fall neatly within the confines of a hex, so using a hex as a method of measurement no longer makes sense. Why do the math to calculate what the range of 3.28 hexes is when you can just use a built in LOS tool?

 

That being said, there is a lot of history behind the hex (thanks, Avalon Hill) and plenty of wargames that I have played are definitely going for the old-school boardgame look. The hex, for better or worse, is instantly identifiable with wargames. It may not be the most complex or elegant solution, but it does work. Sometimes, especially for smaller development teams, the simplest solution is good enough.

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To me its more about scale than turn/wego/real-time.  Operational and strategic can work OK with hexes.  But when you get down to tactical where units are single vehicles et al., hexes tend to create a lot of artificial rules and abstractions.

Edited by thewood

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I understand what hexes are and why they were invented for boardgames where a human player is needed for all administrative tasks like counter pushing and dice rolling. About the aesthetical values of a hexagonal tilemap we could debate all day. But what I must criticize as a game designer is why a game developer who apparently strives for minute detail in every other area would choose to use them in the context of an electronic wargame, turn based or not.

How far a unit can travel in a round could be visualized by shading the ground around a selected unit, and that can be done with floating point precision. With hexes, you're not even switching to integer math on a code level, you voluntarily choose a "precision" that is several orders of magnitude worth than mere integers when you could probably use DWORDs without performance loss (just to mark the other extreme of (probably needless) calculation precision.

 

It might make artwork development easier which I suppose could justify that choice as far as the terrain map is concerned. But neither the GUI needs (visible) hex boundaries nor does it help in any way with the underlying combat and movement modelling. It is a design choice kept for the wrong reasons - nostalgia or laziness, rather than being fit for purpose.

 

 

 

(Sticking to turn based mechanisms is something that I can see being useful, either once that the number of units in play are beginning to exceed a rather low number (one or two dozen, IMO), or if you want to crunch a really large amount of data combined with, say, CPU hogs like fuzzy logic. I have nothing at all against playing in turns.)

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