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Philip
08 Feb 04, 19:43
I have tried out Kblucks excellent latest version of the modern data base to reproduce second gulf war 1 with a SCBT rather than an ATF. When I used company formations I got really silly formations. This I presume is because the AI rates the Stryker ICV as vulnerable and with limited weaponary. So for example with a company wedge I had my three ATGMS at the front with virtually every thing in a column befind it which is a nonsense. The company line was more sensible and the only workable tactical formation for an offensive formation that had the ATGM Strykers in a line in front with a line of ICV's befind them.

Is my assumption about the AI correct or am I doing something else wrong that is causing this?

Incidently whilst trying to work out the order of battle for a Stryker Coy I was not sure of how the javlins are distributed. There are 27 javlins per Battalion and I distributed two to each heavy weapons platoon (2x3x3) but I was unsure about what to with the other 9. I can also see that the mass of inf squads that you have to play with are going to slow game play (due to more than doubling the number of pieces and the line of sight calculations required) although you should have enough enough cannon fodder to find those AT5's!

Just for your information the 9 120mm morters are excellent infantry killers, and the 155 mm guns performed well with ICM rounds although the HE against Inf proved ineffective. If you would like an un-polished SCBT version of Second Gulf War 1 to play with I would be happy to post it as soon as I can work out exactly what files I need to Zip.

Incidently I played this scenario and only thanks to the A-10's could I have won who effectively spotted the AT-5's and cleared the dangerous elements of enemy armour in advance.

Deltapooh
08 Feb 04, 19:57
This is a problem I've experienced. I'm not sure how the game determines what goes where. A while back, some people did express a desire to be able to develop their own formations, but CPT. Proctor said this was easier said than done.

Pat Proctor
08 Feb 04, 23:49
You can "trick" the game into correcting the formation.

I do not know what the numbers used in the database are, but this example should illustrate the method.

Say that we decide that all Strykers have a protection level of 50.

We want Strykers in front, Stryker engineers in the middle, and Stryker ATGM's in the rear.

We would give the Stryker a protection level of 51, the engineer vehicle a protection level of 50, and the ATGM a protection level of 49.

Protection level, in addition to determining the order of vehicles in a formation, determines the susceptibility to suppression (indirect or direct fire). But a difference of one will be imperceptible in this regard. It will, however, reorder the formation as you want it.

kbluck
09 Feb 04, 13:16
Incidently whilst trying to work out the order of battle for a Stryker Coy I was not sure of how the javlins are distributed. There are 27 javlins per Battalion and I distributed two to each heavy weapons platoon (2x3x3)

1 per rifle squad (3 per rifle platoon.) There is no "weapons platoon".

http://www.adtdl.army.mil/cgi-bin/atdl.dll/fm/3-21.21/image3243.gif

A summary in ATF terms, leaving out most of the "support" elements:

Company:
3x Rifle Platoon
{
3x Rifle Squad (1x ICV, 2x Mech fire team, 1xJavelin)
1x Weapon sqad (1x ICV, 2xM240 MG)
1x HQ section (1x HQ team)
}
CO HQ section (1x Command, 1x HQ team)
MGS PLatoon (3x MGS) (Currently 3x ATGM)
Mortar section (2x 120mm, option for 2x 60mm dismount)
FS section (1x FSV)

Battalion:
3x Rifle company
BN HQ Section (1x Command, 1x HQ Team)
Recon Platoon (4x RV, 6x Scout Team)
Mortar Platoon (4x 120mm mortar, option 4x 81mm dismount)




Incidently I played this scenario and only thanks to the A-10's could I have won who effectively spotted the AT-5's and cleared the dangerous elements of enemy armour in advance.

I recommend avoiding fixed-wing at all in ATF. In my opinion, it is "not quite ready for prime time". This is a good example; players tend to drive them around the battlefield like radio-controlled model aircraft. In fact, aircraft are generally prescheduled somewhat like artillery fire missions, and they arrive, unload ordnance on their briefed targets, and get the hell out before somebody shoves a SAM up their ass. They generally don't loiter around the battlefield looking for trouble; they already have more than they'd like. Admittedly, the real Gulf War wasn't so bad due to the overwhelming air supremacy we enjoyed, but aircraft still stayed high to avoid small arms fire. What is more, the Gulf War 1 scenarios posit a "alternate history" where the Iraqis turned out to have a bit of fight in them after all, so I wouldn't make the assumption that aircraft would have completely unfettered reign over the battlefield.

Not only is direct player control grossly inaccurate doctrinally, but in fact fast movers are *terrible* spotters. Low-flying pilots have all their attention already fully occupied just trying to avoid "controlled flight into terrain", and trying to locate their briefed targets. They simply don't have any time left for sightseeing, and even if they did, as you can imagine it can be difficult to spot concealed infantry when you're whizzing by at 250 knots. In fact, they have trouble seeing even vehicles when any effort at all is made to conceal them. Unfortunately, the game requires aircraft to have long spotting ranges in order to employ effectively what meager subset of weapons the game mechanics allow them to use, and that allows ridiculous effects such as you describe.

If a scenario designer is going to use aircraft, in my opinion they should be made "allied" (greens) and prescheduled onto a fixed route at a fixedtime, or perhaps a couple of options for each in response to an event box condition. They blue player should be informed in the OPORD as to when and where they are going to appear, so that he can try to force the enemy into that location. If there is in fact no enemy there when the planes arrive, oh well, they tried, back to base, its Miller Time. Same with enemy aircraft; they should arrive, strike a likely-looking preselected target, and fly off into the sunset.

--- Kevin

kbluck
09 Feb 04, 13:24
You can "trick" the game into correcting the formation.

I have adjusted protection levels into what I think is an appropriate ordering.

Download DB again if you want to test it.

--- Kevin

CPangracs
09 Feb 04, 20:51
I recommend avoiding fixed-wing at all in ATF. In my opinion, it is "not quite ready for prime time". This is a good example; players tend to drive them around the battlefield like radio-controlled model aircraft. In fact, aircraft are generally prescheduled somewhat like artillery fire missions, and they arrive, unload ordnance on their briefed targets, and get the hell out before somebody shoves a SAM up their ass. They generally don't loiter around the battlefield looking for trouble; they already have more than they'd like. Admittedly, the real Gulf War wasn't so bad due to the overwhelming air supremacy we enjoyed, but aircraft still stayed high to avoid small arms fire. What is more, the Gulf War 1 scenarios posit a "alternate history" where the Iraqis turned out to have a bit of fight in them after all, so I wouldn't make the assumption that aircraft would have completely unfettered reign over the battlefield.

Not only is direct player control grossly inaccurate doctrinally, but in fact fast movers are *terrible* spotters. Low-flying pilots have all their attention already fully occupied just trying to avoid "controlled flight into terrain", and trying to locate their briefed targets. They simply don't have any time left for sightseeing, and even if they did, as you can imagine it can be difficult to spot concealed infantry when you're whizzing by at 250 knots. In fact, they have trouble seeing even vehicles when any effort at all is made to conceal them. Unfortunately, the game requires aircraft to have long spotting ranges in order to employ effectively what meager subset of weapons the game mechanics allow them to use, and that allows ridiculous effects such as you describe.

If a scenario designer is going to use aircraft, in my opinion they should be made "allied" (greens) and prescheduled onto a fixed route at a fixedtime, or perhaps a couple of options for each in response to an event box condition. They blue player should be informed in the OPORD as to when and where they are going to appear, so that he can try to force the enemy into that location. If there is in fact no enemy there when the planes arrive, oh well, they tried, back to base, its Miller Time. Same with enemy aircraft; they should arrive, strike a likely-looking preselected target, and fly off into the sunset.

--- KevinI disagree,...to a point. The A-10 was designed to be flown at low altitudes, at low speeds, and to do exactly that,...loiter on or near the battlefield providing CAS. This is also true for the AV-8 Harrier. The traditional bomber and fighter-bomber aircraft hold true to the "Briefed" target schema.

For example, I have an AC-130 in Raging Tiger. Guess what? It is used to provide direct support to combat troops right in the mix. Now, the WAY I'm building it should allow for some fun gameplay, and even allow it to remain on the battlefield for a bit. The altitudes used in ATF can be misleading.

I will also have some air, even some rotary-wing, "locked" from player input to replicate certain required missions, as well as in response to a player achieving certain mission goals to assist in the overall mission objectives.

Also, UAV's are now and will be in the foreseeable future a major part of intel gathering on the battlefield. Even more important is the addition of air-to-ground anti-tank missiles and even air-toair missiles. These UAV's, such as the MQ-9B Predator, are the future, and they will undoubtedly be a large part of the future US and Allied inventory (hint;) ). Again, a fixed-wing aircraft which is designed to loiter on the battlefield.

But, and this is only my belief, I think the person who purchases a product should be given as many "bells & whistles" for their dollar. If it isn't "realistic", it doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable. Personally, I'm tired of paying $49.99 for a game that I can easily beat in a day or 2, but then I need a masters degree in 3d Polygonal Fractal Splicing to modify to extend gameplay!
:D

kbluck
09 Feb 04, 21:16
I disagree,...to a point. The A-10 was designed to be flown at low altitudes, at low speeds, and to do exactly that,...loiter on or near the battlefield providing CAS. This is also true for the AV-8 Harrier. The traditional bomber and fighter-bomber aircraft hold true to the "Briefed" target schema.

Even CAS aircraft loiter *near* the battlefield, at an intermediate hold point. They wouldn't hang out directly over the front line, unless there is absolutely no counterair threat. Even in the Gulf War, CAS generally didn't stick around anywhere they might be shot at even by some guy with an AK. They generally don't find their own targets, either... they are given a highly visible reference point and vectored in by ground observers, for the most part. Friendly positions are usually marked as well for good measure. Sometimes "spotter" aircraft are employed, but only in low threat environments. Pilots have a consistently hard time telling friendlies from enemies, and considering the lethality of their payload it is generally not something you want to leave up to their best judgement.



For example, I have an AC-130 in Raging Tiger. Guess what? It is used to provide direct support to combat troops right in the mix.

Mainly in couterinsurgency work where there is no significant air or ADA threat. It would be a really bad idea to call in a Spectre if there was the possibility of shoulder-fired SAMS or ADA guns nearby, and good luck if the enemy's top cover shows up. Even in the low-threat environments of Gulf War 1 and Somalia, small arms fire brought gunships down that overstayed their welcome. Biggest single air loss of Desert Storm was a downed AC-130.

High-altitude "plinking" is a different story, if there is no enemy air threat or theatre SAMs.



Also, UAV's are now and will be in the foreseeable future a major part of intel gathering on the battlefield.

The whole point of a UAV is that it can take greater risks, since there is no extremely expensive pilot to lose. It has the advantage of being much smaller than a piloted aircraft. And the data is downloaded in realtime to a control center, where several people other than the guy flying the plane can analyze the returns. Totally different situation, and I wouldn't have heartburn with that.



But, and this is only my belief, I think the person who purchases a product should be given as many "bells & whistles" for their dollar. If it isn't "realistic", it doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable.

Maybe so, but ATF is marketed on its realism.


--- Kevin

kbluck
09 Feb 04, 22:47
Thinking about it a bit, I realized I'd gotten distracted from my real concern.

I'm not really opposed to giving players control of the aircraft. In a realistic portrayal, they would be properly punished for unwise maneuvers.

I was suggesting the "allied" technique merely as a field-expedient counter-measure to what I view as a very unrealistic capability where fixed-wing aircraft can spot every tiny fire team from halfway across the battlefield. If planes had realistically limited spotting capabilities, players wouldn't be tempted to inappropriately parade them around the map as scouts.

What do I see as realistic?
1. Anything in woods or urban terrain should be essentially invisible, unless moving on a road.
2. Vehicles in the open or on roads should be fairly easy to see if they are moving. Vehicles in defilade should be harder, but not impossible. Aircraft should have difficulty making positive identification.
3. Infantry in general should be difficult to see and impossible to identify, even if moving. Defiladed infantry is invisible.
4. Other aircraft, including helicopters, should be fairly easy to spot.
5. For properly equipped aircraft, radar emitters should be very easy to spot.

Conversely, I think aircraft are seriously shortchanged by the lack of direct-fire area effect weapons. I think this is an equally serious shortcoming of the present version of ATF, and another reason I think fixed-wing aircraft aren't really "fully operational". This problem also affects helicopters, but to a lesser extent.

--- Kevin

CPangracs
10 Feb 04, 11:42
Even CAS aircraft loiter *near* the battlefield, at an intermediate hold point. They wouldn't hang out directly over the front line, unless there is absolutely no counterair threat. Even in the Gulf War, CAS generally didn't stick around anywhere they might be shot at even by some guy with an AK. They generally don't find their own targets, either... they are given a highly visible reference point and vectored in by ground observers, for the most part. Friendly positions are usually marked as well for good measure. Sometimes "spotter" aircraft are employed, but only in low threat environments. Pilots have a consistently hard time telling friendlies from enemies, and considering the lethality of their payload it is generally not something you want to leave up to their best judgement.
This is why the aircraft in ATF are NOT right on the front lines. The smart player keeps them back, out of range, until the forward forces positively identify a target and "request" air support. The player then plots a route to the target and attempts to neutralize it if it can't or shouldn't be handled by ground forces. To use fixed-wing in a CAS role any other way should be punishable by death!!:D



Mainly in couterinsurgency work where there is no significant air or ADA threat. It would be a really bad idea to call in a Spectre if there was the possibility of shoulder-fired SAMS or ADA guns nearby, and good luck if the enemy's top cover shows up. Even in the low-threat environments of Gulf War 1 and Somalia, small arms fire brought gunships down that overstayed their welcome. Biggest single air loss of Desert Storm was a downed AC-130.

High-altitude "plinking" is a different story, if there is no enemy air threat or theatre SAMs.
EXACTLY! Now you are getting to the meat of what I am doing in Raging Tiger and reinforced what I said!:devil:



The whole point of a UAV is that it can take greater risks, since there is no extremely expensive pilot to lose. It has the advantage of being much smaller than a piloted aircraft. And the data is downloaded in realtime to a control center, where several people other than the guy flying the plane can analyze the returns. Totally different situation, and I wouldn't have heartburn with that.
Good, because it will be difficult to win some scenarios without their use!

OOPS! Did I say that?:hush: :devious:





Maybe so, but ATF is marketed on its realism.
ATF is marketed on its realism. Raging Tiger is marketed on the POSSIBLE reality, within a framework of realism, so there is much room to play with. Also realize that in reality, for the most part, the DPRK won't have the technology to match the US even in 6 more years, and even with the assistance of the Chinese or others. They may have bits and pieces, but will not have a total force of up-to-date equipment. THAT is a large part of RT.

CPangracs
10 Feb 04, 11:49
...I think aircraft are seriously shortchanged by the lack of direct-fire area effect weapons. I think this is an equally serious shortcoming of the present version of ATF, and another reason I think fixed-wing aircraft aren't really "fully operational". This problem also affects helicopters, but to a lesser extent.

--- Kevin
Why do you say that fixed-wing ac don't have direct fire weapons? There are plenty of ATGM's, I just made Hydra Pods and free fall bombs, and the database can indeed be "manipulated" to represent any kind of air munition out there, except for maybe Durandals, Napalm, and Bunkerbusters! (I'm working on a MOAB for the heck of it!). The only thing restraining you is your imagination and making the simulation work in whatever way possible to represent, as close as possible, the desired results.

I'm sorry if I come off as crass about this, but it's easy for me to preach this because I make expensive, unwieldy, and crappy simulations work for our needs all the time!

If you want a particular problem solved, or desire a certain type of weapon, let me know, I'd be glad to help.

kbluck
10 Feb 04, 12:42
This is why the aircraft in ATF are NOT right on the front lines. The smart player keeps them back, out of range, until the forward forces positively identify a target and "request" air support.

But, that's *not* the behavior ATF rewards. It rewards just the opposite, exactly as Philip reported --- using *aircraft* as the "scouts" to find the enemy for the *ground forces* to destroy. Backwards!



Why do you say that fixed-wing ac don't have direct fire weapons? There are plenty of ATGM's, I just made Hydra Pods and free fall bombs, and the database can indeed be "manipulated" to represent any kind of air munition out there, except for maybe Durandals, Napalm, and Bunkerbusters! (I'm working on a MOAB for the heck of it!). The only thing restraining you is your imagination and making the simulation work in whatever way possible to represent, as close as possible, the desired results.

They don't have direct fire *area effect* weapons, and they can't shoot what they do have at anything without a positive ID. Hence, it is necessary to award aircraft absurd spotting capabilities, because they'd be useless without it. If aircraft had area effect weapons and could shoot without having a spot themselves, similar to indirect fire, then their own spotting capability could be vastly reduced and they'd have to operate just as you describe that they should.

Most aircraft outside the US and NATO inventories can't fire ATGMs; they just don't have the targeting and designation gear. Heck, even most US aircraft can't normally, although most have the data bus (exports frequently don't have it) to be temporarily upgraded with Pave Tack pods and such. ATF is flat-out wrong about the Su-25 in the Fulda Gap scenarios; it had no ATGM capability until the mid-90s, when they rolled out the upgraded Su-25T/Su-39. Even now, most of the type still in the Russian inventory are the "old" model.

Gravity bombs --- isn't it kind of ridiculous to make a big 500lb cluster bomb that can only kill a single target, no matter how tightly they might be packed? That, I assume, is why ATF aircraft only carry "precision" weapons intended for a single target. I can't see any way to make ATF do anything else without code changes. Even the "indirect fire" hack is ruled out; aircraft can't stop, and so can't shoot indirect.

We've talked already about the rocket pods in another thread. Suffice it to say, I still think indirect is a better model for them, but that's ruled out for fixed-wing.

So, how do you implement Rockeyes or even just plain old HE iron bombs? How do you prevent aircraft from revealing the entire enemy disposition from 10 kilometers away?

--- Kevin

CPangracs
10 Feb 04, 18:06
But, that's *not* the behavior ATF rewards. It rewards just the opposite, exactly as Philip reported --- using *aircraft* as the "scouts" to find the enemy for the *ground forces* to destroy. Backwards!
I disagree. If you let your aircraft do the scouting, you will lose them,...quickly. You might get an initial bead on vehicles, but it most likely won't be long enough to know if they are moving or stationary, or even dug-in. In this way, ATF certainly does reward the player if the aircraft are employed correctly.

This also has ALOT to do with scenario creation. If you REALLY want to make aircraft realistic, you can "lock" aircraft from user input for a certain length of time, or, until other conditions are met. This is very in-depth scenario creation, but it can be done, and can provide for a great amount of challenge. Also, the enemy can be programmed to move if spotted by aircraft or any other entity! I'm not saying that ATF is perfectly ready for TACAIR or STRATAIR, but it CAN be done to give some sense of AirLand Battle to the lowly Battalion or Company Commander!





They don't have direct fire *area effect* weapons, and they can't shoot what they do have at anything without a positive ID. Hence, it is necessary to award aircraft absurd spotting capabilities, because they'd be useless without it. If aircraft had area effect weapons and could shoot without having a spot themselves, similar to indirect fire, then their own spotting capability could be vastly reduced and they'd have to operate just as you describe that they should.
I agree, but to a point. The whole gist of my argument is that you CAN get ATF to REPRESENT things a player might want to see/use/do,...whether it is an exact and accurate representation of that action is a totally different story!

Even with all of the technology we have today, sometimes they fail, or are knocked-out or useless due to weather, etc. I know a B-1 Bomber pilot, and he said that they CONSTANTLY practice dropping ordinance "blind" for this very reason.

As for munitions reacting to another entities "spot" laser, this can also be "fudged" by having the munition you create for the aircraft have a discreet TOF and a seeking ability, with a good range. Heck, I just turned my 500 and 1000lb dumb bombs into JDAMS that will seek their targets! (No, I haven't tested them,...yet!).

Anyway, what I'm saying is that we can get SOME kind of effect, if not the exact effect. ATF was not and SHOULD NOT be an exact modeller of Air-to-Ground Warfare.



Most aircraft outside the US and NATO inventories can't fire ATGMs; they just don't have the targeting and designation gear. Heck, even most US aircraft can't normally, although most have the data bus (exports frequently don't have it) to be temporarily upgraded with Pave Tack pods and such. ATF is flat-out wrong about the Su-25 in the Fulda Gap scenarios; it had no ATGM capability until the mid-90s, when they rolled out the upgraded Su-25T/Su-39. Even now, most of the type still in the Russian inventory are the "old" model.
Not sure what you are trying to say here. If it is that the SU-25 is misrepresented in the scenario, then I say go ahead and fix it! I think the SU-25 was given ATGM's to balance things out a bit and at least present a challenge to the player to finish the scenario!

It's like any other simulation,...if everything was exactly represented, then the US equipment would, no doubt, destroy anything and everything always, with little damage to the US stuff, just because that is REAL. You put a US Tank Division against any country's equipment, and, providing every soldier is trained to standard, never tires, and never loses moral (on both sides), and every piece of equipment performs to its expected capabilities, the US will decimate anyone. Period.

Now, to counter that, a game or simulation based on these pieces of equipment MUST be balanced, or the fun and value of that game diminishes exponentially.

Yes, ATF and similar games are based on realism and are often labors of love, but they are also commercial ventures. How would you feel if you just plotted a path to your objective and wiped everything out on your way, no challenges at all?

YAWN



Gravity bombs --- isn't it kind of ridiculous to make a big 500lb cluster bomb that can only kill a single target, no matter how tightly they might be packed? That, I assume, is why ATF aircraft only carry "precision" weapons intended for a single target. I can't see any way to make ATF do anything else without code changes. Even the "indirect fire" hack is ruled out; aircraft can't stop, and so can't shoot indirect.
Yes and no. If the bomb is given enough suppressive power, then it is doing what it SHOULD do in ATF,...take out a target and make everyone else in that suppression radius go to ground!

In a way, this is all moot anyway, as ATF is a game of ground combat, and the aircraft are only supporting players. Again, I think the player is rewarded by using their air assets juduciously and prudently, if not "realistically".

How many times have you played Operation Sand Castle, wishing you had an AC-130 to root out the dismounts?;)



So, how do you implement Rockeyes or even just plain old HE iron bombs? How do you prevent aircraft from revealing the entire enemy disposition from 10 kilometers away?

--- Kevin
Easy,...you don't. If it is something that you feel just can't be done, then don't even try. If it isn't something that you feel may increase your enjoyment of the game, then leave it be. Take all aircraft out of your scenarios before you play them or just don't use them. That's what is very nice about ATF,...it's your choice in how you want to play, how you want the vehicles to react, etc.

I'm still a little befuddled as to why you don't think aircraft should reveal enemy it can see out to its max range. It doesn't necessarily give you target types unless certain criteria are met. Again, this is a scenario design function using the invisibility attribute during scenario creation.

It basically comes down to you and what you want to do. I like trying to make things do what I want them to do,...an obvious dementia caused by 20 years of Army life and having little control over my own actions and movements!
:D

kbluck
10 Feb 04, 19:10
I disagree. If you let your aircraft do the scouting, you will lose them,...quickly.

All I can say is, playtest it. This is a very rewarding strategy (unrealistically so, in my opinion) in ATF v.1.03. It's quite safe, really. I can routinely get a rather complete picture of the enemy's disposition without even taking fire. What is dangerous is having aircraft get close enough to actually shoot anything.



you can "lock" aircraft from user input for a certain length of time...discreet TOF and a seeking ability...

I don't believe these are implemented for ATF. Perhaps they are for Raging Tiger. I'm fairly sure Discrete TOF is just a placeholder in ATF. I don't know about locking, but I'm not familiar with it.




ATF was not and SHOULD NOT be an exact modeller of Air-to-Ground Warfare.


But, as I've argued on other issues that are "abstracted", neither should it create a gross misrepresentation of reality to the point where sound tactics are penalized and unsound tactics rewarded.




I think the SU-25 was given ATGM's to balance things out a bit and at least present a challenge to the player to finish the scenario!
It's like any other simulation,...if everything was exactly represented, then the US equipment would, no doubt, destroy anything and everything always...
Now, to counter that, a game or simulation based on these pieces of equipment MUST be balanced


Well and good for your game, but Pat Proctor is on record as stating that ATF absolutely, positively, does not "cheat" and that sides are not "balanced" in the sense of arbitrarily increasing or decreasing quantifiable parameters. He claims to have based everything on documentable data, and I believe him, although I might dispute the accuracy of some of his data or disagree with some of his interpretations. I believe he added the Su-25 as it is because he honestly believed that was its capability at the time from the data that was available to him. Same with the AT-5s; he made them so prevalent because that's how it is portrayed at NTC and he felt it was realistic, not because he wanted to arbitrarily "pump up" the Krasnovians. Now, you can make different assumptions about intangibles like esprit and such, as was done in the Gulf War 2 scenarios, but I think deliberately buffing or nerfing equipment to adjust play balance is contrary to the ProSim philosophy. If a scenario needs to be balanced, I think the ProSim way is to adjust the victory conditions, not the equipment.



Yes and no. If the bomb is given enough suppressive power, then it is doing what it SHOULD do in ATF,...take out a target and make everyone else in that suppression radius go to ground!


Maybe in Raging Tiger. It doesn't work that way in ATF. One bomb, one target, one kill, no side effects on other targets. Even if it did, why does artillery work one way and bombs with practically identical effects (except bigger) another? HE weapons should have kill radii, just like arty. They don't, and that's a significant blow to CAS effectiveness.




I'm still a little befuddled as to why you don't think aircraft should reveal enemy it can see out to its max range.


Because fixed-wing pilots typically can't see squat on the ground unless somebody tells them exactly where to look, or targets are broadcasting their presence with big plumes of smoke or dust, or they have the luxury of cruising around at high altitude with plenty of time to browse for targets.

Its not that I don't think they should be able to reveal targets out to max spotting range; I just think that spotting range should be a lot shorter. But shortening it in ATF pretty much defangs aircraft. It's a real bind. The best solution I've been able to come up with is to simply take fixed-wing aircraft out of the player's hands, so they can't benefit from the excessive spotting capabilities but still get the firepower benefits of CAS. Given the limitations of ATF v.1.03, I think that's the best I can do until the mechanics change, as they apparently have to some degree for Raging Tiger.

--- Kevin

Philip
11 Feb 04, 05:47
I have adjusted protection levels into what I think is an appropriate ordering.

Download DB again if you want to test it.

--- Kevin
Kevin

Thank you for your detailed response to my original question I have adjusted the SCBT ORBAT. To bring the thread back to the point:

I have tried the new stryker settings and i am getting the same problem as before with columns of strykers with company wedge although platoons will wedge when individually directed. When the troops are dismounted they form a wedge and the CIV's form a column. I also created a M113 coy to see if it behaved the same and it does.

Incidently i experimented with the dismounts being a seperate plt so that they could have their own formations as any scenario the dismounts are going to be important. ATF does not like this and will not insert dismounts, having said that I never liked the command as they platoon never seems to drop them off at the right place.

With so much talk about birds... i changed the scenario to one A 10 which i then fixed to hold fire and it behaved very nicely like a UAV. Talking of which is a UAV in the pipeline?

Other items on my wish list at this point in time would be Miclic and Volcano's for the Stryker ECV's and MLRS added to the database. Many thanks for all your help and sorry to be so demanding!

Philip
11 Feb 04, 05:55
I have adjusted protection levels into what I think is an appropriate ordering.

Download DB again if you want to test it.

--- Kevin
Sorry I forgot to mention the vehicle info for ICV (SA) does not exists for HMG, GPMG, and AGL.

I have also had a thought creating formations from scratch takes a considerable amount of time. It would be really useful for packages to be saved and posted on this board for peer review to check the ORBAT is correct. e.g. a Stryker Coy M113 Coy or even the standard packages but updated for KB database modern. Prehaps in the Misc downloads section of this forum?

Pat Proctor
11 Feb 04, 12:31
The other thing that the formation engine looks at when deciding where to place vehicles is the "BOS Flags". These are on the upper-right corner of the vehicle window and describe the vehicle.

In any formation, you have combat slots and support slots. Vehicles with "BOS Flags" set to attack, dismount, anti-tank, recon, or troop carrier will occupy combat slots. All other vehicles will be stuck in support slots. The combat slots, in a wedge, for example, are the wedge itself. The support slots are a column that trails the wedge. It sounds like your vehicles are being interpreted as support vehicles because of faulty BOS flag settings.

kbluck
11 Feb 04, 12:42
Thank you for your detailed response to my original question I have adjusted the SCBT ORBAT. To bring the thread back to the point:


Yes, sorry. I'm prone to getting off on tangents, especially when the subject is an interesting and technical one.




I have tried the new stryker settings and i am getting the same problem as before with columns of strykers with company wedge although platoons will wedge when individually directed. When the troops are dismounted they form a wedge and the CIV's form a column.


There is apparently more going on than meets the eye. I'm not familiar with the mechanics of formation formation, so I'll have to refer you to Pat Proctor on this one.




Incidently i experimented with the dismounts being a seperate plt so that they could have their own formations as any scenario the dismounts are going to be important. ATF does not like this and will not insert dismounts, having said that I never liked the command as they platoon never seems to drop them off at the right place.


Yes, you're right. I agree about the mission. I stopped using it myself a long time ago. Another thing that drives me nuts is the way dismounting ends up scattering your troops all over most of a grid square. I wish ProSim would tighten that up quite a bit.

At any rate, I found having formation control of the platoon without having to worry about the vehicles accidentally being "recalled" and screwing everything up more than outweighs any minor inconveniences like this. As you say, especially for Stryker; the vehicles simply can't close with the enemy the way a mech task force might be able to get away with, so dismounted operations are going to be front and center.




Talking of which is a UAV in the pipeline?


DeltaPooh has made progress on the pieces. I can add something to the database in fairly short order.




Other items on my wish list at this point in time would be Miclic and Volcano's for the Stryker ECV's and MLRS added to the database.

MLRS is no problem. Volcano will be truck-mounted; you might as well use the HEMTT version already in the DB. Perhaps you mean the helicopter-mounted version? As for MiCLiC, I know the ECV ought to be towing one, but there is a quirk in the game where if a vehicle is a breacher, it never checks if it is also an engineer, so having the MiCLiC wouldn't do you any good at this time. When that get's resolved in the code, I'll add it.

--- Kevin

kbluck
11 Feb 04, 12:48
All other vehicles will be stuck in support slots. The combat slots, in a wedge, for example, are the wedge itself. The support slots are a column that trails the wedge. It sounds like your vehicles are being interpreted as support vehicles because of faulty BOS flag settings.

No. The ICVs are (and always have been) marked only "Troop Carry'. The ATGMs are marked 'Anti-Tank'. MGS is marked 'Attack'. Recon is marked both 'Recon' and 'Troop Carry'. The others really are support vehicles and are marked accordingly.

--- Kevin

kbluck
11 Feb 04, 12:51
Sorry I forgot to mention the vehicle info for ICV (SA) does not exists for HMG, GPMG, and AGL.


I'm not sure what you mean. Everything looks to be present. Do you mean you don't see the weapon? If so, it is "buried" under the 'Turret' attribute.

--- Kevin

Pat Proctor
11 Feb 04, 15:55
KB,


No. The ICVs are (and always have been) marked only "Troop Carry'. The ATGMs are marked 'Anti-Tank'. MGS is marked 'Attack'. Recon is marked both 'Recon' and 'Troop Carry'. The others really are support vehicles and are marked accordingly.

Can you send me a screenshot of the units in a company wedge, so I can see what you are seeing.

You also need to make sure you set BOS flags on the platoons and companies in a similar manner, otherwise this might screw up your formations as well.

kbluck
11 Feb 04, 18:47
KB: You also need to make sure you set BOS flags on the platoons and companies in a similar manner, otherwise this might screw up your formations as well.


Actually, its Philip's issue. But, now that you mention the BOS flags for heirarchies, I bet that's it. That would explain why he has the problem in company formations but not platoon.

Philip: Edit your platoons and companies in the View | Hierarchy Tree | Friendly dialog, especially the platoons. Select appropriate BOS flags. They're fairly self-explanatory.

Also: I added the MLRS. Download again when you want it.

--- Kevin

Philip
12 Feb 04, 07:31
I'm not sure what you mean. Everything looks to be present. Do you mean you don't see the weapon? If so, it is "buried" under the 'Turret' attribute.

--- Kevin
I mean the vehicle specs do not exist for Stryker SA HMG GPMG & AGL all the others can be viewed ok the box just reads page not found.

Philip
12 Feb 04, 07:37
KB,



Can you send me a screenshot of the units in a company wedge, so I can see what you are seeing.

You also need to make sure you set BOS flags on the platoons and companies in a similar manner, otherwise this might screw up your formations as well.

Sorry no screen shot but i have worked out where the problem lies. The BOS for troop carrier is not sufficient in the vehicle database. It was only when I added the attack flag in the vehicle database did they finally form the correct formations at the company level. So the troop carrier flag is not enough by itself.

This will mean that all troop carriers should be marked as attack.

Philip
12 Feb 04, 07:50
Actually, its Philip's issue. But, now that you mention the BOS flags for heirarchies, I bet that's it. That would explain why he has the problem in company formations but not platoon.

Philip: Edit your platoons and companies in the View | Hierarchy Tree | Friendly dialog, especially the platoons. Select appropriate BOS flags. They're fairly self-explanatory.

Also: I added the MLRS. Download again when you want it.

--- Kevin
Kevin,

TY for the updated database you will see above that i found the solution to the formation problem so more work for you i am afraid. On field testing the SCBT in Gulf War village defence (sorry can't remember the correct name, it was quite a close run battle. Mobile defence was definitely the key. When you update your database to account for the formation problem I will post the scenario and the SCBT platoon and Company packages.

If I am allowed a further wish...the Stryker ICV's would be better with DF Ammo Carrier like the M113 as my troops could do with resupply.

Further to the issue of seperate dismounted platoons it should be noted that company formations make no sense when the troops are dismounted as they are all stuck on the flanks. I don't think there is anything you can do about this though except when you dismount avoid company formations.

Pat Proctor
12 Feb 04, 11:42
Duh! I forgot this because Bradley's are both Troop Carriers AND AT. Now that you mention it, this was intentional so that UH-60's ended up in the back of formations including AH-64's or OH-58D's.

kbluck
12 Feb 04, 13:49
If I am allowed a further wish...the Stryker ICV's would be better with DF Ammo Carrier like the M113 as my troops could do with resupply.

New DB download available with fixes:

1: Attack BOS flag set for ICV to resolve formation issue.

2. Changed name to resolve Vehicle Specs issue. It was the slash. Add that to the list of "forbidden" characters in names that already includes colons and backslashes. In general, beware of non alphanumeric characters.

3. Added DF Ammo Carrier to ICV, Recon, Command, and ECV.


--- Kevin

CPangracs
12 Feb 04, 16:11
New DB download available with fixes:

1: Attack BOS flag set for ICV to resolve formation issue.

2. Changed name to resolve Vehicle Specs issue. It was the slash. Add that to the list of "forbidden" characters in names that already includes colons and backslashes. In general, beware of non alphanumeric characters.

3. Added DF Ammo Carrier to ICV, Recon, Command, and ECV.


--- Kevin
Please include the COMMA as a no-no in naming conventions. I had comma's in a vehicle name and some weapon names, and THAT is what has been giving me so much grief!

COMMA=NO-NO:mad: :nuts:

kbluck
12 Feb 04, 17:09
Please include the COMMA as a no-no in naming conventions. I had comma's in a vehicle name and some weapon names, and THAT is what has been giving me so much grief!

COMMA=NO-NO:mad: :nuts:

You're right, I forgot that one. I hit that when I was first making the DB and had to substitute semicolons instead. Luckily, I was able to do a global find/replace with my hex editor, or else that would have been a whole lotta editing to do.

So: No colon, comma, slash, or backslash in vehicle or weapon names.

Pat: Perhaps when it comes time to generate HTML help files, the game could render special characters in names as HTML escape codes, i.e. any nonalphanumeric character would be rendered as &#nnn; where nnn is the character's ASCII code? Alternately, during editing check and throw an error if any "trouble" characters are in the name?

--- Kevin

Philip
12 Feb 04, 21:14
New DB download available with fixes:

1: Attack BOS flag set for ICV to resolve formation issue.

2. Changed name to resolve Vehicle Specs issue. It was the slash. Add that to the list of "forbidden" characters in names that already includes colons and backslashes. In general, beware of non alphanumeric characters.

3. Added DF Ammo Carrier to ICV, Recon, Command, and ECV.


--- Kevin


Kevin you are a star! Many thanks.


Philip

Philip
12 Feb 04, 21:29
Duh! I forgot this because Bradley's are both Troop Carriers AND AT. Now that you mention it, this was intentional so that UH-60's ended up in the back of formations including AH-64's or OH-58D's.

TY Pat it was only with your guidance that I got there. It is very special that the person who wrote the game is very active in helping us.

Pat Proctor
12 Feb 04, 21:47
Helping scenario developers = more scenarios for Pat to play ;)

Philip
13 Feb 04, 00:36
Sorry Kevin a few more points:

1. Mech Inf and Light Inf 'vehicles' should have a BOS flag of attack as well to improve a dismounted platoons formation. This very nicely places the fire teams at point followed by Javlins then the MG's on the flank. Other wise you get the javlins on point.

2. The NATO symbol for Friendly wheeled Mech HQ appears to be a tank symbol.

3. I am not sure what the standard issue of actual javlin missiles is per company (as apposed to systems) but it looks as if a number of the missiles should be included in the inventory of DF ammo for the Stryker Veh.'s.

kbluck
13 Feb 04, 13:12
1. Mech Inf and Light Inf 'vehicles' should have a BOS flag of attack as well to improve a dismounted platoons formation. This very nicely places the fire teams at point followed by Javlins then the MG's on the flank. Other wise you get the javlins on point.

I agree. Done.



2. The NATO symbol for Friendly wheeled Mech HQ appears to be a tank symbol.

The symbol you mention actually does have the "HQ line" across the top. (A similar line across the bottom means "support".) Unfortunately, it can be hard to see at "100%" icon size. I've noticed that "100%" in the options dialog is really 50% actual size, and 200% is really 100%. This applies to the graphic vehicle pictures, as well. If you zoom up to 200% for a moment, you shouldn't have any problem seeing what I mean.

The oval is actually the "armored/mechanized" symbol. Since tanks are characterized mainly by their armor and mechanization, it is typically used unqualified for tank formations. Technically, the icons used by ATF are intended to identify *units*, not individual vehicles. There is a different set of graphics for individual systems (which I frankly prefer), but I chose to remain with the ATF convention for now.



3. I am not sure what the standard issue of actual javlin missiles is per company (as apposed to systems) but it looks as if a number of the missiles should be included in the inventory of DF ammo for the Stryker Veh.'s.

Stryker has a problem with stowage space. Actually, from what I've been able to ferret out, they only have provision for two missiles inside. That's not in addition to what the team carries; it *is* what the team carries. I've decided it is not outlandish to assume troops heading into combat will "overstock" a bit and squeeze in a third missile somehow, but I think that's about the limit. I'm probably even being optimistic on the small arms resupply.

The M2 has similar problems; with a full load of 7 TOWs, there is literally no place to properly secure the manportable missiles. The M113 was comparitavely roomy. Just so you don't feel too bad about US systems, the BMP is horribly cramped, much worse than anything in the US inventory, a vehicle only a contortionist could like.

Most public data is for Stryker is hyped-up public-relations BS. The alternative are the several "Stryker Sucks" sites (mostly run by ex-Airborne guys, interestingly), which are equally biased in the opposite direction. It's fairly hard to come by hard data for Stryker. A lot of what I know is from anecdotal sources (my Army buddies) which presents its own interpretation problems. If you have something that contradicts me on the Javelin stowage or anything else, I'd be very interested to see it.


--- Kevin

Philip
13 Feb 04, 13:29
Kevin -

OK sorry I saw the HQ line I was just expecting a mech inf symbol with a line on top rather than the oval with the line on top. I certainly don't rate myself an expert in these matters!

Well not having many javlins around will make for interesting scenarios then with very careful use of arty. Does battalion HQ keep a stock though or would they be in the brigade rear echelon? The idea I am tossing up is there a supply vehicle that would realisticly be forward deployed?

I have had a close look at some of the soviet kit many years ago when visiting US OPFOR in Germany, and it clearly payed to be small in the then Soviet Mech Inf.

kbluck
13 Feb 04, 14:02
Kevin -
Well not having many javlins around will make for interesting scenarios then with very careful use of arty. Does battalion HQ keep a stock though or would they be in the brigade rear echelon? The idea I am tossing up is there a supply vehicle that would realisticly be forward deployed?


Well, of course we can expect both BN and BDE echelons to maintain a resupply stock in their trains. I would not consider it unlimited for expensive and difficult-to-manufacture weapons like Javelin. Depends on the war scenario. In a truly large dust-up where the enemy actually fights, let's say China, I think we will find our national stocks running dangerously low within a few weeks.

However, if you want to create a truck with some resupply, that is certainly reasonable. It could be fun getting it forward enough to do any good, but that is of course a real-world problem. You can also consider making resupply helicopters; just make a UH-60 into a DF Ammo Carrier.

Don't go nuts; I'd expect one complete resupply is about the limit of a BN on-hand stockpile. That would be around 50-ish total, given the stated assumption of two missiles per vehicle. That's probably fairly optimistic and assumes a forward supply build-up. "Surprise" actions aren't likely to have that amount of ready supply available. The BDE stock will probably take a few hours to come forward and so is most likely outside the scope of the game.

In general, when you make custom scenarios, unless you are completely content with the existing "stock characters" you should make a copy of the .wep and .veh files, and create a new .dbs file to refer to them. Usually, you won't need new .pca or .smg files unless you are providing new graphics or sound; just point to the old ones in your .dbs. You can then modify at will without fear of screwing up somebody else's scenario, or having future mods screw up yours. This allows you to play with things like ammunition and protection assumptions, as well as creating special vehicle types. The downside, of course, is that your scenario will not exploit any future "upgrades" to the original DB.

--- Kevin

Philip
15 Feb 04, 23:52
Sorry Kevin a few more points:

1. Mech Inf and Light Inf 'vehicles' should have a BOS flag of attack as well to improve a dismounted platoons formation. This very nicely places the fire teams at point followed by Javlins then the MG's on the flank. Other wise you get the javlins on point.




Sorry Kevin I don't think MG's should be given an attack BOS only the Mech Inf and Light Inf. With MG's having a attack BOS they are no longer on the flanks where I think they should be.

kbluck
19 Feb 04, 17:48
OK, I removed Attack from the MG teams.

I also revised some pKs. During playtesting, I found that helicopters and aircraft were being casually swatted out of the sky by tank main guns, which I consider unlikely. Also, I improved Stryker (SA) vs. small HEAT warheads based on some additional data I came across. Lastly, I incorporated some pieces for the M198 howitzer contributed by DP.

Download here:

http://www.wargames.warfarehq.com/forums/showthread.php?t=301

--- Kevin