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[freeciv-data] Re: [Freeciv-Dev] Re: Artillery and sea units (PR#1476)

[freeciv-data] Re: [Freeciv-Dev] Re: Artillery and sea units (PR#1476)

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To: Daniel L Speyer <dspeyer@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Richard Stallman <rms@xxxxxxx>, raahul_da_man@xxxxxxxxx, freeciv-data@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [freeciv-data] Re: [Freeciv-Dev] Re: Artillery and sea units (PR#1476)
From: Thanasis Kinias <tkinias@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 23:24:42 -0700
Reply-to: freeciv-data@xxxxxxxxxxx

scripsit Daniel L Speyer:
> On Tue, 21 May 2002, Thanasis Kinias wrote:
> > [snip] 
> > The radical advances in military technology had to do with firepower and
> > C3 (command/control/communications).  Give me radios and I'll give you a
> > modern, decentralized army.  Without them, you could have a battalion's
> > worth of modern MBTs, and they'd have to line up like musketeers to keep
> > in formation.
> > 
> I don't think radio is what's critical here.  Things can be done with
> drums and horns to co-ordinate widespread armies (all the usual techniques
> apply regarding not being understood by your enemies).

I was oversimplifying a bit, but the fact remains that the critical
difference in battlefield dispersion happened with the advent of
wireless communication.  You can use things like drums and horns up to a
point, but transmitting detailed orders isn't possible during battle.

> And, if all else
> fails, pick intelligent platoon commanders and teach them the whole plan.

The issue isn't the ability to plan, it's the ability to _change_ the
plan once battle is joined.

Drums and horns were used for basic tactical signalling up to WWI AFAIK,
the former typically for line regiments and the latter for horse and
skirmishers.  Advance/halt/form square was about the limit of the
available signals, however.  In the 19th century, the maneuver unit was
the brigade (several thousand men); the CINC's control once a brigade
was commited was minimal.  Either the attack succeeded or the brigade
was done for the day.

The increased lethality of 20th c. weapons encouraged increased
dispersion, but C3 technology is what made it possible.  The slaughter
of WWI is the period where C3 lagged lethality.

The point of all this, in regards to Freeciv, is that radio (which is,
in this context, to be understood as shorthand for "modern
communications technology") ought to be a critical tech for
transitioning to modern military units.

> > But if we're going to tackle this, IMHO we need to start at the
> > beginning.
> > 
> Hmm, I never like starting from scratch if I can help it. 

I meant to start reviewing from the beginning of the tech tree, not to
start from scratch.  I agree about not starting from scratch if you can

> Here's the list of changes I've been thinking of making:
> Rename Leadership, Conscription, and Tactics
>   historical accuracy, basic descriptiveness

Get rid of them completely and come up with real technical advances that
correspond to the increased operational lethality of units.

> Swap Writing and Alphabet
>   historical accuracy and basic logic.  What's the point of an alphabet
>   without writing?

Hmm.  China seems to do just fine writing without any alphabet at all.
There's nothing magical about alphabetic writing systems, even if they
do seem superior to those of us who use them.

What are they supposed to represent, exactly?

> Swap Map Making and Seafaring
>   logic: seafaring should get you boats, map making should help you make
>   maps

Is there any evidence the Vikings used nautical charts in the 9th and 10th
centuries?  They were certainly faring the seas.

> Make Feudalism require Monarchy and Iron Working
>   gameplay: make ancient units (esp chariots and legions) useful.
>   also logic/history: you realy want to try a stone pike?

Feudalism needs a total revamp.  It is as much a system of government as
an economic system, and it has much more claim to be represented as a
Freeciv government than Communism.  It should restrict the units you can
build -- no Phalanges or Legions, but yes Knights.

For _sure_, good infantry (=Pikemen) shouldn't come from Feudalism.
Good infantry require either a professional standing army or a strong
yeoman class, neither of which are characteristic of feudal Europe.  The
model pikeman is from Switzerland, not exactly the model of feudal

> Swap Musketeers and Canon
>   gameplay: musketeers are too powerful
>   history: canons came first


> Rename Engineering
>   usability: it doesn't get you engineers


> Rename howitzers
>   history: we had howitzers in WWI -- we sure didn't have robots

Howitzers go back at least to the mid-1700s.  They were distinguished
from guns in that they fired explosive shells in arcing trajectories.
At the Freeciv scale there's no difference from a gun, though.

What the `Howitzer' in Freeciv seems to represent is modern
self-propelled artillery (M109 or M110, for example).  If so, what on
earth does it have to do with robotics?  It should just be a progression
from Artillery that accompanies Armor -- but it shouldn't obselete
(towed) Artillery, just suplement it.

I am moving to freeciv-data per Per's suggestion.

Thanasis Kinias
Web Developer, Information Technology
Graduate Student, Department of History
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona, U.S.A.

Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

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