Q.It seems that my version of HC97 is somewhat
different that H2. Can anyone tell me for sure if this is correct,
and what are the major differences? (Note: I know that the land color
is mapped in color in HC97 and not in H2) Is H2 a better platform
than HC97 (besides the burning ships), and if so why
A. Actually, ships do burn in HC97. If you select the ship in the
Units window and click the "Full..." button to get a full
report, you will see an outline of the ship with "smoke"
swirling around the damaged areas. I believe that flooding and fire
are both depicted with the same "smoke" -- possibly critical
hits, too. Watch the burning ship closely and you will see its % damage
increasing over time, until it reaches a steady value (implying that
the fire or flooding is under control) or the ship sinks.
Ships do sink abruptly if they are hit by a warhead that inflicts
more DP than the remaining DP of the ship. However, the "sinking"
hulk usually remains visible (and detectable on radar) for some minutes
afterward. On countless occasions I've seen ASMs -- sometimes an entire
salvo -- plowing into ships that are already sinking. This frequently
happens when the AI launches a massive bearing-only attack at the
one ship in your formation that is radiating (e.g. an AAW picket).
Small vessels like PTMs and FFLs seem to sink much faster than DDs,
CGs, and CVs (as they should).
The differences between HC97 and H2 are vast. Some of the major enhancements
to H2 include:
-- A much more flexible user interface. H2 allows you to open as many
group or unit windows as you like, and overlay them with a variety
of useful data such as weather, depth/elevation, ice pack boundaries,
threat zones, etc. Windows may be zoomed, scrolled, and/or attached
to a moving unit.
-- The Formation Editor is much improved, with the ability to define
independent ASW, ASuW, and AAW threat axes and assign appropriate
patrols to each. Ships may be assigned to station-keep or sprint/drift
as appropriate, and ASW aircraft may be assigned to search with sonobuoys
or dipping sonar.
-- A new Mission AI allows the player (and the scenario designer)
to assign units to various types of patrol and strike missions with
user-defined waypoints or areas of coverage. This eliminates the need
to micromanage units with simple tasks and complements the Formation
-- The sensor and weapon models are much more detailed. In H2 you
can identify the emissions of individual sensors aboard a ship or
aircraft and use this information to classify the contact. ECM and
sonar decoys are implemented. Individual radars may be targeted and
knocked out with ARMs. For example, you can render a big, bad BCGN
helpless by knocking out the fire control radars with HARMs and following
up with Harpoons or Walleyes -- but you have to know which radar to
target :) Weapons are restricted to appropriate target types -- no
more runway demolition with HARMs and Harpoons.
-- Scenarios feature multiple "sides". Each side may be
friendly, hostile, or neutral to the player at the start of the scenario.
Sometimes this posture will change suddenly in the course of a game
as a result of accidental engagements by the player or a delayed attack
preprogrammed by the scenario designer. Scenario victory conditions
often reflect the rules of engagement that protect neutrals.
-- Weapon and fuel logistics are implemented. Ships may refuel and
rearm via underway replenishment (UNREP) with special units (AOE,
AOR, AFS, etc.) Aircraft may be refueled inflight by tankers, and
it works a lot better than the IFR model in HC97!
-- The optional communications model restricts your ability to issue
orders to units that are in contact. The contact status of a unit
reflects the range and capbilities of its commo gear. For example,
you can't issue orders to a submerged sub. Care must be taken to avoid
"blue-on-blue" engagements between units that have lost
contact with HQ.
-- The optional aircraft logistics model allows you to limit the amount
of ordnance available to rearm sorties at airbases and aboard aviation
ships. You won't be able to shuttle back and forth lobbing Harpoons
at that SAG until it runs out of SAMs.
-- Bases are no longer modeled as point targets. Each base consists
of a group of fixed land objects, including runways, hangars, tank
farms, ammo dumps, revetments, control tower, SAM launchers, etc.
You can target these individual components with the appropriate weapons
to shut down the base in one coordinated strike. Watch out for hidden
land units, though -- you never know where you might run into a AAA
battery or mobile SAM launcher until you stumble across them.
-- The H2 database can be (and has been) corrected, modified, and
extended by H2 players using either the DBEdit program (included with
H2AE) or Tom Wenck's PFEDIT utility. This capability, combined with
the H2 scenario editor, provides infinite replay value.
Well, that's a little more than a brief summary. What else can I say
to persuade you? :)