Date: 1994-02-21
From: Paul
Subject: Re: Attachment Closeup

Here's my second attempt at a paragraph-by-paragraph response to your Attachment Closeup. Also, I've attached a subtly-modified version of Alexander. Can you tell the difference?
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  2. You say, "...the enemy can see only four pieces...either a carrier or another fighter (depending on whether his currently selected piece...)." I don't follow you; why is this? I think he sees *both* the carrier and the fighter, as they're not attached. Also, I don't understand the point about the "currently selected piece". Surely selecting a piece (presumably to move or view it?) has nothing to do with what enemy pieces are visible. Please elucidate...
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  4. (the spy) - In the example, the spy is attached to a plane. I support what I believe to be your current position that one spy "attack" must be on either the air or the land grid, not both. What is not explained is the attack relationship between the spy and his host. Does the spy attack also consume one host attack? If the spy attacks twice this turn can the plane also attack? My proposal: The host plus all its attached pieces are allowed exactly as many attacks as the unencumbered host would otherwise be allowed. In the example, we could have two spy attacks, two fighter attacks, or one of each. If a spy were attached to an infantry it could attack once per turn, if the infantry did not also attack or move. A spy attached to a full-power destroyer could attack twice per turn, but attached to a weakened destroyer might be allowed only one attack. If the bomber in your example carried fuel, paratroopers, bombs, and spies, it could still "activate" only two cargoes per turn. If it dropped a bomb and dropped a paratrooper it could not also support a spy attack that turn.
  5. (spy) - Why can't the spy spy on the battleship? Are you implying some rule about "clearing out" the grid a piece is in (air or land) before being allowed to switch grids?
  6. (transport) - I propose that an army be allowed to occupy, as opposed to attack and capture, a neutral city. Why might I want to do this? Imagine a scenario with one neutral city and two adjacent armies, one from each player. If I move first and choose to capture the city I am left with a vulnerable city which will likely be immediately taken by the opponent. If I do nothing and the enemy captures the city the situation is reversed. But if I could occupy the city, strategies might change. I guess this would be considered a defensive strategy.
  7. (helicopter) - You propose that rangers not be allowed to jump from airborne helicopters. OK.
  8. (helicopter) - Can a chopper attach to a fighter? This revives the earlier discussion around the definition of "attach", which was not resolved to my satisfaction. Attaching a bomb to a bomber is very different from attaching, say, two fighters. In this context, I guess the question becomes, "Can the chopper and fighter move as a unit, and can the fighter hide and protect the chopper?" To answer the first part, I'm inclined to fall back on "real life". Can fighter planes slow down to the speed of helicopters? If so, I would answer "yes" to that part of the question. Responding to the specific initial question, "I don't know" is the best I can do at the moment.
  9. (cell limits) - Mapping to my concern in the previous paragraph, your representation of the fighter-bomber-fuel-ranger-bomb attachment is unsatisfactory to me. It faithfully depicts the attachment, although "upper-left-hand-corner piece is on top, attachment-wise" is not very intuitive, but it doesn't address "containment" at all. I know that the rangers are inside the bomber rather than inside the fuel (don't laugh) only by referring to the piece matrix, or some other documentation. I think we can do better than this.
  10. (refueling) - How about if we treat refueling like a modified attack? One barrel would be, say, 10 fuel units, so a complete refueling would "stop" both bomber and fighter for the turn - no more movement, no attacks, no dropping paratroopers, etc. This *would* allow both pieces to move before the refueling began. The fighter could move 18 squares to a rendevous point, refuel fully, and be ready with 20 fuel units for the next turn. Or it could move 10 units, refuel back up to 20, and move an additional 9 squares, leaving 1 unit of fuel for next turn.
  11. (attachment at sea) - I like your concept of automatic attack.
  12. (neutral cities) - I see your proposal implicitly supports my suggestions above to allow armies in neutral cities.
  13. (surface and air grid) - In a recent note I kind of proposed extending this concept even farther, making as many as four grids: air, land, sea, and undersea. One issue is discouraging me from more active campaigning for this concept: complexity. Displaying and working with two grids looks already a bit messy; four might well be unmanageable. Still, I like some of the features that this makes possible, e.g., subs having to surface to enter port or - maybe - attack planes.
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  15. (cities closeup) - We definitely need to distinguish visually between the various city states in the closeup view.
  16. (closeup scrollling) - I think scrolling of the closeup view is a nice, but maybe not necessary, feature. I'd rather not make this window modal.
Re: yesterday's dispatch on terminology. I could start playing around with firing globs rather than single sparks any old time. Do you have any specific ideas?

I'm glad to hear you like the world view palette. It was initially grating to me, because the colors are identical to those in the Battle Map. I think this issue will go away when we put more complex patterns in the Battle Map. Is the window style right for you? By the style I mean: square edges, go-away box, no title, etc. There's probably some standard for this; I'll try to check later.

What should I do in the way of menus? Earlier I suggested a new "tools" menu on which the sole initial choice would be "World View". But already this seems wrong to me. Maybe a "Windows" menu - nope, that's wrong. How about something like "Views", with two initial choices: "World View", "Battle Map". The latter would cause "New Window" to disappear from the current "File" menu.

On naming conventions: I'm almost ready to fully adopt the names you suggest. However, a new alternative popped in my mind today: "World thumbnail" in place of "World View". This has the advantage of more powerfully implying its size, and the possible disadvantage of maybe being too computery a term. What do you think?